Archive | April 2013

This is For Ms. Disney

For those who do not know, Ms. Disney is my best friend. She has watched my children since 2009. Next to me and my husband, Ms. Disney is my children’s primary care giver. She is kind, patient, silly and beautiful. Yes, Ms. Disney, you are beautiful. Sometimes I look at her and I wonder if she knows how beautiful she really is. Those blue eyes. So striking; and her smile. Very wide and sincere. Makes my heart sing to hear her laugh. I met her so many years ago and she was so innocent. She was fresh out of dental school and nearly married. Ms. Disney had a year of work under her belt and came to the abrupt realization that she may not be able to physically maintain a full-time dental hygienist job. Ms. Disney then found me and my family. I bless the day you took my phone call; and then took my follow-up phone call. Ever since, we have been best friends. We do fight like sisters. You don’t have any, but I know. I know what we do is totally natural. If I love someone, truly love someone, I am going to fight with them. Why? Because I am strong enough to be myself in front of them, and if so, I will eventually butt heads with them. We fight and then we make up. We learn and we grow. That is what me and Ms. Disney do; just like my sisters, my family and my husband. I hope she knows that. If not, she does now.

Ms. Disney has changed so much since I met her; she is so strong and confident now. Ms. Disney is exactly the person I knew she would become. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments. I love her husband and her family and I know that they will all continue to prosper for years to come.

ANYWHO (enough with the gushy stuff), I wanted to send a little “well wish” to Ms. Disney. Ms. Disney is training for a 1/2 marathon and is having trouble with her calf muscle. She has bought new shoes, switched up her training schedule and is still having pain when she runs. So, as a former runner, I am now coming to her (publicly) to announce my encouragement. Here it goes.

Ms. Disney: Running is no different from dance…..Well, in some respects. I started running when I was 19 years old. Before that – I did nothing athletically. I started working out because I felt fat. I felt fat because I went to a popular college and there was an abundance of blonde, skinny, young folk that attended there. I felt out-of-place; insecure. So, I decided to take control of my situation and get physically fit. I will never forget the first mile I ran (without stopping) on a treadmill. I was so proud of myself I couldn’t wait to tell my boyfriend (who is now my husband) my great accomplishment. I knew than that moment was monumental in my life. Scouts honor. I knew right then I would never forget running that mile and I never had. Fast forward 15 years and many, many more miles and I have run a full marathon and many 1/2 marathons. I can run up to six without pain or anxiety. Regardless of my training I can run. Why? Because I have been conditioned to run.

Why am I talking about this? Ms. Disney, I want you to understand that learning ballet is no different then learning how to run long distances. You have to train your body to sustain a movement for long periods at a time. This doesn’t happen over night. Your body needs to have the opportunity to build the muscle necessary to run long distances. This concept is similar in my desire to learn classical ballet – I am never going to have a perfect turn out (nor probably ever will) or ungodly flexibility without some patience and hard work! I need to keep practicing day-in and day-out, just like I did with running. Eventually, I will be the dancer I dream I can be. EVENTUALLY, Ms. Disney will be the runner she desires to be . “All good things come to those who wait.” Me and Ms. Disney are in a similar situation and never knew it. How cool is that.

This whole situation is really beneficial for my psyche in the end. I never realized that “running” was something I was actually good at and could help others to realize (and more importantly) it helped me put my progress in ballet into perspective. I need to be patient. I didn’t learn how to run 26 miles overnight, so why should I expect any different about ballet. More importantly. if I can learn to run 26 miles (which is not an easy task, mind you), than maybe I CAN become a good dancer someday. Maybe I can be confident to dance on a stage as much as I am confident to run on a road with other people in a 1/2 marathon. I just have to stick with my training and know that (eventually) everything will fall into place.

Ms. Disney – You will reach your goals. Take your time, listen to your body and you will not go wrong. If anything – LISTEN TO ME! I will never steer you wrong!!! Why?…..Because I love you and I believe in you.

Good night. 🙂

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Adventures in The Pursuit of Pointe

I went on an adventure on Friday. Even though I purchased a new pair of Gaynor Mindens on the Internet (I am still yet to receive) I still travelled to a store nearby Cleveland to make sure my decision was correct. What I found? Yes, it was the right decision. I tried on Grishkos 2007 and Proflex. The Proflex shoes were amazing. The problem? I knew I would break them in a month. Proflex has a softer shank that allows the arch to bend. Unfortunately, if you have a strong foot like mine this also means this “comfy” feeling will be short lived. I knew that if I spent the additional $85 for these shoes I would regret it almost immediately. I need Gaynors, period. I get the soft shank I desire, plus the durability I require. Huh, I should do a commercial!!

