Tuesday, 23 April 2013

What's the pointe?

Ballet 2012
I've danced since I was about three years old.  I don't really know why my Mum and Dad decided to send me, maybe they thought it was what little girls would like, maybe I begged them, maybe I did a pirouette into an arabesque in fifth at the end of my first few steps.  Whatever their motives, I caught the bug.  And 16 years on (which looks terrifying written down) I'm still dancing.

Every Saturday, I would get my stuff together and get dropped off at Margaret-Ann Brogan's school of dance just up the road, and prance about for a few hours attempting jazz, tap, ballet and majourettes.  I sat exams and passed them, slowly making my way up the dancing academic ladder, if you will.  And at the end of every school year, in June, I would take part in the Display at a local High School.  Looking back at this school, I know it wasn't the best - the teachers were a bit old fashioned, the prices were expensive, the costumes were one big Lycra nightmare, and the high school the shows were held in wasn't the most dazzling or inspiring.  I'd been playing the viola all this time too, and when I got to High School I got into an council wide Orchestra, which took place on a Wednesday night.  Unfortunately (or maybe not), this ended up clashing with the senior classes of dancing and, after a long hard think, I left Margaret-Ann's.

The Rose - Ballet 2011

A couple of months down the line, I got talking to a friend who had also left my old school, and she mentioned that she'd started classes with someone new, Jayne Arthur.  They were on a Tuesday and fitted in with everything else, so I decided to go along, and I cannot describe how glad I am that I did.  Jayne had trained at a well known dance school, and gone on to perform in pantos at the King's, dance on cruise ships and perform along side people like Elton John and Liza Minelli!  On top of all the experience, she was young, she was pretty, and she just had this amazing energy and passion for teaching her pupils that you couldn't help but get swept up in.  I loved it from the get go; and while she didn't teach majourettes (who needs that anyway?  Unless you're going to march in a Thanksgiving parade), with Jayne's help I continued to sit and pass all my exams to a high standard.

A showgirl opening

To top it all off, Jayne has a vision for her end of year shows that are just... unlike anything I've ever seen.  Every year, for one or two nights, my local town hall is taken over by the school and by God, do we put on a show.  As if the calibre of the dancing wasn't enough to show off, we get the most amazing costumes and music to dance to, the ideas that come out the woman's head are just fantastic.  Even the standard iffy baby dances are elevated by the things they are put on the stage in (frogs, Mexicans, Dora the explorer and sheep, to name but a few).  I feel like a proper showgirl every time the seniors open the show in our feather head-dresses, and through the years I've also dressed up in a variety of cameo parts; from Harry Potter right up to wearing Jayne's wedding dress!  My loft at home is filled with costume box upon costume box, which comes in very handy for impromptu fancy dress events.

Sexy sexy (look at that pout)

But I always get asked one question: why do I do it?  I'm not looking for a career in dance, because I know how difficult and short lived it would be.  I know I'm not the best dancer technically in Jayne's; I have nice arms but I'm not the best for kicking high and I'm definitely not that super bendy type of dancer who can stick their legs behind their head and the drop of a hat.  I'm lucky if I can execute a teddy bear roll well.  But I don't care; I just love to dance.  I love to get up on that stage, with my friends, and show an audience what I can do.  I love feeling sexy when it's called for (see the above photo), but also being able to change it up with every dance we do.  It's such a mix, from a cool-as-ice tap number, to a really pretty and graceful ballet dance, to an all out, no holding back musical finale that leaves you out of breath, and all the while, never being able to wipe the smile off my face.  Because I'm doing something I love and I'm putting everything I can into it.  It's a passion, and I honestly don't think I'd be the person I am today without it.

The seniors with Jayne

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