Curtain Up

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In case you don’t watch PBS (or whatever your region calls it), they have a great series called Live from Lincoln Center. Since PBS is SO AWESOME, they also have everything available online. For free. For basically ever.

One of the more recent episodes was all about the School of American Ballet Student Workshop. When I saw the words “School of American Ballet” in my listings I almost peed from excitement then and there. Needless to say, I’m a Balanchine fan. But having never seen NYCB live (or even all the way through on video), I knew that this would be the closest I would get while sitting on my couch.

With my DVR set to record, I anxiously awaited the morning that the title would appear in my List. Settling down with my coffee, I devoured this program. To my surprise, the first number performed was Tchaikovsky’s Serenade, choreographed by Mr. B. Which, is my absolute favorite*. The moment I hear the opening chords, I get chills and have to stop what I’m doing to find out where it’s coming from. THIS. PIECE. IS. PERFECTION. The music, the costumes, the steps, OH ITS SO GOOD. And yes, I’m yelling it at you.

(*I assume that it would be my favorite if I ever saw it in real life. But either way I’m obsessed with it.)

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|Serenade!|

Next up is sections from Coppelia, Swan Lake, and one of the movements from Western Symphony. All equally excellent (and choreographed by Balanchine), especially the excerpt from Swan Lake, because the part with Odette and the Cygnets is what’s up. But I was so blown away by Serenade in its entirety, that I have since watched the whole program at least five times. At least.

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|Swan Lake!|

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|Western Symphony!|
[source for all three dance stills]

These kids, because they are actually kids, are phenomenal athletes and artists. Do they need a little bit more depth in their emotion? Sure. Could they use a few years in the corps to refine? Yeah, why not. But they look and act like professionals, which is amazing to me.

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|Rehearsal for Western, which literally looks like The Most fun.|
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Just for you, I dug up the link to watch this online. You’ll find it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Or hell, even half as much would probably be an appropriate amount. Even if you don’t love Balanchine, having a FREE 60 minute plus video of professional caliber performance is worth your time.

xoxo

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

Weeks Two and Three

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Super flattering selfie outside of tap class. Got my sugar and caffeine to make it through.

Alright. So there’s plenty of updates to be posted so let’s get to it.

Monday 12/8: Nada. Migraine = no soup for you.
Tuesday 12/9: Same.
Wednesday 12/10: Ballet, 1 hour.
Thursday 12/11: Ballet, about 30 minutes.
Friday 12/12: Barre, about 35 minutes. Can’t really count our ballet recital, because we only did the dance once (it’s like a 2 minute song) and I only marginally warmed up before hand.
Saturday 12/13 and Sunday 12/14: Nothin’. Fail.
Monday 12/15: Tap, 1 hour.
Tuesday 12/16: T25 Cardio, 25 minutes.
Wednesday 12/17: Yoga, 15 minutes.
Thursday 12/18: T25 Speed 1.0, 25 minutes.
Friday 12/19: Nope. I was sore and lazy.
Saturday 12/20: David Howard Ballet for Beginners DVD, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. I’m not really sure. You have to rewind most of the sections to do the other side and I also had to do it in two parts. Some of those sections are hard. The frappé, I’m not great at anyway, and I smashed my left big toe straight into the ground. The glissade and assemblé section, very fast. And I’ve already discussed how my body was not made for petit allegro. Give me adagio and grand allegro any day kgreatthanks.

So like I said before I probably won’t hit 40, but I’m super pumped about how much I’ve actually done. And this will be a good way to stay in dancing shape until we get back to class.

Later taters!

xoxo

I’m Behind, but it’s OK

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.

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Hey frands!

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.

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Look! I'm kind of turned out!

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Just ignore the back of this dude's head, okay?

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.

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He brought me flowers! Like a real recital!

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Mmmmhhmmmmm

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.

xoxo

Phew

Our recital costumes came in last week. Cool right? Except that the top of my leotard wasn’t covering, oh, the top third of my bra. No bueno. So I immediately go into panic mode: searching for long sleeve nude leos, camisole nude leos (that will actually fit), nude sports bras, dance bras (that will actually cover my bra requiring area, do you see the trend yet?), breast reduction, etc., etc. Then I remember that my mom’s neighbor is a seamstress, so I hit them up for some help.

I had found some diy stuff but was unwilling to cut my already paid for costume that I would undoubtedly ruin and still need to wear, so I sought the help of a professional. She basically did this, but at the seam of the leo, because of course it’s blue velvet and white lycra, thus increasing my chances of ruining it. It is so much better!!! And I will hopefully not be suffering any wardrobe malfunctions, at least not for that reason.

It is ridiculously difficult to find dancewear for a large bust. I’m not saying I’m not large in other areas too, but this is my most difficult body section to fit. Discount dance has about three plus size leotards, and they’re all the same. I wish I could wear the cool and beautiful leotards that normal people wear. Le sigh.

More recital news to come! Plus possibly pictures!

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

It’s coming. It’s coming. It’s coming.

Season two of city.ballet!

Please believe I consumed all of season one in one sitting. Not difficult. Each episode is like six minutes long. But it’s a behind the scenes look at the New York City Ballet (aka, City Ballet, duh) dancers. Season one goes through the ranks and then has special focus on Swan Lake and other features. I devoured this. I’ve never seen a high profile ballet company perform live, but I’m obsessed with City Ballet. More Balanchine is always a good thing. And I especially loved Strictly Ballet, which followed students at the School of American Ballet, the school that feeds into NYCB.

