First Class of 2015

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.

xoxo

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

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Somehow this doesn't seem right...

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?

xoxo

On a Cloud!

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Studio!

Friends, I’m here to tell you that my ballet teacher told me tonight that I had beautiful control in my jumps and that it looked like I was landing on a cloud! Can you believe it?!

She came over to me after class and started with, “I didn’t want to call you out in front of everyone, but…” and I’m not going to lie, I was praying for a compliment! And I definitely got one!! Like for serious. I’ve never given my jumps a second thought, other than wanting them higher or my legs straighter amiright? But that was such a beautiful thing to say.

I’ve been loving ballet. I wish it was more often. Like 100 times a week. Not that I can even go that many times. But I would love love love a weekend afternoon class. We’ve also switched to just tap instead of tap and jazz and that’s been fantastic too.

Just great dancing all around. So stay tuned for more!

xoxo

Candy in My Heels

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*My formerly squeaky clean slippers! Although since they are leather they are still actually squeaky…*

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.

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*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!

xoxo

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.

Recharging Batteries

Let’s just jump into this like I’ve posted in the last six months…

I got home from a wonderful vacation yesterday and have spent today relaxing and recharging. I got an email reminder from my calendar that I have to work in the morning and I almost threw up in my mouth. Not from disliking work, but my coworkers and I have agreed that the longer you are away, the harder it is to come back. I think that goes for a lot of things, which for me includes working out. I resisted returning to running for months because I knew how out of shape I would be. I put off returning to dance because I’m overweight and not nearly as flexible as I used to be. I’m terrified going back to work after being off for greater than seven days because I know I will be off my game.

It’s hard to organize your day if it doesn’t start off perfectly. And having a day start off perfectly in the ICU is definitely a rarity. Even if it’s your third day with the same patients, getting report from the same nurse, there’s always something that can go wrong or throw you off kilter. And for a lot of my friends and I, it’s typically happening to us! We just have that gift I guess.

But if I’ve learned anything from my bumps and tumbles, it’s that I’ve gotten better at rolling with the punches. I’m not the best, but I’m getting better. My biggest problem is that I feel I need to control everything, and let’s be real, that shit is not attainable.

It’s with this mindset that I am finally, after many, many years, returning to the world of dance. I can’t control everything. I know I’m going to look and feel like an idiot for many classes. I KNOW that I do not have the strength or flexibility that I had ten, fifteen years ago. BUT, and here’s the big one, I WANT TO DO IT. I LOVE ballet. I love watching it, I love reading about it, I love pretending I can do it in my head. And if I think about it that much, I would be stupid to not pursue it, right? Right. …I think.

My first step was getting a group of friends together for a more informal dance class, and it has been an absolute hit so far. We do jazz and tap for an hour once a week, and it is so much fun. Not a lot of girls in the class have dance experience, so it’s very informal and we are all there just to have a good time. Good times aside, while I was organizing this class, in the back of my mind was, “man I want to do ballet…” And I could not rid myself of that nagging thought. So now I’m at a point where I feel comfortable enough to take that leap into ballet class, and I even managed to talk a couple of other people into it with me, so at least I won’t be alone!

My first class is this week, but it has been an excruciating wait! I’m not sure what to expect from this studio (it’s different than my tap/jazz studio), but I’m heading into this experience with an open mind and my head held high. I’ve drawn quite a bit of inspiration from some other adult ballet students in the blogosphere, and I’ll list them here as my closing sentiments. I bid you adieu, and hope that with more activity and less control, I’ll inspire myself to post updates regularly.

xoxo

Adult Ballet Bloggers!

The Adult Beginner
The Remedial Ballerina
Pointe Til You Drop
Ballerinas by Night (this is their YouTube channel, but the Facebook page has updates as well!)

Other!

Ballet Shoes and Bobby Pins