Looking for something to help you feel grounded? Here’s how Rachel did it.
Like many women, Rachel Gillespie had been an avid ballet student as a child and in her early teens, but had given it up at age 15. Ballet had made her feel grounded, and it was one of a handful of key anchors in her life that she lost around her teenage years. She still loved dancing and did it at every chance she got, whether it was a wedding reception or a flash mob.
A few years ago, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, and she lost her confidence in moving because she was worried she would fall and break something.
But then she joined in The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever flash mob, and had such a great time she went home and googled ‘adult dance classes’. That’s when she discovered Move Through Life, and came along to our Mature Dance class. And after doing that for a while, she had the confidence to return to her true love – ballet class.
Now that she’s been dancing regularly for over 18 months, Rachel is much more confident in her body. She has gotten fitter. She feels more grounded, and her weekly dance classes helped her get through one of the most emotionally challenging years of her life.
Does Rachel's story sound anything like yours? Keep reading for her full story so you can decide if Move Through Life could help you too.
Keep reading for her full story.
Childhood ballet classes
“When I was about nine or ten years old, we moved to a house in Elizabeth Vale and there was a dance school at the end of my street. I could walk to class myself and that’s when I stated to go regularly and fell in love. I did ballet until I was about 15. By then I was going to Susan Taylor’s school of ballet in the city where I did pre-elementary and elementary. And then I stopped.”
“I had always done really well when doing children’s exams, and pre-elementary was fine. Then rather than progressing, I felt like I was going backwards. My body totally lost the plot and no matter how hard I tired my ballet wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I failed my elementary exam and was absolutely devastated. Six months after that I stopped because I didn’t see that I would move forward with it. Within months after I stopped I’d grown several inches and had a period start and breasts grew and all of that. For me it was all or nothing. I was concurrently doing dance education syllabus through RAD. I could have kept going with that I had to be a prima ballerina or nothing. And if I couldn’t make my body do that, I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
Rediscovering ballet without the teenage angst
“Even though I had stopped ballet training at 15, I still always enjoyed dancing. Wherever there was dancing I was there doing it. In 2016 I did The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever doing Kate Bush dancing. I swear we did that dance about nine or ten times. We had so much fun we did the dance again a few times. Then had lunch. Then went to festival plaza and did it several more times. That very night I went home and googled adult dance classes and that was when I found Move Through Life. Of course all the teenage angst was gone, and I thought I really don’t care, I just want to dance again. Several years ago I had written a blog post about how when I was 15 I lost several of the main anchors in my life. Ballet was one of them. Dancing that day made me feel connected again, made me feel grounded. And I wanted that feeling again.”
Being grounded: confidence, fitness, and mindfulness
“Returning to dance has given me more confidence in my body. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was very careful and guarded because I didn’t want to break anything. Dancing has given me confidence. I could still fall and break something, but I feel more confident about moving, I know I’m doing weight bearing, and my balance has improved.”
“I’m definitely fitter. The aerobic fitness has made a difference. When we went overseas we did a lot of walking up and down steps and I was fine. Emotionally, it’s been wonderful. I can be feeling really down or sad about something. I had quite a challenging year last year and fronting up at dance class has made all the difference.”
“Coming to dance classes puts me in a mindset to better solve problems because it clear my head. During that hour of dance class I’m just in the class, nowhere else. My mind isn’t thinking about the laundry or dinner or anything like that. So in a sense it’s still a form of mediation, or mindfulness, being in the moment and just concentrating on one thing. It gives me space away from everything so when I come back to things I have a clearer head.
Developing emotional resilience
Rachel found herself being much more resilient because of her regular dance classes. Her son had headed off to a volatile part of the world for a gap year, her husband had been unwell, and her father passed away.
“I really think with everything going on last year that I wouldn’t have been able to cope with it without my weekly classes to look forward to. And it’s fun. The music, we have a laugh.”
“If I hadn’t started dance classes, I might be on a higher dose of lexepro. I may not have handled last year as well because there was so much going on. I didn’t melt down and cry a lot, because I had something that brought me joy but was also a physical outlet. That would have been harder.”
A sense of accomplishment
“I feel like I’m accomplishing something with my body. When I first started, I held back a lot. I was scared because I had osteoporosis and I was very nervous about things. Gradually, I started to do little things like point my toes. I know that if you had a video recording of me in my first mature dance class compared to todays’ class there would be such a significant difference with confidence. I’ve also now done several ballet classes and that will probably become my ‘go to’ class.”
“Mature Dance gave me to the confidence to return to ballet. It was like a bridging course to ballet. Mature dance covers so many different genres but when we do something slightly ballet like I really loved that, and even some things that weren’t ballet, my arms would go to ballet positions. The training is just there.”
“I just love class. I love dancing and moving. I love the music. I love the challenge and pushing my body. I don’t consider myself an athletic person and don’t like pushing my body except when I’m dancing. I know some of the other dancers stand where they can’t see themselves in the mirror. I like having the mirror so I can be aware of what my body is doing. I never look at anyone else in the class because I’m not trying to be like anyone else. I just want to watch myself and see what I can do better. I want to be able to constantly improve. I like the way in a Mature Dance class something might be quite simple, but then I can push myself to do something more difficult.”
“My goal is to be able to eventually get through an intermediate ballet class and not feel like I’ve spent the whole class dropping the f bomb under my breath because I’m so frustrated with myself.”
Dancing for joy without fear of judgement
“Before starting dance classes, I think my biggest fear was physical. Also, I wasn’t very fit at that point, so was worried it would be too much for me to do. I worried about other people laughing at me. I guess because having been from a ballet background which can be quite competitive, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be as good as everyone else. That fell away very quickly, because it doesn’t matter in these classes, and I love that.”
“The biggest challenge is, despite the fact that when I was 15 my body wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, it was doing it a lot better than I’m doing now. It’s very frustrating to have been at a certain level and not to be able to do that anymore. That frustrates and challenges me. So it’s negative and positive.”
“I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m less bothered by things like that. I’ve reached a point, almost, that your best is good enough, and particularly in a situation like a Move Through Life class. It’s not a competition. We’re not out to be better than each other, or to be in a ballet company. We’re just there to enjoy ourselves and do some ballet and that’s what gets me through.”
“I love the variety of classes, and the friendliness of everybody at Move Through Life. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be accessibility. Meaning that there is a dance class for everybody at a level for everybody. And it doesn’t matter what your age is. For everybody that can still move there is a class.”
“I just want to enjoy it. I’m proud of myself for being here and showing up. I want to be at a level where I’m proud of what I’m doing. Sometimes I am and sometime I’m not.”
If you want to see if dance classes help you feel more grounded ...
… get in touch with us so we can help you find the right dance class for you.
You can see what we have on offer on our timetable web page. You can book into a class from there by clicking the ‘Book’ button next to the class you want to attend.
If you’re not sure what class to choose, please get in touch via email at email@example.com or call Anne, our Client Relationship Officer on 0408 240 772.
We have classes in 5 locations in Clarence Park, Crafers, Glengowrie, Henley Beach, and Seacliff, and offer classes in ballet, contemporary, dance conditioning, jazz, mature dance, and tap.
Move Through Life Dance Studio offers dance classes to adults of all ages in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and mature dance. We pride ourselves on offering you a place to indulge your love of dance, whether you’re a complete beginner, had a long break from dance, or danced all your life. Our classes have a broad mix of ages, and our philosophy is that you are never too old to dance, it is never too late to start, and you can dance forever!
If you have any questions, get in touch with Anne on 0408 240 772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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