Tag Archives: torn tights

Back To Double Dose of Ballet

See Tights

See Tights Run

Run Tights, Run!

My new tights have a run already. What the hell!

My new tights have a run already. What the hell!

Just trying to find humor in the fact that after wearing them only, like, 3 times my new favorite tights have a run in them already, as I discovered when it was time to get dressed.

wednesday morning class

The new port de bra for our demi plies at the barre is still unfamiliar and awkward for me.  It’s almost feeling like the patting-your-head-while-rubbing-your-stomach feeling.  We start with arm out in second and it doesn’t come in until we are at the bottom of the plie, then low fifth when we go up.  On the next plie it goes to middle fifth on the bottom, and opens to second when we come up.  The time coordination is the part that gets me, I keep wanting to bring in the arm prematurely and then I’m ahead of the count.  Will excessively work on it at home for sure.

On our tendus we did a lot of slow foot articulation stuff.  Tendu-ing out to second, flexing the toes and then the foot, then pointing the ankle (but not the toes), and finally the toes.  While the ankle flexing part is not a problem, my toes didn’t want to cooperate on the toe flexing.

We did releves sous-sus and then brought one foot up to coupe.  Strengthwise it was ok, didn’t feel like much of an effort. Then Teacher said to let go of the barre and try to balance as long as possible.  I let go and promply started to fall forward, reminding me of a felled tree – someone yell “Timber!”.

The expected learning curve scares me.  Things that are introduced in class one week – no pressure, most people mess up – are then expected to be drastically improved several weeks later.  That is not my learning curve; it took me about 6 months to be able to pull off any two-footed releve balance at all, for however short a time.  Even now I still struggle with my balance on two-footed releves at times (though magically it always works out at home, when I’m alone).

It sucks, because most teachers approach it from the premise of “if you’re not balancing it’s because you tend to fall backwards.”  I tend to fall forward (because of the chest, weight distribution), so when I releve I make sure to not go up too quickly, that way my momentum won’t push me over, while at the same time making sure to  not fall back.   It gets desperately discouraging at times, especially seeing how other, much newer, people don’t have trouble with the balancing part.  But then I see pictures of full-term pregnant women balancing either on releve or en pointe and I’m like ‘no, there’s a way. I just have to get even stronger.”

We did a flexibility exercise with a partner, involving developpe-ing to the front and a la seconde, but the catch was that after you developpe your partner pushes your leg up, to the limit your flexibilty can stand. Then we had to use our strength to keep our leg that high and sloooowly – with control – bring it back down.  Imagine my surprise when my partner kept pushing my leg up and it was past my head and it still didn’t hurt! And I still remember when I couldn’t even touch my toes – an unflexible child can grow up to be a sort of flexible adult!  Once she let go I was able to keep it up there and lower it slowly with no problem.  Yay, maybe there is strength in me after all!

During sautes I did feel less out of breath and exhausted, though that’s probably mental because I don’t think my 2 days of (very little) jogging have made that much of a difference.  But I am interested to see how my endurance for jumps will improve after I’ve been jogging awhile.  My sautes were ok – feet somewhat pointed – but the changements and echappes not so much. However, looking on the positive side, I no longer step on myself when I do changements and after the changement and echappe combination I did end up with the correct foot in front.

Across the floor we did 4 chasses (the galloping kind), ballet run and jete.  On the right side it went ok, my jetes with the left leg in front could use some additional improvement.    But it was so much fun, sometimes big movements are just what I needed!

wednesday evening class

Double checked and made sure I had my wallet AND my shoes.

We had a small class today, all with some ballet experience, so as Evening Teacher says “We can do stuff that involves the brain more.”  It was a change of pace, and for the most part I kept up.

We did fondues, which I love.  We did the kind of fondues where the leg straightens so that the working foot is in the air, not the floor, which are even more fun. We also did the rond de jambes that are combined with a fondu, as well as plenty of rond de jambes en l’air.

Something I like about this class is that E. Teacher uses music that changes tempo midway. So we do stuff like 8 slow degages and then 6 in double time or two tendus and then a pique on the third.  It’s nice to mix it up a bit; I would say “keeps it interesting” but it’s already interesting.  Ummm, I guess it increases the interesting factor.

We did lots of frappes also, which was nice.  Such a weird motion at first – the flexed foot and all – but now that I got used to doing them they’re ok.

During our grand battements en croix we did something different: after front, side, back, on the next side one we were to turn in to the barre with both our supporting and working legs bent and then straighten the working leg back out, then tondu it in releve sous-sus, soutenu, and other side.  The “turning into the barre with bent legs” move looks super intimidating but E. Teacher broke it down enough to make it possible.  I love the “no pressure” vibe in this class, as I’ve said before.

My only problem at barre was that E. Teacher wanted us to take a long balance in passe releve, which I can only hold for about two seconds (on left working leg) and not at all on the right leg.  So I alternated between holding passe releve with one hand at the barre or balancing with no hands on flat passe.

