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Sophie
Hey! I'm Sophie, I'm 22 and live in Leicester.

You can usually find me at a gig in the photo pit or shopping for another new outfit which definitely won't fit in my wardrobe.

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Beauty
Leicester, UK

Learning ballet 18 years later

Ballet has always been something I'm passionate about. Like most little girls, I took lessons when I was young and I've since grown up loving it despite not practicing it anymore. Dance has found a way into my life one way or another and I love to use it as a form of relaxation and reflection.

It's been probably about 18 years since I took my ballet slippers off and I thought it was about time to change that.

Not too long ago, I noticed that my local council were putting on adult learning courses. I was curious so I took a look at what was on offer and hey ho, there was ballet. I signed myself up immediately and was on my way.

I've never done anything like this before as an adult and not very surprisingly, I was super nervous about going. I didn't know exactly where I was going, who was going to be there, if I was expected to already know things or not, whether I needed actual ballet slippers or even how long the session was going to last. I was bricking it.

It's safe to say that I got over my nerves pretty quickly and fell in love all over again. 

The class is focused on barre ballet, specifically for fitness, so it's a weekly reason to get out of the house and do something I enjoy whilst getting in a healthy workout. I didn't realise how intense barre fitness could be, it's like a pretty, tiptoe-ing, tu-tu wearing version of cardio. 

The initial class that I signed up for was only for one month, back in August 2022. When that came to an end, I couldn't just stop so I signed myself up for more classes. I'm on the register now up until July this year and hopefully longer. It's been so long since I've done ballet, I forgot how much I loved it. 

Having a weekly reason to get active, enjoy company with a range of people from different backgrounds and take the time out for me has really allowed me to reflect on who I am as a person. It's made me think about what I really want from life and what changes I need to make to become the person I want to be.

Photo of a ballet studio, the back wall is lined with mirrors and a bar

For me, ballet is now so much more than a weekly exercise/dance class. It's become a lifestyle, a discipline and a hobby that I thoroughly enjoy, that I can't see myself without now.  Despite still not owning a pair of ballet slippers (which I really must buy. reminder to add to my list of to-dos), I love getting stuck in on the challenging steps the teachers sets each week. 

Now it's not just ballet, I'm thinking of taking kickboxing classes, picking up my flute after 12 years, starting this blog after a year hiatus. 

Making time in your life for the things you enjoy seems like a challenge but it shouldn't be. It enhances your life, makes you feel like you're doing something worthwhile, taking the time out for you. And that's what this is really about, taking the time out for me.

When I picked up ballet, I was in an incredibly stressful job - think organising a three week Freshers events schedule for over 6,000 students alone. That was me. When I was at ballet, that wasn't who I was. We would often reflect on where we were as people when we first started the class compared to now. I liked who I was when I went to the ballet class and my life wasn't reflective of that. So, I looked for a new job and I found one. I found a job which better suited my needs and allows me to be more unapologetically me. I don't think I would have done that if I wasn't doing something that my younger, care-free self connected with. 

It's like that TikTok trend - stop and think about how you're talking to yourself and realise you're talking to your younger self. You wouldn't treat them that way so why are you doing that to your present self? Ballet allows me to reconnect with my inner child, become more physically fit whilst doing something I enjoy and, has really benefitted my mental health.


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