Archive | September 2013

Footie Strength

Holy Crow-Seph! I was watching turn out videos and I found this amazing video on how to improve foot strength!!

You will not be disappointed. This video is amazing!

Enjoy! (Again)

Feet Exercises

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Improve Your Turn Out!

Ok – I am officially obsessed with improving my turn out. I’m sure all of you adult beginners out there can identify how hard it is to get a decent turn out when you start ballet late in life. I am convinced I can improve my turn out; I just need to diligently work at it.

I was doing some YouTube searches and I came across two videos that may help, if you are so inclined. One of the videos involves a young lady, but honestly, she has some great tips.

Enjoy!

Ballet Strength

How to Improve Your Turn Out

Silver Lining

Last night’s lesson was kind of odd. The General had something on her mind and was a little distracted. We spent a majority of the class stretching and the rest was dedicated to leaping and working on grand battements, which are tough because of my hamstring injury. I really needed a good stretch, though. I was able to thoroughly stretch everything. Call me Gumby, baby.

As for leaps, while my right leaps are not so great right now, my left were looking not too shabby. I feel so much more in control of my body in mid-air. I used to flail about. Much like a fish out of water. It was funny, and sad. Ha! During our leap exercise, one of the students proposed doing a calypso leap. For those who don’t know – it involves you first doing a series of prep chaines and then into a turn-leap while you try to literally kick the back of your head. Does that make sense?? YouTube it. My description kind of sucks. Anywho – this time last year I could not do the turn no matter how hard I tried. So when it was proposed that we do these leaps I was less then confident I was able to pull it off. I watched the more advanced students do it a couple times and I just went for it. Guess what???? I did it!! I really did it! I was so excited I could barely contain my enthusiasm! I just kept doing them over and over and over again! Sure, they were not perfect, but who cares! I did something I couldn’t do last year! The mental block has been removed!! “Look at me! I’m a calypso-er!!!! Whoopie!!!”

Then guess what else happened?! Yup – it gets better and I am going to boast. The General was giving me tips on how to improve my left grand battement and she says (wait for it)

“Your leaps look great by the way. Have you been practicing in your backyard??”

*Squee πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

I replied, “Nope! Just been working on my stretching!” And then followed up with, “Do you remember when you said that I may never be able to leap well because I started too late?? Well – I guess you were wrong!!!” She laughed (I was being silly). Well, how was she supposed to know? She had never trained an adult before! I only hoped she would be wrong and I’m so glad that se was!! So, not only did I get another compliment from the General, but my leaps are really improving! Wow. What a good night.

Then – it happened. With all that good news, it didn’t help me feel much better about the next news I received. I found out that the General allowed another student to takes some Company classes and she didn’t ask me. Whaaaaaaaaa! 😒. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is to me. I personally feel that it is a real accomplishment to get the “ok” to dance alongside with the best girls in the whole studio, even if it’s just practicing. I don’t want to be in the company necessarily (well, I would but then I would be delusional), but it would mean so much to me just to be asked to join a company class. I work so hard. I practice, I stretch, I push myself in class, I am always trying to learn and be a better dancer. And with all of my improvement, I thought maybe she would offer the same opportunity. Well, I guess it’s not my time yet and that’s ok. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not being good enough, but I am getting better every day and that is still a great accomplishment, right?? I will never ask the General to join a company class, not ever. And until she asks me to join a company practice (which may never happen), I will not be a part of one. I want to try to earn it. I will keep pushing to do so. Even if I never get there, I will still end up being a pretty stellar adult beginner ballerina!

So – there is still a silver lining to my little grey cloud. I did a calypso leap (slam!), I have confirmation from the General that my leaps have vastly improved (double slam) and I am going to work even harder to try to earn my way into a company practice. ☺️

Diet Dilemma Query

So about a week ago I got an email from a loyal Legal Ballerina reader asking about a little bit of a diet dilemma. I thought her question is something that a lot of adults can relate to, so with her permission, I am going to post her email and my response. I hope this helps and enjoy!

(Get ready – this is a long one!)

Adult Ballet Beginner writes:

“How do you hang with the diet thing? I went through weight issues after quitting dance but over the decades have mainly conquered the beast. And yet those last 7-8 lbs, the ones that no one but me cares about, that wouldn’t matter if I didn’t want to prance around in a leotard and tights balanced on two of my toes. I can’t make them go away. The best I’ve managed is half, and then I gain those back. (Cue the memory of the ballet teacher I had at age eight screaming at me, “Never say, ‘I can’t!’ in front of an entire class of 8-year-olds who could all do splits but me…ah, memories.)