Don’t worry, I didn’t leave empty handed. I walked away with a new leotard, pair of tights (which had a snag when I put them on! Gerr) and two keychains. They are pink ballet slippers. One for me and one for my BFF, Ms. Disney . They are so cute and I could not walk away just with one. However, I probably should have gotten her a pair of running shoes instead. She is turning into quite the runner lately! I myself was an avid runner not too long ago and I am officially burned out! It became a chore and I no longer enjoyed my training. As for Ms. Disney, she is coming to realize why I ran for so long. It is quite the fulfilling past time. Good for Ms. Disney. Good for her!

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Here they are! Grishkos are a great shoe! So comfy and provides ample support.

Feeling Like a Tubby Ballerina

Yup. I said it. I’m feeling like a tubby ballerina today. Do you ever have those days when you look in the mirror and no matter how you angle yourself, you just look like you just consumed an entire spiral cut ham?! Ballet attire is so freaking unforgiving. Leotard, tights, shoes. There is no hiding the bloat when Mother Nature makes her monthly call. I can’t possibly be expected to dance beautifully when all I can see is my pooch staring at me in the mirror. It says “Hello LB! Remember me? You can’t ignore me. I’m proof that you had children. Aren’t I great! Look at me LB! Loooooook at meeeeee!” Haha! So sad. That’s how I think though.

To add insult to injury, I couldn’t turn to save my soul today. Don’t you just hate that too?! One day you are landing doubles like it was your job and the next you can barely getting around once! Poop. That’s all I can say. Poop.

Despite all of that, I still had a great lesson tonight. The pointe dance is so awesome. The General has been inspired and it shows. It takes me longer to pick up choreography, but I know I can do it. Even though I was feeling chubby, I was at least feeling inspired by the dance, like the General.

See? Tonight wasn’t all bad!!

Ummmmm.. Got Another Pair of Gaynors

Yeah – I did it. I bought another pair of Gaynors today. Why? Well, because I realized that I miss the feeling of a broken-in shank of a normal pointe shoe. Since Gaynors do not break down like other brands, the shank keep the same strength as it had when you first purchased it. I have found they do break down a little, but not nearly as much as other brands. So, if you bought a “hard” shank, it should always be hard. If you bought a “slightly worn” shank, it would remain “slightly worn”, and so on and so forth. I started with the “extra flex” strength. That is what most dancers purchase (unless you are a professional). That was way too hard for me. I hated it. Rolling through them was a real bitch. Then, I purchased a “supple” shank, which is supposed to mimic a “broken in” shank. Yeah, still a little stiff for me. I can roll through them well enough, but I still felt there was something missing from the shoe.

On a hunch, I tried on my old, broken-in Capezios. Ah-yes – Capezios. My first love. How I have missed you. I was playing around in them last night. Man, I forgot how it felt to be in a pair of extremely broken in pair of pointe shoes. So different than Gaynors. Not more comfortable necessarily, but my arches….they looked exquisite! I forgot would easy I can work the shoe; manipulate them to form to my feet and dance. I can feel the floor better too. However, my big toe gets some pain. I can sense a missing toe nail in my immediate future if I continue to dance in these shoes.

I had no intention of getting another pair of Capezios. Heck no! I’m a big girl now! I was thinking about getting a pair of Grishkos. I tried on a pair the last time I was at the store and I was impressed at how comfortable they were. Should I try the Grishkos? They will wear down, like I prefer. But the Gaynors have superior comfort quality. You can dance for hours and not have any pain. That’s important too. What to do, what to do.

I did what any sane woman would do – I talked to my BFF, Ms. Disney. I knew she would talk some sense into me, and lucky, she did. In so many words she reasoned: don’t stray from what works. Gaynors are the most comfortable and you haven’t gotten any injuries. If you try something new, like Grishkos, you may get a toe injury. If that happens you will be totally pissed especially since the recital is coming up in June. If you are dissatisfied with the Gaynor’s roll-through, get a softer shank. Besides, you are going to burn through a normal pair of pointe shoes in less than 2 months. That’s expensive and unnecessary.

Ms. Disney. She certainly knows her pointe shoe shit!

So, I took her advise and I got the Gaynors in a feather flex shank. It is supposed to have the “wearing out” feel. I will soon find out exactly what that means. If its not soft enough, there is one more softer shank I can try out. However, I doubt that it will be necessary. That shank (pianissimo) is intended for “professionals” and petite dancers who are strong enough and need more control over the shoe. Umm yeah – not me!

