Tag Archive | adult ballet

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!

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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. 😉

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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Snow Blows.

Weather in northeast Ohio just blows. It’s been so cold. My furnace took a dump. I went without heat for over a week. The family survived. We were a little chilly, but we survived. The weather was crappy on dance night, so class was cancelled. Or as my husband coined the phrase so long ago “cass is clanceled.” (It’s an inside joke). I was So bummed. When you only have one, one hour class a week, a cancellation hits a little hard. I have been attempting to run more and focus on overall fitness now that I have more time to workout, but I have been miserable not having as much ballet in my life. It’s for the best though. My husband asked me recently, “Do you miss (the general’s) studio?” My reply, “Noooooooooooo. No no no no no. No. No. ….(no).” Even with all the ballet I was allowed to take and the convenience of the General’s studio, I wasn’t enjoying myself whatsoever. All the money. All the dedication. What’s the point if you are not having any fun??

One thing I have been enjoying more? GAMING. That’s right – gaming. I’m a little obsessed with Call of Duty. I even bought a t-shirt to wear while I game. Because guess what? I truly am a dork at heart! Who cares if I’m in my mid-thirties, married, having two children and practice law for a living. Sometimes you just got to kill some zombies, Nazis, Russians, Cubans, etc. and get your bad ass on, yo. It passes the time and releases stress, much like ballet. So. Get your game on. Or your ballet. Until spring hits and the snow starts to melt, you just have to do what makes you feel good. Even if it is out of the ordinary.

This is me. About to get my Game On.

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Confessions of an Adult Beginner

I have not posted in a little while. I was required to face some hard truths. I didn’t want to post about it at first; I was too ashamed. I didn’t want some people to know of my apparent failure. But after some thought, and some really good classes, I got over myself and realized I have to blog about it. I think that my followers, friends and “non-haters” will not judge me harshly. Plus, I am hoping to help some of the discouraged beginners out there. I eventually found a silver lining to my black cloud; maybe I could help another beginner find his/hers.

…..I have a confession to make. After taking only one level 1/2 ballet class at the new studio I was asked to take step down and remain in the “adult/teen” class only; including NO pointe. At least for the time being. I was devastated. I cried my little eyes out; I couldn’t even lift my head for 3 hours. I thought my dream had ended. My heart broke.

“What happened?” you may ask? Well, a really bad class. Like, I stood on the side and watched the last two combinations, bad. It also didn’t help that I was 20 minutes late to class (I got the evil eye from my new instructor; so embarrassing), I had a fall out with my best friend, and the always faithful, giant ball of nerves at in the pit of my stomach for the majority of the class. To top it off, I realized something very quickly at the barre. I think my basic ballet technique just sucks. I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain.

In the last studio we focused a lot on flexibility training. For instance, the General would have us stretch a lot during class. I would say that in a 2 1/2 hour class (on average) about 45 minutes would be spent on stretching. Yeah – that is a lot of stretching. Needless to say all of the General’s students are pretty flexible. In my current studio? The class stretches for 5 minutes prior to warming up at the barre. That’s it! I was worried my flexibility would regress, but it has not. In fact – I can almost do my right split again. Wahoo! The healing has finally begun! [But I digress]

Furthermore, the General was really into teaching the students how to execute difficult turns. Double/triple pirouettes, fouettes, turning attitudes, you name it. We were all expected to attempt these more advanced moves regardless of skill level. I was surprised when I wasn’t asked to do any more than a single pirouette in class. I was actually a little disappointed. I wanted to show these ladies what I can do and I was shocked I wasn’t requested to do more!

Lastly, the General always pushed the students to get strong. It seemed every movement we did centered around getting stronger so we could perform the difficult combinations that she envisioned her students doing at the end-of-the-year show. My current studio definitely wants their students strong; but it’s not the main focus of the class. Not by a longshot.

So, enter LB at the new studio and I am one of the strongest, more flexible students in class. Yet, I am the most pathetic ballerina. HA! How sad is that?!

My alignment is off. My hips and chest, CRAP. I can do ballet movements, but cannot put them together to save my soul. Let alone do them quickly. Strong, classical ballet technique is the focal point at the new studio and I felt completely unprepared. Initially, I thought there was no hope for me; I wasted all of my time and energy and endured a LOT of pain to come up with a big ol’ fat goose egg. “What’s the point?! I am back to square one. Why keep doing this? I am never going to get any better!” I really questioned my future in ballet. I wasn’t sure if I was going to show up to the next class.

After many tears were shed and my ragged pride was swallowed, I threw on my favorite Lady GaGa t-shirt and went to class. Then I went to another. And you know what? I actually had a great time. At first, I was kind of discouraged about my “handicaps”, but then I quickly realized I am capable of correcting my problem areas. The things that need improvement are not that tough to correct and its significantly easier to do now that all of the stress of the studio environment has been alleviated. *sigh.

Not only do I feel like I am physically able to improve, I have the incentive to keep improving. I will not get to put my pointe shoes back on until I show my instructor I can advance/polish my basic ballet technique. My instructor has her eye on me and I can tell she wants me to move into the other classes. She is very attentive (as she is with all of her students) and corrects my mistakes, but she is very positive too. She is not super friendly, don’t get me wrong. She certainly dominates the classroom. Her technique is different from the Generals. Not better necessarily, just different. Plus, since I don’t have a friendship with the new instructor, and drama to go along with it, there is no pressure in the studio. I always wanted to please the General, and with the new instructor, I am not so worried I am going to disappoint her. All I want to do is show her I can dance so I can advance (and then prance with a lance until I find a guy named Vance). [Sorry, that sentence rhymed and I always feel the need to just see how far I can take it. Ha!]

So, I confess. LB has stumbled a little; but she won’t stumble for long. I am going to take the skills that the General gave me and earn my way into pointe and the Level 1/2 class. I know I will be able to accomplish this goal (with a little hard work). And when I do, it will feel so very, very good.

A wise man once said, “Sometimes you take two steps back in order to take twenty forward” (aka my brother-in-law. He said something like this to me, but I don’t remember exactly because I was crying when he said it. HA!).

Keep your positive vibes coming my way. I will do the same for all of you. 😉

Boom.

And just like that – my world is already changing.

Over the last 24 hours, I have had an outpour of positive words and emails (you know who you are 😉) of encouragement from my readers. I had no idea how much you all actually cared about me and enjoyed my (often rambling) blog posts. I feel so loved right now. *tear.

I promise not to disappoint any of you. Tonight was my first step in reclaiming my love for ballet. Keep an eye out for my next blog post regarding “day one” of my new ballet journey.

Until then, I would like to say, once again, thank you for your unrelenting love and support. I hope you all have a very, very, Merry Christmas. Drink lots of wine and eat too much food. At least, that’s what I intend to do!

Kisses and hugs from LB!!