Category Archives: ballet dreams

A Rough Start And A Great Ending

At the start of the week, I was feeling rather silly about being in the Int/Adv class. Feeling like what am I doing in that class when my skill level is clearly not up to par. I’m not the most beginner person there, but a commenter here once said something wise (and I may be paraphrasing a little, too tired to to look it up, sorry): just because you’re the worst one does not make you a worse dancer [than you already are], and just because you’re the best one [in a particular class] does not make you a better dancer. Horrible paraphrasing job there, but hopefully you get what I mean. Anyway being objective, and looking at where my level  is now, I feel like I don’t belong there…

I have no intention of dropping out of it though – as long as I don’t get all introspective and think about how much my dancing sucks in the scheme of things, I have an amazing time in that class (and it’s not like there’s much spare time for thinking during class anyway…). But now that I am feeling introspective (and rather melancholy – I am probably not a fun person be around right now… ), I can’t help thinking that I have no business there, with the real dancers, the ones that actually have a future in dance, the ones who are not done with their youth and well on the way to middle age.

(I feel I should clarify that these classes are not through an adult recreational program, and there’s dancers training there who are really good, and past alumni have made it to big companies and all that. So I do feel like I’m wasting their class time or taking up space, or something. Taking these classes with the older teens/young adults is a double-edged sword; while there’s no way I would be able to afford such an intense dance course load otherwise, sometimes it just feels like a lot of pressure. And inadequacy. And this strange feeling of not belonging. Not that I feel particularly at home or like I “fit in” when I take a recreational class with only “real” adults… maybe the problem is me…) Hello, tangent!

At barre I don’t feel like i get in the way – though when I mess up obviously (like, wrong foot tendued in  wrong direction) I start to worry that I’ll draw attention to myself.  But in the center, like when doing turns across the floor, it’s pretty bad. I force myself to go faster, but my technique suffers, I feel. And I don’t want to go slow and hold up the better dancers who, for whatever reason, were not in the front of the line/group. Which may not be my fault, that the better people didn’t go forward, but I don’t want to get yelled at about it for not filling in the gap, so yeah…

Well, that was kind of a pointless ramble, but I feel better having written about it. That said, the rest of my week was actually pretty awesome. The pace in Beginner class really picked up this past week, in the form or us doing the barre one exercise after another with hardly a pause (we have a set barre for the session so G Teacher doesn’t have to give us the combination in theory) and I love it. Intermediate class, while more challenging than Beginner (obviously…) still does not fill me with the intimidation that I feel in Int/Adv. It could be because Int. class happens to be a very small class, and I don’t feel like I’m in the way. But I’d be lying if I said that the people there didn’t make a difference. The crowd in Int/Adv is more,well, advanced, and while they’re lovely to watch while in the other group waiting your turn, dancing with them is intimidating. It Int class it feels friendly and with less pressure.

As far as hip hop, there may be some hope yet? For our latest combination, instead of only working on it for a week we’ve been working on it for the past two weeks, and I’m actually remembering it now. At least as far as getting the feet and arms roughly where they should be, moving in the correct direction. H Teacher worked with me a little bit during class individually, so I think maybe I’ve made that jump between Incurable Klutz and just plain bad, and he thinks that some help will make a difference. For what it’s worth, it did.

Still, it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, but I’m guessing that’s something that will take time. A friend told me to imagine I’m dancing alone in my room, but when I dance alone at home I want to do ballet. So that did make me question whether or not I actually want to dance hip hop. If I do, and hope to actually show improvement, I’m guessing I need to put in some outside of class time. As it is, I don’t practice hip hop on my own time, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt to at least go over the combination in my head.

Another cool thing that happened this week was that through my school I got a free ticket to go watch a live performance of the ballet! It was a small touring company doing a full-length performance of Sleeping Beauty and I had so much fun. I couldn’t get over how sparkly the tutus were in real life. This was my second time watching a ballet live that is not the Nutracker. There aren’t too many opportunities to watch ballet live out where I live without having to drive out to the Big City, so even without the added bonus of the free ticket it was still a rare treat, a wonderful night.

