Fitness: ballet lessons for adults by dance with syanne
The Nutcracker, Swan Lake – Christmas wouldn’t be the same without these classic ballets – and if you’ve ever wanted pas de deux or arabesque, then it’s not too late, adult ballet is. the classiest new fitness class, writes Julie Lucas …
In the years I spent watching my daughter’s ballet lessons and the proud mom feeling that (swallowing) made me fetch a handkerchief every time Emma effortlessly took or took another exam, I have often felt a nagging regret that I was not blessed. with such an opportunity.
It’s true, contemporary dance was my thing growing up. But the appeal of the timeless qualities of ballet – beauty, elegance and femininity – has never wavered.
Well, it’s never too late. Not really. Because thanks to professional ballerina Syanne Day – one of the many teachers who now offer ballet lessons for adults – my dream has finally come true.
“I love teaching and my adult ballet classes target beginner and intermediate levels,” says Syanne. “My goal is for everyone, regardless of age or experience, to enjoy dancing. “
A few days before my debut, sorry, ballet class, I meet Syanne to discuss her dancing career which began when she was very young when she was “hypnotized by watching my older sister’s classes”.
The epitome of grace, she attended the Jayne Marie Dance School in Berkhamsted before moving to Birmingham where she entered the Elmhurst Independent Ballet School.
Still in her early teens, but undeterred by the move to our second largest city, this life-changing experience prepared her for the next stage of training.
“Being at Elmhurst was a dancer’s dream, with long, hard days dancing,” she says. “Then, at 16, I went to London to join the English National Ballet School. Another exciting move that I loved! ‘
The audition process for the National School began with photographs to verify her aesthetic as a ballet dancer – participation, lines – followed by a course in which her flexibility was tested. The final hearing also included a physiotherapy assessment to check the spine, leg measurement, and hip rotation. “Two days later, I received a letter saying that I had been accepted. ”
I am preparing for my first less rigorous class. It’s been a few years since she last pirouetted, but when I mention the class to my daughter, she insists on coming and immediately dug up her old ballet flats.
Don’t worry if you’ve never owned a pair, several of the dozen women who participated including me were barefoot. Ballet clothes are also not a requirement; leggings or gym workout equipment are ideal because they allow free and unhindered movement.
Is it fair for women? Syanne says she also has several men taking classes, especially online.
I admit I felt a little nervous when we arrived at the Warners End Community Center in Hemel Hempstead. Would my folds let me down? Am I too busy focusing on my balance to follow the instructions?
Honestly, I didn’t have to worry. Syanne stressed that everyone had to commit to their level and we quickly slipped between the first and the fifth position.
Gently encouraging, she explained and demonstrated each movement. Yes, it took a lot of concentration to be on tiptoe, but like my fellow dancers, I used a chair for balance as we were guided through raises and chases against a backdrop of classical and contemporary music.
A positive energy permeated the piece, a credit not only to Syanne’s artistic skills, but also to her passion for teaching.
Syanne’s tutoring skills were enhanced when she studied professional ballet practice in college. “I hadn’t done Level A, so I figured I should get a degree and tick that box,” she explains. “The course was aimed at developing myself as a performer or in any other way related to dance. I chose to study the theories of teaching.
In fact, she has been teaching since the age of 16. Although she spent four grueling years at the ENB devoting herself to performance, two nasty injuries – a split ankle tendon and stress fractures to her shin – stalled her career for some time.
Unable to perform, teaching proved to be a stimulating alternative until, once restored, her career progressed and she was soon chosen for the English National Ballet. Swan Lake.
“The Royal Albert Hall production was my first professional contract with ENB and I toured the UK with them,” she recalls. While admitting a certain nervousness, neither the emotion nor the prestige of the place unduly intimidated her.
She went on to work with other companies including Cork City Ballet, Mercurial Dance and Let’s All Dance and also got lead roles in Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
But let’s come back to Syanne’s current passion. In her new adult ballet class, she has a knack for teaching famous dance steps without intimidating anyone. “Make sure your palms are facing inward in fifth position,” we are reminded, “Ballet is all about precision. Point your toes, stretch out across the arms,” we are told. she does before continuing with beats and soon putting together a short routine that leaves everyone alive.
At the end of the hour, I am both relieved (the always smiling Syanne insists she was impressed by both of us) and motivated (like my classmates, I stayed on my feet). And so, our dose of ballet satiated, for a week at least, Emma and I feel toned, with our posture just a little more correct.
But how, I ask my daughter, does this compare to previous lessons? She does not restrain her enthusiasm. “It was fun and a great introduction for beginners or those who haven’t danced for a while. Syanne has covered the basics which are good for core toning and strength. ‘
In addition to teaching, Syanne, based in St Albans, still retains a passion for performing.
Unfulfilled ambitions include the black swan. “We learned the pas de deux in school and loved the challenge of defending the character while doing complex work.
Another dream would be to interpret Kenneth MacMillan’s pas de deux Concerto. Sugar Plum Fairy, which I played, was a dream. ‘
And the theaters, does she have a favorite? “The little ones are pretty cool because you can see the audience’s facial expressions.
“In fact, you can also do it at the Royal Albert Hall. I have to say I love performing in intimate venues because you feel so close to the audience, but nothing beats the buzz of performing in iconic theaters like the London Coliseum or the Theater Royal.
With the rise of fitness at the barre, the popularity of adult ballet is increasing. For Syanne, who reports a growing need for such classes in the county, this is good news.
It’s also for you. If you’ve never had the opportunity to dance, or it’s been a long time since you tied the ribbons of your pink satin ballerina shoes, I invite you to come to one of the ever-growing number of classes and to release your Sugar Feather Fairy which is in you.
Adult ballet lessons (£ 40) are held at the Warners End Community Center in Hemel Hempstead and online. To learn more about Syanne’s classes, visit dancewithsyanne.com