In my quest to keep up with a fourteen-month old and do something about huff-puffing up the stairs, I joined my local gym. Things have changed in the last 5 years since I last worked out—all right, maybe six years.

People hop on big, blue inflated balls chopped in half now—Bosu Balls—and hoist bar-bells and attach themselves with webbing to rubbery devices in ‘Peak Physique’ and ‘Centergy’ classes. These classes move so fast I had to take a nap after watching them. Bosu balls are for balance. All righty then.ballet5

I made a list of classes I thought I could manage without killing myself. There wasn’t much left: Aqua Bootcamp, Yoga, and Ballet Barre. Hm, these sound intriguing.

I didn’t have to wear camouflage or fatigues in Aqua Bootcamp, but it took some getting used to. The bottoms of both feet were shredded-wheat after the first class. Running around the sand-paper-bottomed pool exfoliated three skin layers. “Get some aqua shoes, honey,” said the instructor with a wry smile. ballet6

Yoga was doable, except for the life of me I can’t plank. And I get dizzy down-dogging. After a few classes of learning how to contort myself, I figured I can manage this one. After all, the whole world is doing it. If I can remember to breathe… I’ve always been a fan of just letting breathing happen, since I’ve done it all my life. Well yes and no, turns out you focus on it and send breath to your pinky toe.ballet9

Then there’s ballet. It’s the same as I left it 30 years ago. Nothing’s changed. The French terminology is the same: Tendue, plie, releve, rond-de-jambe, port-de-bra—it all flowed back. And so did the moves. The body remembers. I shocked myself, by the end of the first month, I was able to keep up! Not that my fellow ballerinas being of a certain age had anything to do with it, and the instructor slowed things a bit.

Just goes to show you’re never too old. I admit, it’s somewhat challenging to lift the old gams up, to the side, and back to arabesque. Seems to me it was easier 30 years ago. I’m amazed I can lift them at all and am ecstatic when I can.ballet1

Ballet makes me hungry and I finally figured out why. With words like frappe, saute and fondu, how can I not think of food? Believe it or not, those are real ballet moves.ballet2

I don’t have a tutu and we don’t wear ballet shoes. After all, it’s a workout gym. If I stick with it, though, maybe I can audition for the mouse king in the Nutcracker next year—I’m too old to be a snowflake or a sugar plum fairy. The mouse costume would hide my age, one would hope.ballet4

Never thought I would look forward to a workout routine. Then again, never thought I’d be in a ballet class 30 years after the first time!

Port-de-bra, baby, get your Bolshoi on!

© Lois Paige Simenson and The Alaska Philosophaster, 2016, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Alaska Philosophaster with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.                      LIPSLips


Written by Lois Paige Simenson


  1. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor December 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm Reply

    I took ballet as a child, but I doubt that I could do any of the moves now 🙂 Exercise classes have really changed over the years. So many choices nowadays and different kinds of equipment they use.

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