Turns out private lessons are totes expensive. Soooo I probably won’t be doing that. I NEED MORE CLASS OPTIONS PEOPLE! Why are adult ballet classes so hard to find??
Thursday meant two things for me: 1. A day off. 2. Ballet is BACK! It was so great to get back to class after, what felt like months off. In reality I think it was actually just over two or three weeks. And man what a turnout we had! All of our usual class (there are five of us) plus FIVE MORE PEOPLE. Our class doubled in size over the break! I hope that at least some of them stay with us. I remember when we started last summer we were busting at the seams, but then it went down to four, then we gained one back in October or so.
Class was lovely. We started out back to the basic basic basics because several people were absolutely brand new to ballet or had not done it for years and years and years. I used the time to really hone my technique: pointing toes, pulling up, engaging core and quads, you know the drill. It made me realize that I let a lot of things slide when I do more complicated movements, and I even reached out to my teacher to enquire about additional lessons to focus on technique. I’m serious guys. Srsly.
A couple of girls and I in our class would love to do pointe work one day, and I know that using strong technique is very important, especially as an adult beginner. You need a strong foundation, even if you don’t progress to pointe, which is a distinct possibility for me.
I would like to try to do some progress points throughout the year. A little report card if you will. Just to show myself that I can improve, even if it is a small amount. I’ll be recording myself (after class or some kind of activity so that I’ll be the most warm) in picture form doing arabesque, pirouettes, and balances. I want to focus on form, extension, turnout and length of balances. I’m not a good turner. Some of the time I can maybe get one clean pirouette from either side. Forget about pique turns. But I am determined to improve my technique so that I can absolutely nail one perfect controlled turn most of the time. I think that’s fair. Oh! And I’m going to get my splits back. I used to be a gymnast as well, so it hurts my soul that I’ve gotten so out of shape that I lost my splits.
Do you look at specific points to note your changes? Do you measure progress or just feel things in passing?
I feel a little Type A by measuring things directly, but hey, you gotta do you.
We had our recital! Yay! We also have another performance this week at a nursing home, which I think is really cool. The performance last week went well. No wardrobe malfunctions, but I still kind of hated our costumes.
The one thing that our studio is missing is the fact that it’s not an actual studio. Since it’s just a floor and some mirrors, and that’s where we had our recital, we didn’t get to experience the pre-show rituals you normally would. Like everyone setting up backstage in front of a mirror to do your makeup, warming up backstage, peeking in on other groups rehearsals, watching the audience from the wings, etc. We basically had a room to the side where we had to hide. And there’s only one bathroom so we had to show up dressed and made up. I don’t know. I know it’s lame but those are just the little things I missed.
I’m still nervous though about what I’m going to do when our teacher leaves this summer, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Because of the headache I had for three days I am behind on my workouts. I came up with a plan at work where I would still be able to get 40 in this week, so it could happen, and I’ll try, but I may come up short. Oddly enough, I’m okay with this, but we’ll discuss that later.
I’ll recap last week with this week (once it’s over) since it was short an uneventful. BUT THIS WEEK IS GOING TO BE AWESOOOOMMMEEEEEE.
There’s really no other way to describe my less than enthused attitude than laziness. On the days that I don’t work or don’t work a full twelve hours, I have adequate time to squeeze in some fitness. Do I do it? No. I don’t. I need some help. I have some kind of mental block. I will literally sit in the house for hours, deliberating on going out for a jog or doing some kind of at home workout. Hell, I could do some barre stretches or yoga, I love those things! But I don’t do them. All I need to do is get dressed and move but for some reason I never bring myself to do it. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard, but rarely do I regret working up a sweat. Not sure what my problem is.
In other news, ballet and tap are going well. Meghan has us trying for double pirouettes now. Haven’t been able to complete any but I think I did a couple 1.5ers. We are doing more complex barre combinations that have been good and bad. The ones I get I like, but the ones I struggle with I feel frustrated and want to do them over. There have also been a couple of across the floor combinations where I just stop, which is bad, because I can’t remember which way to turn or something silly, when it doesn’t matter and I should just turn. Actually, now that I think about it, I got pretty frustrated in tap and ballet this week. But I guess it’s a sign of improvement if I don’t chuck the whole class as a loss just because of some flubs, right?
So back to motivation. I was so inspired by the runners at the Iron Horse. I have been inspired by my coworkers, who exercise even on days where we work 12-13 hours. I am inspired by my dance classmates, by the dancer blogs that I follow, and the fitness bloggers that I follow. I want to do better in my classes, I want to feel more fit and healthy, I want to have better endurance and strength to provide for my patients. So why don’t I do anything about it? I’m not sure. I don’t know if I’m afraid that I will fail or afraid that I will succeed. Am I afraid that people will criticize? That they will laugh or talk behind my back? I don’t know. Those thoughts don’t enter my mind directly but I worry they are simmering in the background and influencing my choices. I know I shouldn’t give a single fuck about what other people think, but I can’t help but worry that these irrational and petty fears are what hold me back from myself.
How do you get or stay motivated? Have you ever had a serious mental block that held up your training or progress? Does fear show up in your periphery? Or are you just an all around badass and liver of life?
