Tag Archives: theatrical tights

It’s Official: I’m Terrible At New Things

Class at New Studio was lots of fun. It’s open level, so the difficulty varies depending on who shows up that day. Everybody that showed up this last time was sort of around the same level, so we were given a nicely challenging  (by my standards) barre and center.

Highlights:

Barre combination with fondues (3 fondu devant, the first with the foot barely off the floor, the second a bit higher, the third as high as we can, bring the leg back around to arabesque, holding it at that height, tendu down and close, reverse starting with fondues derriere) that felt so pretty. I just love fondues! We’ve been working on fondues at Beginner class at my regular school too, doing a similar combination (in this case, fondu devant a terre, then off, bring leg back to arabesque, fondu in to coupe ad reverse, all facing the barre).

We did a similat echappe releve combination to the one from class a few days ago. It was echappe to fourth, close to fifth, echappe to second, close to fifth, echappe to fourth, close fifth, sous-sus, reverse. This time it went much better for me, I don’t know if it was that it wasn’t the first time we did that and I wasn’t feeling completely rusty on my echappe releves, or the fact that NS Teacher insisted that  we use the mirror as we did the combination, making sure to keep our turnout in each position.

We started center with a tendu combination (2 tendu devant in croisse, 2 tendus ecarte, 2 tendus derriere, brush leg forward, failli, pas de bourre, other side) that was really fun to do (I still get a kick out of doing basic tendu combinations because for so long – back when I kept falling over in center – I wanted  to be able to at least tendu in center and make it look pretty).

Another combination we did was 4 balancés, tombe pas de bourre, chasse, pirouette en dehors from fourth, repeat. During one of the pirouettes, I did a 1 1/2 revolution. It was weird, because I know I went around at least once, but when I came down I was facing backwards (which really sucked for getting the rest of the combination done correctly). The rest of my pirouettes sucked. We did 2 pique turns, followed by three counts of chaines, repeat, across the floor after this, and at least those went ok.

Then we did 2 waltz turns, tombe, pas de bourre, glissade, assemble, repeat across the floor. The tempo was much too fast for me – it was time for the pas de bourre around the time I was mid way through my second waltz turn – so I struggled along,but even then I’m grateful, once again, that I can do this kind of stuff without falling over, even when it doesn’t look pretty yet.

We then did cabrioles, which I’d never tried before. They look so impressive when done correctly, but my body just did not want to cooperate. When we did cabrioles to the front, my legs kept wanting to assemble instead. When we did then to the back my body just had no idea what I was trying to tell it to do. I remember when F Teacher taught it to the more advanced students a few months ago (I didn’t try it), she explained it as something like a saute arabesque, then the supporting leg comes up. But even thinking of it like that  wasn’t helping my body cooperate. None of the other girls there were amazing at cabrioles, but I was the worst one. That’s always a good reality check, lest I start thinking I’m actually good – whenever we do something brand new, I’m often the worst.

Beginner class at my regular school went well also. Just as I suspected, Annoying Girl (from last post) does keep it down when F Teacher is teaching, making it a much mre pleasant environment. Barre was a little more fast paced, with more combinations going from one side to the next without stopping (including one where we went back and forth between sides several times, and was so fun). We did ronde de jambes, piques with port de bras, and frappes. I really like F Teacher’s frappe combination for beginners, because it really focuses on foot articulation. I remember back when I first started ballet I could not keep up with it at all, so I would practice it over and over at home until it started feeling somewhat automatic – it took so much time! So I do feel a bit like a fraud standing there doing it all smoothly and confidently

For center we did tendus devant, derriere in croisse, then change to en face tendu devant, a la seconde, chasse to other side, repeat other side, then the whole thing with degage instead of tendu. Nice basic combination, so I worked on making it look as pretty as possible, with epaulement and port de bras.

We did a waltz and balancé combo across the floor, first without turning on the waltz, then with the turn. It kept throwing me off because I’m used to starting from B+, with the upstage leg stepping, and the downstage leg brushing on the first waltz, and we were instead going right to brushing with the dowstage leg from first. So even though in theory it’s easier, since my body didn’t have it in muscle memory it felt harder. This is also a perfect example of what I mean about me still being really slow at picking up new things. (But as i often find myself thinking, ‘at least by now I more or less have my balance, so things – even new things – are not as hard as they were in the beginning’).