We did changements, echappes, and some kind of jump to fourth position that I’d never done before.  This was probably part of the whole “engaging our brain” thing. Unfortunately, my brain was occupied with trying to jump period, so I probably looked like I was doing lopsided jumping jacks or something.

During center, there was all this balancing in passe releve and then pirouette craziness that I pretty much messed up on.  Since barre went so well I took it all in stride.  So I can’t balance at all, no big deal, I can fondu! Or something like that…

At least I’m feeling cheerful tonight though.  I was feeling a little upset after morning class (re: my lack of balance) if the truth must be told, sometimes my flatlined learning curve just really gets me down.  Makes me feel like my efforts are hopeless, like I’ll never be decent at ballet. Such a sad thought…

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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…

Another Double Dose of Ballet

Obviously wednesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week…

Wednesday morning class

Now that this teacher’s barre combinations are becoming more familiar to me I find I’m better able to work on doing the moves right instead of just remembering how the combination goes.  We did plenty of balancing with our foot in coupe and passe, both with arms in middle and high fifth.  Teacher also went into more detail about coordinating the arms with our plies.  The demi plies’s arm movement is nothing new, but for grand plies we are to take our arm (which should already be in second) and raise it up a bit, straightening our fingers a little. The arm stays there while we go into demi plie and then when we go into grand plie the arm comes in an an almost sweeping motion to low fifth. We then bring the arm up through the center as we rise back up to demi plie and straighten up as our arm goes back to second.  Lots to think about, if I ever heard this during my first semester of taking ballet my brain was too busy focusing on maintaining my turnout during the grand plies to even think about arms.

During barre, teacher actually said “Good!” to me when we were doing releve sous-sus with balancing, and it startled me so much that I came back down instead of staying up in releve.  But I was still pretty pleased.

On to center. Teacher said we were going to work on ballet walking, and if I’m not mistaken  (which I could be, since as I’ve previously mentioned, my short-term memory sometimes is crap)  she said what we were doing  was called a pas de cheval.  And I totally recognized it as the “fondue walk from wednesday evening class which meant both that I wasn’t freaking out because it’s a new, unpracticed-in-private thing and I could actually do it without losing my balance.  The feeling of relief that washed over me was incredible! Of course there’s still things to work on, like making sure my arms in second while walking don’t look “like a scarecrow” as teacher told someone, but the feeling off there being no pressure and “What if I can’t balance at all?”  wasn’t there and it was great.

Chaines across the floor were practiced again.  This time teacher didn’t correct me on the distance between my feet, so hopefully that means I did at least a little bit better than on monday.  She did correct me on my arms though, first saying that the circle in front of me was too big (or was that too small? Well, the point is, it needs work!) and then about my elbows.  I was a bit confused so I did something that’s out of my comfort zone and stayed after class to ask.  She clarified  that what I was doing was dropping my elbows, and showed me the difference, so now it’s clear what I need to work on.  She said “other than that it’s beautiful” which was really, super nice of her.  Even if she was being too nice it totally made my day!

In sautes, I think my pointing of the feet is improving gradually. Wednesday evening class is smaller – and the distance to the mirror is also closer – so I’ll be able to focus on my feet in the mirror and check to see how the pointing is coming along.  Teacher corrected me on landing because I always seem to land with my feet further away from each other than in first. The crappy thing is that since I live in a second story apartment and have neighbors living directly under me I can’t practice sautes at home (well, I could, but when I land it sounds like an elephant crashing down and all I can think is “if someone lived above me and did that daily I’d be super pissed and treat others as you want to be treated,” so no)  which means all the saute practice I get has to be in class.  Since I only take classes on mondays and wednesdays I do wonder if I would improve faster if I had another practice day in there. It’s a long time from wednesday to monday!

The low point of class was when we were standing in center awaiting instructions and my inner critic was like “You call those tights ‘ballet pink’? That’s more like ‘faded discolored ballet cream’.” It’s true, my tights have either faded from too much washing and wearing or something because they are looking really beat up. Besides the holes and runs that I previously tried to stop with nail polish, there appears to be almost space between the individual threads.  I don’t really want to spend $16 (plus 10% California sales tax) on a new pair but I just may have to.  Not yet though.  I have been thinking of either wearing the ill-fitting black tights to evening class or not even wearing tights and a leotard to it, since only about 20% of the class does on average.  Morning classes have a dress code though, so I need my dancewear to last for those.  At the same time, wearing my leotard helps me make sure that my back is straight and all the other alignment issues that street clothes hide, so I may just wear it anyway.

Oh, almost forgot. One of the more advanced girls did – rather, has been doing, but her class attendance is a bit sporadic – barre in pointe shoes and the rest of us were totally watching curiously.  Today I was watching her do her releve sous-sus. Pointe shoes are loud!

Wednesday evening class

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should do a preliminary “barre” warm up at home before evening class. At least a few run through of plies in every position and some releves. Having had another class 6 or 7 hours before is not warm up…

There was 10 people in class, including 2 who never had tried ballet before.  One of them was a guy who did other types of dance and the other was a lady with no dance experience.  For whatever reason though it felt like the teacher was going through the barre kind of quick with minimal explanations, which was strange given the two beginners.

