Tag Archives: practicing at home

Break, Return, Comparing Videos, And A Ballet Movie

Here’s a fun fact: I haven’t taken an actual ballet class going on two weeks. Most of this is owing to the fact that my school – and possibly every school in the surrounding area – is on break until next year. But you know me; I’ve never let that stop me, and school breaks are usually a time to work on my own on the things that are too fast-paced during class (like double frappes, coordinating quick legs with slow arms, and all those other things which make no sense at first in normal-time). But for most of this break, I’ve been resting up, taking it easy. By the end of this past session my body was in serious need of some recovery time. My logical-practical side said to rest, my artistic-illogical side wanted to ballet some more. Being a baby about pain – or the possibility of pain – logic won out, for a bit…

Today, though, I took myself back to the barre. Just my home barre, with Kathryn Morgan’s Easy Ballet Barre on youtube, but it felt so good to dance again. I had to follow it up with the Easy Center video. Depending on how I’m feeling tomorrow will decide if I stay with the Easy videos for the next week or so or go straight into the Classic barre and other more intermediate-level barre and center videos. Even though I’ve been keeping up my strength by doing pilates, my overall stamina has already taken a dip. I’d hate to see how fast it all goes away if I did nothing at all. Same for my flexibility – I felt so stiff, even though I have been still doing some form of stretching, like the aforementioned pilates and the very occasional yoga (don’t get me started on my guilt for pretty much abandoning yoga again…).

I just can’t get over how wonderful it felt to just dance though! And since I hadn’t worked on these particular combinations since the last time I was on break almost 5 months ago, I was surprised to see that they remained in muscle memory, but not only that, I’ve improved since then.  My home studio/kitchen’s crappy floor, however, has not improved. I’d love to have a place to regularly practice when the school’s practice room is unavailable or on breaks, but for now I’ll just be glad that I at least have the practice space I do have.

***

Something cool that came out of the end of the session was some informal performance opportunities. What I especially like about informal performances is the chance to get a video to show my non-dancer friends and family (who will then be totally impressed by the simple fact that this grown up got through an entire dance routine without falling on her derriere and know nothing of techinique), as well as for me to scrutinize. For what it’s worth, Boyfriend seemed captivated by the video, saying I was “very graceful” (!) so perhaps this means my dancing’s ok? My family will be rather amused when they watch it.

I think that video is one of the most useful tools available to gage my progress as a dancer. The obvious reason would be that it provides an objective “memory” of where my dancing skill was around that time. Take for instance, around two years ago; I thought I was getting much better at ballet because I was past the falling over at every instant phase, but I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Now, watching the videos from back then it’s so easy for me to see what was wrong (where to begin!), but at the same time so hard to describe. And very hard to teach, since verbally I mostly respond to anatomical corrections, and there’s more to it than that. I think in the end, the learning method that worked for me was to watch the advanced people, and get the nerve to copy them without being told.

I watch the videos ot only to see the numerous mistakes made, but also  the things I did right. And I guess what it comes down to is, which stick out more to me – will I focus on the failures or successes? While that may feel like a rhetorical question, it is one I ask myself often. It may seem like I don’t have very many successes – at this point in my ballet story I barely have a single pirouette (on a good day), and my technique, once we speed it up, is at times quite sloppy – but I’ll consider the fact that I’m still dancing a success. I love dancing so much, and for the first few years of dancing it definitely didn’t love me back. Perhaps it still doesn’t, but by now I don’t care because I have enough love for both of us… or something like that.

Having new videos made me decide to go back and review all my past videos of performances or rehearsals, to compare as much as to reminisce. It’s been such a fun journey! From back when I knew what I wanted to dance but there was no way I could physically pull it off to now when I still know what I want to do, even if I still can’t do it. But there’s also so much that I can do, and my ballet vocabulary has grown so much.

When I first started ballet, my expectations for myself were low. I mean, I couldn’t hold my balance, so there was no need for far off goals when something simple would be a challenging goal in itself. I dreamed of the day when I’d been able to do more steps without falling over, but I also dreamed of the day when I would feel comfortable in class. I didn’t know which of these things would come first, but there was nothing to do but continue to practice. That continues to be my strategy – just practice. I’m not delusional enough to think that I have “talent” (not sure I even believe in the concept of talent, just a premature maturity/ intelligence, and a physical facility) but I know that I do believe in repetition and dedication, and the unexpected results.

