This blog follows Dance Wire’s Founder/Director Emily Running in her adventures taking new dance classes all over Portland.
Seriously, I love ballet, but I’m intimidated by it too! Even with 30 years of dance experience and many years of ballet in my past, anyone who is trying to compare herself to a prima ballerina is going to feel inadequate. But that’s not the point, every time I go to a ballet class I remember how much I love it and that ballet can be for everyone. If you have any interest in starting (from the very beginning!) this is the class.
The Portland Ballet is in SW Portland just off Capitol Highway. There is parking in the back and extra parking at Wilson High School in off hours. The studio (actually, there are many studios) is bright, clean and new.
This class happens in a 8 week series and students must commit to the series, though you can try the class out before committing, you will just need to register for that class in advance and let them know you want to try it first.
Michelle Davis is the instructor and was very welcoming as were all of the students. They even agreed to being filmed for this blog, which most beginners at anything don’t agree to! The first 45 minutes are completely at the barre and unlike more advanced classes, you have two hands on the barre and face the mirror at all times. You will learn very direct plié’s, tendu’s, dégagé’s, battement’s and other standard barre work. Repetition is absolutely key in dance as it’s all about building muscle memory as well as precision, so no matter how simple the movement is, the goal is to perform it with focus and accuracy. Michelle does an excellent job of answering questions and describing everything in more detail if needed.
The last 15 minutes we moved across the floor doing basic chassés. Here is where the repetition kicks in! Once traveling through space and navigating weight shifts, suddenly the finer details of your knee being over your toe on a pliéd leg is not at the top of your mind! Luckily all that barre work has prepared you and now you can just focus on coordination and dancing.
I noticed that even leading up to class I extended my neck longer, my posture was a little perkier and I generally was moving more gracefully, just in anticipation of being in ballet! There are no limits to the side benefits you get from going to class. So don’t wait, sign up!
Find more Portland-area dance classes on Dance Wire's Find A Class Directory.