When the Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’

I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well.

‘Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’

So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.

There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…

If you take a genie and you put it in a bottle and leave it there for 2 weeks, then let it out, it’s going to be relieved to be out of the bottle, it’s going to be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. It may even thank you for letting it out.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let it out, it’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have its freedom, but it’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing it into the bottle in the first place and leaving it there for so long.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, it’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving it in there so long. It’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to it.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, it’s gonna come out mad as hell. It just lost 10 years of its life. A decade of feeling like no one gives a shit about it. A decade of feeling like it isn’t important and of not being heard.

At this 10 year mark, before the genie decks you, it’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made it feel.

It will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it.

Then it will never talk to you again. And it will only ever remember you as the arsehole who locked it in a bottle for ten years.


Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left it in the bottle for thousands of years.

Thousands, of years.

The genie is not going to be mad as hell, it’s going to be explosive.

It’s going to be outraged.

It isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because it’s out of the bottle. It’s going to want justice. It’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.

I can see, then, why some people might think it’d be easier not to let the genie out of the bottle now, after those thousands of years.

If you’ve left it in there for so long, and you know how outraged they may be if you let them out, then you know they may be so disruptive once let out.

Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it, right?

Well, for some, sure.

But when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then it’s no longer just a story about a genie.

Now we are talking about humanity. And we should see it as a humanity — because we ARE talking about humans.

You cannot repress people for just being who they were born as — for just not being born, a man, or a heterosexual, or white. You can’t repress people for that, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement at some point.

At some point they’re going to rise. Come out of their metaphorical bottles.

And you can’t expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.

So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is ironic and nonsensical.

I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed rise, become seen, heard and accepted.

I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is taken.

With understanding and compassion to others, no matter how different they look from us, then we can change.

If we all do this, maybe anything is possible?

Zoe xxx


This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂



Second Trip to Studio Tibor — Part 1

Bush Ballerina clicked her heels three times and found herself back home, in Studio Tibor”

It’s the strangest thing, but it’s true. When I am in Studio Tibor, as soon as my hand touches the barre, it feels like I have returned to a home I used to live in hundreds of years ago. I don’t think any thoughts about it. It just feels … right. I can’t really explain it any other way.

I’m not saying there are no nerves. But that is separate. This other feeling is happening at the same time.

The same thing happened at my private at Studio Tibor in January, it was quite a strange feeling, it felt like I had been doing this for thousands of years already. Not physically, I mean, I was very beginner in my actual movements, but I don’t know, perhaps spiritually? Sounds so weird, right? I know. That’s why I chose not to mention it when I wrote about that lesson. I didn’t want to scare my blogging friends off! LOL

But then I went again on Wednesday, and exactly the same thing happened. My hand touched the barre and this feeling of returning home came over me. It’s blissful and calming. Like what coming home after a long time away feels like.

Perhaps this is what healing feels like? Or what taking the time to do something just for yourself feels like? Do other adult dancers feel this way when they take to the barre?

Perhaps we all danced in our past lives, if there is such a thing? And we are all finding it again in this life? What a beautiful thought.

The travel:

I left home at 4.30am. Drove 1.5 hours to the airport. Flew 1.5 hours to Sydney. And then spent 40 minutes on trains. Yeah. A bit of travel was involved. 

I left here:


And arrived here:



The people:

I was picked up from the train station by the gorgeous Tricia, another adult ballet student of Studio Tibor’s. Tricia made me feel incredibly welcome as we chatted on the way to the studio. 

At the studio, Tricia introduced me to Kim, another adult ballet student who of course was also absolutely lovely. I have to say that both of these women are totally inspiring. They are beautiful ballet dancers and gave me much to aspire to.

I watched some of the full-time students dancing and was amazed at their beauty, composure and grace. And their CORE STRENGTH. Gawd, SO much core strength!