***

Browsing Netflix , I came across a newish dance movie High Strung, another of those ballet/hip-hop fusion movies, this one with the added twist of an amazing violinist on the run from the law. Since I’m always on the look out for a new dance flick, I settled in to watch and it was very entertaining and action-packed.

I found the main character, Ruby, relateable in her struggles with picking up Contemporary (not-so-relateable in that she’s an amazing dancer who can also whack her head with her leg like it’s nothing). There was the stereotypical mean bunhead character, and the dancer who has so much “talent” but can’t be bothered to go to class and would rather stay out all night (ugh, I hate this concept in movies! I feel like it promotes the idea of someone putting in no effort and still coming out on top). Pretty standard dance movie/ tv series, except for the addition of the violinist who plays for tips by the subway tracks and hangs out with a hip hop crew. The dance and music sequences were great, including several battle scenes, both dance battles and violin playing battles. Writing about it is making me want to go watch it again!

Resisting Inertia

Found that phrase in an article I was reading about being-lazy-but-not-really, and it just seemed such a fitting title for my post and my week – can’t get moving, can’t stop when already moving…

As I mentioned last time, this week I had some extra free time. This was due to my regular school being on a break, so only classes at New Studio for me. I figured this would mean yay-nonstop-ballet-fun-day-every-day but no, for some reason it didn’t really work out that way – I overestimated the time off, and decided to undertake too many new projects (and then, of course, nothing was finished). Also, my hike on Tuesday left me so sore, which is somewhat disappointing because there is a blog post on this very blog from a year and a half ago (here’s where that little linking feature that refuses to work would come in handy…) in which I’m hiking and taking class on the same day, like no big deal.

Or maybe what did it was when I decided to go ballet-skipping along this path by home. It’s a jogging/bike path that follows along the road, and there’s trees lining it and when no cars are passing by you can almost trick yourself that you’re just happily skipping along the forest or something. After I’d been walking for a long time and knew I was warmed up, I started skipping, like a chasse-gallop, then bringing the other foot up through coupe to chasse-gallop on that one, and little skips changing feet by bringing it to coupe. I’m doing a terrible job of describing it, but it was fun.  Probably a little too fun, since I ended up really far from home then had to walk all the way back.

So, at home I keep telling myself that I should practice so I don’t lose a lot of progress from cutting back so much on class-hours, and I’m just feeling so unmotivated about it. Not about working on choreography, or just putting on some music and dancing, but of doing barre. I manage to convince myself that at the minimum I should do some plies, tendus and releves to not lose my turnout rotator muscles, and foot and ankle strength. Getting up is the hardest part, but once I’m there I decide I’ll stay (or perhaps what happened is that I’d finally warmed up). But I still feel unfocused once I get past the first few exercises (which I do facing the barre and mirror, slow so I can focus on every single detail of my technique), and just want to dance.

By this point it was obvious to me that the issue was not that I didn’t want to dance, as it was giving myself a full barre like a real structured class. Just couldn’t get excited about that no matter what. I may be spoiled after getting to take class so often, because before I always did a whole barre alone at home and enjoyed it. Then I got an idea and decided to do Kathryn Morgan’s Classic Barre video on youtube. It turned out to be just what I needed! I followed it up with the her Easy Center video, also on youtube.

Besides motivating me to actually get through barre, there were other benefits of doing the videos. With the barre one, for sure, it was a test of my musicality and memory – I would do the first side facing the video, then the second side facing away so that I had to rely on the music completely. I surprised myself by actually being on the correct count most of the time. I think even if I was finding it easy to motivate myself to do barre, if anything I should continue to do these videos to work on memorizing combinations, especially center. I only did the Easy Center video this week (which I wouldn’t call easy, and there’s different level versions available during it), but I remember trying the Classic Center one last year and the combinations were hard for me to remember. So it’ll be good practice.

