Goals and Ballet

Why Ballet?

Well, without going into too much detail, I had a shock one day that forced me to take a step off the treadmill I was on and take some time to rest and think. After 6 months (which seemed an eternity) along with the start of a new year, it was a great opportunity to try something new. I’d always had great admiration for creative movement and how dancers made it look so effortless. Yet I had a deep appreciation for the dedication that dancers have towards their ballet training and how they look after themselves physically. They are arguably the best athletes of human movement coupled with imagination and creation through an exploration of rhythm, flow, strength and suppleness.

Kim, my girlfriend, teaches ballet to adults of various levels and I wanted to experience how it captures and inspires people from ages 16-80. To get brains working as well as bodies. The reason I enrolled was so that I could appreciate Kim’s teaching style and see how she manages to keep so many adults (over 200 per week) active. On many occasions at home, Kim has asked me about health, fitness and wellbeing and it often leads us onto many topics of thought and discussion. This was my turn to learn the basics of ballet and for me to ask more about dance.


As a Personal Trainer, working with people to improve their health and movement, I loved that learning ballet made me challenge myself mentally and physically. The classes really made me appreciate why dance is so popular and for a whole range of reasons. I can see why so many take it up: for laughter, reminiscing, improving memory, or to just enjoy the music and choreography.

From fast paced exercises to poise, posture and elegance, it challenged my patience and increased my proprioception. The awareness and articulation of my feet were especially challenged, whilst simultaneously concentrating on the long movement sequences. My memory was also tested week on week as the sequences grew in length.

Week 1
I notice the mirrors, which I could imagine may put off some. There are also barres, and lots of ladies! I rock up in my neon running top listening to some high energy tunes. Headphones off, I must abruptly adjust to the peaceful music playing, I start to wonder what the hell am I doing here.
We start class and I notice lots of concentrating faces, mine a little baffled. I soon realise that my arms have forgotten to move as Kim talks about feet, 1st to 2nd and before I knew it my cloak was round myankles (Kim’s teaching point).

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Then onto plies – a funny looking squat but boy did my buttocks know about it! My muscles working to externally rotate my leg, buttocks on fire. My toes were naughty, they got a telling off and as I look down they struggle to understand what it is they are supposed to be doing. I hope by week 6, they will be put in check. My senses heightened, my internal transmission clear and precise.

Apparently we are learning about medallions and to pick up flowers next week! Like anything, once I got moving, no one else really cares what you’re doing, we were all in our own bubble of learning. It was as if I created this story in my head about feeling uneasy about partaking in an activity I knew nothing about but once we reached the travelling part, I passed with flying colours – yes brain, good job!

I get home – ping – my phone goes off, K4KimDance has sent an email titled ‘homework’. I have to watch a pas de bourree YouTube video. I watched it over and over and still I couldn’t get it, I needed real time, not video. More time to bug Kim to further my co-ordination skills.

Week 2
With my living room practice and Kim close by to ask questions, I was lucky to nag her when it suited me. Another video with teaching points, and things were starting to sink in. The notes I had made after class certainly helped.

Step onto toes, flat, step in front – now it’s starting to make sense! Flow, timing and lightness on feet and subtle weight transfer. Kim then brings in the audiences’ perspective (imaginary audience and what is best for them to see from their seats), another brain fart moment, it adds another dimension to the movements. Your body in space with nowhere to hide, 360 degrees of placement awareness – where you thought were your foot was, it wasn’t! Wow!

Week 3
Was all about quick feet – in and out like you see show dancers doing (echappe). I like to think I was getting close to Michael Jackson standard. I enjoyed the point and bounce (piquer). However, my medallion was far from being worn this week.

Travelling across the room I’ve now declared I was truly beaten by the last sequence. Damn it, I like to finish on not being beaten. With some of the classes I teach, the finisher is that of physical safe exhaustion, whilst this was completely mental and my body didn’t like that. My competitive nature wanted me to practice. I left the class being beaten but knowing I was prepared to invest time to practice. I was eager for week 4.

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Week 4
I turned up early to stretch and get in my ballet zone. This week certainly highlighted a few of my weaknesses, my head just wasn’t in it today. I put it down to a busy day and with it being colder, my hydration hadn’t been as good. I just wasn’t on top form. Some sequences I was just going through the motions, but rest assured my fellow dancers were also struggling. Kim certainly had ramped it up a notch, demonstrations were less often and my memory was being tested.

Week 5
All I can remember was how my calves were certainly on fire, but how it made me run home effortlessly. Was my body starting to adapt?

Week 6
Group participation was what it was all about (corps de ballet), if you went wrong, you messed it up for everyone. Most sports I have been involved with are 1-1, if you mess it up, you’ve only got yourself to blame . Well here we go! I felt the pressure build up, then suddenly the realisation of this is for fun, and if it goes wrong, then at least I gave it a go. I teach 1-1 and group sessions, I’m used to barking out instructions, but it was my time to be barked at. It was make or break.

Well did I survive? YES! Did I embarrass myself? Probably but hey I had fun, and I could see how people could get great benefit from dance. Ballet for me was certainly the discipline I was interested in the most: posture, control, timing, fluidity. For others it may be an activity they did when younger or something social that keeps them moving. I get it, its brilliant.


My main purpose for writing this was to talk about having goals. This got me thinking, do we put too much pressure on ourselves? I believe over the last few years that technology, social media in particular, has led some to reach out for stardom. In some cases this can be awe inspiring but to others it can make them feel overwhelmed and underachieving.

My message here is that goals (however big or small) are a step forward towards a greater fulfilment. They mould you and shape you to the character you choose. It’s also ok not have a goal right now. All I ask is that you give time to think about your life, the direction you want to go, and the actions that you are taking. What commitment does this require and what are the drawbacks. Your treadmill – is it on too fast? Too slow? Is it switched on, do you know how it works?!

Goals. Perhaps we should call them ‘Key Drivers’ to your life. The important thing is that you can start this process whenever you like, just by setting time aside and giving new things a go.

Kim and I both share a great love of movement and what it brings to us both, whether individually or as a couple. The 6 weeks have been great and I’m glad that I enrolled. The experience of being a student of Kim’s gave me a new perspective on movement and its been fun for us both. The pas de bourree is a movement I have for life, I keep doing it whilst cooking – still practicing across our kitchen floor until I get it perfected! its an experience you see, its kept me active, it tests my memory, its been good to meet new people, its been fun and it made Kim laugh too.

Be happy and stay happy peeps.

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