I two things happened this weekend that helped me realize that I needed to change-up my practice routine.
(1) My husbands good friend, who is also a physical therapist by trade, came over my house on Friday to hang out for a bit. As usual, I complained to him about my darn left hamstring that just won’t heal. So I cried like a baby to him about “how it hurts” and “the leg is still not as flexible” and wah wah wahhhhh (I want my bottle!). He was asking me all sorts of questions and giving me advise, but one suggestion was to focus strengthening my hamstring more. I said, “But my legs are stronger than ever! I don’t need to work on this. How could it help?” What I was really saying was, “BUT I DON’T WANT TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE ON MY WORK-OUT ROUTINE!” I already practice ballet and pointe 5 days a week, do cardio one day a week and stretch 6 days a week, what more do you want from this old lady?! He explained that the ligament will never heal if the muscles that surround it do not get stronger (and some science stuff, blah blah blah). I said, “FINE! I’ll do it.” but in the back of my head I was saying, “I probably won’t do it.”
(2) I am sure you have seen my more recent post where I complain about having class away from the barre. I was so intimidated after the first class, I almost cried (almost). Since my post, I have gotten some really good words of encouragement from blog followers who helped me put the opportunity of being away from the barre into perspective. As they pointed out, the purpose of practicing away from the barre is to help you realize (among other things) how strong your alignment is. Well, now I know that I am completely reliant on the barre. I admit, I often have the barre in a vice grip when I do certain movements. Bad legal ballerina, bad!
So, yesterday, while contemplating whether to do cardio or ballet for an hour, I decided to do neither. I worked on core and hamstring strength instead. I will just have to find time to incorporate this into my regular practice routine from now on. As my friend said, if I want my hamstring to heal properly, I need to strengthen it. Period. And if I ever want to become a good dancer, I need to stop using the barre as a crutch.
I suppose it is moments like these where you have insight on your flaws and have tools to overcome them is where we actually start seeing major improvements in your dancing. At least, I hope it does.
The General has had us away from the bar doing every exercise and I am feeling a little intimidated. I just can’t help it. I am nowhere near the level I need to be to be away from the bar comfortably. I fell upon this video and it makes me fearful of my future. I don’t know if I will ever be as good as these ladies (and gentlemen), I know they have much more experience than I do, but if I ever get close to this level I will feel extremely accomplished.
Check it out.
I randomly put a search into google: “learn ballet 30” and this was the first thing that came up. http://adultbegballet.livejournal.com/
Give these people a shout out. Us newbies need encouragement. Ya feel me?!
This is me and my BFF and fellow dancer,Ms. Disney….Well, in my mind. I love you Ms. Disney!
(Note – I tried to reblog this from another blog, but it wouldn’t let me. Shout out to CuriousityKilledTheGirl)
This morning I got more presents, but this time from my BFF, fellow adult ballerina and blogger, “Tutus & Mickey Ears” (or Ms. Disney, for short). Ms. Disney got me something to help me engage in my two favorite pass times: (1) Drinking wine and (2) Practicing ballet. She got me two LARGE bottles of my favorite wine, which should last me the weekend (“No body knows! How dry I am! Hiccup!”) and the most exquisite leotard. I cannot wait to sport that sucker in class tonight. Whoot Whoot!
Yesterday I got another ballet inspired gift from my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law. Can you tell what it says in the picture below?
My husband has also planned another gift for me that is yet to arrive: He is going to build a dance studio in our finished basement! He and a friend will begin the process within the next couple of weeks. I cannot wait to practice my shanays without fear of running into a light fixture or counter top. I will post some pictures once the studio is complete. Yeah!
What is so funny about this birthday is that all of the gifts I have gotten (which the exception of gift cards) have all been ballet inspired. It makes me feel good that the people who care about me support my dream of pursuing ballet and actually want to contribute to it by providing me with tickets to shows, leotards or even foot cream! I have the best family and friends. I am so very lucky.
Great gifts Ms. Disney. Great gift dad. Super-duper-big smilie faces for me!
Well, tonight was my first day back in ballet class and I am happy to report there was no blood or tears shed. We practiced away from the bar, but unlike last week, I was prepared and I allowed myself to relax and accept my mistakes with open arms. That was my theme this evening – “Relax and do not be afraid to fail. These girls have been taking classes for years and I cannot be ashamed to struggle in front of them. If you keep working, you will improve. You can do this; do not doubt yourself.” While some of my shanay turns were a little shaky, all in all I was happy. I don’t know if the General noticed my attitude, but I think it may have shown a little. I made a great deal of effort to keep my shoulders and arms relaxed. I wanted to be pretty; I wanted to allow myself to just dance. I will try to keep this frame of mind as the weeks progress.
Honestly, I want to earn any spot that the General gives me in the spring recital. I don’t want to be in a performance just because I am in a particular class or doesn’t want to “hurt my feelings”. I am in class to learn; I am still just a budding student. If she puts me in something she is not confident me in accomplishing I will just become a source of stress in her life. Who wants that?! So if she doesn’t think I am ready I will respect her decision. [Do you hear me GENERAL! I am talking to YOU! :)]
We did a lot of stretching and kicks tonight. I am happy to stretch, but kicks (in first) are not my favorite. They have a long way to go, but I try to remember that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither was the Legal Ballerina. Shit, it took me 13 years to become a true lawyer: 4 years of college, 4 years of law school, 5 years of training on the job. If I can do that, I can do anything.
So – it was a good day. Yup. Big old smilie faces for me!