My classes at New Studio were fun, although not particularly challenging this week. Since it’s open level, the difficulty depends on who shows up, and lately there’s been a lot of new-beginners. The demographic seems to be Ladies That Work Out (I’m assuming by the visible muscle tone and work out gear, instead of dance wear or t-shirts and leggings) and it’s always so interesting to me because they are so strong, even though they’re just starting out. It makes me wonder how the ballet as an adult beginner experience is different depending on one’s individual strengths and weaknesses. I got stronger as I learned technique, so I have no idea what it’d be like to learn technique while already being super strong. Probably easier, I’d imagine, but maybe the obvious answer isn’t the correct one; it may be harder because there’s other similar movements already in muscle memory that will tend to come out when trying to ballet (like doing yoga poses instead of retire comes to mind). Or not. By now I’m officially rambling…

A fun combination we did was 2 balancés, tombe, pas de bourre, chasse to arabesque, pirouette en dehors from fourth, pirouette en dedans, repeat. I managed some of the pirouettes, but they’re still not what I’d call reliable. On the one hand, I’m really stressing on that pirouette I have to be able to do for one of the pieces we’re performing. But on the other hand, I’ve been practicing that segment of the choreography, and I’ve been able to do it, so once again it seems like it’s pirouettes by themselves that are the most difficult for me.

I was pleased that during petit allegro I kept up with the tempo. It wasn’t a hard combination, just really, really fast – 8 changements, (glissade, assemble)x2, soublesautx2, repeat. Another petit allegro combination was four changements, four changements while turning right, four changements, four changements while turning left, 3 sautes in first, hold plie, echappe, close, repeat. So many jumps! Maybe that too is why I was so sore…

Our across the cloor combination was also super fast. (2 pique turns, 3 chaines)x3, contretemps, tombe, pas de bourre, glissade, grand jete. My grand jete to the first side was ugly, enough for NS Teacher to comment (which was kind of funny). I tried harder on the second side…

 

A Barre!

Phase 1 of my home studio!

Over the weekend, Boyfriend and I built me a ballet barre! Well, it was more like Boyfriend built it, but it was my idea, and I helped.  I did such useful things as find the instructions online and hold on to the freshly-cemented pieces while they were fitted in with the other freshly-cemented pieces. Oh, and I tested it out!

For the longest time now I’d been wanting a ballet barre to practice with.  I’ll just say right now that practicing with a barre is so much more fun than using a countertop or the wall (which is what I’d been using for the past 2.5 years)!  Like, every single time I pass by it I can’t resist doing a whole bunch of plies and releves, or port de bras. I’m as excited as a kid with a new toy!

At home we took some rough measurements (I wanted the low barre to be at a good height for me to get my leg on to stretch, and the high barre to be a comfortable height for placing my hand without my shoulder riding up), and then headed to the hardware store.  We’d already decided that we were going to make the whole thing out of PVC pipes, to keep it lightweight, portable and – most importantly – affordable. So, we get down to the hardware store, and I’m so excited, probably the most excited I’ve ever been at a hardward store.  Though I’m sure the day we go get my mirrors I’ll be real excited too.  The hardware store has nice floors to practice turns on, by the way, and I couldn’t resist doing a bunch of pique turns and soutenus. Fun!

The barre-making supplies... and my nosy little cat

The barre-making supplies… and my nosy little cat

We added up the measurements, and decided we needed to get 2 10ft long 1 1/4 pvc pipes. It just added up to 20 ft perfectly. We needed to get it cut though, so we asked the guy working there if he could cut it for us, since the store had already confirmed that they do offer the service of cutting. He gave us such a hard time! He asked us “What are you trying to make?” (Boyfriend hates it when they ask that, lol), and Boyfriend’s like “It’s called a ‘barre’.” and the guy looked lost, so he showed him a picture.  The guy’s then asks “What are you going to hang from that?” and Boyfriend’s answers “Legs!”. I couldn’t help butting in and saying “No! If you’re hanging off the barre you’re doing it wrong! Go back and try something easier and build more strength first!” LOL. Anyway, Boyfriend just told the guy he was going to mark off the different sections at the various measured lengths, and then the guy could cut it. So without any further delays we bought or cut lengths of PVC pipe, the elbow and t-shape connectors and a small bottle of cement glue. Total came out to the very reasonable price of $30 and change – a fraction of what some pre-made barres online are going for.

