I started taking classes at Ballet Austin at the ripe old age of 21. In the ballet world, this is way too old to be taking class. But many places now offer classes for adults, I suppose as a way to keep in shape, or for professionals to take additional classes.
I remember struggling with a pirouette, wobbling everywhere. The teacher, Kermit Allen, placed his hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said: “You can do it! I have faith in you!”
It was years later before I could manage to do a single pirouette turn with any semblance of grace. But I still remember how he inspired me to keep trying. I still try, with other adults who grasp at moments of gracefulness and beauty at the barre. While the younger kids lift their back leg almost to their ears, we strain to get it to at least 90 degrees, and feel so amazingly proud when we do.
Sometimes I look at the lithe 16 year old teenage nymphs and wonder what I’m doing here. But those moments are eclipsed by the myriad ecstasies of dance: flying through a powerful jump, arms and fingers moving in an ethereal flow, getting a combination just right with the music.
I watch my 70 year old friend lift her leg in an arabesque, her arms softly moving forward, and I am even more inspired.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a summer camp for adult ballet dancers, Sun King Dance. Many of us call it ballet fantasy camp. It’s a bunch of adults who are infatuated with ballet. We learn choreography, variations, partnering during the day, then we go out drinking during the night. We laugh with each other… and at each other. There is the camaraderie of a shared ridiculous passion.
Here are our moments:
Laura Burlton - Aww Nadine, these are great! I love the toe socks with the ballet shoes 🙂 It’s great that you decided to do this, I think it looks like a lot of fun 🙂
Daniel Dunlap - I don’t do much ballet.. 😛 However I agree that you are never too old to dance! I find myself wanting to dance more as I get older actually. Love the photos!
Sally - How fun!! I took ballet for the first time at age 22 – I was hopeless, but it was a great workout, haha! Beautiful shots!
Sara - What a beautiful and inspiring post. Gorgeous pictures!
Sally Magruder - Wow Nadine…beautifully written. Ever so personal and poignant, really really captured how all we “older adult dancers” feel. And of course the piccies are GREAT! ;D
sam hurd - dance is a very difficult thing to capture. i think you did very well and the look of them is so cool. the one girl’s smile is priceless
Sondra - Fabulous blog and photos! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂
Amy French - What a beautiful and inspiring post! Love the shots of the ballet shoes.
Natalie Gibbs - These are great. I love the first one especially. And I *totally* want to go to ballet fantasy camp.
Cathy and David - Love the smiling dancer. 🙂
Tasha Schalk - That sounds like an amazing summer camp. You’re never too old to do anything! 🙂 And I love all the detail shots of the shoes.
Thomas Lester - I LOVE these! Really great job. I love the shot of the woman massaging her food with a little look of pain on her face. Great capture!
adam - These make me smile and my feet hurt at the same time! Great job!
Heather - Wonderful. The first shot is stunning.
Bradi Wells - This is so lovely… the focus and colors are magic.