Last night, I had a ballet dream. In my dream, I was in a full time ballet program, like the residential kind (I think I’ve been watching too much Dance Academy…), and I remember I was so thrilled because I could do every combination in class. So yeah, a peek into my subconcious – and impossible – wishes.

Advertisements

Show Time

My recital finally happened! Now that I’ve had a couple days to think it over and digest it a bit, here’s some thoughts (organized in a somewhat random fashion, just as I remember). This time I’m going to leave this post public, and stop being so paranoid about people figuring out who I am or where I dance (the last recital post was private, but I realize not everyone who reads this has the password or is too shy to email me for it – hey, I’m shy too!).

First, background info: Unlike our last recital last December, which was a multi-genre all-evening affair (of which our half-hour ballet piece was a part), this recital was entirely ballet – classical and some contemporary. We had 5 pieces in which the entire corps de ballet danced (excerpts from Giselle, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and an original piece) as well as about a dozen solos or dances in small groups.

After  our first big corps piece, we had to quickly change out of our tutus and into our ballet skirts to go back onstage for a piece with just three of us – and by quick I mean quick (more about that later). This piece in particular (Nikiya’s entrance, from La Bayadere, with three dancers instead of one) was one that I thoroughly enjoyed rehearsing, and I had rehearsed it so many times that by now it was almost automatic, just my body responding to the music without any need for conscious thought or planning. It starts of relatively slow, with a lot of pique sous-sus balances, a half turn and balance in releve retire, and beautiful arms, with a lot of bourres. I remember at the moment right before the music picks up for the fast part thinking “Oh crap! I’m exhausted and the fast part is barely coming up! Got to pull it together!” And somehow I did – the faster timing, the bourre turns, the soutenus, finishing in time with the music. Although I haven’t seen any video from this dance I heard from some people watching that we did a good job – and I think I’ll choose to believe them.

Immediately after this there was another costume change to get back into a tutu, and we didn’t make it. I remember I was putting my tutu on in the wings with the help of a classmate and I see the corps run onstage for the next piece and I was like “I got to go – I’m onstage!” and tried to run onstage with my tutu not fully fastened (my classmate held me back, and probably kept me from making a complete fool of myself as my tutu came off onstage, so much belated thanks to her (though at the moment I was like “LET ME GO!!!” lol).  Once the tutu was finally on, we planned a strategic entrance for the latter half of the dance. It was like that scene in The Turning Point (which is on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it and enjoy ballet, you must) when Leslie(?) is shoved onstage by that other lady in the middle of Swan Lake (except, you know, we weren’t drunk, though that would have added to the hilarity, I’m sure). Anyway, from what I heard our entrance wasn’t as obvious to the audience as it was to me. I’m sad I missed dancing the first part of that dance though 😦

Our two next corps pieces (Entrance of Wilies from Giselle, and entrance of swans from Swan Lake) went off without a hitch (at least as far as I know. Well, actually, there were a couple small mistakes, but nothing too noticeable.) It was beautiful – all of the pieces dancing in the corps were beautiful, all of us in our white tutus completely filling the stage. So lovely! I think this time around I had more of an opportunity to actually enjoy it while being onstage instead of it being over before I know it. I mean, when you look at the time length of each piece, these dances are short. But I do remember having the memory of looking out at us moving in unison to the music and my heart just filling up with all the beauty of it. Yes, all the hard work, all the struggles, and the stress – it was worth it.

Then, the low point of the show (for me). We missed our cue for our duet. This time, we were backstage putting on the finishing touches  when I hear our music start. Crap!  I ran to the stage, having already missed the first 10 seconds or so (of a 1 minute and 50 second dance), and immediately after entering the stage realize that my costume was incomplete – I’d left part of it backstage. There was nothing to do but just keep going, so I did. The late entry to stage and my missing pieces of the costume had me feeling so off my game, and I don’t even want to know if it was very apparent. From this dance there were a few videos, but I haven’t watched them (by choice) because honestly I am so disappointed that it went this way (and that I missed my stage cue – again!). I’ve heard this dance called “the weirdest pas de deux in ballet” before, so even if done right I knew it was odd. But with this dance the costume was a big part of the visual appeal, so I am sad that it failed. To make matters worse, this was the last piece I was in for a while (until our finale), so I got plenty of backstage time to beat myself up over it.

