Arwa Hussain is a model, nutritionist and wellness coach. She began her ballet journey as an adult and has not looked back since.
When did you start ballet? What made you join classes?
I was introduced to ballet at the age of 28. I was working as a professional fashion model then and was looking for a way to be fit. I had been working out since the age of 15, but always found it difficult to maintain a good body to meet the standards of the fashion industry.
Has ballet affected other parts of your life?
When I started learning ballet, it gave me a discipline that was missing in my life. I moved to Bangalore to pursue it as a challenge for myself. It still remains a challenge for me each day, everyday. I had never danced in my life before ballet classes, and to make my body move was the biggest challenge. I instinctively knew that the only who could make me dance was Yana. I changed my lifestyle, work and food habits to be able to do ballet. There were many times that I wanted to leave but I kept coming back until ballet became a part of me.
What has been the best part of learning ballet?
Ballet gave me the necessary growth and awareness in body and mind. I could see the effects of it in every walk of my life. I became better at modelling as my body started to show the grace of ballet training. My mind was clearer and more focused. Ballet is not a career for me, but it is my route to my personal growth and success.
Sabitha Srinath is an architect, interior designer, and aspiring professional dancer. She began her ballet journey in an effort to improve the other dance styles she was practicing, and soon realised ballet would be an essential part of her training as a dancer.
When did you start ballet, and what was your motivation to begin?
I started ballet because it was the next step for me towards my goals and aspirations as a dancer. I had learnt and performed many dance styles since I was a child but I never had access to a ballet class. I wanted to train in jazz and contemporary and when I attended classes I realised that to dance the way I would want to, I would have to train in ballet. At the time, as a student soon to graduate college, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to even start ballet classes as an adult. But as I started, I realised it is possible and I enjoyed it. I like work that asks for details and affectionate obsessiveness and ballet is made of that!
A lot of what I have mentioned is about the body as an instrument of dance. Yes, ballet does not look like ballet till the body responds, but by the end of the day, it is a performing art form. It has its exclusive beauty and magic.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced as an adult beginner?
Ballet is not easy for anyone, but as an adult beginner, your journey will definitely be challenging in its own way. Since your body is not used to it, it will take some time to get used to the new movement and to start gaining the required strength. Since each body is unique, you will have to understand and correct misalignments as directed by your teacher, especially to avoid injuries. Some improvements can be slow which can be frustrating and daunting, but you must trust the process.
Nutrition can at times make all the difference. Taking significant breaks can set you back. If you have your sights set high, you will have to do ballet more often and as a working adult, when doing many classes a week, you will have to figure out how to balance your job, your finances and all of that might come with its own sacrifices and trade-offs. However, when you do reach those milestones, it is rewarding.
Because of ballet, I am so much more aware of my body and on the way to understanding more of how I can use my body to give my movement more vocabulary. Some might wonder what it would feel like to start classes as an adult when the majority are children and teenagers. Though this has never bothered me at all, I have nonetheless found in my experience so far, that they each have their unique way of being sweet, considerate, friendly and funny!
What would you say to an adult who wants to start taking ballet classes?
Anything we do comes with a list of pros and cons. I believe, if you are motivated to do ballet, whether you have specific goals or you just want to try it out and see where it goes, then “adult” is just another word on a list. You must walk into your first ballet class.