I was still recovering from the shock of being awarded a Distinction in my ballet exam when a recent class was taken by a young stand in teacher.

She'd returned to ballet nearly three years ago and joined the class where I was a novice to get herself back up to speed. She had a comfortable, rounded look about her, quite well padded with a lovely smile and good technique but after a few months she left our class and moved on.

A couple of years later I was stunned by the change in her. The padding had gone and she looked athletic, elegant and absolutely gorgeous, still with a beaming smile.

Halfway through the class I couldn't get over how much she'd changed in appearance and how strong and steady she was when she suddenly announced to everyone at the end of an coupé chassé pas de bourrée pirouette enchaînement:

" I can't believe how much he's changed. It's like I'm looking at a completely different person, I can't get over it."

Ballet does that to you - and, we later agreed, giving up microwave meals.