Something I really liked this time around is that we were able to watch the parts of the show we weren’t in from the wings, which was really nice. Last recital we’d had to go all the way backstage and downstairs when we weren’t due onstage for the next piece, and I had been really sad that I didn’t get to see all my classmates dance. This time I got to see it all, and it was wonderful. So many beautiful and inspiring dancers, I sometimes feel like I have to pinch myself to see if it could really be true that I get to dance with them. From when I first started ballet I wanted to perform but it seemed so unlikely that I’d get to so I didn’t dare say it aloud. Now it’s happened twice, to some of my favorite scenes, and it’s incredible.

I think the worst part this time around was that we only did one show, unlike the recital last December in which we did four nights in a row. There was no time to iron out the problems (like those superquick costume changes), or to tell myself that I’ll get it right next time. My feelings keep switching from being happy that we pulled it off and I got to dance (again) on stage in a real theater,  to being sad that I messed up on my duet (and the other missed stage entrance). As far as the messing up, I mean the late entry to stage and the incomplete costume, other than that I remembered all the steps and didn’t fall or fall out of my balances or anything, so I really should be grateful. But I am really bummed out over the costume.

Ok, I was supposed to be a cat. Who’s ever seen a cat with no freakin’ ears?! Arrgh!!!

Anyway, that’s all I can think of saying about the recital for now (though if anything else pops into mind I’ll probably edit and add on). I’m also done with school for the summer so I’ll probably be posting my random rambles a little bit more as I try to catch up on everything I’ve been too busy to write about – or not (my offline journal and other online blog need love too).

Down And Up

This week I’ve been feeling down – perhaps burned out or maybe just down, it’s sometimes hard for me to tell. The weather’s turned chilly and wet again, bringing with it soreness and aches. It’s one of the surest signs for me that I am getting older, when I see my decade-younger dance classmates happily skipping through the rain, not bothered by the cold and I can’t (after last year’s slip and fall in the rain, I treat the rain with respect!). One one level I don’t care; I’m doing quite well for my age (and – perhaps more importantly – for myself; certainly a decade ago I wasn’t able to do the things I can do now with my body). For a long time I was worried that I had to keep my age a secret, that if the teachers found out they would think I was a liability risk (most of my classmates at my regular school are in their late teens to very early twenties). Now I start to see the occasional older student, even much older than I, and it’s somewhat reassuring (however, these older students are usually not adult ballet beginners, but returners, and more advanced than me). But then, they usually don’t participate in the recitals and stuff, so I go back to feeling like I need to “fit in” (or at least not stand out from, too much) the younger students. Though I do have the energy to keep up (especially since it appears at a younger age one doesn’t place such a high priority on health and taking care of their body – I know I didn’t at their age…) for the dancing aspect of it, it’s exhausting in the more human interaction aspect of it (some of them act like immature brats, and it takes all of me to just metaphorically close my ears and let stuff go).

Still… things have been bothering me, so if you’ll excuse me I’m just going to whine, rant and speculate for a bit before going into abbreviated class notes.

After Beginner class, a few different more-beginner classmates have approached me to chat (thankfully, due to my introversion and anxiety, one at a time), asking me questions about ballet. Sometimes it’s clarification, like ‘how do you do pas de bourre?’ or ‘how does that center combination go again?’, stuff like that. I’m always happy to answer any questions, and the fact that they are comfortable approaching me with their questions (there’s at least three or four more advanced students than me in the class) makes me feel good. I wish when I had first been starting off there had been someone that I could have approached with questions (yes, I’m aware there’s a teacher, but when you’re too intimidated to ask the teacher, then what? Besides, F Teacher has said numerous times during class that more beginners should observe the more advanced students and ask them questions if they need to.)