Anyway, how do you navigate the mental and emotional aspects of dieting? I understand nutrition. I can count the heck out of calories and plan the stuffing out of a high-protein, mostly-low-carb diet. I can put small nutritious snacks in my bag and eat them when I’m hungry or before class so I don’t starve or space out. I can drive to the gym and (most of the time) enter the gym and do both cardio and weight resistance plus stretching, on a good day. I can drag in and do even-just-20 minutes at least half the time on a bad day. I take walks and do yoga. I can mix it up and even do a Zumba or Barre Vite class if I really want to spaz out just to stop taking myself so seriously and see if my hair will unwind from the ballet bun! I have even (and at this point in the email you may be about to suggest this) sought and received professional help.

Unfortunately, the one thing I apparently cannot do is stick to the diet enough to just get back down to a fighting ballet weight. Anytime something bothers me, I eventually eat my way through it (and stuff is always bothering me, because I’m a sensitive flower, and socially awkward, and I want my teachers to adore me). I know that things shouldn’t bother me this much and that I am very lucky, among other reasons, to get to be dancing in my forties.

Well by now you may think I’m a little insane for telling you all this, but if you do have a word of advice I assure you I will be eternally grateful.”

<My Response

Now, as to your question regarding dieting. Dieting isn’t easy. You are restricting yourself from eating the things you enjoy and that’s no fun. Especially when you are an emotional eater, as you have indicated in your email. Your task to lose those extra pounds will be exceptionally daunting given that you will have to stop a bad habit as well. But fear not young grasshopper, I believe your goal is completely doable. You are not seeking to lose tens of pounds; only pounds!! Although I realize those can be the toughest. I myself often struggle with losing the last couple. Let me queue you into my little secrets that will hopefully help you reach your goal.

It comes down the food and thought. Allow me to elaborate.

(1) Cut out sugared drinks (in fact drink water all day if you can), high calorie condiments and toppings (cheese, mayo, oil, bacon – yes bacon, or anything that adds calories!!), and processed foods as much as possible. Eat protein and veggies. Period. Lots of it.

You can easily avoid adding a lot of calories in your diet by cutting out any sugary drinks. One can of regular Coke has 120 cal in it. Personally, I would rather eat my calories than drink them. Wouldn’t you?

As for condiments or any toppings with calories, That is also easy to cut out. I have never been a real fan of mayonnaise or adding oil to anything so it is really easy for me to exclude it. If you think about it, she’s really doesn’t taste like anything. It’s the consistency that is the most delicious part of cheese. You can have a hamburger. Just don’t add the cheese. Boom – thats 60 cal. you just cut out! Stick with the main dish. Don’t add a lot of fancy because fancy equals high calories. Unless the fancy is involving vegetables. For example, spaghetti sauce is super delicious and has very low calories and is very healthy for you.

And then we come to the processed food concept. This is the most difficult for people to actually do. I’m not saying to cut it out completely. All I’m saying is to limit your intake during the day. And when you do eat processed foods, try to make them whole grain and earlier in the day so you have time to burn it off.

Eat your protein and veggies!! If you don’t eat meat – eat nuts. Do protein shakes. I make them every morning. Don’t worry about the calories involved. Those are stored differently in your body.

Veggies are a given, but are often thought of as gross allllll day long. I put spinach in my morning protein shakes. I eat baby carrots and humus for snacks. Veggies are a natural laxative! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice poop?!?!

(2) Your mind is your biggest enemy when it comes to dieting. No one likes abstaining from delicious food. Hence why so many people fail. So, it’s important to ask yourself one simple question – how important is losing this weight is to you???? And then follow it up with – if you do lose the weight, will it make you happy???

I mean – we are talking about a couple of pounds here. If you succeed, it probably wont change your life. Some people may not even notice that you lost it. (Boo). So, is the worth all the effort to lose it? If your answer is “yes” then it’s time to move to the next step.

It’s time you develop a new relationship with food. Food is your comfort. Like a blanket to a toddler. Except a blanket doesn’t make you fat. So you need to let the blanket go. Throw it away. Burn it. Whatever you need to do to stop holding on to the security you feel when you put a donut in your mouth. Because, guess what – This is a mental game. Food will not make your problems go away. It won’t make you feel better in the long run. A binge usually makes you feel worse, right?? Whatever is stressing you needs to be dealt with. Either create a new “blanket” or resolve the stress. Honestly, it’s easier to find a new blanket. So try exercise (healthily). Ballet has been my blanket as of late!!! I feel stress – I have my weekly classes. Also, I started running again. It has been amazing. Use your body to let the tension go (if you catch my drift. Ha!).

Food is your energy; your sustinence. That is all. Try to create a new relationship with it. It takes time, but it is possible. You just have to decide that it can’t solve your problems or make you feel better. It’s just something that makes us life and breathe. Take the power away and you will find the strength to reach your goal.

