So for the past few months I’ve been trying to anticipate the very specific whims of casting directors by expanding my set of bookable skills. I think they really ask far too much of actors- fire breathing, unicycle riding, competition-level tango dancers- really? Why would I know how to do those things? But when one has no agent and little cleavage, one has to get creative. My British accent has gone from awful to passable, so I figured it was time to move onto other pursuits.
I mentioned before that I danced for a couple years, but I didn’t keep up with it because I moved around so much as a child. In any event, between multiple viewings of Black Swan and discovering Misty Copeland, I decided that I would buy a bunch of cute leotards and leg warmers so I could walk around like this, and casually return to ballet after a 10+ year absence.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve seen too many inspirational dance movies (Take The Lead, I blame you) in which someone who has never danced or given it up long ago because of That Accident/The Breakup/Ambiguous Guilt/Insurmountable Injury/Urban Struggle, reluctantly puts on their dancin’ shoes and after a few bruises, a class-conscious romance and a montage to a Journey song, emerge in under 120 minutes as a nearly-professional dancer who wins that competition or achieves their way out of the ‘hood. Well movies lie. This is something I know well, but I foolishly ignored the truth. What has been happening for the last few weeks is no one’s fault but my own.
There are a ton of adult ballet classes in LA so after a few days of trying to do this, I signed up for one. Before I attended my first class, I had a lot of very specific expectations in my mind. I’m often told that I’m graceful and asked if I still dance. I’m also generally really good with choreography. Le sigh. First of all, when I arrived, I was the only dork wearing a leotard. Apparently, adults wear yoga attire to ballet. What followed after my wardrobe faux pas can only be described as the exact opposite of the gossamer and pointe shoe-filled fantasies I’d been entertaining.
I don’t remember sweating in ballet and most importantly I don’t remember not being the best one in class! I have a little problem that involves me not being able to do things without competing- I have injured myself attempting to be the most flexible person at yoga- and I was hoping that this would be like riding a bike. I thought I would be like Billy Elliot running out of the wings, but I felt more like this. And get this, the best person in class is a dude! He pretty much looks like this, and if I fail to hold my passé/ releve` combo I can feel him giving me the stank eye. Why is this happening?!!! Oh, maybe because ballet is a freakin’ sport! Professional ballerinas end up with feet like this! This is not a game!
Anywho, I’ve decided to stick with my classes because I love them almost as much as I unabashedly love wearing leotards and leg warmers, but if I ever book a dance movie, I hope for the sake of everyone involved that that there is a stunt double. Yes, that was a man doubling for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. I hope I didn’t just ruin anyone’s childhood.
Location: 5 (Studio A in Silverlake is da bomb. I still plan to try Millennium in Noho and Align in Weho.)
Number of times per class I get the stank eye from Amazing Ballet Dude: 512
Level of pain in my calves: 27
Intensity with which I hate doing frappes: 10