Another fun thing we did was a 4 glissade (with alternating leg in front) and sous-sus combo. Glissades are somethign else that took me forever to get decent at (and by ‘decent’ I mean, able to hold my balance and not fall over while landing, but also being strong enough t push off from the one leg), but the thing that was confusng me about these was the switching of the leg. A previous teacher had taught me that glissades never switch legs, so I’d gotten used to that. This whole doing-things-that-are-not-in-my-muscle-memory thing continues to present a challenge to me, so I’m hoping this will make me a better dancer.

While I’ve been loving taking class this often (and my body hasn’t been complaining too much), I’ve been feeling guilty at times about aspects of doing ballet. With this frequency in classes my dance wear’s taking a beating, especially my tights, with most of my pairs getting visible runs by now. I don’t want to just get the cheapest ones I can find (in my case the Theatricals brand from Discount Dance) if they’re going to run after wearing them once -literally – but the times I got the more expensive brand (Bloch), I wasn’t too impressed with the quality and they stretched out relatively fast as well. I’d like something that lasts for a good while without needing to be replaced. So I don’t know yet what I’m going to do, but I feel guilty about all the hidden costs of dancing, I guess. I know this is probably an unpopular topic – dare I say even a taboo topic? – but it’s a reality in my dancing life, and I’m hoping by writing about it I can help sort the issue out. I may just end up switching to leggings for my non-dress-code classes,  but then I’ll miss those unbroken lines…

 

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Mini-Review: BodyWrappers 48″ Legwarmers

(Also discussed: Theatrical Tights)

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Ever since the cold picked up about a month and a half ago, I’ve practically been living in these. While I was using them only for ballet class since getting them months ago, over the last month they’ve found themselves in my daily wardrobe, and even for modern class (they go awesome over my bare feet, and keep the tops of my feet and my arch warm).

So, since I’m so intimately acquainted with these leg warmers, I decided to do a review. In short, I love them and don’t regret this purchase (especially on super chilli days!). But – and it is a big but – there are some things I wish I would have known prior to purchase.

First off, I got the 48″ length ones, as I was hoping to keep my entire leg warm, and although at times I feel like I’m all legs, I figured 4 feet worth of leg warmers ought to be enough. And yes, it would be – except that due to the ridiculously narrow fit of the upper cuff I can’t get them up my entire thigh. Now, I’ve read some of the reviews these leg warmers have online (after already purchasing them), and a couple people mentioned that they have very muscular thighs and that these leg warmers won’t fit.

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Listed length: 48″ Actual length: 44″ Usable length (for me) : 29″

 

As for me, however, I have notoriously long and scrawny legs (at least compared to most people my age). Don’t believe me? The circumference of my thigh measures 14″ right above my knee and 21″ at the top, right below my buttocks.  They still don’t fit! The upper cuff of the leg warmers measures 18″ fully stretched. So they can go about midway up my thigh before they start squeezing me and I feel like a stuffed sausage. So out of the 44″ (they claim to be 48″ in length, but 4″ are missing) total I am able to use about 29″. Which in the end is not a big deal, as a friend taught me how to fold them at the top and wear the cuff under my knee. But, seeing at they had different lengths available, I keep getting the feeling that if I had known they wouldn’t fit around my upper thighs I could have saved myself a couple bucks and bought the 36″ length ones…

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Another comparison of how long they are vs. how much of the length I’m actually able to use.

Quality-wise, I have no complaints. They are really nice and warm, and the material feels soft against my skin when I wear them barefoot. They haven’t started running or unraveling at all,  and even with all the pulling and stretching of getting them on (or off) in a hurry they don’t seem to be getting stretched out.

In conclusion, I recommend these, but I suggest measuring your thighs first or getting the shorter length ones.

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Weirdest photo angle ever, but it shows me wearing the leg warmers.

 

Anyone have any suggestions for full length leg warmers that will fit “regular sized” upper thighs?

As for the Theatrical Tights, this was my second time purchasing them. I got some last year, a little over a year ago, and they got a run after only wearing them a couple of times. That made me not want to give them another chance, but I recently had to get a pair of brand new ballet pink tights, and with the exception of stuff on clearance these are as cheap as it gets. So I picked up another pair. This time they got a run after only wearing them once! To make matters worse, I only wore them for around 30 minutes, tops.

Yes, the material feels soft and silky, but if you want a product that lasts at least a few wearings without showing it’s age, this brand is NOT the one! If you need a cheap pair of tights for a single performance or one time wear then these will do just fine. I’d also suggest that they can be worn all hole-y for that well-practiced-time-worn look, but both pairs I’ve had decided to run in the upper inner thigh area near the gusset, so that makes wearing them (remember, the tights ARE the underwear) a little risky; that’s somewhere you don’t want to be feeling a draft!

