Words by Laura Amann
Photos by Keith Gerling
Ballet classes aren’t just for the young – they’re for the young at heart and anyone who enjoys the beauty and gracefulness of dance. Salt Creek Ballet has always offered a variety of adult classes and they’ve been growing in popularity through the years.
Longtime SCB instructor Sue Wren now teaches more than 12 adult level classes per week, offering instruction to everyone from beginner beginners to advanced students. “There is something for anyone at any level,” she says. “I don’t want anyone to feel inhibited if their bodies are not typical ‘ballet bodies.’ All ages, body types and levels can dance.”
Maria Davis started taking when she was 26 and then left for 10 years. But when she saw kids in her neighborhood starting to take ballet, she felt the itch to dance again. Now in her 40s and with three kids, she has a deeper appreciation for the ballet.
“I never danced as a kid so there was never that pressure on me. I take classes purely for the love it. I like that it combines beauty with athleticism and that we can move to beautiful music. Plus it’s a major stress relief. You can’t think of anything else in ballet class – it just takes you to another place.”
Natasha Meshaov always dreamed of dancing but never took as a child. Five years ago, she started classes and hasn’t stopped.
“I was a little intimidated at first. I thought, who am I to take a professional ballet? But it was wonderful when I got there and now I’m totally addicted. I go five days a week.”
There’s a different feeling in an adult class. The women are there because they want to be there, not because their mother or someone else is pushing them into ballet. While the same can be said of the high school students, for adults, there are also no grueling recital and performance schedules. It’s purely the love of dance that motivates the women.
Natasha is quick to credit her teacher, someone who takes adult dancers seriously and really wants everyone to learn. “As a result, we all take it seriously and we actually improve!”
Sue Wren points out that the adult dancers are there either because they never had the opportunity to take ballet before and it is something they wanted to do, or because they took it in the past, loved it and want to dance again. They know the value of hard work and results and they’re internally motivated.
And the benefits of taking ballet go beyond the classroom. “I feel great after a class – I get a major high from the exercise, the beauty and the movement.”
Natasha adds, “It really is hard to explain. But when I’m in dance class I’m happy. I’m in a different world. I really, really love it. Just the combination of music and movement, I’ve always loved dance.”