my ballet journey (beginnings to March 2019)

I've been taking class for not quite 2 and a half years now and I've gone from one 1 hour beginners class a week to at least two classes  ('Improvers' at one school 4 or 5 weeks out of 6 and 'Open' every week and Pointe class as well when diary allows at the other), and some weeks 3 or 4 classes, and that is discounting any intensives / retreats / workshops or projects i get involved in. 

I wrote a post early on the life of the blog about Ballet for Adults, that spoke briefly about my journey to those first classes as well as a very abbreviated potted history of my ballet experience thus far.

The first real boost I got in confidence with dance was 10 months after starting taking class (this is still pre-social transition) when I first attended The Ballet Retreat (TBR) - (hiding behind the mask of 'that boy' and doing the male repetoire but also not hiding that I had gender dysphoria and was working through it all - before that weekend one other person going knew about Nicola by the end of the weekend a hell of lot more did - but that's tangential to this post ) .  

Hannah says she deliberately doesn't ask about people's experience when they book on to TBR, but will answer questions people ask.

On the final day of that retreat Hannah did ask me how long I'd been taking class as I think there had obviously been discussion among the faculty... David also asked me later in Hannah's earshot and thought we were winding him up - I suppose that is the advantage of taking class in the  provinces where 10 - 15 in class is good number rather than the big, full studios you see in that there London - David's parting advice was 'Find a second class; as taking more classes is how you'll get better...'

I hadn't managed that on a regular basis by October 2017, when David got a surprise one Thursday evening, and was the first of the TBR crowd to actually meet 'authentic me', nor had I found a second class by the second TBR I did in Jan 2018... However Spring 2018 led me to find Lady Bay Ballet (LBB) and start taking class there, alongside the class I was originally taking closer to home (sadly they don't have the teaching hours to keep offering their adult classes hence the reason I don't link to them).

Starting taking class with Lady Bay was a bit of a fresh start, in that Katie and my new class mates had never met 'that boy'... Although at the time I started taking class I was freshly socially transitioned and due to my choices with haircuts wearing a wig. But without the knowledge of 'that boy'; Yes I was really rather very visibly trans at that point, but there was no knowledge of the past so I was viewed solely as a woman (albeit trans) from the beginning.

Being able to take two classes most weeks really did make a difference, also the benefits of a having two regular teachers is worthwhile as you get a broader view
 and different people teach slightly differently that can help understanding and also gives you a more rounded view on your development.

Having a new teacher can open doors, because they look at what they are faced with, not the person that  first came into their studio x number of weeks / months / years ago, having experienced that  3 times now  in terms of regular  classes (starting  taking class with LBB,  starting  taking class  at Hype, change of teacher at Hype )

Powerhouse Ballet's formation in spring / summer 2018  provided another opportunity for more classes and  as the organisation  forms and coalesces performing opportunities ...

I started taking class at Hype in autumn 2018 because my original class was finishing due to a lack of available teacher hours at that studio and unfortunately it was  adult classes  that took the brunt of that reduction so they could continue to deliver all the graded and VGE  classes they taught. again  all they have known is authentic me - doubly so as real hair has been a feature of this time

so where does this  bring me?
I take on average 3 point something hours of classes a week, extremely rare to have a week without at least one class, I routinely  dance for several hours at a stretch  thanks to  Powerhouse, TBR and other schools/ studios who organise  guest eachers and days of Dance  such as KNT in Manchester... and i've started taking pointe classes  despite the  impact of my medication regime ( however the weight I've lost has helped  to that  extent -   transition has a knack of stopping comfort eating )

where do I want to go ? 'Capitalise that I'

continue taking class on regular basis
get away from the Barre en pointe
get that elusive  double pirouette  on demi pointe ( all  four directions)
hopefully
perform !   


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