At this point I think we hadn't glued it together yet...

At this point I think we hadn’t glued it together yet…

Putting it together for a test fit went smoothly.  Then we put it together with the cement glue. The fumes were so strong, even with two fans going at the same time. The instructions had said to do this in a well-ventilated area and he was not kidding!  I think if we hadn’t had the windows open and the fans running we would have started hallucinating little ballet dancing hippos or something…

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to try out the barre the second it was assembled, but Boyfriend suggested that I wait until the glue had time to dry. It was one of those delayed gratification things…

The finished product... and my horribly inadequate mirror until we get the home studio all set up

The finished product… and my horribly inadequate mirror until we get the home studio all set up

But that was then! Been using it intermittently throughout the days since.  I’ve only had one full-length practice session with it (I don’t like to go all out on the same days I have class), but as I mentioned earlier, I’ve done countless plies, releves, stretches and port de bras. So far it’s been working out great! Boyfriend mentioned wanting to add some non-slip thingies to the bottom of the feet to keep it in place, but so far it’s definitely not the flimsiest barre I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

Some pics! Don’t mind my crappy turnout and unpointed feet…

The bottom barre did come out a good leg-up-on-the-bare-stretching height

The bottom barre did come out a good leg-up-on-the-bare-stretching height… though apparently I forgot to point my foot

image

And the high barre for a good releve stretch!

And the high barre for a good releve stretch!

For instructions, I searched “build your own ballet barre” and we mostly went off what I found at a blog called Leotards And The Buns In Them. If you’d like to make your own barre, you can find that here:

https://leotardsandthebunsinthem.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/build-a-barre/

I don’t recall him giving the exact measurements though. We used 4 1ft pieces for the legs (where we attached the feet), held together by a T connector. The T connectors are attached to a 2ft 9in section (on opposite sides of the barre), then to another T connector for the lower barre to come out of.  Between the low barre and the high barre we used a 6 in piece, which when added up to the extar length for the connectors gives about 8 in between top barre and high barre.  For the length of the barre we went with almost 5 ft, which seemed a good length to get to stretch on, while keeping the barre prtable. Like I mentioned earlier, it added up to 20 ft of PVC (2 10 ft pipes), and we used 6 elbow connectors and 4 T connectors.

If you’re feeling fancy and PVC alone just isn’t cutting it for you, I also found some instructions that include wood as well as PVC. It looks nice, but just too much effort (and probably cash, lol) 🙂

Something Weird I’ve Noticed…

The first time I noticed this was during that month or so that I was also taking Intermediate class a few months back (and honestly, I had all but forgotten). However, a couple days ago I was practicing at home, doing the tendu combination off of Kathryn Morgan’s “Classic Ballet Class Center Workout” video on youtube – which is excellent, by the way, highly recommended – and it included some pirouettes en dehors, which reminded me of my experiences in IC.

It is so much easier – well, not necessarily easier, just smoother somehow – to do pirouettes mid-combination than by themselves.  What I mean is, if I set out to just practice pirouettes, like tendu, close fifth (or fourth), and pirouette, odds are very high that I will mess up. Not get all the way around, lose my form during the turn (losing turnout, foot not staying in passe), not spotting at the end, the usual.  But then, when I go into a pirouette as part of a combination, with little to no prep time, for whatever reason I actually get all the way around. Not only that, I actually keep my turnout. By no means am I saying that I have perfect pirouettes – trust me, I don’t – but there is a visible difference. (Of course, the spotting is still not there, argh!)

So now I’m wondering why this is. And, I guess, is this normal?

I have a theory, of course.  When I’m just doing pirouettes I may be overthinking it, and not letting my body do it’s thing. But in the middle of a combination, there’s not much spare time to think, just time to do.  This may be just like how it was so hard for me to go up to passe releve until all these (mid-combination) pirouettes were thrown at me. Suddenly, going up into passe releve wasn’t such a big deal anymore.  Turns out my body had the muscle memory and the strength to do it, it was just a mental block of some sorts. Is that what’s happening now with my pirouettes?