Fingers (and toes) crossed.

🙂

How to Find a Master??

I got a lot of great feedback regarding my recent master class. I have to say, all of my readers’ support (on top of my friends and family) give me the strength to put myself out there and try things like master classes. Admittedly, dancing with real professional ballerinas is more than just intimidating – it’s f***ing scawwweey! If you all didn’t keep pushing me on, I may have quit ages ago!….Well, maybe not “quit”, but you get the picture. “You complete me”. Ha! (Lame)

Anywho – a couple of my readers (specifically Bun Head at Heart and RO) insinuated that it was difficult, if not impossible, to find master classes in their area and wondered how I was able to discover such opportunities in mine. Well, I’m hoping to shed some light on the subject for those of you who are interested.

If there is anything I am good at, it’s finding opportunities and lending myself to them. I started finding out about these type of events from a ballet related non-profit organization called Ballet in Cleveland. From there, they post events from the larger ballet studios/schools in my area. So here is what I suggest: look it up in the Internet, yo!! The classes and/or events are there, you just have to look! Then, it’s a matter of getting the cojones to call or email and inquire about it. Lets face it, most of these ballet classes are not meant for adult beginners like myself. But then again, who gives a who-z-flunk-it! I realized fast in life that if you just ask, people will respond. Especially, if you are interested, eager, sincere, and have a checkbook! It is amazing how responsive and positive people are when they find out I am an adult beginner and want to learn classical ballet. Like my readers, family and friends, the energy I get from the ballet community is intoxicating! It makes me feel like I can do anything! And get this, once you are on the map, you will forever be on their radar and they will be on yours. Thank goodness for modern technology, most major schools and studios have Facebook pages and post every event they have! The contacts you make will create more connections and soon you will have your pick of classes!! As a result, you will always have your finger on the pulse of the ballet up and coming. And with that – Its time to seize the day, yo!!

Just put yourself out there people, the worse that can happen is that you get a “no”. Be brave and stay confident. You will never get what you want out of this short life if you just accept things for what they are. Boo. On. That. Go out and get it. Period. As the saying goes, “More often we regret those things which we do not do than those which we do.”

LB has spoken. Ha!!

Survived the Master

I survived another master class. This class was different than the last one I did with Alison Debona. The class size was significantly smaller, it was a tad more structured and the dancers were hell-a talented! Man, were they awesome. There was one woman who was so good at one point I walked up to her and said, “I just wanted to tell you, I think you are exquisite.” Ha! I’m Such a spaz. It turns out, she was a soloist for the Ohio Dance Company! Ah DAH – that’s why she is so freaking awesome! She is practically a professional ballerina! I have an autographed poster of her and I intend to frame it. So cool!!

Needless to say, most of the dancers made me look like a real beginner. Since the class size was so small, I had no where to hide. Although, Ms. Disney made the perfect hiding spot when I didn’t want people to look at me. I would just stand behind her and peek over her shoulder. I’m such a child sometimes!!

As for the class itself, it was fairly advanced. The barre work was long and complicated, but I was able to pick up (most of them) when we switched to the other side. Needless to say, I laughed at myself a lot! What else could I do?! When he was doing something out of my league, I just smiled and thought “What the hell? Here goes nothing!”

Center work was no different. I was able to do the first 4 well enough. The last two combinations were so advanced me and Ms. Disney had to respectfully out and let the professionals do their thing. It was a little embarrassing, but no more embarrassing then trying to accomplish the footwork I am no where near capable of. At one point I looked at Ms. Disney and she had her arms crossed and a concerned look on her face. I told her to put her arms down and smile. If you are going to choose to sit out, you better appear confident about your decision. Otherwise, you look intimidated and mad. There is no need for that, yo! For the record, Ms. Disney was not intimidated, We were just collectively feeling a little handi-quacked!

As soon as the class was over I ran over to Daniel and thanked him for tolerating my newbie-ness. He was so gracious and said I should never apologize for my desire to dance and remember, “You are dancing. Listen to the music and do what comes natural.” Alrighty then!

In the end, I did walk away with some tips at being a better dancer. A lot, actually. Daniel had a good tip about presenting your face. Sounds stupid but a dancer must use their body AND face when selling a performance. He said, “don’t lower your face to the crowd, but don’t lift your chin too high either. Your face (and chest) should be presented to the audience at all times. It adds the ‘wow’ factor to the performance the audience craves.” That’s a tip I can actually implement now! Sweet!

I had a great day and I’m so glad I mustered enough courage to go through with the class. Yeah me!

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Me and Daniel Ulbricht. I’m so cool!