I know this is a tricky subject to get into, so I’ll tread lightly, but I think it has to do with feeling comfortable with people that you can relate to. While I mostly fixate on the fact that I’m different because I’m an adult beginner, and I’m rather top heavy, those are not the only things that set me apart from the other more-advanced (or, less-beginner, I don’t know which would be the proper term) dancers in class: I’m also a woman of color and I don’t come from a priviledged background and prior to staring ballet I did not have dance training (because, trust me, starting ballet from scratch is so much more challenging than if you already have a sense of balance).  The girls that tend to approach me perhaps see me as more relatable or less intimidating? We do plenty of bonding over stories of wanting to try dance as a child and not being able to due to finances or cultural factors. I’m happy for them that they are going for their dreams now as a (young) adult, but I do feel the slightest amount of sadness over all the years I wasted doing absolutely nothing once I’d hit adulthood. Oh well, can’t do anything about that, so look forward and keep going…

Anyway, during these conversations the subject of pointe comes up. I’m completely honest with them, telling them that I did not start ballet to get to pointe, that it wasn’t something that I set as a goal. In fact, I tell them that when I started (and realized just how much I sucked at ballet) my goals were as simple as plie and tendu in center without fallling over. They usually reply with something about how I’m decent at ballet now (they say “good”, but let’s face it, I’m not good, it’s just that they’re looking at it through beginner’s eyes), and is it a goal for me now? That’s when I bring up that no, it’s not, I can’t afford it. They don’t seem to understand that it’s more than just the one-time purchase of a pair of very expensive shoes; it would involve trying different pairs until finding one that hopefully feels like I can dance in them, and all the padding and accessories to actually make it possible as I think I suffer from the dreaded longer-second-toe-than-big-toe issue. If it’s enjoyable to someone to go shopping I can see how this may sound fun, but since shopping is something that I absolutely cannot stand doing, I think I would be miserable.  I’m happy to just dance in my flat slippers.

But then, I read a stupid article that states how it’s not ballet without pointe, and how it’s every beginner ballet student’s goal to get en pointe, or else why are you even bothering. So I think, ‘good point, why do I even bother?’ It upset me enough to think ‘maybe I shouldn’t be doing ballet then – perhaps I should do modern, or jazz, or something! After all, according to know-it-alls (who perhaps are technically correct, but still) it’s not really ballet that I’m doing anyway.’ So then I started to feel even more down. I like to measure my successes (is that even a word?) by how far I’ve come from where I started, but it’s only when other people’s expectations get in the way that I feel that in effect I have accomplished nothing. I love to dance, both alone in my kitchen and during class. Can’t imagine giving up this joy that movement gives me, but perhaps I need a little break sometimes in order to miss it.

Then, last night I had a dream that I was in class with one of my teachers (who’s opinion I really respect) and she said something like ‘don’t go en pointe with your feet’ or something like that. I guess I certainly have been fixating on the subject recently…

In an unrelated – yet still ballet-related, somehow – issue, I still have lack of confidence issues. When the more beginner group finishes their center combination and the more advanced-beginners have to run out to center to do theirs, I shy away from the front row. If I may be completely honest, it’s because I worry that even if I can do the combination correctly, the fact that I don’t have this certain attitude (the mental kind, not the position) gives it away that I don’t belong there in front. But, here’s the paradoxical part (and I hope this makes sense), part of the reason I like ballet class is because it’s the only time that I am comfortable looking a certain way, like the way you almost look down your nose at your hand when in arabesque, for example. In ballet class I’m able to … I don’t know how to put it… I guess, carry myself in a way that would just be unimaginable for me in the real world, in a very snobby-looking way or something similar. I am one of the most humble, down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet, so it’s a complete change of character, like acting. I am able to do this once the music starts and I “get into character”, but before that I’m just me, and the contrasts between the two must be quite apparent. As “me” I can’t be in the front, but as the ballet-version of me I could… I realize this all makes me sound like a complete weirdo, but whatever.

I guess just be glad you don’t have annoying thoughts like this getting in the way of your life?

In Beginner class, at barre we did plies, tendus, and degages one after another, going from side to side with soutenus without resting at all in between. I like it, it really gets me warmed up. When there’s too long of a pause between the barre exercises I think it doesn’t get me warmed up quick enough, and trying to ballet while not warmed up feels very sluggish to me, like my legs are heavy (not that I attempt to ballet without being warmed up often or anything, but I’ve noticed during my own practice sessions that when I first start barre I feel almost too lazy to move much, but by degages I’m feeling like ‘yes! let’s do this!’).