I’ll be the first to say it, I can’t believe I was so quick to judge my ballet studio. I was harsh. I thought that because my teacher was young and kind and the studio was unconventional that I wouldn’t receive quality ballet instruction. I was so wrong. Goes to show that not only can you not judge a book by it’s cover, but first impressions can be very deceiving. I’ve progressed further in the couple of months of one day a week beginning ballet than I did in a full semester of beginning ballet in college. And that class was four days a week.
We, the students, have mentioned that an additional class would be awesome. But I know that with my schedule I wouldn’t be able to commit to every week. Plus our instructor is in school and I think she teaches another class on top of the two she teaches on Thursdays (our class and the adult pointe class).
We are, however, doing a recital in the winter. I don’t know when it is, or even how many of our classmates will be in it. Our numbers seem to be dwindling as of late. At first I was against a recital, but now I think it will be nice to show what we have worked on and how much we have progressed. Plus tutus, amiright? Gives us something to work toward. Especially if a new group joins in the new year and we have to start all over again.
I’m considering returning to school next fall. Gross. Vomit. Ugh. But I think this program will be alright. A few friends are at this school currently and can vouch for it. It’s online except for clinicals, and you don’t have to take the GRE. It’s a masters, which is where I’m aiming right now. The school affiliated with my hospital offers a masters on the way to the DNP (which I’m not ready to commit to), and the school where I got my BSN doesn’t have a masters in an area I’m interested in. So yeah. We’ll see. Lots to contemplate.
I mentioned to Joel that I wanted a ballet barre at home. I found a couple of links from Laughing Abi and The Adult Ballerina Project to help him on his way. I followed everything they said to do except that I used handrails instead of dowell rods. They were a bit thicker and only a little more expensive.
So in the time it took me to assemble this:
Joel put together this:
I haven’t painted it yet, I’m going with Green Apple, but it’s great. We cut everything at the store so once we got home all we had to do was assemble. And it literally took him 20 seconds.
I also bought a new pair of canvas shoes for class. I bought leather when I went back because they feel like butter (Capezio Juliet II, this is the regular Juliet), but they stick to the floor in the studio. So I wore my Bloch Pro-Elastics to class last week and they’re so big that I almost pitched them and went back to the others.
Of course the one pair I picked of the ten I tried on didn’t have the elastics pre-sewn (Bloch Pump), so I had to do that, which I haven’t done in a long time. So I made some rookie errors, sewed them too tight, and when I redid them you can see the line of silver Sharpie from where I marked them.
We also got news that our class is going to go from 60 to 90 minutes starting in August! I might lose my mind from excitement.
I also made a skirt (tutorial), but it didn’t look that great so I’ll put up a picture when I make a better one.
Man did I have a great dance week! On Monday for jazz and tap we didn’t have our regular instructor, which would normally make me nervous, but the owner of the studio taught our class and it was great. It really reminded me of classes that I remember, instead of just learning a routine, which makes me think of a rehearsal. So the talented Clemmy Ann ran us through a thirty minute warm up, then we worked on jazz pirouettes, then tap fundamentals. Having some structure was really great for everyone, and Clemmy Ann is a very passionate teacher.
What I think we really liked about the tap portion was that she would teach us a step and then we could add on, whereas our regular teacher just kind of teaches us a dance routine and peppers some instruction in there. This way we felt like we really learned something, instead of a combination where we don’t actually know any of the names of the moves.
And then Thursday came and I had BALLET!!
I loved ballet. Although it really wasn’t what I remembered… So let me clarify the last time I took a ballet class… I went to Indiana University for one year, prior to transferring to Purdue University, from where I would eventually graduate. Indiana has an amazing dance program (Violette Verdy, hello!) to go along with the rest of their incredible performing and fine arts programs. I mean, they even mention it in Center Stage so it has to be legit right!?
So the last time I took a ballet class (some, ahem, ten or so years ago), it was in a place that looked like this:
*actually, I couldn’t find a good picture so I found an actual video filmed in IU’s studios*
So that’s why I was a little taken aback when some people had to use chairs because there were only two portable barres, which did not have enough space for everyone.
*This our actual studio, with one of the portables. Source.*
Then I thought about it and realized I was being a little judgmental. The floor is fine, there are enough mirrors for people who want to use them (I avoid them, personally), and what does it matter anyway? I still think it’s weird that the “studio” is in front of an office incubator, but it will be fine for my first foray back into this crazy world. I know it’s mean to already be planning to switch studios, but maybe I’ll change my mind after the next seven weeks.
My reasons for choosing this studio in the first place were: 1. It has a summer class, 2. It has a true beginners class, 3. It’s for adults, 4. The owner is a friend of a friend. I’m wary of taking an adult open class because if I’m the only beginner I’ll get overwhelmed. Then frustrated. Then I’ll cry. So maybe I’ll take those classes after this. Or maybe I’ll just try to take privates somewhere. But the kind of education that I want may need to come from the actual ballet schools here. There are two that are home to actual companies. Hell, maybe I’ll just take class with the kids. But let’s get through the summer first!
Also, the title of the blog actually comes from Center Stage. The song “Canned Heat” from the final number was interpreted by my friend and I as “got candy in my heels tonight baby!” We are special.