Archive | June 2013

Interested Ballet Beginner

Well hello y’all!

I recently received an email from a fellow ballet blogger and/or reader and I thought I would post my response. I just think it is super neat-o that there are actually people out there who read my blog, and then to top it all off, want my advise. Super-de-duper people!

An interested ballet beginner writes:

Hello! Your blog is very interesting and I truly enjoy reading it. I haven’t gone thru the whole archives yet but I would like to know how many years of training you had before you danced on pointe? I’m about your age and recently started weekly beginner adult ballet classes. How many classes per week did you take until your teacher approved for you for pointe?

Thank you!

My (awesome) response:

Hello interested blog reader!

I actually went en pointe a year after I started taking ballet classes. The only reasons why this occurred is because: (1) my teacher is extremely progressive and wasn’t opposed to putting a dancer en pointe before having years of training. Every teacher is different on this issue. However, I have noticed that adult beginners have more opportunity to go en pointe earlier because of the fact we are older and our bodies have stopped growing. That means less chance of injuries. Yes, going en pointe can be risky, but you are not walking a tight rope. If you are physically unable, you will know it. No big deal. (2) I am physically able! I am strong (years of running and weight training) and my feet are naturally flexible. I never realized how arched my foot was until I started dancing and saw other girls en pointe. So I do, surprisingly, have some natural ability.

So, there you have it. I hope this helps.

So for all of you adult beginner ballerinas out there – don’t fret. You will advance to pointe some time in your ballet career. Going en pointe really is possible for all of us. It doesn’t matter how hold you are, what your body type is, how talented you are or how long you have taken classes! Keep the faith and your dream will come true!!

πŸ™‚

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Ballet Technique Class – How I Have Missed Thee!

This post is going to be short and sweet.

Attention all blog readers: I have missed ballet technique class immensely. We had class last night and may I say – I am in ballerina heaven! We worked at the barre people! It has been months since we have done so. I didn’t realize how much I have missed learning at the barre until we were allowed to go back to it!

Here is the kicker – I feel more confident now! I am not an adult beginner anymore – I have (some) skills! I can work on the fine details of my technique. Like my arm and feet positioning. Last year this time, I could not do a right pirouette at the barre. This year? Forget about it! I am doing it, yo!!! My feet are stronger; my legs are stronger; I am not struggling to remember the combinations. Dare I say, I am really morphing into a real dancer???!!!! I felt so happy and free last night. I am so happy I never gave up on myself. :).

Ahhhhh – cloud nine is where I am. Feels good. It really does.

πŸ™‚

And Then It Was Done

Well, I did it. I performed my first real recital for the General’s studio. “How did it go?” You may ask? Well, better then expected.

The first number was our pointe dance. I loved this dance, but is was challenging. My biggest worry was falling, but that fear quickly dissipated when I learned that the floor was not at all slippery. Then was the secondary fears – forgetting choreography and failing to perform. It seemed that I forgot some step in every dance I was in. I would get so wrapped up in trying to remember what the next move was, I inevitably forget something because I was just thinking too much about it. Make any sense??

Then there was the performance aspect. I just wanted to dance, feel the music and show the audience that this isn’t just steps in sequence, it’s art. This was probably the most challenging aspect of them all.

I practiced feverishly behind the curtain while the audience took their seats. I thought to myself, “I can’t forget my choreography. I just can’t!” We took our places on stage and my heart started to race. The curtain went up and the lights shone on us – “Well, here goes nothing.” Everything started out smoothly. Then, it happened. You guessed it, I forgot my choreography. I totally biffed my arabesque. My reaction? I smiled widely (even though we weren’t supposed to) and just kept going. No one is going to stop this ballet train!

The dance was over and I walked into the wing. At that point, all I wanted to do was melt into the floor, but I couldn’t. I had two more dances to perform. I was terrified. “What if I forget again??” I have to admit – I panicked. I sat there and watched all the girls perform and all I could think was what a terrible decision I made to agree to do this. I will never be as good as any of these girls. I can’t even remember simple choreography!

Time moved on and we got closer and closer to the second act. During the intermission, me, Ms. Disney and my little sis practiced on the stage. I was nervous, which was making me dizzy. My turns were not going very well. I couldn’t even do a simple drag! So much stress. I just wanted it to be over.