I’m also wondering, should I even question this or just go with it? Like, instead of wondering why my body is so weird like this should I just be happy that I found something that sort of works for me?

I guess I’m just confused because I thought if I just practice pirouettes repetitively they’ll get better, but they’re not.  So then, I try a combination, thinking ‘Here goes nothing!’ and I actually get all the way around. Every single time. So weird. But a good kind of weird, I think…

Oh, and just had to clarify: I am by no means skilled enough to get through that entire video. I’m working on the tendu combination, and was hoping to work on the adagio, but it is freaking hard! In the comments, someone requested a beginner version of the video and I am so with the commenter on that. Still, it’s nice to see what more intermediate combinations entail, and to have them broken down step by step how she does. She’s doing an amazing public service – much thanks! 🙂

That Time Of Year

It’s that time of year again, when the days are at their shortest, when I find  that it’s freezing cold both indoors and out. When I begin my home ballet practice sessions in loose-fitting sweats, shedding layers as my body gradually warms up.  Funny how wintertime snuck up on me this year…

It’s been over two weeks since the last time I was in a ballet class(!), but strangely enough I don’t feel as though I’m struggling through ballet withdrawals as much as I did last summer.  But then again, it makes sense; while I haven’t attended class since two wednesdays ago (last wednesday was Christmas Eve and the wednesday before that Boyfriend and I were weighing out our options as far as moving, driving from one place to the next), unlike last summer – when my sprained ankle kept me on off my feet for a couple weeks – I have at least been getting my balleting on at home. And it really feels like it’s the only thing keeping me from going insane!

Mostly I’ve been working on what I’ve learned over the last semester, alternating between different barre combinations that Teacher introduced.   Especially the harder moves, the ones introduced toward the end of the semester.  I’ve continued to work on my fondue releve, working up to doing fondue releve en croix, rather than just (the last) one on releve after the rest on flat.  I feel so strong, so powerful, so ballerinaesque. I love it!

My balancing – something that seems to come so easy to some, though I really have to work on it – has improved so much.  And not just on two feet either; I’ve been finding myself holding a balance for more than a nanosecond (I’ve actually counted from 1 one thousand to 10 one thousand) on passe releve and not just on my stronger leg.  It’s such an exciting feeling and no one to share it with… except this blog.

My hard work is paying off, and I see little improvements every day. My developpe devant is higher than ever, my left working leg finally having caught up to my right. For months the left leg lagged behind and then suddenly there it was, at hip level. My flexibility has also increased, as I realized as I stretched toward my leg today. And I’m increasingly closer to completing a full revolution in my pirouettes. These are the moments when I wish that there was no break in my ballet training, no opportunity for me – or my muscles – to forget what I’ve learned, to accidentally pick up bad habits.  I use mirrors to practice, of course, but even a roomfull of mirrors is nothing compared to the watchful eye of an experienced teacher.  Unfortunately, other than my wednesday evening class there are no other options for now.

Actually, that’s not quite accurate. There was  a possibility to take ballet at community college during the shortened 5 week session between Fall and Spring terms. Unfortunately, it is taught by Strict Teacher. In other words, it’s not really a possibility.  I’m not sure what is the reason I fell on Strict Teacher’s bad side – could be my age, my body type, my introverted nature – but going through a(nother) term of ballet with her would just be masochistic.  So as much as it pained me to not sign up – I’m talking 5 weeks of ballet, 4 days a week, 1.5 hours a day for $40 total – I didn’t.

Having something to look forward to (Spring term, taking both beginner and intermediate ballet with Teacher) makes it all better, of course. It seems so far away, and I don’t want to be the type of person that wastes away their present by counting down to a specific point in the future, but sometime the present sucks. Yeah, I said it.

