Friday, 23 March 2012
Dancers at the Stretch Class
Whilst I am still basking in the general bonhomie of last week's encounters, I must confess with some pride that I was able to admire the trim, toned and supple bodies of two young dancers who joined our (mostly geriatric) stretch class at the gym one day - without the least shred of envy. Well, perhaps just a teensy one. They happened to be next to me, you see, so I couldn't really help stealing the odd glance from under my armpit, blatantly ignoring our instructor's voice reminding us that 'stretch' is not a competition and we must on no account compare ourselves with others. Indeed, to do so is fraught with physical danger as I have discovered to my cost on those occasions when I have strained some muscles when trying to emulate the perfection of others. This time though, I could just admire when we were told to sit up straight and spread our legs as far as "is comfortable for you": most of us were at a comfy 90 degrees and then there were these two nymphs - 180 - I kid you not, apparently with the greatest of ease. Then we had to "lean over to the left, hold your foot and try to bring your face down to your calf". This manoeuvre is clearly impossible for most of us, who are hard put to it to persuade our creaking backs to deviate even slightly from the vertical but what a joy to behold these two young marvels of physical perfection. It does make me think of a remark I've heard often before: "We've all had our turn" at youth. Mine was pretty good, come to think, except that I never made it in ballet. While most of my friends passed their ballet exams with Distinction or HIghly Commended, my results were always just "Pass". Once the examiner read out her comments: "M must learn to co-ordinate her arms with her legs". I was so mortified at the image I conjured up for myself (that of a stick insect on its back, limbs flailing in the air), I gave up ballet for good. Funny what remarks remain crystal clear in your mind 48 years later.