Center combinations in Beginner class: 2 demi-plies, 1 grand plie, developpe devant, a la second, derriere, balance right and left, 2 pas de bourres, other side.  More basic option was just 2 demi plies, developpe devant and a la seconde, 2 pas de bourres. I remember struggling with that one when I first started –  I just couldn’t balance on one leg no matter what! It would be like, pick up foot and attempt to coupe, and I would tip over. Then  I would try again and again and would not be able to get it up to retire in order to developpe without falling over and having to bring my foot down, and by this point the group had moved on to the second  developpe and it was so embarassing because I was the only one who couldn’t do it at all. The darkest times in my personal ballet history…

In both Beginner and Intermediate we worked on turns across the floor. In Beginner it was chaines (with hands on shoulders for the more beginner students), just chaines for the more beginners, and chaines for five counts, chasse to arabesque, tendu close, prepare, and repeat all the way across for the slightly less beginner students. In Intermediate we did 3 pique turns, 1 soutenu, chasse into chaines for the remaining counts, repeat. The tempo was really fast, but I think I’ve improved a little since last time we did this. My transitions from pique turns to soutenus to chaines especially seem smoother. I still have the problem of losing my spot when I get too close to the thing I was spotting.

I can’t remember the center combination from Intermediate, but I remember it involved a lot of direction changes, like facing the left in croise and then chasse towards the right, or somehow changing facing to developpe devant to the left croise when we had been facing right. There were promenades in arabesque in there as well, and I actually got around in all of them without falling off balance – this is a first. For a while now I’d had a feeling that I can physically do it, I was just not focusing and really pulling  up, so this confirms it. After the promenade came a pas de bourre and pirouette en dehors from fifth, which I fell out of to the right, but completed to the left.

In Intermediate, we worked on sissones, sissone oueverte to be more specific, and that sucked. The combination was sissone ferme, pause in plie, 2 sissone fermes in quick succession, sissone oueverte, hold balance, sissone ouevert to the other direction, reverse.  I actually like sissone ferme (the regular kind that seem to start and end in fifth plie, even though I realize that if correctly done you land on one foot. But my brain is tricked by the optical illusion that it’s less force on my body for whatever reason so yeah…), especially a la second. To the front and especially to the back they’re still a big challenge for me – to the front my body keeps wanting to do a saute arabesque, and to the back it’s just as complete mess. But still, I enjoy them.

The other kind, the open kind, not so much. It was landing one of these that I hurt myself about six months ago, and I certaily didn’t want to repeat that.  So I approached the exercise rather cautiously, just marking until the last possible second, and closing them a bit sooner than what would be considered technically correct. Of course, that just got me plenty of individual correction from Teacher, as she thought I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do… not what I had intended – so many sissones! One of the more advanced girls who went in the group before mine kept staring at me while I was attempting to sissone correctly and it was so annoying. So I raised my hand and asked Teacher if our back leg was supposed to be bent or straight (advanced girl was bending hers) and she said ‘straight’ – probably passive-agressive of me, but this girl always looks at me like I’m stupid because I don’t have the decade or more of training that she has.

Anyway, I managed to finish out class without getting hurt this time. I don’t know if I’m actually stronger now than I was a few months ago, so I’ll continue to approach these sissones cautiously. A part of the problem is that when I do big jumps I tend to jump really big, and it’s the landing that gets me. Since I didn’t have much experience with jumping at all until I started ballet, it can be difficult for me to jump smaller (this especially gets me in trouble during petite allegro, because I want to make each jump super high and I’m instead supposed to do little quick ones. I prefer the slower tempo that the men use when they do their jumps). If I try to do a little jump I feel like I’m not using enough force to leave the ground and point my feet. Definitely something I need to work on. I think all the little prances and small jumps we do in Modern have definitely been helping in this aspect.

