It’s World Ballet Day on October 5th 2017 and I’ve booked myself a ticket to the Royal Opera House on the 4th to see Alice in Wonderland. I’m really excited as ballet and opera are two things on my bucket list that I need to tick off. I’ve been theatre a few times now but really excited to watch my first ballet show.
Last week I was invited to an adult beginners ballet class at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for music and dance. They don’t normally offer a drop-in class for beginners so you’d need to sign up for the half-term (6 weeks) or full term (12 weeks) course which is held on Thursday evenings. I didn’t really know what to expect – I wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase ballet shoes or a leotard but decided not to as it was only the one class I was attending. If I decided to book the course then I think the ballet shoes would be a good investment.
I arrived early at Trinity Laban after work and changed into my gym clothes – just a black vest and leggings were enough. I bought pilates socks with grips on the sole and wore those, in hindsight I think ordinary socks would’ve been better as we had to pivot on our feet which is really hard to do if you’re socks won’t let you.
The teacher’s name is Vicki Busfield. She trained at the Northern Ballet School and London Contemporary Dance School so I knew I was going to be in good hands. Vicki introduced herself to everyone in class (there was around 15-20 of us a mix of men and women) and asked us the usual questions, do we have any injuries, medical conditions, pregnancies etc before she started us off with the warm up practices.
Warm-up consisted of feet and ankle stretching exercises, some corework ie single and double leg raises, pilates scissor legs, reverse plank, forward and sideward folds to get us warmed up before we hit the barre.
After our warm-up, Vicki got us to stand by the barre and she counted us in to rise up on our toes (well, more like the balls of our feet than actual toes) along with some piano music to help with the counting. After that, we learnt to plié and place our feet in first position; Vicki showed us the difference between a demi-plié and a full plié. After this, that placed us into second position.
There was a lot to learn as it was the first task and Vicki wanted us to be able to cover the basic techniques and ballet movements which was great. I felt like a ballerina – not joking! I don’t think I looked like a graceful one but oh wells. Vicki made a point that her classes are all about enjoyment so we shouldn’t focus on what others are doing, more just listening to her and listening to what our bodies are capable of doing and work to our own limits. It did put less pressure on me when I wasn’t thinking about it.
Vicki also showed us how to ‘walk’ in ballet, also known as the classical walk. It involved leg and hand coordination which I lack tremendously but somehow managed to keep up. (I’ve also been practising at home every now and then!) By the end of the 90mins class, we had learnt the names of all the basic movements, learnt all the ballet positions from 1 through to 5 as well as learning more technical things like the different pliés, the classical walk and balancing on leg (see pic below).
I really want to go back and book the half-term session which will start at the end of October. Trinity Laban also offers level 1 and level 2 adult ballet classes so if you already have dance experience and are confident in your dance then the level 1 may be more suited for you but best to ask the Trinity Laban staff to be sure.
For more info on their courses, prices and start dates click on the link below which will take you to their website (opens a new window): https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/
NB. I was invited to a complimentary adult ballet class by Trinity Laban Conservatoire in exchange for a review post. All words and opinions are my own. Photos have been credited to their sources respectively.