World Ballet Day and what it means to me

I bet you are wondering why World Ballet Day means so much to me?  There is something magical about putting on your dance shoes and walking into a studio.  The smell of the dusty wooden floorboards, the old painted beams and your image looking back at you from every angle in the mirrored walls.

The way the music makes you feel and how it makes your body move and the way the outfits move with you is a brilliant way to lose yourself to the performance.  It is beautiful and creative and has a magical hold upon me.  These days I am not as flexible and struggle to remember all the French names to each of the moves, but I have my favourites and often practise them in my kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

I started dancing when I was around 5 years old at the Dorothy and Margaret Watt’s School of Dance where I learnt ballet, tap, modern and jazz.  I loved it but was often overlooked because I was not the star pupil.  Being so much taller than the rest of my age group too, I was always put in the back row or would have to play the part of the ‘man’.  I gave up during my teens, but would always be first on the dancefloor on a night out.

In my garden in Cardiff practising for a show the following day, wearing fully frilly bloomers, large white tutu, white ballet slippers, ruffled arm cuffs and lacy gloves with a yellow leotard adorned with flowers. Around age 10 in 1994.

Since then I have tried several dance schools as an adult.  It gave me opportunities to be back on stage and even got to perform at the Strictly Come Dancing tours at the New Theatre.  However, dance teachers usually give up on adult classes.  As we can not commit to every week, unlike children, when numbers dip they give up.  I think this is such a shame, they just need to keep publicising the class and they will come back, and bring a friend.

Probably the worst angle of me! My friends Jordana and Natalie and myself posing with professional dancer Pasha Kovalev in 2013

Where does ballet come from?

It is believed Ballet found its origins during the Renaissance throughout Italy and France and went on to evolve to the form we know today.  Originally there was no tutus, ballet slippers or the iconic pointe work.  Later it would take influences from France and dances that were performed strictly by the nobility.  It spread throughout the world and is loved everywhere for its beauty.

I love watching ballet too.  Although, I do struggle to find someone to watch it with. My boyfriend came once with me, and even though he was impressed with the skill and the strength of the men, he is not rushing to take me back.  The last performance was Christmastime in 2014 in St David’s Hall to watch the Nutcracker.

What is World Ballet Day?

World Ballet Day was set up to encourage all ages to try to take up ballet again.  It takes place annually on the 7th February.  Where ever you are based, I would like to encourage you to find your local class and give it a go.  Here are the classes closest to me:

Rubicon Dance Splott, Cardiff.  Beginners at 6.30pm on Wednesday for £5.50 per class. Intermediate and Advanced classes available too.

Just One Theatre Splott, Cardiff.  Back 2 Basics ideal for beginners and those with prior experience on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.  All adult classes are £5-7 per class.

Adult Ballet Wales Splott, Cardiff.  Beginners at 6pm on Wednesday with 8 classes for £60.  Intermediate and pointe classes also take place here, as well as classes in Newport.  

I did find a lot more classes, however when I messaged the dance schools they said they no longer ran those classes.  A lot of dance schools have poorly managed and out of date websites, unfortunately.

Further Articles:

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World Radio Day

National Cuddle Up Day – Anyone can cuddle, but only the Welsh can cwtch!

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