Turn Out That Turn Out!!

Summer session has officially begun and while the class was good overall one thing pestered me the entire class – my freaking turn out. Now, some people have told me that my turn out is fine, even heard the word “good” flung around once or twice. Regardless of the intermittent compliments, I still loathe my turn out.

To be fair – my turn out devant is pretty good. But any tendu executed en ar·rière (aka to the back) is just horse shit. There I said it. My tentus en ar·rière look like complete horse shit! Call it a freaking curse. I watch the other students in class and it amazes me how even the most novel student can execute the step without wincing in embarrassment. Then there is my sorry ass. What in the hell is the deal, yo?!?! I stretch (mind you not as often in the beginning but at least 4 times a week) and have tailored my weekly workouts to focus entirely on my lower body and here I am. A sad-sack of a ballerina who can barely tendu like a lady!!

Question: Is LB a quitter? Does LB shy away from a challenge and acquiesce to defeat before even attempting to overcome the adversity that befalls her?!?!

Answer: Ahhh dahhhhhh. No!! [Who is that lady? She sounds terrible. Maybe a hug will help? Or a Xanex?]

Just for the record, LB is a maniacal (and often hilarious) beast whose sole purpose in life is to show her peers, nay, the world, that she cannot be stopped. She won’t be stopped. Because you cannot stop this force of a woman from pursing the impossible!!!

…Ok. I’ll stop being so dramatic and talking in the third person. That’s just c(w)eepy. (Says my son)

Anywho. Dramatics aside, I do want to attempt and make my ever-so-blah-turn-out better. It would make me happy to see improvement in this area. I challenged myself to achieve the splits – what the hell?! Right?!

So in my research I found an article by The Ballet Blog which provides a little insight in how to achieve your ultimate turn out. Warning: The stretches are crazy. Forget the butterfly – these yoga inspired poses will kick the crap out you in seconds!! I am going to work these stretches into my routine and hope I see some results. I’m tired of having a crappy turn out!!! I’m tired, I say!!!

If you have any suggestions or links, you just send them on my way! I need all the help I can get!

Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Listen ladies (and gents) – I am a strong proponent of stretching and when a good video comes my way I feel compelled to let my loyal readers know. The following video is from the incomparable, undeniable Goddess of Dance – Allison DeBona. I have taken a couple of her master classes and actually have driven her in my lowly Nissan Pathfinder. (I’m more like a Legal Chauffeur. Ha!). She is exquisite and a true professional. When she speaks, I listen.

So ladies, listen to Allison’s magical wisdom of stretching, compliments of the YouTube.

Enjoy.

Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Fouetté, Double Pirouette… Really?!?!

This is not a joke, a test or a fluke. This really happened. I actually did a fouetté, double pirouette. And this is something I have never done before, or let alone attempted until recently.

I am not sure what came over me. It was my last class before summer break and we were working on out normal pirouette combination. And while the instructor was helping a couple students with their technique I decided to independently give a fouetté a whirl. I prepped and executed the elusive turn. As I completed the revolution, I felt my body longing to turn in passé
once more. I thought, “Hell, I’m here let’s see if I can hold this position without falling over.” My body completed a single pirouette. Not bad! Then I felt my body working towards another swirl. And wouldn’t you know it – I did another turn! And there you have it! A fouetté, double pirouette! Boom.

Just to be sure my accomplishment wasn’t a complete fluke, I attempted the fantastical feat again. And there it was. I did it again. I wasn’t struggling or dancing outside my comfort zone. The movement felt very natural. It was wonderful.

So, in case you are wondering, what felt different than before? My supporting leg felt sturdy. I have been forced to take a step back from my multitude of classes and focus on proper technique (slowly) and as a result, my body is physically responsive to turning. It’s amazing. Plus, I am more relaxed than before. And I’m having loads of fun. My face can’t stop smiling. Even when I make a silly mistake.

So even though I don’t have a recital to blog about, at least I have something to be proud of. Turning is tough and when the movement becomes less daunting you just want to shout it to the world!

🙂

Doubles. Clean Doubles.

Yes. Yes. I know. I’ve been a little vacant lately. I’m a busy, little lady. Kids. Work. Husband. Parents. In-laws. Illnesses. It’s enough to drive a sane woman cray-cray. Or just crazy. Depending on your mood.

I was inspired to post because this evening’s class was very eventful. In many different ways.

