In third grade, when it was snowing and we couldn't go outside for P.E. and the boys were using the gym for basketball, the girl's gym teacher took us downstairs to the music room, moved all of the chairs against the walls, put on some classical music and taught us some basic ballet moves. I loved it. But there was no money for dance lessons, so that's where it ended. Except for when I would check out library books about ballet and practice the positions in my room and do plies until my knees hurt.
When my daughter started taking ballet lessons, the first thing that greeted you in the dressing room was a larger-than-life, black-and-white poster of Mikhail Baryshnikov, sweaty from rehearsal. It had the unspoken message that even the professionals til they sweat and no less was expected of you.
It was there that I learned how much strength there went into
something that looked so airy and light.
Even the simple movement of extending his arms becomes a show of strength.
Dressing in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers looks different on a dancer's body.
Baryshnikov is middle aged now, with grown children, but still takes a dance class daily, along with doing yoga and some time in the gym.
Even for a professional dancer, you still have to keep up the rehearsals to maintain the strength.