Hello everyone! I’m happy to finally be presenting to you, the ballet enthusiast and student, Lorry aka @Bead_109 over on Twitter.
Let’s hear about Lorry’s experience…
Why did you start ballet classes as an adult?
I never thought much about dancing as a child. I wasn’t a natural mover and I was sickly, so I was the antithesis of athletic. As a young adult, I discovered ballet through the music; classical music was the soundtrack of my life. I fell in love with ballet – not all dance – pretty much just classical ballet. I attended a dance gala in 2011 and experienced a performance by dancers Patrick de Bana and Dimo Kirilov. They danced a contemporary piece choreographed by Patrick called Creatures. It was life changing, truly life changing. I was inspired, ignited, to find my own way of moving, my own music, my own dance, and so I begin to look for adult ballet classes. Even though it was a contemporary piece that started me on the journey, the dance was founded in classical ballet and it is still my true love.
What do you love most about ballet classes?
I love everything about ballet class. I love that classes are challenging both for my body and my mind. I love that we work to beautiful music. I love ballet class wear – pointe shoes, leg warmers, leotards, flowing skirts. I love the technical aspect of barre work and the freedom of center work. I love that when I walk out of ballet class, sweated through and sore, my entire being is happy.
Has ballet had a big effect on your life? If yes, in what way?
Ballet has completely changed my life. That sounds like a outrageous statement but it is completely true. Ballet has made me more aware of myself and helped me to find my self-worth. Ballet has made me more social and brought me the most wonderful friendships. Ballet has opened doors for me that I never imagined – I’ve travelled, met amazing people, and experienced soul moving art and artists.
When I go to ballet class, everything is better. I eat better, I stay hydrated, I stretch and go to the gym willingly, I deal with stress, I sleep well, I’m more optimistic and active.
Day to day and over the past three years, ballet has positively impacted everything in my life.
What has your experience of adult ballet teachers been?
- Have they been understanding/gentle/positive/encouraging etc?
- Or have they been harsh (in a mean way)/negative/discouraging?
- Perhaps you’ve experienced different types of teachers?
I ran into a bunch of really bad teachers when I first started looking into classes – when I say bad I mean teachers that didn’t really want to be teaching beginning adult students, who didn’t see the value in teaching ballet to adults, and who couldn’t be bothered to care about adult students.
Then I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful teacher who was encouraging, devoted to beginning adults students, and who enjoys teaching beginning adults. Since then I’ve found many other teachers who see the value of teaching ballet to adults and who take the process seriously enough to teach true classical ballet to adult students with passion.
Is there anything you would like adult ballet teachers to do more or less of?
I love teachers who are strict about the technique, who set a high bar(re) and help students reach it. I enjoy lots and lots of corrections and I love to be challenged. I love it when teachers use great music and help me understand the musicality and the actual movement within the music.
More classes, more dancing, more work, more going to see ballet, more, more, more!!
Most embarrassing ballet class moment?
Well, let’s just say… never wear a light colored cotton leotard on a very hot and sweaty day; if you fall on your face during an across the floor exercise, get out of the way so that you don’t become ballet road kill; and, if you wear socks during barre, you have to be careful that you don’t slide into mirror and leave a big sweat mark on it with your face.
If you could see any ballet anywhere in the world, which ballet would you see and where would you see it?
I’ve been so very fortunate to be able to travel to see some incredible ballet in some amazing places – New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, and most recently Shanghai. I hope that I will be able to continue to travel and enjoy art around the world. On my wish list – Russia and Australia.
If you could be taught by any teacher, either alive today or from the past, who would it be and why?
I would love to have the opportunity to train with any of the great dancers who are now teachers and coaches from the Paris Opera Ballet. The French school is one that I admire so much – the elegance, the clean, gorgeous technique – I love it. Isabelle Guerin, Elisabeth Platel, Monique Loudieres, or Elisabeth Maurin would be fabulous!!
If you could dance a pas de deux with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
My dream partner is Manuel Legris. I would also die to learn Creatures and to dance it with Patrick de Bana. Manuel Legris is a perfect example of the most beautiful danseur noble – quick, light, elegant, perfect technique, and caring, lovely partnering. And he’s adorable. I love Patrick de Bana’s choreography. It’s instinctual and visceral but also intelligent and profound. His work is filled with soul and meaning; he knows how to work not just with mime and story but with meaning and symbolism. He’s also a beautiful, lanky dancer – arms and legs that just float up for miles. Add in the hoop earrings and the big tribal tats, and this man is walking art.
Have you received either negative judgement or positive support about starting ballet as an adult? How did the positive support make you feel? And how did you deal with the negative stuff?
In my “normal” world, not many of my friends are ballet people. They aren’t really negative about my passion for my ballet but they aren’t positive about it either, they don’t understand it. My new ballet friends, both virtual and from my classes, are wonderful – they “get” my passion for ballet. I’m fortunate that my most important relationship, my husband, supports my new love. He isn’t a ballet fan but he will attend occasionally and he enjoys the travel part but most of all, he sees and appreciates the fact that ballet has been good for me. Ballet makes me a better me and anyone who knows me and cares about me, appreciates that and supports me and that’s what counts.
Thank you so much, Lorry! I loved your responses, your insight into the adult ballet world and your inspiration to follow your heart.