That’s part of the reason I’m even writing all of this, I suppose: to remind myself, when I look back on this period of time in my life, that along with the despair there was plenty of joy and happiness mixed in there.  There has been joy, but most of it has been focused around ballet, the only activity that I have for myself. And of course I’ve been feeling grateful for my family’s support and the opportunity to spend a little bit more time with them around the holidays.  But I have spent many sleep-deprived nights, many tearful moments awake, so much hopelessness lately.  It seems I’m at a crossroads in my life and I don’t know which path to take…

We have yet to move. The neighbor from hell is still around, as the holidays have prolonged the legal process to get her out.  It’s not that I’ve been stubbornly clinging on to the place we live at, far from it.  We’ve searched and searched and come up empty.  Apparently any apartment complex that is not located in the worst parts of town requires 3 times the rent minimum income to qualify. We don’t.

Of course, we could have someone cosign (and one of our good friends offerred). However, with a cosigner the deposit apparently goes up and we would owe twice the amount of rent at move-in. Ridiculous.

Last friday (a week ago) we thought that our luck had finally turned. An apartment complex in a decent neighborhood that did not require 3 times the rent.  We applied, of course, certain that we would get in.  The rent is cheaper than what we pay now and we have clean background checks, no prior evictions, bankrupcies, lawsuits, etc. What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out,  a man in another state has been illegaly using my social security number for years (without my knowledge). And even though I have the card in my possesion, the manager still doubts that it’s my number, since our lawbreaking buddy in another state has been making himself so comfortable using my number.  One more apartment rejection.

(To make matters worse, we find this out during a shortened work week (due to the holidays). While I did immediately head down to my local social security office, and waited two hours to be helped, they found nothing wrong.  We returned to the prospective apartments the next day, and were finally given a printout with the offender’s name or alias that clearly shows my social security number. I’ll probably be spending my morning at the ssi office on monday – grrrrr)

So – short of a miracle – it looks like we’re stuck here, dealing with hateful glares, crowds of strange menacing-looking men loitering ourside, screaming profanity rants, public drug use.  We had to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to our apartment last wednesday, I’m not even exagerrating. Want to hear something even more interesting? When we were recording the neighbor’s rants (as instructed to do so by the manager) she spotted us in the window and had the nerve to call the police on us!  She claimed she  doesn’t feel “safe”. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up…

At least we had the opportunity to play the recordings for the police officer.  We were not cited (she was told it’s legal to film outside as long as the inside of someone else’s apt. doesn’t come out) but neither was she (even as she told the cop that she has the right to curse out on the sidewalk nonstop because she’s “a grown woman” and that if we wanted it quiet we could move to a house). Essentially the cop just laughed and shook his head, leaving all of us stuck in this hell-hole to deal with each other. Yes, this is the reality of life for some of us…

By now I guess it’s becoming apparent that I’m getting increasingly angry and bitter. Boyfriend and I have been arguing nonstop for the last two weeks, it seems. I remember as a young girl – back when I was first getting interested in boys and all that – hearing that most couples fight – or break up – over money, and thinking “How dumb! How can that be true?” Ha! I almost wish I could go back in time and show that young girl a picture of her future, give her the opportunity to make some different choices before it’s too late, before she finds herself stuck in horribly unpleasant circumstances with seemingly no way out.

Sorry to not end on a more positive note. I am exhausted.

Edit: They moved out on March 19! I wanted to throw a freakin’ party! It’s been so much more pleasant and quiet now…

Just Ranting, Don’t Mind Me…

In this post I do a lot of whining. And ranting. And generally feeling sorry for myself. I’m only including this in the blog (as opposed to just my offline journal) because it is somewhat ballet-related. Actually, it’s very ballet-related, in a “See what I do for you, ballet” kind of way. But there is a lot of whining. Feel free to skip over. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended…

Ok. (Takes a deep breath)

So, my diagonally downstairs neighbors are the neighbors from hell.  Or at least in my 12 years of living in rented places, in a variety of neighborhoods, this is the closest to neighbors from hell that I’ve had.  I’m talking loud late-night gatherings that sound more like arguments, loud profanity-laden screaming phone conversations that are impossible to avoid (as in, even with all the windows and doors closed it’s impossible to block out her screaming voice, and she actually goes outside and parades up and down the sidewalk while screaming), blatant drug use and drunkeness outdoors, unruly, unsupervised – and honestly, mistreated and abused – children vandalizing other’s vehicles, the list goes on.