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Theatrical tights in ballet pink, still in their package

 

More class notes coming soon!

 

Apparently, I’m Tall…

… or at least that’s my leotard size.

As this blurry picture shows, it's size Tall

As this blurry picture shows, it’s size Tall

Went on another expedition to the Big City that included a stop at the dance outlet shop.  When I went last time, right as I was paying for my stuff I saw that they had those little knit bun covers and I thought they were so cute, but I already had exact change in hand.  So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go by and see if I could pick one up.  And the best thing about (dance) outlets is that you have no idea what cool (dance-related) stuff you might find (Now, the worst thing about outlets is that often times everything is there for a reason…). Unlike last time I went there, I decided to not go by the sizes marked alone; instead if I saw something that may fit I would put it on the Maybe Pile regardless what size it says.  Besides, as an outlet, you almost got to expect that the sizes will be a bit irregular. One of the leotards I tried on was marked Large and wouldn’t even come up over my thighs, so yeah… Anyway, this not-paying-attention-to-size resulted in me trying on a variety of leotards that I previously wouldn’t have. I’d tried on about 5 or 6 when I picked up a shiny navy blue camisole leotard. Under size, it was labeled Tall.  As a short-waisted (meaning proportionally my legs are waayyyyy too long for my torso) person, I sometimes may appear tall, due to the excessive leg length, but I’m only 5’4, (1.63 M) – not short, but not tall either. Since not only am I not tall, but my height is mostly in my legs, I figured the leotard, probably made for a tall person’s torso may not fit.  But the feel of the fabric felt so nice and smooth and shiny that I was willing to give it a shot.

The front

The front

So, on comes the leotard and it fits perfectly.  It’s snug – as a leotard should be – but it doesn’t feel like it’s pulling on something.  It doesn’t squeeze in an unpleasant way that makes me feel smooshed up, like I can’t breathe (or pull up).  I loved it! I’ve bought several leotards now and while there’s been some that fit okay (as opposed to not at all), this has been the first one that fits great. It went from Maybe Pile to For Sure Pile. Now having worn it to class, I still think it fits great but I really wish I’d been wearing both of my sport bras when I tried it on – apparently there’s a slight cleavage problem in class that wasn’t there in the fitting room. At least it’s only a problem when I’m bending forward (as I found out while getting down on the floor to stretch – awkward), when I’m upright it’s fine. I still would have bought it if I’d known at the time I tried it on, but I guess it’s a good rule to wear the same undergarment set-up to try stuff on as you’d wear to class.  (Except please don’t try on stuff without underwear, that’s just gross)

The back view. I like how it has full front lining. It's also not cut too low on the back.

The back view. I like how it has full front lining. It’s also not cut too low on the back.

I went through the rest of the leotards, but, having experienced what a perfectly-fitting leotard feels like, there was just no way anything could compare.  But since the leotards at the dance outlet are so cheap, I was planning on getting a second one.  I settled on another navy blue one, this one a tank style with a ruched front.  There was another one that was almost identical but without the ruched front. At first I thought that any detail in the front of the leotard would be a bad idea (in a drawing attention to myself way) – and who knows, it may be – but that one felt so much more comfortable and less constricting than the flat front one. So that one it is.

This is actually front view, but it's so dark that it's hard to see the details

This is actually front view, but it’s so dark that it’s hard to see the details

In addition to the 2 leotards, I picked up another little dance sweater to wear over my leotards.  Ever since I got my little sweater on my last trip here I’ve been wearing it to every class and it’s really helped me feel more comfortable. It disguises my chest to the point that from the front in the mirror I don’t even notice that it’s there. I don’t know if anyone else is fooled, but it still helps me feel less awkward about my body in class and therefore I am able to focus on dancing instead. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a second one on hand in case the first gets dirty and I don’t have a chance to wash it.

I guess if I hold it up to the light I'm able to get a picture of the ruched front...

I guess if I hold it up to the light I’m able to get a picture of the ruched front…

As I was browsing through the leotards, the guy that worked there asked me if I wanted some tights.  At $3 each, sure! I ended up getting 3 pairs of Body Wrappers footed tights. The material of the tights feels a bit coarse compared to the silky smoothness of my favorite tights ever (which tore after about a week of wearing them – that would be the Theatrical tights… silky smooth but flimsy as hell), but we’ll see how they hold up.  They have the outline of where the heel goes already in them, which I thought was kind of weird (and I guess that means I can’t wear them forward-side-back, which makes them very unversatile).

See what I mean? Little shapes of feet!

See what I mean? Little shapes of feet!

