Life as a trans ballet dancer six months on…

I figured it was time to update the blog with how I’m doing in my ballet lessons, seeing as it’s now a little over six months since I began.

If you scroll back to my posts in June, you can read about me starting my private ballet lessons, about my classes before that point and about telling my latest teachers about being trans.

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Lepsi leotard from Bloch

But a lot’s happened since then. As I stated before, I’m working my way towards my first exam, which will be in February. Bloody nora, that’s the month after next. Aaaaaargh! Must practise more!

I’ve been having private lessons with Miss Joanne since June. In the first few weeks, we were joined by the school principle, Miss Sarah. These days, it tends to be just Miss Joanne and myself.

I usually arrive late – I’m late for everything! – but it’s never a problem. I ring the bell and then Miss Joanne greets me with a massive smile and a hug.

She’s become a fab friend over the past few months – and a wonderful confidante. She’s only 23 but, as I keep telling her, she’s got an old head on young shoulders.

She’s incredibly wise and always has some great advice, whether that’s about ballet or personal stuff.

She’s also confided in me about her personal issues, which I’m quite humbled about. I never started ballet to make friends, but I’m so glad I have made a friend in Miss Joanne.

She’s gawjuss, has a really friendly personality and her enthusiasm is infectious. I’ve arrived more than once not really in the mood for ballet – but she soon perks me up with her energy.

So, once in, she shows me to the changing room, where I get ready. In the early months, I wore a T-shirt over plain black leggings. Girls’ clothes, naturally, but all pretty androgynous.

In the past few weeks, I’ve got a little braver. I now wear a leotard – this one, Lepsi, from Bloch. I wear it in a size 7 and in black.

I did buy one of the dance school’s own leotards – it amazingly fit in a size 5 – but this was more strappy, and I’m very self conscious of my shoulders.

I never wear strappy tops and always prefer to have my shoulders covered. Hopefully HRT, if it ever begins, will reduce my blokey shoulder muscles and make wearing more skimpy tops easier.

Now, although I wear a ladies’ leotard, male ballet dancers also wear leotards. They tend to wear very thick tights over theirs, whereas women wear far thinner tights under theirs.

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Generic ballet studio – similar to the one I use. Love the barres, not so much the mirrors!

And that’s what I do. I have special ballet tights in white, pink and black, although I’ve only been brave enough to wear the black ones to class so far.

I also wear a little pair of grey shorts – a bit like hot pants – over the top. I usually begin class wearing a T-shirt over my leotard and take it off when I warm up.

One long wall of the dance studio is covered in giant mirrors – wall to ceiling – and I still feel rather self-conscious when looking at my reflection.

There’s this chap, with very short cropped hair wearing tights and a leotard. I long for curves so much. And hair – although that could be trickier.

At the moment, I look like a giant carrot, with my body tapering down from my broad shoulders to my feet. I’m not orange, though.

But Miss Joanne always says I look “fabulous” (I don’t!) and being accepted by her is half the battle. She really is a marvel.

And, as usual, I’ve over-written, so I shall end this here and write another post in a sec. Told you my blog was like buses, didn’t I?!

Andie x

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