Beginner Ballerina Profile: Bethany Keats

This weeks profile is of Bethany Keats, who started ballet after her gym closed and she couldn’t find another one that offered what she wanted, but needed to stay active. Read more below and be sure to watch out for her blog (bethany.merindolhall.com), which is coming soon!

Bethany getting in some ballet stretching on a ferry!

Bethany getting in some ballet stretching on a ferry!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started in the middle of 2012, so I have been doing ballet for a year and a term now.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I never took formal lessons as a kid but there was one hour of ballet as a part of my gymnastics training to help our movement for floor routines. I hated it and I don’t count it as doing ballet as a kid.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

My gym closed down and not liking what other gyms in my city offered, I needed something to keep me active. My commute to work is over 90 minutes each way therefore my usual outdoor sports I had been involved in were out of the question as there was no daylight when I got home. I started to think about taking some dance classes to blur that line between fun and exercise. I was also concerned about my posture from sitting at a desk all day and ballet ticked all the boxes I was looking for.

Where do you take classes?

I do classes twice a week at The Loft in Geelong.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

I enjoy the movement and muscle control. It’s a great feeling when you’re able to exercise that control and move your muscles exactly how you are supposed to.

What is your least favorite part?

Being in a class of adults with a varied background, the rate of learning is different for everyone and it can be frustrating when it’s moving too slow or two fast – but that’s just about patience (if I’m finding it too slow) or reminding myself that it’ll click another week (if I’m finding it too fast).

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

I couldn’t name a professional dancer to save my life. I have never been to the ballet and I know nothing about it beyond my adult class. Growing up, the only ballerina I knew was Jessi from the Babysitters Club.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Sheer enjoyment. I have also set myself a goal of pointe as something to work towards.

Do you take any other dance classes?

Not since primary school when I did contemporary. Although there was my debutant ball in year 11 and one term of Latin at university. I’d jump at doing Latin or ballroom again.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much in the way of free time but I love rowing and I wish I did more of it. It was my primary sport for a number of years but working life just got in the way. I’m also involved with my local community radio station and I learn French.

What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

Be patient. You won’t get everything straight away and sometimes you just need to let the teacher’s instruction sink in. It can be really frustrating but when it eventually sinks it, it feels great knowing that you had to work hard for it.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I don’t have kids, but I often wonder if ballet would be something I would encourage any future kids, or friends’ kids, to do. I was on the eating disorder spectrum for a number of years and as much as I love ballet as an adult who is aware of body image risks involved, this is something that I’m uncomfortable with when it comes to young people. I think you’d have to choose the teacher very wisely.

 

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