From Book Fair to Ballet

With one thing and another I’ve not done as much exercise this week as I would have liked to. Although I did manage to get out for a run on Monday lunchtime, my plan to climb in the evening was thwarted by a late night in the office. An exhausting three days at the London Book Fair, cooped up in the Earls Court exhibition centre with all of the coffees, meals on the go, compulsory drinks-fuelled networking events and complete lack of daylight that goes with it started to take its toll by the end of Thursday and the need to eat clean and get the endorphins going again was more desperate than ever.

So on my return from the Fair on Thursday evening I grabbed Louise and we blitzed a quick 5km before walking a further 5km to our first ballet class in London with Dance Buzz.

The taster class consisted of 30 minutes barre work and 30 minutes in the centre. Focus was on basic steps and getting our form and posture right. The teacher made some corrections but also encouraged us to use the mirror to correct ourselves.

I was surprised by how much in terms of posture and body positioning I was able to remember from the ballet classes of my childhood years. I managed to keep my core engaged, my shoulders down and even succeeded in keeping my rather sizeable bottom tucked under so that my spine was flat! Arm positioning and transitions also came back to me once the music was playing although my feet didn’t always follow as perfectly as they might have done.

What I did notice in particular was that in the intervening years since my dancing days, all of the running and weight training has taken its toll and I’m not as supple as I once was. My calves were ridiculously tight and my heels were lifting from the ground even in demi plié. My knees were also crying out and I was surprised to find that, to begin with, my toes cramped when I pointed them.

Louise, who was an Irish dancer as a child, and who I was following for the work on the barre, made everything look so effortless, therefore I was surprised (and slightly relieved, I have to admit!) to hear that she too was suffering with knee pain and foot cramps.

The class was fun and the sautés at the end gave a good cardio blast to finish on, but I have to admit I’m glad we squeezed a run in before hand or I wouldn’t have felt sufficiently worked out.

The teacher promised that the classes do build up and one of the other members of the class told us how the steps are eventually built into a full routine. I’m keen to do more, but wonder if my next step is The Booty Barre

On Friday I escaped my LBF follow-up emails at lunch for a quick 8.2km and spent my evening at the climbing wall. I’ve got more of the same lined up for the weekend and am feeling well and truly back on track post-LBF.

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