THEY HAD HEELS. This is disturbingly exciting and envy-creating when you're ten. And then not long before we left England, we went to see 42nd Street on stage. And that was it - I was sold on tap.
I did tap for six years once we moved back to Australia. For most of that time, the class after mine was a neoclassical ballet class. The more I saw them swirling about in floaty skirts, the more I wanted to do the same. And then, one fateful day in 2007, Em phoned me to say that she was taking up adult ballet classes, and did I want to come with her.
HELLS TO THE YES. For three days after my first class, I walked like a duck because my thighs hurt so much from plies. But it was worth it.
And then I moved to Canberra in 2008. Sure, there were adult ballet classes in Canberra. But they were all stupidly expensive (for a poor starving post-grad student, anyway!) or on the other side of town or down long isolated back roads between 8pm and 9.30pm. No, thank you. So when I decided that I was going to move back to Melbourne, I immediately put 'go back to ballet classes' on my 101 in 1001 list.
I rang my old ballet school when I got back from the US. The principal was thrilled to hear from me, and four weeks later my toes still cramp like a bastard in class every week. But I love it and it's totally worth every pain in my metatarsals. Except for one small problem - the school has a new studio, which has mirrors all down one wall. Which means I can see how I really look. DO NOT LIKE.
How I look in my head:
How I REALLY look: A cross between this...
But that's okay. Because I know I've only been back at it a couple of weeks. And hopefully in a couple of months, I'll look less like Conan/a baby hippo and more like I actually know what I'm doing. And maybe THEN my ballet teacher will be able to stop saying "Kirsti, don't look so WORRIED!!" every five minutes during class!
PS. No, I don't have pointe shoes. And no, I don't have to wear tights and a leotard. Thank God for both of those things.