Me Time (Yes Please)

Me Time (Yes Please)

Busy lives, busy lives, we all have busy lives. Sometimes it can all get a bit overwhelming and when it does we look for some time to ourselves - often referred to as Me Time.

First of all, let's clarify, what is Me Time?

The Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand describes it as;

“Time that’s just for you, doing something you want to………it’s about doing whatever makes you feel good that you can do.”

Psychologists agree, if people take time out to recharge their batteries, this reaps benefits for their own psychological wellbeing, their family relationships and they are more likely to perform better at work.

Me Time doesn’t have to be taken alone. The conscious effort of taking time out to recharge your batteries is the important thing. It can be spent in a range of ways and can vary from person to person. It can be achieved through having a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, performing yoga, getting your hair or nails done, and so many more activities.

If you haven’t been to a ballet class you may well wonder how a potentially challenging situation of joining a ballet class can possibly qualify as Me Time? We asked 60 regular dancers why they go to class and almost everyone talked about having time just for themselves, of an almost meditative like practise, of not being able to think about anything else in class as well as the more obvious physical benefits.

Dance exists in every human culture. Why we started to dance and when is the subject of many theories, but what all agree on is that evidence of dance has been found in prehistoric art dating back tens of thousands of years.

Dance is such a natural thing to do, we all do it as children but as we get older it can get lost or just relegated to a wiggle on the dancefloor at weddings! Lots of people say they LOVE to dance but don’t find opportunities to dance regularly.  No wonder dance based fitness classes are enduringly popular with so many variations from cardio dance through to pole dancing.

Ballet has remained a popular choice for children and every town has a selection of classes for little ones. However, that isn’t always the case for bigger ones!  'Recreational' adult ballet has only become popular relatively recently and even now it isn’t always easy to find a class nearby whose timing fits in. By recreational we mean classes where exams are not the main focus and where all ages and abilities are welcomed. Thankfully technology comes to the rescue with a huge choice of zoom classes, recorded courses and lessons including free ones on Youtube.

Although having a recorded class to dance along to is great, nothing beats the experience of being in a live class with a teacher where there isn’t time for minds to wander and the focus is solely on the movements, in the moment. Hence why so many consider their ballet class as being a meditative experience, there simply isn’t time for thinking about anything else. Adult ballet is all about enjoyment. Progression is a nice side effect but the heart of it is to literally dance for joy.

Whilst there isn’t any chit-chat in class, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a social side to ballet. Striving together for the same goal creates a strong bond between dancers, no matter what their individual ability. Often classes gather together for coffees after class where new friendships are made. Ballet class is completely egalitarian. Once you enter the studio it doesn’t matter if you are a cleaner or a CEO, 18 or 80, everyone is there to focus on the dance. If you spend all your time and energy looking after others, the ballet studio is a place where they can all be left at the door too! There’s no time to worry about the kids, or your mum when there’s a new movement to learn.

Then there’s the music. It’s what really differentiates ballet from the rest. All the other dance exercise classes have music but it’s most likely to be recorded modern music. And LOUD! Ballet music will almost always be piano music, classical and modern, adapted for ballet classes. If you are really lucky you have live pianist. Even the simplest movements (not that anything in ballet is actually ‘simple’) can transport you when set to a beautiful piece of music. Waving your arms around becomes a Port de Bras; high- and not so high – kicks are Grande Battements. Everything sounds better in ballet. As for why it’s all in French – that’s a subject for another blog.

It may seem that taking up something which you will never master is an unlikely place to find relaxing Me Time; that striving for perfection would be frustrating rather than fulfilling. This is the beauty of adult ballet. We know that even Prima Ballerinas would never consider themselves perfect, there is always something that could be better. It’s the same for all adult dancers. We know that we won’t be perfect, no one is, but every time we dance, we dance a tiny bit better. It’s not always noticeable, and of course there are off days, but ballet is all about practise. It’s the doing of it that make us better. We don’t necessarily feel it for ourselves, but your teacher will know and see your progress. One day you will notice that something you found really hard has become easier. When we’re lost in the moment, we feel beautiful.  That is the superpower of ballet. Lifting a big weight in the gym or winning a game of tennis is satisfying, but that feeling of being beautiful, that’s special.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog, and that you can find some Me Time for yourself!

Happy Dancing


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