It’s embarassing having company over, and there have been so many times that I’ve been grateful that we don’t have kids yet. I would hate to raise them in such a lousy environment, especially since little minds are like sponges.

Back around last May, I was awoken at around 4 am by this woman, who was loudly talking outside. I went out on my front porch and called out “Hey! Can you keep it down?! It’s 4 am and some of us are trying to sleep!”  Well, ever since then she decided that she will not waste an opportunity to shoot me nasty looks as I arrive home, or leave, and on occasion has cursed at me, calling me a “F-ing B—-!”. She has threatened me, though I don’t have it on camera, telling me that “If you don’t shut your mouth, I’ll shut it for you.”

By now, I don’t ever leave home without a recording device, in case she is to threaten me again, or worse, act upon her threats.  We have recorded her behavior from the inside of our apartment, and shown the footage to the manager.  According to management, other tenants have complained as well.  We were promised that these neighbors were going to leave on December 15.  We were counting the days!

That was last Monday. They are still there – I was awakened by her rants this morning, as a matter of fact.

We went down to talk to the office again, and were told that they are doing “all they legally can” to get her out. Truthfully, I don’t believe them. I think they are trying to play both sides, keep us as tenants while not kicking them out. Our lease is scheduled to end on 12/31 and we were actually about to renew the lease. Thankfully, we didn’t; It’s outrageous that our rent’s scheduled to increase and that abusive neighbor is still going to be living there for an indeterminate period of time.

So, it looks like apartment-hunting time again. And of course, amenities-wise, nothing (in our price range) compares with the place we have now; no hardwood floors to practice ballet on, no gym to run at in case of rainy weather, no quiet hilly streets to go for walks in, no walking-distance park to run and jump at, no in-unit washer to wash leotards in.

If we leave here, it seems as though continuing my ballet will be affected.  Not only the space to practice in, but also all the working out that I’ve been doing. I’m terrified; I feel as though my leg muscles that I’ve worked so hard to strengthen will begin to weaken.  At the same time, I feel as though I’m unwilling to continue living near that loud, profane woman – especially if the rent is going up.

I don’t know what to do. The prospect of having to give up ballet is what hurts me the most, but I know there’s no way that I’ll be prepared for next semester unless I can get some practicing done. It’s just the only way I learn, repetition and lots of it. At the same time, I’m just unwilling to continue living in this hostile environment. These neighbors are just out of line! I shouldn’t have to take a recording device with me every time I leave my home for fear of being threatened or assaulted.  I feel like the management should be giving us a freaking discount, not raising the rent (which happens every time a new contract is signed).

I’ve been crying all day, feeling so overwhelmed and sad.  And lost.  I hate feeling so helpless, so miserable, this uncertainty, this feeling of everything being out of my control. I just want to break something. And cry some more.

And then apologize for the negativity. While still crying.

Is It Just Me…

… or is the new WordPress set-up/interface/operation system/ whatever-you-freaking-call-it – I am so not technologically literate sometimes (thus, showing my age) – incredibly confusing,  though, once you get the hang of it, addictively fascinating?

I’m still not sure if I like the changes…

On the one hand, it took me forever to figure out how even create a new post. Not to mention that it appears that my cute world map showing my gains in world domination readership is gone. And that’s sad, because I really liked that map; I would get a kick out of seeing a brand new country colored in and I thought it’d be awesome to see if it would ever fill up completely. Imagine, my first visitor from like, Antartica, or something. And I really liked how the old Stats page just had everything, like, all laid out without the need to scroll around and stuff.

On the other hand, once I started poking around a bit, I found that I can do cool stuff, like look up my number of posts per month and how many views they got back in the day and other trivia, but while cool, I still don’t think they make up for the los of my map.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of ballet-related content in this post.  Better yet, let’s fix that; since my last class I’ve been working on my fondues to releve and they’re going great, as are my pique turns.  My passe releve is slowly – but surely – coming along as well, and my half-pirouettes are stable. Can’t wait until class tomorrow!

Next day edit w/ pictures!

old view

old view

new view

new view