Since I’ve noticed that one of the issues I have is that I tend to lose my turnout when moving quickly, I’m commiting to working more on my turnout muscles. I think the key is to get to the point where I can feel when I’m engaging them, and then I’ll be able to know when I’m not. Hard to explain, but all I know is that at some point I could barely feel my lats, so it was hard for me to engage them. But ever since I began to work on strengthening them (mostly through Pilates), I’m able to feel them so clearly, and this has helped me so much with holding my balance. So I hope to get that way  with my rotator muscles. For now I’m going to do the side-lying rotating opening exercises every day (clams, with the feet on the floor, then the feet in the air, then the legs tied together with a theraband) and see how it’s going at the end of the month (I figured the start of a month would be a good time to set a workout goal).

 

The Twilight Zone Post

This post is a little oddball-y…

I had a terrible dream last night. Of course, I don’t remember all the details, since I’m too lazy to make it a habit to write down the details of my dreams on the regular, but I remember that it’s ballet related and it sucked.

I was in class, and it was tough. Tougher than usual. At some point my foot started feeling really sore, not from the top instep part near the ankle, but the bottom. The part where you balance on demi pointe – I guess the ball of the foot. The soreness was becoming pain and I was really feeling like I couldn’t finish out the rest of class.

This is the part where “real life” and “dream life” converge – I remember thinking ‘If I can’t handle this class, there’s no way I’m going to be able to handle taking Winter session (2 hr class daily) plus going to New Studio on the evenings. Not to mention, rehearsals on top of it if I choose to sign up for the next performance in the Spring.’

These thoughts made me overwhelmingly sad, and desperate.

The scene changed. Don’t remember the details of how I got there, but then I was talking to somebody, some kind of trainer or perhaps ballet teacher? I asked him what I could do – should I work to strengthen my body more through cross-training so I can be strong enough for ballet, should I make any other changes to what I’m doing? Eat more protein so that my body can build muscle easier? WHAT DO I DO?

And what did he say? “There is nothing you can do. Each body has it’s own limit, and given your history (my sedentary childhood and teenage years, I’m guessing?) and age, that’s it.” I don’t remember exactly what was said next, but I do remember feeling horribly upset.

I remember thinking that it wasn’t that he said I couldn’t do ballet, but just that there are limits to what I can do. Both that my potential is set at a certain level, and that it will take me more time to get there, since I can’t overtrain my body too much. So while I get to continue doing ballet, I can’t get all obsessive and attend 4 hours + of class in one day (especially if I plan on doing that daily).

Bear with me here: I know many (most?) people would just say to blow it off, that it’s just a dream, and who cares as it has no bearing on real life. But – and I’m really opening myself up to criticism  here perhaps (in this neck of the woods internet) – in the past I have had realistic-ish dreams like this one that have, well … somewhat come true. Not perfectly true, not all the details, just similar situations that were a little too close for comfort. Like, dreaming I was in a car accident and then it happened (although not the same kind of accident,  but it was the day after the dream), or dreaming about an awkward social situation that puts me in the spot and then surprise! class presentation is announced. Or dreaming about someone I haven’t seen in years and then I run into them at school later that day. I have plenty of other examples too, that I won’t get into because those are stories for another day and another blog.

My point is, I’m terrified of this one coming true. Or is it some kind of wake up call from my subconcious? Am I – or have I been – pushing myself too hard given the circumstances? Is there really such thing as a limit that is set in stone and no matter what I can’t overcome it? By writing about it here, did I somehow cancel it out and keep it from coming true (you know, like how they say that if you make a wish you shouldn’t tell because then it won’t come true. Ha, apparently I have the mindset of an eight year old right now)?

So many questions!

But I really hope this turns out to be nothing.

A Very Ballet-ful Week

Wrapping up my week, I took two more ballet classes, Basic Beginner class and open level Adult Ballet. They were both really fun and I definitely think I’m over my fear of returning to ballet class sice my little break.

One of the things I’m having trouble with is remembering to hold back. Since I’m not feeling any pain I tend to want to throw myself into it full on, and I often need to remind myself to take it easy. Then the next combination begins and I’m trying to bring my leg up super high again or really fly in those galloping chasses across the room…

Even though I’m feeling so much better, I have to remember that I’m not at 100 % strength yet – well, the slightly shaky ankles during the first class I took this week reminded me. Gotta do more of the theraband foot exercises to rebuild my strength back to before my break. I managed to keep up my core strength by doing lots of core work and doing lots of bouncing on my exercise ball, keeping my torso upright and not letting myself lean forward on the “down” part of the bounces.