Conclusion:

I am not interested in promoting a bad habit. That being – eating disorder. I have been through it and would not wish that experience in my worse enemy. ….well maybe. (Ha!) I am only trying to help people in their short and long term goals in weight loss. What I just explained can help you maintain a healthy weight with lots of flexibility. Always try to be smart. Eat out. Have cake. Drink wine. Give yourself a 5 pound weight fluctuation. When you are pushing the 5 pounds, that’s when to get serious. Instill the rules, lose the weight and you will always achieve the balance. Only freaks of nature enjoy eating clean 24 hours a day. You and I are humans. We certainly not professional athletes or models. Embrace your body type and always strive to make your body “the best is can be” and nothing more. You have a pear shape – strive to be j-lo. (Ha!). I’m more like a pre-adolescence kid. No waist, hips, or thighs. That also means I’m build like a child. I’ve excepted it. So should you. You are beautiful – just like God intended. The more confident you are about yourself, the more people will will respond to you. You can shine no matter what your size. It’s your attitude that counts. Trust me on this one.

One thing I forgot to add – as you get older you lose muscle. It may be time to add some weight training to your exercise routine. Adding more muscle will definitely rev up the metabolism!!

Hello, Have You Missed Me?

I’m sorry it has been a while since I have posted about ballet. Between the new school schedule with the kids, my crazy job, ballet and exercise, and maintaining the house, pets and family life – I have little time for anything else. So, I deeply apologize. Allow me to fill you in as to what has been going on with me!

I am sure you would like to know how this dance season is going so far? One word: fan-tabulous! Something just clicked after the June performance was over. I am finally feeling like a real dancer. My arms have improved; less rigid and more fluid. My chaines, pique and soutenus turns are more consistent and stable. I have been able to actually pull through and finish when we do 20 across the floor! I could never do that last year. I’m confident in class and I think it shows. Dare I say – I’m not a ballerina-wanna-be anymore?? I am actually turning into a real dancer…swoon.

However – there are still things that need plenty of work. Those things being my pirouettes, turnout and pliΓ©.

Pirouettes are no surprise. I mean, if I was only required to turn once, I would be A-Ok. Unfortunately, the General requires the class to pull doubles and triples. Some days I can do a double, some days I cannot. Still so inconsistent. I’m thinking it’s all a mental block. Mental blocks ba-low. I just got to keep trucking; they will come around eventually.

I have been so focused on getting my splits and straddle, I have completely neglected stretching my Achilles and turnout muscles. Let this be a lesson to you ladies – stretch these daily too. So, I am determined to achieve that wide diamond pliΓ© and 180 degree turnout. I mean, if I can get my splits, I can accomplish this goal too, am I right?! It truly doesn’t matter what your age is. Anything is possible. 😊

Pointe has been amazing too. I have to gloat a little – the General gave me a compliment a couple of weeks ago. We were working on balancing exercises and I have to say, I was feeling really sturdy in my shoes (the Grishkos are doing great BTW). The General compliments my balancing ability in front of the whole class!! Swoon. She never gives compliments, so when she does – you cherish it.

Pointe is going so well that the General is going to have two pointe dances in the next show. We are using the same dance as last year (with some modifications), plus one new number. I’m pumped because it will be the first time I get to recycle choreography and costumes. Yippee! I’m saving money!!

On an unrelated note – I training for a half marathon. Yup – because I have so much free time!! (Ha!) I have been running a lot so I figured, “What the hell”. I am running with Ms. Disney in the beginning of October. I just ran 11 mile training run today. I know I ready for the race. I am just hoping for good weather. However, I have yet to run a race where the weather is not cloudy, raining and cold. Fingers crossed!

Well – that’s about it. I hope all is well with you. Talk to you soon!! 😘😘

Ps – this adult ballerina just got more adult. Yup – it’s my birthday. Ug. I hate getting older. At least I am aging like a fine wine!! I’m only getting better with age, baby. I have yet to peak. 😊😊

Not Vegas – But Close Enough!

So my sister turned 37 on August 31st. That mean PARTY! We decided to go to a casino in good ol’ PA. Boy, was that a good decision. So much fun blowing coin on roulette. Drinks, dancing, people watching included. You can’t beat that with a bat.

It’s funny how dance always creeps into my social outings. Sure, most ladies dance when they go out. But do they dance well? I am convinced that my club moves have improved since I started taking ballet. I’m not sure where the connection is, especially since there is nothing gracefully, elegant or “ballet like” about twerking it on the dance floor. I’m just so more coordinated!! It is really pretty awesome.

Speaking of which – have you seen the how-to-twerk video on YouTube? I showed it to a bartender tonight. I’m pretty sure I changed her world. I would now like to change yours. *Enjoy.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NgoyVRO0A0E&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNgoyVRO0A0E

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