Auckland class breaks down barre-iers
Age, pains and pregnancy are no barriers for dancers in an Auckland ballet class.
Instructor Kathleen CurwenWalker opened the Auckland Academy of Adult Ballet (AAAB) because she felt there was a need for adults to learn in a noncompetitive environment.
Since she opened her classes in Onehunga she has had an influx of women, including five current dancers who are pregnant.
She also runs a class called the senior swans for dancers who are 40 years or older.
AAAB dancer Melissa Jordan has been dancing while 21 weeks pregnant.
Being pregnant has not impacted her dancing but she does has to be careful about jumping.
There was no reason that you could not do ballet while pregnant, she said.
‘‘You can still keep yourself strong and do most of the exercises but you have to tone it down a little.’’
Fellow AAAB dancer Robyn Ingham, who gave birth to her son Oliver last year, said she had danced until she was 20 weeks pregnant.
‘‘After having Oliver, I was really surprised at how quickly my fitness and core strength had deteriorated,’’ Ingham said.
After advice from her physiotherapist, Ingham returned to ballet to strengthen her core.
‘‘In the last four months, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my core strength and I’ve been able to get back into other types of exer- cise as well.’’
Rosemary Hepozden, started ballet a year ago.
Having arthritic knees and a fused ankle was not a barrier to dance, she said.
She is part of the senior swans 61, and does barre classes - a type of dance exercise using a wallmounted bar.
Dancing has improved her balance, flexibility and wellbeing, she said.
In January, AAAB dancer Melanie Castor tore the tendons and ligaments in her ankle after a hike.
She said the accident affected her balance.
Castor was told she could return to ballet but had to stay on the ground.
‘‘Through the repetitive movements in ballet, I was able to get my balance back to almost where it was,’’ Castor said.
She returned to dance properly after two months.
Melissa Jordan has been attending ballet classes while 21 weeks pregnant.