photograph by Yuko Edwards

I went back to ballet class a few years ago after an exceptionally long hiatus — I estimate I was 13 years old and in the 7th grade when I had last pirouetted. Physically, it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It demands and thus creates a tremendous awareness of myself and all of my parts, all at once. But what I think I value most is the inestimable amount of focus and thought ballet requires. It is exercise for the brain absolutely as much as it is exercise for the body. Coupled with the fact that it incorporates lovely music, sculpts muscles like nothing else, and is really quite a lot of fun — ballet, in my world, is now essential.