Finally, came our ballet 1 dance. This was the simplest of the three dances I was in. Good thing too – I needed an ego boost. When it was our turn, I walked on stage and took my place. Then, something happened. I bet you won’t guess this one for sure. For those of you who have had children, you will understand what I’m about to say. Yeah – I kind of peed a little (so very little). I know – “totally gross LB”, but it’s true. As soon as it happened, I panicked a little more. Clearly, my nerves got the best of me, but as they say in show business, “the show must go on”. The curtain went up and I was ready to do my thing. As the music began, I could see the audience staring at us. I started to move and it’s like something just clicked. As gross as this may sound, for some reason that release was all I needed. Who knew that urine could be so powerful?! I finally started to relax and dance. Once I trusted myself that I would not forget the choreography, I was able to finally perform the dance! Was it perfect? Probably not, but that wasn’t my goal. The music ended and I rushed off the stage feeling so proud of myself. I knew that all of the worry I have endured was unnecessary. I was ready to take on the third and final dance number, which was the most challenging of the three.

I ran upstairs and changed into my favorite costume. (Bye, bye pee.). My last costume was an emerald green, turquoise-like, ensemble and it was probably the most flattering on all of us dancers. There were only two numbers in between our next dance, so I didn’t have much time to over think things. I took my place on the stage and I could feel my insides start to light up! Don’t worry – There was no pee this time! As soon as the music started to play, once again, I felt my body relax and do what I have been training for the last year to do. I really enjoyed dancing to this number. The music was upbeat and the choreography was more challenging, but beautiful and strong. As expected, I flubbed my double pirouette. I did, however, land my turning attitudes and (sort of) completed my double outside turn. The key is that I didn’t fall and I didn’t forget the choreography! Yeah me!

Then came the aftermath. “What was my family going to think about what I just did?” “Did they notice my flaws?” “Did they like it?” “Did they even care??” I suppose it doesn’t really matter. This was for me, not them. But I did want my family to approve. To my surprise, my biggest fan was my mom. She never gives compliments and she was practically gushing about how impressed she was by me. My mom said I was very “elegant” so “graceful” on stage. I have been described as many things over the last 34 years of my life, but no one has ever used the terms “elegant” or “graceful” to describe LB. I was touched by my mother’s sincere and encouraging words. Made me feel accomplished. All the work really has been worth while.

So, when everything was said and done, the experience was a good one. This past year had its ups and downs (some really heartbreaking downs, mind you) but I am proud of what I have become. Dare I say, a dancer?! I would like to think so.

I am really, really, excited about this upcoming year. I have learned so much and I am ready to buckle down and do it alllll over again. What a rush this has all been! It’s all so exhilarating!!!

And by the way – thank you, everyone. You have been so supportive of me through all of this. It is impossible to fail when you have so many wonderful people cheering you on. Thank you so much for all the encouragement. It has helped me so much; you have no idea!!

In conclusion – happy dancing people!!!

T-Minus 16 Hours

In t-minus 16 hours I will be having my first real pointe/ballet performance. I am really excited. It’s almost here and all the work I have done will finally be shown to my friends and family.

Today we had rehearsals. Our pointe dance is the first to grace the stage. I was worried that the stage was going to be too slippery and my shoes would slide out from underneath me. Luckily for all of us, the floor was freshly painted and had a some grab. I actually wasn’t nervous about dancing! And guess what?! I didn’t forget my choreography either! So awesome. We were able to dance it twice and the second time was definitely better than the first. Afterwards, we walked off the stage and in the wings was the General. She had her girls in a huddle and I was waved over. The General was crying. Really crying. She looked at all of us and said “I’m so proud right now.” Seeing her cry made me want to cry. I think it has been a long time since she has really invested herself in a pointe routine. I am so glad that our performance could make her proud; it made me feel like I was doing something right. πŸ™‚

Fast forward into Act II. First was ballet I, and soon after, ballet II routines. Ballet I was the easier of the two, however, I totally flubbed the choreography! I totally biffed the two times we performed it! Ha! I was in la-la land I suppose. I know I will be ok for the show though. I was just distracted by the size of the stage and the fact that my hair was whipping around my face when I turned. I hate dancing with my hair down; it’s just one thing I am worried about! It is super long and every time I turn – wham! In my face-hole!

Then, the dreaded ballet II dance. All I could think of was, “Hit your double pirouette LB, that’s all you have to do. Once you do that – it’s smooooooth sailing!” Well, I fell out of the double, but I finished it pretty. I did, however, land my turning attitude into my outside turn. That is my most difficult turn in the whole performance. I was so happy that it came together. I had a big smile on my face when I did too! “Look at me! I can turn like a top!!”

It was a great day. I was excited,happy and really had me looking forward to tomorrow’s performance. I am even more excited for next year! Who knows, I may even be good enough for the ballet III dance!!!! Swoon!

Wish me luck everybody! I promise to take some pictures for the performance blog post!!

