Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ballet Week - Thursday Memory

Today I wanted to write about why I quit ballet as a teenager.
It's maybe not the happiest memory, but not the most miserable one either.
It's something that effected my life still quite a lot later, in a very good way.
Ballet Week is an idea I got from Hannah's Blog.

I never was the most flexible type of a body, so I should have streched a Lot at home. I did - but only sometimes. Also I grew quite tall quite early. I remember once when waiting for mom/dad to fetch me from the swimming hall, our teacher was there, outside having her break. She asked me how old I was and then there was some talk about my height. Nothing bad or depressing, but still it was clear that she'd been thinking about it. So had I. When being the tallest of our class (we had mixed classes, ours with the next upper class), combined with the lack of natural  gift for being a ballerina, I felt often that I didn't belong there. But it was only in my head, this feeling. None of my friends or our teacher Ever said anything that would have suggested it. Just recently I found some of my oooold calendars (pocket model) with some diary-sort-of markings in them. They verify my memories of how I felt. 

This shows somehow the weird feeling(s) I had... (Photo from

It was very ambivalent, to feel not belonging somewhere but at the same time liking the dancing very much. And the friends. And the fact that ballet classes had been in my life for So many years that I didn't know how Not to go anymore. *** It was actually the same thing at some point with my flute lessons. I started at the age of 7,5 years and the rehearsing wasn't my favorite thing to do. Luckily I went to some music camps and got very inspiring teachers. It motivated me and my flute friend a lot, which also affected our regular teacher. He noticed how much we liked playing for example duets and that kind of stuff, so we started doing it a lot more! :) *** 

My last spring with ballet was very disjointed. I was sick often and had to skip classes (or sometimes I'd go and watch). Our teacher thought that I didn't want to do it anymore, she said at one point to mom. But I did. The Christmas and Spring shows were wonderful, at the old theatre house (which doesn't exist anymore). And yet again, the friends I had. But, come next August... I didn't enroll to classes anymore. I had so much to do at the music school and often we'd been talking with this flute friend how we would go studying and where etc. About not enrolling - I felt bad that I didn't go anymore. Would have wanted to go and see my teacher and say that it's not her fault. She knew that I play flute a lot, and with the other stuff it probably wasn't a surprise to her. (And as I now work as a teacher too, I kinda notice these things also...)

Photo from

But I didn't totally quit dancing. For couple of years I'd been taking modern dance classes and jazz (somewhere it's been said that our jazz teacher's style is known as Soul jazz). Continued with them. There was a break for a year sometime in between, but then I went back. Loved the music this teacher had! (It was the same teacher in both classes.) Many times in modern dance we had stuff from classical to... well, everything! I remember for instance doing a bit to Mozart's Requiem (Lacrimosa), so beautiful. Also we had a proper coreography to (I think...) Prokofjev's music. I'm sorry for not remembering the exact piece. But we had a men's suite on, trousers and a jacket, with some top or shirt under it. And a green beanie (soft hat). Also in jazz one of the bits we did in class, one of my absolute favorites was to Marvin Gaye's "What's going on". 

Had to buy the album for myself. It's still one of the best I know.

For many years I kind of forgot about ballet. After quitting dancing for good (also jazz and modern) I took sambic (samba & aerobic) for half a year, but it was a bit boring... Couple of times I went to see the school's Spring show, but it felt so weird not to be a part of it. But soon I started studying to be a musician & teacher, so it was a whole new life. In a new city (Helsinki, my dream) and new people and new challenges, new friends. Our studies didn't include Any kind of exercise, so it was up to us students to get it in our spare time if we wanted. My first year I had some basics of tai-ji (as an optional course), but then other stuff prevented it from me. As I still thought I'm not ever going to be a pro dancer, I didn't even Think of maybe taking dance classes. And there would have been So Many possibilities in Helsinki! Only in the end of my studies and during the couple of years I just worked (after graduation) I started thinking how much I actually miss it. Ballet.

Photo from

But I never had the guts to take classes in Helsinki. There were no friends of mine who would've taken them with me. But as I moved back to my original home town (Helsinki is my second home ;)), I decided to take the bull by it's horns. My middle brother's girl friend had taken classes younger, so she started with me. 

...and what a feeling it was, to put my hand on barre after 15 years (or 14?), start the warm-up routine, then pliés, tendus... WOW. It was all still there somewhere, in my spinal cord so to speak.

Certainly not me, but this is where I love to be :) (Photo from

More about it tomorrow, dear readers! :)
Also I'm going back to class again tomorrow.


  1. Hei Iepukka!

    Thanks for sharing even the more sad ballet memories.. It's always difficult if you have several interests - and just simply have to make a choice..often it's difficult to find the time and energy for more than one passion. But it's so good you came back to ballet - with all that knowledge from your childhood and teenage years! Believe me - it's a huge advantage not having to start from scratch as an adult! It's also lucky you didn't HAVE TO stop - like a friend of mine who injured her back so that she couldn't carry on dancing when she was about 18.

    I absolutely loved horseriding when I was a kid (it was all I wanted to do!) - but after a few years of riding, I had to stop because I got allergic to horses so badly that I just couldn't even be near horses. That really broke my heart! I started horseriding again when I was about 20 and it was such a joy! But by then I'd found so many other interests that horseriding remained just an occasional hobby.

    Hey I'd love to hear more details about your pointe practice! (which you talked about in Wednesday memory) How did it feel, how long did it take to be comfortable doing stuff in them etc.. : )

  2. Moi Iina!

    Thanks for commenting :)

    I am very happy about the fact you pointed (pun intended, haha) out: I didn't HAVE to stop. And as a grown-up my ankle injury didn't prevent me from dancing, even en pointe! :) Also I'm sorry to hear about you & the allergy :( But somehow I think life always pays back, and for you it did.

    I'd LOVE to write more about my early days with pointe, but the problem is... I can't remember it :D But I'll try something later :)