Tag Archives: end of year

2016 – My Year In Review

Wow, what a year! Perhaps not the best ever for me, but it’s up there. Definitely the best since I started ballet, thought there were some rough patches. Contrasts – it wouldn’t be good without the bad, beauty without the  beast the ugly. But altogether, I am content, I am happy.

Looking back over my last two Year Review posts (something about the end of the year puts me in a reminiscing kind of mood), I almost feel like I have nothing new to say.  In 2014 I started ballet-blogging, and even though I’d been doing ballet for  a year then, it was around then when it had started to make sense, rather than just being repetition for strength building sake. 2015 was the year that I went from 2 – maybe, rarely, 3 – classes a week to 5 or 6 and showed much improvement. It was also my first time perfoming, my first year having lots of fun dancing instead of just trying to stay on my feet. Compared to that, it seems like now it’s just more of the same.

Wait, I did just get those pointe shoes last week…like I said, it’s like I almost don’t have anything new to say…(oh my gosh, I love my new shoes so much!!!)…let’s see what this year will hold, but I will say that the last couple of weeks have been fun.

Anyway, this year I did two different “official” shows with my school, as well as more than a handful (seven, to be exact) of performances for the class (which don’t count as a show to me, but they’re an excellent opportunity to get a video). Of those, 4 were choreographed by me, of the others 2 were based on existing choreographies on youtube and one was a collaboration.

I started hip hop dance, and discovered that I am absolutely terrible at it. As terrible as when I started ballet (except that at least I’m not falling over constantly), and while it was awkward, I had lots of fun. Still dreaming about making that fusion choreography – maybe this next year (ok, perhaps that’s too ambitious, even for me, but hey, sometimes you really do got to dream big and be surprised.)

In ballet class, I continued to work on my technique, as well as my artistry (oh gosh, that almost sounds so pompous… like I’m taking myself too seriously… next I’ll be saying I’m an artist). While I’ve learned to keep my head up, I continue to struggle with what my teachers call my “external focus” – apparently I have a tendency to go into my own head instead of focusing on something there in the room. This will be something that I will continue to work on this coming year. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I have a feeling that my troubles with spotting are related to this, so if I ever want to have any hope of multiple turns (and not just by using excessive force) I better get on that.

Speaking of multiple turns, this year I did my first double pirouette n dehors. Sadly, although I did more than one that day, it was an isolated incident. Refer to spotting issue mentioned above…

I have steadily been improving though. My balances on releve on one foot have gotten longer and more frequent, My jumps off one leg have become  more powerful. I keep up more and more in petit allegro (until we get to those sissones en croix, then I lose it). And the promenade in attitude with allonge up to releve – possibly the step I struggled with the most last year – finally became a reality (in fact, developpe devant, cloche to attitude derriere, promenade in attitude, allonge in releve has become one of my go-to sequences.

On the not-so-improved side of things, my beated jumps still don’t have much of a beat to them. And then, there was that time when I quit ballet for a couple weeks last spring – that was definitely the low point of the year for me.

My skill level has gotten to the point that I can pinpoint what I’m doing wrong, and how to fix it (at least in theory; whether I can actually fix it in practice with my current strength level is another story). But I keep working on it – like I’ve said before, I believe in practice, repetition, and muscle memory. Just to clarify though, I don’t simply practice for the sake of improving, but because dancing (paricularly ballet, since I am a mess in all other styles of dance I’ve tried) makes me feel so alive. Why wouldn’t I want to do it all the time? As someone who’s not, who never has been a “talented” person in life, I feel like there’s finally something that I can be proud of, something that I’ve poured my effort, my heart, my soul into and gotten results. Sure, I’m not “good” compared  to a pro, (or a pre-pro)  but I’m good for myself, and that’s enough for me.

On the not-dance-but-still-movement side of things, this year I became a certified Pilates instructor. While my passion remains ballet, pilates has been such a huge help in this process; without pilates I would never have come this far. So I hope to share some of my enthusiasm for both of these things in the coming year.

So, sending off the year – and looking forward to the new one – with a lovely picture taken by my little sis.

Ballet pose and a bright blue sky - my kind of day

Ballet pose and a bright blue sky – my kind of day

(I will choose to ignore that not-so-turned-out working leg and instead focus on my back, haha)

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2015 -What A Year

As far as ballet goes for me, 2015 has been an amazing year! So many new experiences…

I started off the year taking ballet class only about twice a week on average. In February, it was my two year anniversary since starting ballet. Early on in the year, I attempted a four month session of Intermediate class. Although at the time I wasn’t ready for it, by the time summer came about I was ready to try again (and this time I got through it!). Over the past year my dancing has improved so much. I also found another local dance studio that offered open drop-in adult ballet classes, and not only that, it was more affordable than the other studio I got to. By the later part of the year I was taking class on average four times a week, though sometimes even five or six. It’s been great.

