Tag Archives: i miss ballet

Back To Ballet In The New Year

Finally! My first class back since almost a month ago!

First thing I found out was that the studio raised the rates for the drop-in class by $2 – I guess new year, new prices?  Luckily I didn’t just bring exact change today…

Anyway, I was so excited to be back in class!. There were about 8 people in class today, some of them new to me, but apparently not new to ballet, as E Teacher didn’t teach at the brand-new-beginner level – which makes for a nice, semi-challenging class.

Our barre combinations were fun, somewhat complicated, with changes in tempo.  Like, 6 slow degages, then 3 fast ones, or 1 super slow rond de jambe, 4 slow ones, 3 fast ones.  I like it, keeps the brain engaged, and keeps it from becoming an autopilot kind of thing. We also did those circular port de bra cambres that I like so much, and lots of one-legged balancing.

At first, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about doing the one-legged balances on releve.  My two-legged releve balances were stable today, but since the longest I’ve been able to hold a one-legged balance on releve at home has been to about a (very quick) count to 20, and the balances we hold in class are superlong, I knew I couldn’t last.  Then E Teacher basically told me to get up there, so I did, LOL.

In center, we did a combination which got progressively more difficult.  As in, the first time through we tendu to second, bring it back in while plie-ing, then bring the foot up to passe and balance, no arms.  Repeat, other leg. Then the second time through, same thing but with arms (start with arms in middle fifth, open to second while tenduing, bring in the same arm as working leg when bringing it back in, back to middle fifth for the balance). The third time through, with arms, and the passe balance on releve.  The fourth time, with a pirouette (en dehors) from fifth instead of the balance. Fun!

In this combination I was able to see that I have, in fact, improved.  I remember about 2 months ago (possible 3, I’ll have to look it up – the benefits of blogging) I was having a lot of difficulty with passe releve balances, especially during combinations. Well, let’s be honest here, even when it didn’t involve a combination…Anyway, today I was doing just fine. Having a bit of difficulty coordinating the arms at times, yes, but the balancing in passe releve was actually not bad.  They were quick balances, yes, but very controlled; I clearly went up, held it there, then came back down without just falling out of the balance.  You know, looking like I meant to do what I was doing…

So, not necessarily good, but definitely not horrible either.

The pirouettes from fifth are a different story. I’ve mostly been practicing them from fourth, both en dehors and en dedans, but hardly from fifth (I should really get on that…). I was able to only get around about a quarter of the way when turning to the right, about halfway/ 3/4’s or so to the left.  However, E Teacher praised me for the effort, which was nice. (Yes, I happen to like praise 🙂 )

We then did a three glissades to the right, assemble, other way, assemble combination. Glissades finally “clicked” for me a couple months ago – possibly after the last time we did them in this class, actually – when a new explanation of how to do them just gave me a better sense of what we’re going for; apparently the key is always to use your plie. That was probably supposed to be obvious, but sometimes I need to be reminded. So, the glissades went well, the assembles did not.  I’d previously only done assembles to the front, and today’s were to the side, so I looked like I was flailing around. Not cute.

But I didn’t mind by that point.  It was a fun class, I got to see that I’ve been improving, and I was just so glad to be back in a class!

Until next Wednesday, more practicing at home and pilates. 6 weeks until Spring semester starts and I’ll be doing lots more ballet!

More Netflix Surfing…

My ballet-related Netflix surfing continues…

First up was the sequel to Street Dance (3D), Street Dance 2 (what’s next, the threequel being called Street Dance 1 LOL).  As it was not ballet related whatsover, I quickly grew bored and didn’t finish watching it…

I then searched for the word “Dance”. And up pops Dance Academy.

I see this show is from 2010. As a person who doesn’t watch tv, not counting Netflix, I’m used to being behind the times. Whatever.

Besides, when I get into a show I like to watch all the seasons through. I’m not big on end-of-season cliffhangers.

So I decided to watch it. This will keep me occupied, as well as my home practice sessions, on the ballet-related front until my next class.

Opening scene: young girl doing barre out in the great outdoors (a pasture for livestock, we find out). Ok, you got my attention. But then, the quote “… in another life I could fly, and that’s why, in this life, I dance.” Whoa! Blew My Mind. I felt like “Girl, get out of my head!”

We’ll see how I feel about this show by the time I’m done watching it (I just finished the first episode). So far I like the scenes that involve dancing and class, but the other scenes are, I don’t know… boring? Predictable? Unrealistic? (How is even possible for something to be both predictable and unrealistic anyway?)

The outdoor dancing scene from the first episode is amazing, the main character, Tara, looked so happy while dancing.  I loved watching it – and rewinding and rewatching – but at the same time the logistics was bothering me. Is it possible to dance en pointe on grass?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to suspend disbelief and enjoy movies. That’s why I usually just end up watching documentaries and ballet…

Oh, and it’s apparently on youtube as well.

But I like subtitles (they keep me from getting bored when there’s no pretty dancing to look at), so Netflix it is.

New Year’s Eve Netflix Surfing…

picture courtesy of the internet

picture courtesy of the internet

Spent a fun, quiet New Year’s Eve at home watching movies in my sweats – ring in the New Year in style! As Wednesdays are my ballet evening class days, it means one more week with no class – boo!

Anyway, I ended up watching ballet clips on youtube and watching ballet related movies on Netflix.  First, up Ballerina, which is my favorite ballet documentary on Netflix.  Then, I don’t remember if it was suggested to me, or maybe I was just browsing through titles, I came across a movie called Street Dance (3D).  Wouldn’t have caught my attention, except in the description it mentioned something about a ballet academy. Ok, sure, why not? What do I have to lose…

The premise is that a street dance crew has an upcoming competition and nowhere to practice. Through some (very unrealistic) turn of events, they end up being given permission to practice in the studio of a ballet academy. The catch? They must include some of the ballet dancers – whom the teacher is hoping to inspire – in their street dance style dance.

