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.
Something terrible happened this week – the General badly fractured her wrist. She had to get a lot of hardware installed and she is out of the studio until she has recovers. I am so lost without her presence there. It’s so lonely. It’s weird. But, in order to keep her spirits up – the dancers are pushing forward. The General’s daughter (let’s call her Willow – because she is wispy, graceful and beautiful) has been teaching class and she is doing a great job keeping us all focused and motivated. Keeping high spirits has been exceptionally difficult for me lately because I have been preparing for one of the biggest trials of my career – nothing but work for weeks now. Soon it will be over, but until that time comes I am a little distracted.
Willow has been doing her best to keep us on track to improve in the areas the General was concerned with prior to her injury (I.e flexibility, stronger turn out and higher grand battement). However, the last thing we worked was the waltz. Ahhhh – the waltz. It seems simple enough, until you do it, let alone to music. A lot of adult beginners struggle with getting the rhythm and footing. If you have never danced – it seems almost impossible. You fumble, you trip. Nothing seems natural about it. Now that I am more then just a mere “beginner” (ha! Still seems hard to believe) I am finally starting to catch on to the waltz’s crazy ways. Yes, the waltz seems less complicating to me now. (Yeah!)
So in spirit of keeping the Generals desire to have us improve the Waltz step, Willow had us work on the waltz this Thursday. Something happened during class. I don’t know how it happened of why. Maybe it was the music or my mood. Either way – I finally let myself dance to the waltz. I couldn’t help but smile through the combination across the floor, even when I flubbed a step. I kept my chest upright and my head held high and for some reason, it helped me dance better. I looked at myself glide across the floor and I looked like I was glowing, just like ballerinas do. I was secure and I was happy. It was so amazing.
It seems that confidence IS key with dance. Once you feel a sense of security in what you are doing, you carry yourself better. When you carry yourself better, you dance better. It’s a (scientific) fact. I even utilized my new poise in my pirouettes and wouldn’t you know it?? I was actually landing my doubles more consistently. Frig-yeah frigger!
My point? Keep your head up, shoulders back and you back straight. More importantly – Smile. 😊. Even beginners can find the glow. When you do – you have finally shed your newbie status. (*joy).
I left one of my ballet shoes at the studio the other day, so I was forced to practice in socks instead. Not just any socks – but my knee-high stripped socks that I wore during my big play debut last year. [For those whose interest has been peaked – the play was “Little Shop of Horrors” and I played Crystal. So much fun. Holla!] Anywho, I thought the socks would pose a problem. You know, slippage? But the complete opposite happened. I actually danced a little better. Most notable improvement? I landed multiple pirouettes on both sides. I know, hard to believe. Right?
Now, every beginner ballerina has difficulty with pirouettes because, lets face it, they are freaking HARD. So many things to focus on at the same time. I have been practicing like a mad man for months now and while I have seen improvement, they still frustrate the living hell out of me. However, when I practiced in socks, I didn’t stick to the floor and my toes were able to spread evenly making my releve and spin feel more stable. I did notice lately that my shoes tended to cause some drag when I turned. I thought it was in my head. Apparently, it isn’t.
So, my question is – Is this common? Does anyone else have this problem with their shoes? Should I get new pair? Should I wear socks instead of ballet shoes during class or is that a lazy approach? (It’s not like the General will let me forgo wearing shoes, but it’s worth a shot.) And more importantly: Can anyone hear me??????? [Kidding]
Yesterday I had a private lesson with the General. The lesson started out solid, but it ended flat as a pancake. I am STILL struggling with my pirouettes (my right especially) and we started working on fouettes. Ug, That is all I can say about that. And don’t even get me started about the combination that the General had us do on Thursday. I looked like a drunken monkey trying to pull that one off. Then again, a drunken monkey would probably look more graceful than I did. Needless to say, while the lesson was not a total loss, I did not necessarily feel like I was on the verge of setting the dance world on fire with my sweet moves. Now, I know these things happen, but I have to admit, I was a little discouraged. I even secretly thought to myself while I drove from my lesson, “What in the HELL are you doing? You may get a little better over time, but you will likely never look as good as your fellow students.” Not to mention that my ASS (yes my ASS) hurts daily, and sometimes my left leg (double Ug), and I still can’t go down into the splits not matter how much I stretch! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!…..(sorry – I needed that). I shook off the negative thoughts and drove back to the other torture chamber I frequent – my job (which has totally sucked lately).
Last night I was chilling with my homie – aka Sissy Pants, watching You Tube videos like we always do on Friday nights. While she was getting me another drink (I love me some margaritas) I thought I would check Facebook to see what the Scuttle Butt was. Low and behold I have a message! Wahoo – A message! I am not a total dork; people actually want to talk to me (score). I open it and it is from one of the girls in my class. She is in the Senior Company and this may very well be her last year at the studio because she will be graduating in 2013 and will be going off to college (where her ass belongs). I jokingly call her “Ra-Bek-Ka” because sometimes she talks in a southern dialect and I thought “Ra-Bek-Ka” is more fitting name for someone who drives an old pick-up truck, has puffy bangs, lives in a double-wide with her baby and her Ma-Ma somewheres in Tennessee. Re-Bek-Ka is an awesome dancer and works her ass off at every lesson. She has a great attitude, a bubbly personality and all of the girls in the class love her, including the General. Anywho – she sent me the message because she wanted to let me know that I inspire her. (Who? Me?!?!?!?!) She said that seeing me work hard, pushes her to work hard too. She also said that I have come along way and I have shown everyone that I can and will dance. She closed her message by saying, “Thank you [Legal Ballerina] for your driven and dedicated personality.” …Wow… it’s tear time.
I couldn’t help but feel honored that someone that I respect as a dancer has told me that I inspire HER. Well, shit. Now that I know how much my little Re-Bek-Ka is depending on me I will be damned if I am going to let her down! I am going to have to keep pushing myself to achieve my goal, but not just for me, but also for those charming, smart, gorgeous and FUNNY (I laugh so hard during class – sorry General) young ladies. I inspire them? Well they inspire me too. I was floored when I watched them dance this past spring. They all dance beautifully and they made me want to dance even more. They also give me the courage to waltz into that studio every week and dance along side them. They have all been so kind and inviting and I am grateful they have allowed me to become a part of their dance crew. So – thank you, Ra-Bek-Ka. I thank all you girls. I really needed that. 🙂