The bad news – I started feeling an aching pain in my left calf. Did I injure my calf? No. My lower back injury had been officially aggravated. Oh yes. I know the difference. My back is “junk” (as my good friend describes a chronic injury) and that, is that. I was feeling pretty shitty about it in the beginning of class. Just a little (constant) reminder that my body isn’t what my desire wants anymore. I don’t recover from injuries overnight. Sprains are not fleeting. I have to wait for my body to decide to do what is wants to do. And it’s depressing.

But then the “good” happened.

I landed (consistently, mind you) clean double pirouettes during class tonight. For all of you real ballet enthusiasts, you know what a “clean double” means and for those who don’t, it means staying in passé en releve until the movement has been completed. It sounds easy, but it isn’t. When you cannot do a single cleanly, you fall out of the passé too soon. Same with the double. Or even a triple! (Dream on LB). Regardless, when you do a clean single or double? You know it. It feels different. Yes. It feels….exquisite. Perfect. Beautiful. It just feels right.

So guess what? I did a lot of clean doubles tonight. Albeit they were mainly on my left, but they were clean. So clean that my normally rigid instructor said that the class had a good turn night. And when I was performing my left doubles, everyone was watching. I knew it. And I didn’t falter. Booooooom. If made me so happy. Regardless of my aching lower back, I felt accomplished.

It was a good day.

And that is the end of my post. 😘

Summer 2014 Ballet!

So I just saw the summer schedule for my studio and I’m happy to announce that there are two teen/adult classes offered! I am so very excited. My instructor did say she was going to put a word in for me about adding a class, but I didn’t think it was actually going to materialize! So from June to August I will be ballet-ing two times a week with a curriculum that will actually help me progress. I am excited and actually touched the studio wanted to help accommodate my needs, even if not just mine but other students who desire the extra classes! (Boom).

An important side note, I have been continuing to progress despite the lightened schedule. It seems that stress was my biggest inhibitor after all. It also doesn’t hurt that I have been working out like a maniac for the last two months. I have serious muscle again, not to mention that I can jump like a squirrel on steroids. (Well, kind of.). All thanks to good old plyometrics!

So what are my ballet goals? Honestly, I am still struggling to figure out how to get a decent grand battlement. I am strong and relatively flexible, but my leg will not extend much past 90 degrees in first position. Then I see younger, weaker girls who just put it up there with no problem. What in the hell am I missing?!?! My theory – I am utilizing the wrong muscles when I extend. I focus on my hamstrings and not on my butt and feet to help lift the foot into the air. So how do I practice this? Anyone have any suggestions on improving this or should I be resolved to defeat?

Hmmmm. I guess only time will tell. 😉

Disney Vacation Part 2

I have not been ballet-ing. Nope. No ballet for at least 7 days.

What I have done was vacation with my family. It was wonderful. Fun. Sun. Tanning these buns. A much needed escape from my everyday life and responsibilities. I was so far removed while in Florida I didn’t even take an impromptu “ballet pic”. Sorry. I just didn’t feel the need. However, there was a en pointe moment or two. I have to be true to myself!

Attached are some pictures of me and my family on our much needed vacation. Hope you all are doing well.

This is me and Thor. He was there, I was there. We decided to take a humble pic. Ha!

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This is me getting (happily) attacked by a gator. Any questions? I think not.

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This is my family at Animal Kingdom. Note the unhappy daughter. Yes, it was an eventful day, but she is my mini-me. Love her!!

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Kids at the pool. This is all that really matters to them.

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And finally we have Magic Kingdom. I never thought I would love this place, but I do. I had an amazing time. Love these folk. (Not pictured my mother-in-law, Kathy, and father-in-law, Tony. Wouldn’t not be Disney without them). 😘

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Plyometrics + Ballet = Bliss

Hello dear readers. I hope all is well with all of you. I am doing great!! So many things to talk about. I know – “LB? What’s the haps, yo?! Have you quit ballet? Quit blogging? What’s the deal?” (In my head, everyone is under 25 and uses trendy lingo in his/her everyday conversations. Using words like “haps” and “yo” is totally the norm. In fact “totes” is often used, but I don’t want to scare you off with all my “cool” talk.)

