I Guess It Does Fly When You’re Having Fun…

Time, that is.

A couple days ago, I received this in my notifications,

Where did the time go?!

Where did the time go?!

congratulating me on my blog-anniversary.  And my first thought was ‘What?! A year?! Where did the time go?!’. Ok, I guess that was three thoughts, but I’ll consider it a 3-in-1.  My second thought was ‘How appropriate, given that lately I’ve been going over my video footage of my early ballet history!’ (Of course, my earliest videos predate this blog by over a year, since I didn’t begin ballet-blogging until I was almost a year and a half into balleting.)

I like to watch my videos periodically, mostly to remind myself how far I’ve come and not get too down when it feels like I’m not going anywhere.  It’s a good feeling – sometimes you really have to be your own #1 fan! My whole life there’s never been anything that I was good at – not that I’m saying I’m good at ballet – and I usually gave up and quit completely, given my obvious lack of aptitude.  Being an adult helps, I think. Not only because of the (presumed) maturity level, learning the importance of hard work and dedication, and knowing how steps are supposed to look, but also because it’s completely up to me.  I can stop if I want, I can continue if I want.  No one else is going to harass me about “Why are we spending money on dance lessons if you’re not improving?!” or “So-and-so’s daughter is already this far along, why aren’t you?” or any other similar nonsense. While I didn’t have the opportunity to try ballet in childhood, these kinds of things happened with other activites I was enrolled in, so I have to assume if I’d gotten to try ballet it would have turned out (accidental pun?) the same way.

Anyway – before I go down the trail of negativity about my childhood – starting ballet as an adult has been a great experience.  Blogging about ballet has been awesome as well – I love having class notes all together in an easily accessible place to review at my leisure.  And videotaping myself during those early days was a very useful idea.  The only thing I regret is not having done it even more…

Here is a screenshot from one of my videos from first semester. The first thing I thought when I watched it a couple days ago was ‘Hellooo, arched back!’.  It’s pretty horrible, huh? To be fair, this was during the era when I couldn’t even tendu away from the barre in any direction without falling over.

image

c. 04/2013

As you can see, my first semester I was too shy to rock the pink tights. I was mostly trying to blend into my surroundings. It kinda worked…

And then, for comparison’s sake, here’s a screenshot from a video a year later.  This one’s only about a month pre-blog:

c. 05/2014

c. 05/2014

Now, I know I’m not wearing regulation ballet attire (and we all know that a leotard and tights is the best way to identify alignment flaws), but it does appear there’s some improvement, at least as far as tucking in that pelvis. My shoulders appear horribly out of whack though, as this is way before I learned to engage my lats. And I’m sure that’s not the only alignment issue going on, either. It’d totally be easier to tell what’s going on with a leotard and tights, but it was like 95 degrees in the apartment that day! (The same reason I’m not taking some fresh pictures to share with all of you today, actually.)

I’m really wishing I could upload whole video clips, as it shows what’s going on more that still pics or screenshots. Ballet is not a still art, after all, and without movement it’s just pretty (or not so pretty when done by me…) poses, though I do realize while dancing the dancer’s body has to go through certain poses. Or something. Anyway, I’m still trying to think of a way to upload videos without comprimising ye old anonymity…

What I will say, though, is that watching the video clips does provide me with a pretty accurate idea of what my ballet level was at any given time.  In the video the first screenshot is from, for example, I couldn’t even coordinate my arm and working leg to move at the same time. My tendus, especially derriere, are slow and hesitant.  Let’s not even get started about my arm movements at all…

By the next video, my tendus are quicker, almost resembling ballet.  My passes are turned out, my plies are deeper.  My shoulders are still much too forward, but at least my hand no longer flops there like a lifeless fish at the end of my a la seconde arm.

I’ve also been working on my feet. Besides the theraband exercises (pointing and flexing ankles and toes), I’ve also just been trying to use the muscles that stretch the toes out. It’s pretty hard, but I’m getting stronger. At first all I could go was stretch out my toes in weird directions, but slowly I’m getting them to go straight out.

This is as good as it gets for now...