At the barre, I continued to feel like I’m remembering where I left off. These classes I had few mistakes as far as closing front or back, and stuff like that. Corrections involved working on my turnout (which I am being conservative with, at least until more time has passed since I hurt my hip. At home I’m doing turnout-muscle strengthening though), and keeping my pelvis from going into an anterior tilt. You know, the usuals…

I did feel like my musicality has improved (at least at the barre). I don’t know exactly when it happened, or who was the teacher responsible for fostering it, but I’ve definitely come a long way. This makes me happy because I’ve heard before that musicality cannot be taught, and I’d been worried. Perhaps it wasn’t something that was taught, but something that was there all along, just waiting to come out?

At center, we did pretty simple combinations, which I love because I can keep up and not spend the whole time worrying about what I’m doing next or how to not fall over. In one class we did tendus en croix with port de bras in croisse, then releve with arms in high fifth, pivot so that the standing and supporting legs switch, and do the other side. In my other class we did tendus devant, a la seconde, and derriere, then two pique sous-sus to the side, repeat other side.

We worked on pirouettes from fourth, and I was happy to see that at least my pirouettes have not gotten horribly worse (the last time I took Intermediate I had felt really off my game). They haven’t gotten better either, but after not really practicing pirouettes for a few weeks I couldn’t really hope for that.

Another really fun across the floor combination we did really let us combine different steps while still keeping it beginner and do-able. We balanced (the waltzy step) once, then did three either pique sous-sus balances or soutenus (or mix and match!), repeat, all the way across. So much fun! I worked mainly on making in clean and pretty and oh so dance-y. It was also a measure of progress for me, because I remember around six months ago I could do sloppy soutenus in center, but I couldn’t do nice slow clean ones, landing in a plie and holding it between each one, and apparently now I could. So yay!

We also did some sautes, which were not horrible, although not great either.  I have lost some of my stamina over my break, but I am still ahead of where I was a few months ago, which is a relief. Toward the end my feet were not so pointy, but a quick reminder from NS Teacher had me pointing again. My changements are not crossed enough, but that’s something that will take time, so I’m not stressing it too much.

My performance happened, and it was singlehandedly the most wonderful experience of my life! It was just absolutely incredible to have the opportunity to take part in this, truly a dream come true (except I don’t think I would have dared to dream this big back when I first started ballet). To think that I, a true beginner who took her first ballet class EVER only a couple years ago and doesn’t have the typical body shape chosen for ballet, got to dance on stage in this production alonside dancers who’ve been dancing their whole lives… it just amazes me. I am so incredibly grateful to one of my teachers, F Teacher, who put all of this together and allowed me the opportunity to be in her ballet (actually, I’d like to thank ALL my teachers, as all their corrections and help made this possible, from NS Teacher’s inclusion of bourres during barrework, to F Teacher’s emphasis on port de bras and really dancing and emoting at all times). I don’t think anyone would or could understand how much it means to me. This is one of the moments in my life that I can say that I’ve truly felt happy. I feel almost guilty about it, but I feel like now I have something amazing in my past to look back to, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about any event in my past – not graduating, not meeting anyone, not any celebrations or milestones. (My many apologies to other events and people in my life)

I just felt so there. Like, for once in my life there was just definitely no way my mind could be elsewhere, and I was moving to the music and it felt like my whole body was happy. One of my main goals in ballet was to get decent enough that I could actually perform without it being a complete joke, so I definitely feel like I accomplished something. Though I tend to err on the side of modesty, I can honestly say that – especially since I worked my butt off to get here – I did a good job.

I got to wear a tutu!  *excited high-pitched squeal*

There’s a lot more details, so many more that it gets its own post:

https://balletandorbust.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/the-details/

And I’d like to once again mention how much WordPress’s new interface SUCKS. It took me forever to figure out how to get it posted correctly. When before it was just a simple click on a pull down menu, I just had to go through literally the whole WordPress dashboard to get this done. Argh! So much wasted time!