A pair of regular tights (above) and these foot-outlined tights (bottom) for comparison

A pair of regular tights (above) and these foot-outlined tights (bottom) for comparison

Notice how I didn’t say I got a bun cover. That’s because they were all out, which really sucks. I wonder if there’s a lesson to be learned in this… However, one of the leotards came with this elastic band. Is it a hairband? Am I supposed to already know what it’s for?  (And no, it’s not a replacement strap, as this leotard is a tank style, not spaghetti-strap.)

The elastic band that came with the leotard

The elastic band that came with the leotard

(Edit: my last dance clothes trip to the Big City)

http://www.balletandorbust.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/leotards/

Monday Class: Finally, Some Foot Strength

As the semester progresses we are doing more and more barre exercises during which Teacher has us let go of the barre the second time through.  Today we let go during the degage and pique combination and during the rond de jambe,  fondu, coupe and passe combination.  We were also taking our arms of the barre at the end of most of the combinations and balancing in releve. Teacher has not yet asked us to balance in releve on one leg, but I anticipate that happening soon so I’ve started working on that more at home so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Surprises during ballet class don’t usually end well for me…

Something new we did at barre was move our leg en cloche.  The combination went something like degage forward, come back through first and degage back, then degage front, pique, and balance. Then the same thing to the back, ending with a pique and balance with the leg to the back.  While I am familiar with this movement, I was glad that Teacher said we would not be letting go of the barre during it today.

We did grand battement and changements exercise (three grand battements to the front, three changements, repeat other leg), first holding the barre then letting go.  While we waited for the other half of the class to do it the rest of us then could optionally practice it far from the security blanket safety of the barre.  It went better than I could have imagined.  Grand battements a la seconde are easier for me than en avant – I think that’s how you say “to the front”, we’ll be getting quizzed on this later – so the fact that the en avant one’s went well was encouraging.  My changements were not too shabby either; I had a good mirror spot so I was able to see the part where the thighs clap together that wednesday evening teacher says should occur.

My feet pointing during sautes was not too bad today. While I don’t always point to the fullest that I possibly can – either I forget or I get tired –  my feet no longer do that floppy lifeless thing they used to do in midair.  Or land too far apart. Also, it could have been in my head, but I think that my height during the jumps has improved as well.  It used to be that I barely left the ground.

Our balance combination (4 balances starting with to the right side, then step out our right foot and put our weight on it, lift up back (left)  foot and put arms in first arabesque, then bend supporting (right) leg keeping the back leg straight, and pas de bouree, switch and to the other side) went ok.  The feet part at least, my arms were horrible.  But I felt stable and sort of like I was dancing.

Teacher complimented me on my chaines while turning left.  For whatever reason it’s much easier for me to turn towards the left than towards the right.  When turning towards the right I kept losing my spot today, but otherwise it went ok. Now teacher wants us to actually finish (in first arabesque) when we finish chaines-ing, instead of just kind of running out of center, so that’s the next thing I will be working on.

Today I wore one of my new tights. Since I’ve been obsessing over the silky feel of the material I went with the Theatrical ones, since I just couldn’t wait to try them on (but actually wearing them to class, not just for a quick minute). I will be updating my mini-review as I get to know the tights I bought some more.

As I was leaving I saw Strict Teacher. That was kind of weird…

Ballet Tights! Mini- Review (Updated)

(Edited to add: I made this post to help other ballet students by reviewing some tights, not for a certain individual’s personal gratification.

Hey, weirdo: how about you stop stalking my blog and looking at my pictures of tights?! Seriously, stop being a freaking perv! There’s sites online for that. Don’t make me have to make my entire blog private just to keep your perverted self from looking at my tights pictures.

P.s. – dicussing tights – and only tights – is hardly considered “chatting about ballet”. Don’t contact me again. If you do, I will publish screenshots of every email you’ve sent me. That’s probably what you want – attention. )

 

Been feeling a little down – ok, more than a little – since my last evening class.  However, today a package arrived for me. My tights were here!

As I mentioned in my post from wednesday a week ago, my tights have been deteriorating.  As I looked around the dance studio in the mirror, I’d noticed that the shade of pink was not really pink anymore.  After KitTeaCat Does Ballet (linking feature still down for me) recommended Discount Dance Supply for discount tights, I decided to check them out. After perusing their selection of adult size tights I ended up ordering two pairs.

Previously I’d only purchased tights in person.  Don’t know if the dance store only carried Bloch tights in adult sizes, or if there is a cheaper alternative that I wasn’t shown, but both times I’ve picked up some tights  they were by Bloch.  Since I haven’t tried any other brands I went with two different brands so I could compare and contrast.