πŸ™‚

Got My Gaynors! What! What!

Well, well, well, if it isn’t my good friend, Ms. Gaynor Minden! That’s right people! The replacement pair arrived and was placed into my hot little hands this afternoon by the FedEx guy. I immediately ran into my kitchen and ripped open the box to marvel at my new shoes, and sure enough, they looked like the right size! I placed them on my feet, and you guessed it, they fit like a glove! Well, they fit better than the last pair that arrived. They are still a little loose, but nothing like they were before. I was confident that my padding, plus elastic and ribbon, were going to be all I need to get the shoes to fit properly. I sewed them this evening and these sweet beauts are good to go for Thursday.

Once sewed, I decided to test drive the shoes in my kitchen. The shank is a feather strength, so I was worried my instincts were going to be wrong and the shoes were not be sturdy enough for my feet. I soon found that I was not going to have a problem with the shank. Score. There was, however, a little more pressure then usual in my toes. No pain; just pressure. I think it may be because the shoes are a little bigger than my last pair. Significant movement inside the shoe isn’t good. However, I am not too concerned about it. If there is any movement inside the shoe, it is slight. I’m sure I can easily remedy it with a little extra padding. I will have a better idea on how the shoes will effect my feet during this Thursdays class. If they feel good then, I will be sporting my new pointe shoes at the recital. What! What! LB got new pair of kicks!!! Jelly much?!?! That’s what I thought!!!!

Ha! A little gloat never harmed anyone.

Btw – thanks for all of the kind words of support and encouragement the other day everyone. Its nice to know that I have so many people out there who are cheering me on. Makes me feel good. πŸ™‚ I did have an excellent practice on Monday. As soon as I landed my double pirouette (I yelped with excitement when it happened), I started to relax and have fun. I was trying to perform the song, not just mechanically perform the choreography. So instead of beating myself up for failing to execute every turn perfectly, I am just going to do my best in performing the song and convey the emotion it portrays on stage. That’s a whole lot easier and more fun. Boo-ya!!!

I can’t wait to tell you all about my recital. Fingers crossed for a good show!!

People , Places, Things

I don’t know why, but the title of this blog was the first thing that popped into my head when I began to write it. Does it fit? Does it make sense? Who knows. It just happened.

So much to say right now. I am going through some things. “What things LB?” Well things. Things that involve people, places and, you guessed it, things.

Let’s start with things, shall we? Things = ballet performance. I am one week away from the big day. We have been plugging away week after week; getting ready to present our stuff in front of our many friends and family. Guess what?…. I am freaking out. Not like normal freaking out but a literal freak out. I cannot control my anxiety. Up until 3 weeks ago everything has been fine. Then it hit me, “I am going to be on stage in t-minus 4 weeks and I still don’t have my turns. Shit. Oh shit. I can’t screw this up. I want to show everyone I can do this. I’m not ready. Why did I agree to go on stage? I want to dance well, but I’m afraid the one chance I get to perform, I will fall short.”

So over the last couple of weeks I have been unable to perform AT ALL during rehearsals. No joke. As soon as the music starts to play, my body starts to quiver. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop myself from shaking. I then stumble. I can’t focus. It’s hard to complete most of my turns. I feel so stupid. I can see my students and the General watching. I’m worried that everyone is disappointed. “She choked. I knew it.”

Look. Look. Look….look. Don’t look. Look away.

Causing lots of stress.

Then there is work. Another very important, exciting, but very stressful thing in my life. That’s all I will say about that.

Places. Hmmm. My mother is coming to visit and stay at my place after being away for two years. She took care of my ailing grandmother, who recently passed away. She is sad and I worry about her. I have missed her. We have history. We are working on a relationship. You guessed it, causes more stress.

People. Yessssss people. People in my world have suffered a little bit. When I’m stressed, I have low tolerance for people. Especially the ones I love. Something happens; I go “poof”. I have been “proofing” a lot. I proofed at my Ginormica, my older sister and Ms. Disney within the last 3 weeks. Luckily, I know when I “poof” and apologize for it. There are people in my life that I love (namely, my younger sisters and my husband) that know how to calm me down. But sometimes I hurt people in the wake of my path. I’m sorry. I really am. No excuse.

Some people are worried about me. I sometimes fall into bad habits (another thing, I suppose). They need not worry. I am stronger than that. I know my limits. My husband keeps me in check. My kids give me reason. I just need to push past the next couple of weeks and everything will be golden.

Send out your good vibes and positive energy. I could use it.

Thanks for listening.

LB

Ps. I will relax. Eventually. :).