The beginner class:

Eventually it was time for our class. I had prepared myself to feel a little overwhelmed by the class but that I would just take it as it came.  I wasn’t expecting myself to understand what I was supposed to do all the time, but I was expecting myself to give 150% to trying my hardest, all the same.

And that is pretty much exactly how it turned out. 

I struggled to mentally understand the combinations and I struggled with combining my arms and legs/feet at the same time. I struggled to remember to breathe. Or remember anything, really. But that is all okay. It was my first class there. And they are not easy classes. Although Tibor did mention that he had adjusted the class to be a little easier “for the guest”, so it would be even harder normally. I was proud of myself for not passing out or falling over.

For the most part, I was just trying to keep up and listen and learn and remember, but there was one very interesting thing that happened to me during barre work. We were doing a combination in which we ended in an attitude to the front. We did the combination to each side and at the end, the music stopped and Tibor said:

“That was a beautiful attitude Zoe, can you please show the class?” 

What? My heart hit my throat as everyone turned around to watch me. I was all like What? Me?. For a moment I doubted myself and I thought maybe I didn’t even know what an attitude was, but then I shook that thought out of my head and told myself that of course I know what an attitude is. And so, I reproduced my attitude, with my right leg out in front of me and my right arm up in fifth.

Tibor corrected my shoulder as it had risen (probably in shock!) and then he said, “yes, that’s lovely”. 

Then he came over and stood between me and the barre. He placed his left hand under my attituded foot, and his right hand on my lower back and prompted me to pull up properly in my back. And then he said something along the lines of:

“And then you can do this…”

And he lifted my attitude up in front of me. High in front of me. To be honest I don’t remember exactly how high it was, but I heard a collection of verbal sighs and “ahh” type noises from the rest of the class who were watching on.

I remember first thinking, What the eff is happening?!? And then looking at a foot in his hand and thinking, Oh my god, he’s lifting someone’s foot above my head! And then thinking, Wait … is that MY foot? Above my head? 

Okay, so I really don’t know how high he had it, but it was high.

Kim had the brilliant idea to recreate the moment after class and get a photo of it for the blog, but we couldn’t quite get the time to fit it in. But I promise you, it really did happen!

As for the rest of that class, it was evident that I am pretty weak in centre work, or just generally moving around the floor. I did have a go, though. And I didn’t feel too embarrassed, I just got on with it. Eventually my asthma caused me to stop, but that wasn’t until right at the end.

Overall, I was really happy with the class. I didn’t feel like I was in too deep, which was kind of a surprise.

At the end of the class Tibor said he thought I had done okay, “You hung in there!” Haha, makes me laugh, ’cause at certain points I was literally just hanging in there. I don’t think Tibor feels I need to go back down a level. And I think I can handle this level, too. That was a lovely thing to realise. 


Tibor is a wonderful teacher. He is steady of mind. Knows exactly what he wants from each of his students and somehow creates the drive in each of those students to try to achieve progress. His classes are tough. EVERYONE hangs their own towel on the barre so that they can wipe up the sweat they are dripping. I am used to dripping in my own classes but I have not seen the towels in any other class I have seen. And Tibor is equally as tough on everyone. But he loves ballet. It is in his soul. And it flows through the room as he talks, and encourages and corrects the students. 

I look forward to going back soon. And I look forward to also taking classes with the other teachers there to open my mind and body to different teaching styles and knowledge.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from the studio. We tried to get some but when I checked my camera they weren’t there at all! So instead I thought I would pop this photo up. Remember after my first Tibor private lesson, I said that I thought I had grown extra muscles literally over night? Apparently that was not a one off. This is me today, holding my extended fondu. My thigh muscles have popped out! And I am feeling every single one of them! 😉 (note: I am not pointing properly as I still can’t point my foot properly today, still a bit too sore.)


A big thank you to Tibor, Tricia and Kim and the other people at Studio Tibor for being so lovely to me. xxx

Part Two will be uploaded shortly, but I didn’t want to overload you all with too much writing.

Zoe xxx