I used to dread my ballet classes. When I joined the beginners class I truly was a beginner, not one of those people that return to ballet after a childhood experience, or wanting to brush up their skills, like most of my classmates.
Plié, feet in fifth, arabesque, ronde de jambe... meant absolutely nothing, but sounded so beautiful.
And then, the realisation of how hard the classes were going to be struck me. To begin with, my hamstrings were so tight I hardly went down with semi-pliés, let alone full pliés. Also my turn out was minimal, and my knees didn't want to go over my feet (they still don't), I had to really push them out.
But this is not a recount of my postural woes; after 6 months of making myself go to class once a week, having a hard time at the barre and then having a hard time following a choreography of very basic patterns in the centre of the studio, I sense joy in class.
I still look for the joy of movement within the limits imposed by, for example, having to point the toes all the time, or keeping a straight leg when what the leg really wants to do is to shake and do a little jig. Of course Nia has helped me, and it has occurred to me that I enjoy the rigidity of ballet because I have all the freedom of Nia any time I want.
Stop going to class would have been easy; so many times I wondered why I was doing it if I was so bad at it, if I dreaded so much the moment of putting the barres away and dancing with everyone else. But I stuck with it, and yesterday after doing some (awkward) glissards and jetés and some (not very graceful) pirouettes, the teacher said "look how far you've come!". She said it to the whole class, and I repeated it to myself. And I even know what the terms in French mean!
Look for the joy in anything you do, and don't let fear get in the way of something beautiful. And if everything fails, just free dance it!