Anywho – I have been here. Ballet-ting, working out and (the not so fun part) dieting. Yes dieting. Sweet Baby Jesus do I hate dieting. But the outcome is always worth it. I am actually on a “Weight Watchers” type of program. I down loaded an app that provides me with “points” and tracks the foods I eat. At my height, weight and age, I do not get many points. [Insert frowny-clown-face here.]. This diet is not always easy. I get hungry, but there are foods that don’t count as points (fruits and veggies), I literally munch on baby carrots between delicious meals of protein shakes, eggs with stir fried vegetables and hot sauce, ground turkey (turkey chili, shell-less tacos), fish and more and more and more vegetables! Mmmmmm. Are you salivating yet?! (The sad thing is, I am. Ha!). I also eat rice and raw oatmeal, but I limit my intake and I measure everything. I also eat spaghetti once a week because life isn’t worth living without noodles. So that is my diet. Pretty simple and sometimes boring, but it gets the job done. Oh yeah, and I no longer drink at all during the week. No more glass of Shiraz before bed for this fitness buff! Boring. [Insert frowny-faced-hobo here.]. It really isn’t that bad, but man do I miss fast food. I have abstained from crappy food for so long that I was even yearning for a cartoon (yes, cartoon) hamburger that I saw on the show “Bobs Burgers” the other night. Awesome show. Awesome food. Yes, I’m hungry. Enough said.

With the dieting, comes the exercise. I decided that since I am not in so many ballet classes, I might as well use the time wisely and get my ass in fighting shape. And I mean fighting shape. I want to successfully wrestle a giraffe to the ground with my bare hands. (Anyone? Answer: Step Brothers. Boom.). Honestly, I have wussed out with my workouts for long enough and I need to get my fitness-body back. Beautiful, brainy and brawny. That’s what a real woman is made of! Ha!

My plan of attack? Plyometric training. I created an intense circuit that is a combination of upper body weight training. and plyometric exercises. It takes 45 minutes to complete the entire circuit and by the time I’m done, I am toast. (Mmmmm. Toast. With jelly. *drool.). No breaks, no stopping, no excuses. I’m such a glutton for punishment. I have been at this program for one month and I am finally acclimated to it. I’m actually at the point where I can add one more circuit of exercises (I currently have 3 circuits, each has 4 different exercises and I do 4 sets of each). I’m seeing progress and I am finally leaning out and getting cut. I have a little more to go and I am confident to reach my goal by next month. I’m going to Disney and I want to look good. So what if it’s a place for kids! I want to be the most fit mama there!

Now with this program of dieting and exercises, you need to be patient. Remember folks – slow and steady wins the race. Stick to your diet, even if you don’t see the scale go down immediately or you reach a weight loss plateau. You need to keep plugging away at the training, no matter how tired or hung over you are (aka last Sunday – I had to make up for lost time!). In the end, you will see results and you will be so proud at yourself from setting, sticking with (and hopefully) meeting your goals! LB has spoken!

As for ballet, clearly my training has helped my progress. But the best part, I am feeling so confident in class now. My feet actually do I want them to. I thought the connection between my feet and brain would never happen. I am doing combinations with ease and have actually picked up my pace. It feels wonderful! My instructor, who still has us work on single pirouettes, asked me to start working on my doubles! Yeah! She thinks I’m ready for doubles!! (Ha!).

I need more practice and my instructor want me to take more classes. The problem is, in not ready (for her standards) to move up. That’s fine, I just have to find somewhere else to practice. And I did. There is a studio nearby that just opened up, and low and behold, they have an adult ballet class on Saturday afternoons! There is just one thing – the class is very, very beginner. I am not a beginner. However, this really isn’t a problem because only goal is to work on my alignment and improve basic technique. The teacher is spunky and has a youthful perspective on ballet. It’s quite refreshing. She makes me laugh and I have fun working on the combinations I learn at the other studio. The other day we were working on jetes. Well, the beginners were just running and then hoping over a stuffed alligator. Nope, the days of aimlessly leaping over children’s play thugs are over for me! I asked the instructor if I could work on my jete combination instead. Of course I can! The moto is “free you body and let your soul free with dance” here! When it was my turn, I tombe pada bourre glissade jete-ed across the floor (repeat 3 times!). I’m actually able to control them now. (Boom). When I was done, the women in my class liked it so much they wanted to do it too! I was happy to inspire the group. It is kind of weird being the best in the class. That’s a real first. Mind you, there are only two other students in the class, but I will happily take the title anyway! LB has no shame!

I am having fun with ballet again. I missed that feeling and I was without it for so long. No more stress. No more pressure to perform. Just a regimented, predictable, professional classical ballet technique class. Add awesome workouts at the gym and getting fit to that and that is what I call “pure bliss”, my friends. Pure bliss

I hope you are all doing well. I would love to hear from you so give me a shout!!

Kisses. LB

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