How do you say “pirouette” in Czech?

Since I’ve arrived, I’ve heard numerous mentions of community fitness classes as well as received a few invitations.  Typically, it is possible to pay on a per-class basis.  I’ve heard of everything from spinning, Zumba, jumping, hot yoga, and more.  My schedule and my fiscally conservative side have prevented me from taking part in any such classes . . . until today.

So, which class won me over?  I am sure you are all salivating to know.  My previous experiences in work-out classes have been limited to yoga, belly dancing, and one session of spinning.  What finally enticed me was ballet.  Yes, ballet.  I, like many other little girls, always wanted to do figure skating, ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, or anything dance-related as a child.  However, I did none.  Let’s blame my shyness.  So, when an American told me that Monday nights, down the hall from my office in the conservatory, were dance classes, I couldn’t resist.

So tonight at 5:45, I pulled out some leggings and trotting down the hall to change for ballet.  Things like my lack of experience and lack of fluency were peripheral issues.  Only about eight girls were there—some advanced and some less advanced.  One thing I noticed early on is that the teacher did know a little English and used it with my American companion.  Because of my shyness, he spoke to me in Czech.  The only thing I had said to him was “níc” after he asked about my experience level.  Luckily, there were lots of numbers and directional words (front, behind, etc.) that were easy to comprehend.  Moreover, there were some cognates with the French that is used in American ballet as well. 

The bar work was a bit easier to follow than the combination movements done on the floor.  I let myself be helpless and stumble along.  One difficulty to mention with ballet is that it requires the whole body.  One can’t just attend to feet or hands or posture.  Everything is connected and must be oriented: facial direction, posture, arm placement, fingers, toes, weight distribution, foot work . . .  It’s quite a lot to take in at once.  Would a single-level, English-speaking class be better?  Perhaps, but I’m just happy to finally be doing something which (somewhat) resembles ballet.  Onward and upward.


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