And that’s just ballet – this past year I also started modern dance classes, twice a week. I didn’t start until later on in the year, but I do think I will be continuing on with this. It was pretty cool using what I’ve learned in ballet (mostly balance, but also alignment and flexibility) to actually be somewhat decent at it (it was a beginner level class).

I saw several live perfomances, including my first Swan Lake (by the Grand Russian Ballet).  I’d been wanting to watch Swan Lake live for so long and I was definitely excited. It was great, but I’m still hoping to one day see it performed with a live orchestra.  I also caught a couple other performances by smaller local companies, which were nice. Also saw a lot of modern dance performances through my school.  Most of the time I don’t understand what it’s about, but when I do – those extremely rare times – it’s awesome.

Then I got to be in a performance, which was just incredible. A LOT of work too, but a dream come true. It was so much fun to get to wear a tutu and dance onstage. I’d been wanting this ever since I first started ballet (though I never would have admitted it, because I felt I was being unrealistic), so it felt really good to actually meet one of my goals. Now that it’s happened, I feel a lot more calm about it. I don’t know yet if I will try again for another one, because sometimes I feel like I just want to remember how amazing this past experience was, and not ruin the memory by trying to recreate it. But, I may… I’m just not making myself any promises yet. If we do repeat the same ballet we did – unlikely, but a possibility – then I’m definitely gonna try out! I’ll train as if I was going to for sure either way.

This past year early on I also started pilates, doing it pretty consistently which gave me great results in improving my dancing (specifically balancing and posture – which came from imcreased core strength) but mostly an overall increase in proprioception and the little subtleties of movement)).  Seriously, it was the best thing I could have done for my dancing and for my body overall. My posture has never been better! Possibly equally important, I discovered body rolling on a foam roller (also through pilates class). I got myself a roller and now spend countless hours torturing myself with the zeal of a masochist slowly rolling out my tight muscles and fascia, which hurts so much that it feels good. My quads are especially tight, and ever since I’ve been slowly rolling them out I’ve gotten closer to the floor than ever in my front splits.

I continued on my quest to improve my jumps, and I finally found an answer (slow jumps at home, with a really deep plie, trying to jump as high as I can while pointing my feet, landing in a deep plie and holding it without allowing my torso to come forward, straighten legs, plie, repeat).  As a result, I no longer get corrected to point my feet, as I’m finally strong enough to jump and remember to point at the same time. My stamina could be better, but if it’s any consolation, practically the whole cast was huffing and puffing backstage as much as I was (and I’m way older than them!). So I don’t feel so bad about it, though I am working to improve it. Speaking of which, I also continued running after having started last year , though I stopped for a few months before my performance (not out of choice, but after running downhill one day and my knee feeling a little sore I decided to play it safe. I mostly just run uphill now. Not steep uphills (yet), just  slight uphills.)

On the not-so-fun side of things, I also had some minor incidents (I don’t think they qualify as injuries) this past year. I slipped and fell in the rain, and landed on my tailbone. It hurt for months (but I was able to continue ballet). Then, just weeks before my performance I landed wrong in a jump and hurt my hip and thigh. The recovery break afterwards did cost me some of my strength and stamina, but I’m recovering quickly. I’ve taken class a quite few times afterwards and I’m feeling stronger.

What’s in store for next year? My goals?

I would like to continue taking class as often as possible, at least 4 days a week, preferably 5. 1 year ago if I had read that I would have been like ‘yeah, dream on!’ but things have changed so much for the better that it is actually a possibility. Both the discovery of New Studio, and now being eligible for Intermediate at Adults Only Studio helped, but also the schedule at my regular school has improved. And what I’d be paying for about 5 classes per week for a whole month comes out to about what people in nearby areas are paying for just 5 classes – total. I feel so very lucky, to have these options available, which make it actualy possible for me to take class this often. So thankful.  And just knowing that I have my barre at home helps me feel like there’s always time for a little ballet.

Wishing you all a happy new year!

Oh, and I also updated the Learning Curve page if anyone wants to check it out. Newer stuff is at the bottom.

https://balletandorbust.wordpress.com/test/