Man, if I had known that ballet could be a job when I was younger I wonder if things would have turned out differently. Would I have quit? Why did I quit? I know I was more interested in gymnastics for a while but still… Anyway, woulda shoulda couldas will eat me up so let’s move on.

I first became interested in City Ballet when I started reading dancer biographies. Allegra Kent and Gelsey Kirkland were the first two I picked up. I had just discovered I could order used books on Amazon for like 10 cents, so my collection expanded rather quickly.

Anyway. I’m pumped for more ballet behind the scenes. Especially if I can watch Sara Mearns do her hair some more. I swear she’s magic.

xoxo

Workin’ for the Weekend

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Heyyyyyy Misty

Yay! Class was much better on Thursday. Not perfect, but much better. Tried to do a couple of doubles during pirouettes, but I was seized by an irrational fear that someone would see me. Yeah I know, someone might see me? In a class that I take where I dance around? I said it was irrational. Anyway, they didn’t happen. Maybe next week.

I also have this other irrational fear when I’m the only person in a public bathroom, I am convinced it’s a men’s room. Don’t ask me why. Like I said, irrational.

Ankle has been fine. It hurts when I come home from work, but after 13 hours on my feet what doesn’t hurt? Exactly. I ran once this week. I might venture out tomorrow. Maybe not. I’ve been doing more yoga (in my new “studio”) and I contribute my lack of leg pain and better sleep with that habit. Kind of a good habit to pick up if those are the side effects I would think…

Joel is gearing up for the Iron Horse Half Marathon in a couple of weeks, which you may remember I completed last year. It’s a tough course but he has been training much more consistently than I had. I’m sure that he will do GREAT! I, however, have zero desire to run 13 miles anytime in the near future. I would much rather go to my little dance classes, thank you very much.

Speaking of which, why do I keep looking at these tap shoes that cost >$200?? I take one hour of class a week!! What kind of tapping do I think I’m going to be doing with these badass tap shoes!? Delusional, I tell you. Delusional.

Maybe if I just channeled Sutton…

xoxo

Sometimes You’re Off

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Sometimes your cat sleeps like it's dead...

Class on Friday was not that great. I kept forgetting what we were doing at the barre, and then I could barely do any of the jump or center combinations correctly. I blame it on having a pretty rough work week the three days before class. Have you ever been work hung over? Because I definitely have. And the struggle is real.

I tried not to get discouraged. At least I didn’t fall or anything. It was just very difficult for my brain to connect with my body. For example we were doing a combination that went from an arabesque, to fondue, followed by pas de bourée to transition to the other side. In my mind I know that pas de bourée goes, “back, side, front” but for the life of me I could not execute those steps in that order. I was literally all over the place. At the end of class I expressed my luckiness that there were only two of us so that more people didn’t have to witness my shambles. My teacher told me not to get discouraged as well, and that people have “off” classes all the time. I guess it’s like a bad run. You just have to push through and hope the next one is better.

In other news, the weather has been marvelous lately, which means my sinuses are awful since I’ve been out in it. So now I’m off to buy more decongestant, get an allergy shot, and possibly go for a run.

xoxo

Yes?

Can someone tell me how to do this many pirouettes? Because she does like a million…
http://youtu.be/ZRnZjTvMaT4

Class went well today. We could all tell that we were tired and our bodies were not used to two classes in two days. But I could imagine how much better we would get if we did have two classes a week. I might even be able to nail some doubles or get a more respectable height in my arabesque. Hey, I can dream right?

xoxo

Improvement

Just a quick update, I wore my goofy brace thing to ballet and my ankle didn’t hurt! It was a little sore in the beginning but no acute pain like before. I did skip a run today though since I was extra worried about it.

I love that we are at a point in our class where we can actually dance a little bit in our combinations. We do this little bourée, pique, arabesque then windmill arm thing that is magic. I like slow stuff because I’m fat and my body wasn’t built for petite allegro. Grand allegro on the other hand is my jam. I will grand jete right into next Tuesday.

xoxo

Oh Shoot it Hurts

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Beautiful flowers from a country wedding this weekend

So a few ballet classes ago I was coming down from a grande jete and my left ankle kind of twinged. I don’t know if I landed on it won’t or what because I didn’t feel any kind of pop or twist. But it was fine the next day. Then when I came to class next week I did it again, on the first grande jete, same pain, no other injury or anything. But this second time it didn’t get better the next day, in fact it was sore all week and hasn’t stopped being sore. Sometimes it feels okay but I can’t quite pin point what’s wrong. Ibuprofen and ice helps. Braces and compression help sometimes. But I keep running on it so I’m sure that’s not helping. Womp womp. No ballet this past week so maybe it will be better for our double classes this coming week.

Tap started again! That definitely hurt when I got home. But it was good times. All kinds of dance this week.

I figured out how I can enjoy running! I put on headphones, jam to my music, and don’t give a shit about how fast I’m running. Did wonders for my psyche. Plus I just kind of danced around for an hour. Yipee!

xoxo

Looking Up

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Rough 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.

xoxo

Let’s Hit the Barre

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:

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Hey there, dinner

Joel put together this:

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Woo hoo! Ballet in the dining room!

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.

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Half inside out, waiting for strings to be taped down

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And now I'll remember my size

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.

xoxo