My first love in dance was ballet.

And my first love in ballet was Swan Lake.

I’ve loved it ever since I was a toddler and my grandmother – a ballet-lover – used to play the Tchaikovsky score when I went to sleep over at weekends and she watched me launch myself ungracefully around her sitting room in a sparkly tutu.

I was definitely no twinkle-toes back then. I tried ballet lessons and although I made it through the first couple of exams it all fizzled out.

But the love of ballet and the love of all things sparkly never left, so when I found out the Royal Opera House were streaming Swan Lake out to regional cinemas a few weekends ago, I absolutely had to go along.

It was definitely one of the most dramatic and theatrical versions of this ballet I had ever seen – and I’ve seen it quite a few times, both on stage and on TV.

And it got me wondering what it was about this particular ballet that captivated me above all the others.

Even without all the trappings, the story is a true emotional rollercoaster, full of dramatic highs and lows which pull at the heart strings.

Maybe it’s the big, timeless themes:

Love and loss.

Seduction and betrayal

The battle between good and evil.

Purity and innocence vs the femme fatale

The impossible love match

The handsome prince claiming his one true love

Maybe it’s the tragic ending – no happy ever after in this story.

Maybe it’s the music. The score is probably the first piece of classical music I really knew and listened to, and it still moves me every time.

Maybe it’s the glittering costumes and extravagant sets. As I said before, a true bling-fest.

Having said that, the one thing Salsa dancers have over ballet dancers is that we have sparkles on our shoes and they don’t!

Maybe it’s just a great story beautifully told through dance. 

Whatever the reason, whenever I watch it, it takes me back to those early memories. And I realise I’ve sort of come full circle. Sometimes I do feel sad that I gave up ballet as a kid and wonder how different things would have been if I had kept going.

But you can’t hold on to those regrets.

The ballerinas on stage are the pure embodiment of struggle, sacrifice and single-minded determination.

What I can do now is take inspiration from them to cultivate the same qualities in myself to progress my own dreams and goals, which these days don’t include the main stage of the Royal Opera House lol…

The great thing is that now I actually use ballet to improve my Salsa technique – I do a barre every day and take class. Although I’ll never be great, I love the inner strength I get from it, as well as the discipline and mental focus it provides.

It’s incredibly hard, but extremely rewarding.

And it’s made a huge difference to my posture, balance and spinning ability – all things which have been a work in progress in Salsa for a long time.

It’s making dancing in those sparkly heels a lot easier too!