Jenni steps back in time...

Jennifer and the participants of the adult ballet class
Jennifer and the participants of the adult ballet class

I was nine-years-old the last time I set foot in a ballet class – and even back then I was more like a fairy elephant than Sugar Plum.

However, I decided to embrace my inner ballerina this week and take part in an adult taster session run by Central Scotland Ballet School (CSBS) as part of Get Scotland Dancing week.

Held at the school’s Linlithgow studio at Mill Road Industrial Estate, there were over a dozen women in the class of varying ages and abilities – some, like me, trying ballet for the first time since childhood and others whose skills were much more advanced.

Get Scotland Dancing is a national initiative aimed at helping to create a lasting 
legacy from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, for established dancers and new dancers. This week there have been free dance classes taking place across the country.

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is supporting the project as part of its follow-up to the Genee International Ballet competition which took place in Glasgow last year.

CSBS director Amanda-Louise Clark said: “I thought when I was planning the classes I might get enough people for one class but I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the response.

“There was a programme on recently about Silver Swans – dance classes for over 50s – and I think that has inspired some people.”

Anyone who believes that ballet is all about tutus and twirls should think again.

This ballet class was a serious workout – hopping, jumping, skipping and stretching, all with pointed toes, is much trickier than you would imagine!

Even at a beginners level, as this class was being taught, it was still enough to work up a sweat. And all the hard work has to be done with a smile on your face!

Amanda added: “Ballet uses every muscle group in the body. It’s like being an athlete but you have to look pretty at the same time and you have to combine artistry with the technique. It can be gentle though.”

All the terms from my past classes like ‘‘battement tendu’’ and ‘‘port de bras’’ came flooding back and, as we went from barre work to runs and jumping, I could feel my twinkle toes springing to life!

While I’ll never be a prima ballerina, this was a great way to exercise while having fun.

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