This is as good as it gets for now…

You have no idea how much mental effort it took to do this at first. Like, I had to stare at my feet while doing it and feel almost like I was forcing them to do it. It felt so strange, but my foot muscles are starting to get used to it. Muscle memory rules!

From there I’ve gone on to working on pointing my feet while keeping the toes outstreched, instead of them curling. I can’t really see a difference in how it looks, but I’m assuming curling toes is bad regardless.

Pointing - not the best photo angle, huh?

Pointing – not the best photo angle, huh?

And then, just for comparison, how my feet are usually. A candid pose, if I was to look at my feet at any given point, not while doing the foot exercises.  I think before I started doing these exercises my toes were even more curled, so I do believe it’s working.

I figured I should get over my fear of posting my bare feet on the internet...

I figured I should get over my fear of posting my bare feet on the internet…

And then, I managed to get a rare picture: Boyfriend pointing his foot! At random he’ll be sitting there pointing his feet, and I swear, I’m so jealous because his feet seem so much more suited for ballet than mine.  He has a higher instep and he can point further than me. I’m always trying to get him to let me take a picture and he won’t,lol – though at least he will point them whenever I ask him. I told him if we have kids I hope they get his feet and he said he got his feet because when he was little he used to wish he was a ninja and would walk around on tippy-toes (releve) lol!

His foot's in the white sock. And this is not even the best he can point. But I always have to correct him because he's sickle-ing, lol

His foot’s in the white sock. And this is not even the best he can point (but I’m a crappy photographer and pressed the button too late). But I always have to correct him because he’s sickle-ing, lol

Anyway, this post is getting kinda rambley… it was fun having random-picture-sharing-time though 🙂

As soon as I clear some space on this tablet (and the weather cools down – as doing ballet in a leotard in this heat in this apartment is just not going to happen) I will film some current ones to see what other changes in my technique or alignment have occured! As well as continue to work on feet…

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8 thoughts on “I Guess It Does Fly When You’re Having Fun…

  1. Sarah

    Loved this post, it’s so interesting to see how you’ve progressed by looking back at photos and videos. I really wish I’d done this to see how I’ve improved since last autumn too, I know I must have (no more arched back for me either!) but it’s hard to convince myself of this when progress in ballet is done in such small increments (for me at least!)

    So have you now been taking ballet for two and a half years in total? That’s an amazing commitment 🙂 I must admit I’ve been flagging since my Monday class ended just over two weeks ago, but I hope to get back to it next week and stop being so lazy!

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Thanks! 🙂 I agree about ballet progress happening in small increments. For a little bit I tried taking videos almost daily (until I filled up my memory and had to stop, lol), and there was no progress to speak of. But when videos are spaced months apart there’s actually a difference! Almost reminds me of those time-lapse photography pictures that show how something really slow actually moves or something…
      It’s been 2 years and 5 months since my first ballet class ever. There was that loooong break back in 2013 though, as well as the breaks between semesters. During those breaks without class it was hard at times to stay committed, to be honest, but I kept up my practice at home. Ballet served as the thing to dicipline myself around, if that makes sense, Like a common thread despite all the changes that were going on around me, or something. But when the weather gets too hot – or too cold – it’s so easy to be lazy!
      My summer class is scheduled to start this coming week as well. I haven’t been to an actual class in over two weeks now as well, and I’m getting worried the bad habits will begin to creep in…

      Reply
      1. Sarah

        Sometimes I feel like my ballet is better after a short break, I’m not sure why, maybe my brain has time to process the movements or I’ve stopped over-thinking the steps or something. Hopefully I should get back to class this week or next. Can’t wait to hear how your new class goes, good luck with it all 🙂

      2. kit Post author

        I’ve noticed a little bit of improvement after a short break as well. Still not sure if it’s due to having fully rested muscles or just obsessing over ballet moves during my time off…
        Thanks for the luck, I feel like I’m gonna need it! 🙂

  2. Joyce

    Congrats on your anniversary!

    Have you looked into getting a product like YogiToes to stretch your toes? They’ve helped my friends with various toe and foot issues…

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Thanks! 🙂
      That’s a good suggestion. I think I may look into them, as I’ve only heard good things. For now I’ve been using those socks with individual toes to kind of separate my toes a little, though I know that’s not quite the same thing…

      Reply

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