The Skiing Ballerina

I’m sad to admit it, but I never learned how to ski.  I guess I just spent too much time in ballet class. So now I find myself all grown up and without this skill that everyone else seems to have. This weekend, despite intense fears of uncontrollably hurdling down an icy mountain, I headed up to Vermont to try my hand at the sport.

My ski instructor started the day by asking my 5-person beginner class about our athletic backgrounds. Finding out that I was a former dancer made him very happy. “Your balance must be excellent!” he said. This raised my confidence a little. Then, he taught us how to “pizza.” I’m sure that’s not the official term, but it’s basically turning in to make your skis the shape of a pizza slice. To someone who’s spent her whole life being told to turn out, this felt very unnatural. Confidence back to zero.

Once we actually got on the mountain, I discovered that a good sense of balance, strong calves and an ability to follow directions—all things I got from dance class—really helped. And, though my ballet teachers would cringe at the thought, turning in began to feel more and more natural. I finished the day feeling pretty great about my ski abilities. I never even fell!

Then I discovered this…

I think I need a couple more lessons before I attempt a skiing ballet, but at least I know there’s an awesome sport out there for dancers/skiers. And, however impossible it may seem, it’s always good to have something to strive for.

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