I Tried Ballet For The First Time, and This Is What I Learned

Dancing has been one of my favorite things to do since I was old enough to stand.

To this day, I take advantage of any opportunity to get my groove on, whether it’s on a dance floor at a wedding reception, in a dark basement at a friend’s party, or in the privacy of my own living room.

I’ve always been interested in taking formal dance classes, but my own misperceptions (and perpetually small budget) held me back. I grew up with a perception that, in order to be a dancer, I had to start young. The older I got, the more I figured it was too late. I suppressed the idea and put my energy into other talents.

Then I started at The Arts Partnership, where I get to write about all different art forms, including dance.

After interviewing Matthew and Lacey Gasper for my Forum story on the Fargo-Moorhead Ballet’s production of “The Classic Nutcracker in December, they informed me Gasper’s School of Dance (home of the FM Ballet) offers adult dance classes to novices like me. I felt the fire I put out in my soul become aflame again.

So, when Gasper’s School of Dance invited the public to try any dance class free of charge last week, I decided to finally take the leap and try adult ballet.

I’ll admit: I was nervous. What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m the only inexperienced person there? What if I hurt myself? Knowing my clumsiness, that chance was high.

Luckily, of the eight adults in the class, half of us were completely new. If all the adults had shown up, there would have been 23 adult ballet dancers there of all levels. Incredible!

Matthew Gasper instructed us on all the ballet positions, weaving in history and proper etiquette that goes into the art form. (My basic French knowledge also came in handy when it came to the ballet terms.)

Photo by Lacey Gasper.

Photo by Lacey Gasper.

Photo by Lacey Gasper.

The hour-long class consisted of bending in directions I don’t normally bend, stretching of muscles I don’t normally stretch, and – most importantly – realizing how amazing ballet dancers really are.

Ballerinas are so graceful on stage, but in reality, they are absolute machines. The amount of muscular strength that goes into ballet left me feeling like a limp noodle the next morning, but with a whole new level of respect for those who practice ballet every day with every fiber of their being. And I didn’t even get en pointe (on my toes)!

Photo by Lacey Gasper.

Photo by Lacey Gasper.

I hope to take another ballet class at Gasper’s School of Dance in the future, but one of my goals this summer is to participate in other art forms as well.

Artists, if you are willing to take time to show me the basics of your craft, please contact me at chelsey@theartspartnership.net. I want to get more hands-on experiences like this so I can learn more about the arts rather than solely writing about them (although I will blog about the experiences afterward).

THANK YOU to Matthew Gasper for instructing my first ballet class, and to Lacey Gasper for taking these photos!

To get more information on the classes offered at Gasper’s School of Dance, click here. To fellow dance novices out there: you can do it! Just be sure to stretch.

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