Predictably, both sides initially clash then eventually come together and put on the best performance of their lives. Pretty terrible dialogue, and unrealistic – but then, what do I know, I’ve never been in either a conservative dance academy, nor a street dance team – situations (maybe food fights are common occurences…), but I did enjoy listening to the main character’s accent. Hey, it may not be such a bad movie, but to be fair the target audience is probably about half my age…

I did end up at times making generous use of the fast-forward button, but the dancing sequences themselves are not bad. Basically, a fusion of ballet and street dance. It was neat seeing what ballet dancers could do with their strength if they danced a different style.  A very creative use of the Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy is involved.

Check it out; what do you have to lose…

And I guess anything that gets more people interested in ballet is a good thing, right?

Classless Wednesday, Blame the Rain

Wednesday evening came and I didn’t get to go in to class. 😦

A thunderstorm rolled in. About 2 hours before the time I usually leave to go to class,the lightning started flashing and thunder started to roll. Eight seconds in between – good to know that it was nowhere near.

Then the rain started. And continued. Soon the balcony outside my apartment was flooded and the slight downhill slope of the parking lot carried a small river along the wall. And while I was having a great time standing in the doorway and watching – I love watching the rain fall – I did not have any intention of driving down the hill in it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I live up on a hill, sort of. The studio I’ve been taking wednesday evening ballet class at is located down the hill, in the downtown district of the city that lies directly west of where I live. It’s not far from the community college I attend and, let me tell you, it is not a fun place to get caught in the rain.

It happened last year, during the first week of school. One minute it was regular late-August, Southern California weather: bright, sunny, highs in the 90’s. The next minute dark rain clouds rolled in and it began to pour with a ferocity that knocked down power lines and branches from trees.

Street lights went to blinking mode – which made traffic hell – and streets were flooded, water overflowing from the gutters and tree branches carried down the street by the current. Long story short, traffic leaving downtown was backed up for hours.

So as much as I wanted to go to class I did not want to go through that again. It’s pretty disappointing but I’m working on cheering up. I’m sure it’s for the best and it happened for a reason. This high humidity weather causes my body to feel unusually stiff and achy – I was really feeling it during my home ballet practice. In fact, I was feeling so much more sore than usual that I even cut my home practice a few minutes shorter than the regular time. I got through all my “barre” exercises, but didn’t feel up to practicing center. It’s ok though, throughout the day I’ve been practicing balancing in releve and passe releve in front of my big mirror, so I’m sure my muscle memory won’t suffer too much!

In other unrelated news, I went through my personal computer and I found all my writings about ballet from before I started this blog. I didn’t write back when I first started ballet unfortunately, but I did begin to write, as an emotional outlet, around the end of 2013. It was pretty neat reading about my experiences in class last semester, reviewing my corrections, and evaluating my progress. It was also a reminder that there’s good ballet days and bad ballet days – some days I seemed to be thrilled with my progress and others I felt so discouraged. I like things that help me keep everything in perspective.

I Miss Ballet So Much!

It’s been 5 days since I slipped  slipped on the bottom step and sprained my ankle. 5 days may not be a long time, but it’s felt like so much longer. Since my first ballet lesson a year and a half ago, this is the longest I’ve gone without doing ballet in one way or another. There have been times when for months at a time I have been without a ballet class, like when my college was out for summer, but I have had my practice sessions at home. I have taken days off, of course, especially in the beginning when my body was first getting used to it. But I don’t think I’ve been ballet-free for this many days in a row before. I am having major ballet withdrawals!

I had not given it much thought how much I would miss it. Neither had I given it much though to how much ballet had become a part of my life. I keep getting the urge to get up and do some plies and tendus or at least work on my port de bras. These urges aren’t new, but I keep forgetting that I physically can’t act on them. It’s strange, because all sorts of everyday tasks seem to have something ballet-y that I had added on to them, and I had never really noticed. I hadn’t noticed that part of me walking across the living room on the way to the kitchen involved stopping in front of my practice mirror and seeing how my posture was looking or if everything was in the alignment. I would then do a few plies, still checking my alignment. Or how I would rise up on demi point while holding on to the kitchen counter – and as I improved in my balance increasingly without holding on- waiting for water to boil or for dinner to be cooked. Or just in general how I would always see how long I could balance or practise rising up at random just anywhere when bored.

I guess I had taken these things for granted, and probably lots more that I can’t recall off the top of my head. This is also a wake-up call for me: I need to slow down and watch where I’m going! This is not the first time this year that I’ve had a preventable accident. This past spring, possibly the last wednesday of March, I was heading to ballet class and one second I was stepping down with my right foot and the next I was flying through the air. I landed on both knees but must have taken most of the impact on the left knee – it tore a hole right through my jeans. After dusting myself off I had gone to class anyway. That was the only day I wore my black tights instead of pink.

I should have taken that fall- seriously, I tripped over nothing – as a sign that I need to slow down and be careful, but since it didn’t get in the way of my mobility I just hurried on along. But now this new fall- again caused by nothing but my carelessness- has kept me off my feet and many of my favorite activities. I’m sure this time I will remember. I had never realized how accident-prone I am!

In the meantime, I’ve been trying my hardest to make the most of my time on the couch, doing non-ballet-related things like practicing guitar, writing and a lot of reading. But I’ll be honest: at times I’ve been unable to resist practicing my port de bras from the couch, making sure to keep my back straight and my core tight. I can’t wait to be back to normal!