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The tights in their package. And Mudgey, reponsible for the first hole in my old tights.

The first pair was by Natalie Dancewear.  I bought their footed microfiber tights in Ballet Pink.  The second pair was  by Theatricals.  For this pair, also microfiber and footed, I opted to go with the color Prima Pink.  I don’t remember how much they cost but it was something around $4 each. The total with shipping – and I assume including sales tax, since they are based in California, which taxes online purchases by it’s residents – came out to $11.11.

For a moment I was a little worried that Prima Pink would be too, well, pink, instead of the supposedly “fleshy” color of Ballet Pink.  Nevermind that neither color is anywhere close to my skin tone.  It appears my worries were unfounded; the colors are very similar, as the pictures will show.

When I pulled the tights out of their respective packages, I was struck by how soft the material of the Theatrical tights is. It just feels so silky smooth, I just wanted to rub it against myself for a bit. The Natalie tights don’t have the same soft feeling, though both pair of tights are made of the same material (microfiber), with the same blend of 86% nylon, 14 % spandex.

I haven’t actually worn either pair of tights yet. Trying on clothes is only fun for me when I’m in a certain mood, however weird that sounds. The rest of the time it makes me lazy. Yeah, trying on the tights makes me lazier than writing  about it, go figure.   But I will be wearing them for class this coming week and I will update on how they are doing and more than just first impressions.

Due to my height/weight ratio it could go either way on the sizing but I went with the larger size.  If I were to put on more muscle on my legs I wouldn’t want to risk them not fitting.  Because I am planning on making them last as long as possible and all.

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The Natalie tights on the left, Theatricals on right. For contrast, in the middle are my discolored tights, formerly Ballet Pink.  Notice how Ballet Pink (left) and Prima Pink (right) are very similar.

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Close-up.  Now you can see why when compared to my classmates tights I was able to see how bad mine were.  Maybe throwing my tights in the wash with my black leotard was not the smartest idea…

When I wore my Bloch tights on wednesday I noticed that they were stretched out in some places but not others. It was really weird, not sure what caused it. They were a smaller size than the pink ones I later got (the discolored ones), so perhaps it happened when I forced myself into them.  At the time when I bought them I was between sizes, but I have since learned my lesson to go with the bigger size.

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Trying to show the stretched-out-ness of the black tights. As you can see, some part look more solid than others, which are more translucent.

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Another attempt to show the strange stretched-out-ness.  It’s just that I thought when things stretch out it would happen kind of evenly…

Updates! (9/29/14)

Wore the Theatrical tights. Was super glad that my in-between-sizes self ordered the next size up because these tights are snug!  They felt great though, the way I imagine a silk stocking would feel.  It was a really chilly morning but the tights did a good job of helping me conserve body heat.

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Trying to show how Prima Pink looks when it’s worn. Not too pink at all! 

(10/01/14 World Ballet Day!!!)

Wore the Natalie Dancewear tights.  Not as snug fitting as the Theatrical tights, though I’m still glad I went a size up.  Actually, I would say that on these tights the leg part doesn’t feel long enough almost, but the underwear part (don’t know what it’s called, I’m not a clothes person, sorry) is roomy.  Almost too roomy.

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Wearing the Natalie tights.  Weirdest photo angle EVER, no “photographer” (lol) today.

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And for color comparison’s sake, one of each tights on each leg.  Natalie Dancewear tights on the left leg (Ballet Pink), Theatrical tights  (Prima Pink) on the right leg.  Please excuse the non-balletish flip flops and another weird photo angle.

So, in conclusion, unless something extreme happens to change my mind, I prefer the Theatrical tights. Besides the silky feel of the material  (which I loved!) , I liked the way the tights felt snug, like they hugged my legs, without feeling like the leg portion was too short.  The Natalie dancewear tights felt like if I didn’t have my leotard to keep them up they would come down, both because I felt like the leg part didn’t go up enough, and the underwear part was a bit loose.

And that concludes my first mini-review .

June 2015

As I realized this page gets viewed quite a bit, I’m updating the info on the tights. (Maybe when I’m not feeling lazy I’ll put up some pictures)

The Theatrical tights began to run in the upper thigh are at some point early this year.  This is after being worn approximately once a week, always hand washed.

The Natalie tights have help up a little bit better. Unfortunately, they began to tear at the seams where the guset is sewn to the tights material.  It’s still just a tiny tear, but still makes me paranoid to wear them too often. Actually, lately I’ve been avoiding wearing them at all.

Lately I’ve been wearing my Body Wrappers tights. They are holding up well so far…