20 October 2009

Ballet Exercises

Wednesday 21st October 2009

"I dance til I am empty. I dance til I am full. My dance is my prayer"
To dance is to feel the breath of life flowing through the soul and creating harmony with the music. Once the torment and ecstasy come together: dance - magic - is created onstage or in the studio.
Oh the glory of ballet! What is it about ballet that sets it apart from all other forms of movement? Is it the music, the costumes, the line and fluidity of the dancers, or is it the purity and elegance of the art itself?
It is all of these and something more. Without the glitter, sans costumes, even on a barren stage, even in rehearsal clothes, ballet remains the most enchanting form of dance ever created.
I watched Mao’s Last Dancer on the weekend, the inspiring true story about ballet dancer Li Cunxin.
Having done ballet many years ago, dance is a part of my body, which is one of the reasons why I settled on the flowing Ashtanga yoga practice instead of the slower, more interrupted styles.
Since I stopped going to yoga classes, my yoga practice has become much more expressive – naturally. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga encourages a dancelike grace. Prana juices flow through my body, my limbs extend, my fingers tingle, grace, beauty and love overflow through my movements.
Our bodies and limbs are extensions of our selves, and our selves are creative instruments, expressions of the Divine source. When movement is performed with devotion, it enters the realm of poetry.
PeaceLoveYoga recenty posted a link to a lovely contemporary dance interpretation of Surya Namaskar which you can view here.

I was 16 years old when I discovered classical ballet, too late to take it up seriously, but I was smitten. I joined a class of beginners – 8 year olds – and felt completely out of place amongst those tiny bodies, bit it didn’t matter. I did one class a week for about 3 years until my life changed. Not until my early 30’s did I take it up again and I immediately fell in love with ballet all over again. I went to an adult classical beginners class religiously for years until yoga overtook my life and sadly I couldn’t afford to do them both.

If it wasn’t for my fragile hips and lower back I’d be tempted to go back to ballet class again, but it’s much too dangerous for me to follow instructions and risk doing more damage.
But I’m thinking a little routine of barre exercises, plies, pas de chats and arabesques in the safety of my bedroom will help quench my body’s thirst for some creative movement.

I borrowed an exercises DVD put out by the The New York City Ballet from our local library last week which I’m dying to watch and try out. It’s times like this I wish I had a TV and DVD player (momentarily anyway). I’ll have to invade someone’s house to be able to watch it before it has to be returned to the library.
The promotional line on the back cover of the DVD made me laugh out loud – it went something like:
“Kylie does it, and so does Madonna. So practice that plie.
After all, the lotus position is SO last year...”

No comments: