In addition to the online classes, I really wanted to see how I would fare in a real live ballet class. The online classes do offer live classes, as opposed to streaming lessons, where you video conference in and the teacher directs you as if you were there with them, but unfortunatley the times that the classes were on didn’t quite fit my schedule. I had already lost a good 2 stone at this point and I certainly felt confident enough to get out there and give a real class a go. Without the knowledge that Sleek Technique had given me, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to do it just yet.
I had a quick Google search to see where my nearest dance school was and I was delighted to come across Basingstoke Academy of Dancing. I dropped them an email pretty similar to the one that I sent through to Sleek Technique, when asking them about joining. And that was of the ilk of ‘Would I be the only man?’
The artistic director got back to me really quickly and again ensured me that I wouldn’t feel out of place, and that they do have males at the school, but none in the beginners class. She did say that this wouldn’t be a problem, and I was more than welcome to come along. She also said that the first lesson was free! Bonus!
I was quite happy when my wife said that she would join me, so that I wouldn’t be too self-conscious. Phew!
Again, a good excuse to do some shopping! I wanted to at least look the part, so after a quick Google and Amazon search I found that it would be handy (shopping bug strikes again) to have some ballet tights (more like leggings than the tights my missus wears) and a dance belt. Hmmmm, the good, old dance belt. To the initiated, you would know exactly what this is. To the uninitiated, it’s pretty much pair of pants with a string back. Yep, a cross between a thong and a pair of pants. Now, the reason you wear one, is firstly for a bit of padding/protection. Not quite as ‘well protected’ as, say, a cricket box, but enough to help. The second reason to wear a dance belt is all about ‘the line’. You don’t want the eye to be distracted by anything in ballet. And this includes a VPL! (Blokes, ask your good ladies what this is, if you don’t know already!)
Putting the dance belt on for the first time was rather weird. Sitting down in the car to drive to the class was even weirder. Bending over in a dance belt tends to make the back of the underwear ‘ride up’, and not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world. Now, I’m glad to say that after a few wears, you do kind of get used to it. And it does keep everything in place.
And so we went along on the first night of the new term to give it a go. The teacher asked if we had ever done any ballet before. My wife had done ballet as a kid, and she has a great memory, and I explained about the online classes. Our teacher was quite intrigued by this, so I gave her a few more details about Sleek Technique.
I was the only guy in the class, but there were only 4 more people, other than my wife and myself, so I didn’t feel to intimidated!
I have to say that I felt really chuffed with myself after the lesson. Not only did I remember what some of the French terms were, that described various positions and movements in ballet, but I wasn’t too exhausted by the end of it it. I mean, I was sweating, but I wasn’t completely hanging!
The teacher was really encouraging and made both my wife and myself feel really at ease. It was nice to have someone there that could point out the small things, like finger position and the flow of your legs and arms.
I said that we would be back!