The new lady and I shared a barre. During our little stretch break we had the chance to talk a little.  We talked about the ballet learning curve, I encouraged her to be patient,  and assured her that it does get (at least a little) better.  By the end of class she didn’t seem too encouraged though.

The music the teacher played for ronde de jambes was really nice, and vaguely familiar.  The timing was weird though, and I found myself a beat too fast or too slow. Actually, both happened (too fast and too slow) during the course of the exercise.

We did glissades, a move which after a few months or so of practicing became do-able and eventually, even fun. We hadn’t done them in this class before on the days I’d attended.  The combination was something like 3 glissades to the right (left foot front, no feet switching), pas de bourree, then 3 glissades to the left and pas de bourree.  Pretty simple, but a nice opportunity to not feel clumsy outside of my living room. The pas de bourrees also did not involve the coupe  at the end, only in the beginning. I wonder if this is like a “beginner” variation of it or if my first teacher’s version was just extra hard.

On the sautes, the foot pointing seemed to be about the same as last week still. However, I did manage to not step on myself during the changements, which was good.

My across the floor fondu walking (pas de cheval?) went well.  For whatever reason I have really improved on it in the past  week or so.  Not once did I feel like I was going to lose my balance, which was a nice feeling. The first time I ever tried that move  was in wednesday evening class, a few weeks ago. Perhaps even a month. And then I just realized “I blogged about it! I could look it up.” But I’ll finish writing out first, before I forget.   But anyway, the first time we tried it, I was really having trouble balancing, though I did understand what we were supposed to be doing.  (Editted 9/19/14:  Ok, looked it up. My introduction to this move was on 8/13 which would place it at 5 weeks before this class.)

Then we did jetes. The ones with my left leg in front were terrible! The right ones were mediocre (in other words, not good, but luckily no one in today’s class were particularly great either)  but at least I kind of knew what I was doing. Except I  wasn’t doing it good enough. The left legged ones, for whatever reason my brain was done cooperating. The weirdest thing is, I just did a few right now to verify that I wasn’t getting the legs mixed up, and my left one was now almost equally mediocre as my right.

Reverance in wednesday evening class is so weird.  The way it usually works is the teacher tells us to copy after her and then she does this crazy hard – though beautiful – port de bras combination that absolutely none of the students can do.  She just tells us to follow along as best as we can.  In all my other ballet class, reverance was taught to us by the teacher, and then we did pretty much the same thing every time.

After class, since I was already having such an interesting day, I decided to do something out of character again and ask the teacher a question after class.But I will be saving that for a later post…

The day I didn’t lose my nerve

As I have previously mentioned, so far  my ballet experience consists of classes that I have taken at my local community college (and, of course, lots of practicing at home). That’s where I took my first ballet class and I hadn’t ventured elsewhere due to several reasons, a big part of it being money. At the communtity college you get 14 weeks worth of ballet, 2 times a week for about $50. Can’t beat that (well, actually you could if you audit the class at the community college).
But I found out recently that there is a dance studio nearby that offers ballet. It met my requirements: it was affordable-ish ($10 per class), less than 20 minute drive from home, and they offer a beginner’s class. Still though, I’ve put it off and just continued my practice at home.

I don’t suffer from procrastination. What I do suffer from is anxiety, a crippling anxiety that keeps me from veering too far from my routine, from what is known to me. Yet it unpredictably and unexpectedly lets up, and those are the times when I have actually do something for the better:when I decided to go back to school, when I first ever signed up for ballet, whenever I have stood up to my friends and relatives on any issues that I believe in. In other words, many good decisions have been made by me at times when my anxiety was not in control.
Today was one of those times. I had pondered trying out that new dance studio last week, but ultimately I had let my inner critic disuade me. I told myself that I could just wait the next month or so and just continue taking classes at the college.
But today I told myself that I was going to go in and take this class. If it went horrible then at least I know that I tried.
With my anxiety, it’s the little “what-if”s that get me. I was discouraged from going to class because of doubts about what to wear, for example. At my regular classes we have a uniform or dress code, so that part is easy. At this new place, not so much. There was no dress code mentioned on their website and I had been unable to reach them on the phone. And then, to make matters worse, my pink tights have a hole in them, thanks to my adorable cat Smudgey, and my black tights that I bought when I first started a year and a half ago fit a tiny bit too snug (due to putting on leg muscle, I hope). At $14 apiece I was not planning on getting new tights until these were literally falling apart. At school I know we are allowed to do this, but at a new place? How awkward!
Also, I’m used to taking ballet class in the morning, so I usually just have a super light breakfast but this new class in in the evening so it would for sure be after dinner. And I don’t know how I feel about wearing a leotard on a full stomach.
And, since in the college classes we had all started class at the same time (though some people had years of experience), and in this class it wouldn’t be that way, I guess I had the general fear that was if the class was way too advanced for me. What if I got lost in every combination and looked like a clumsy oaf?
But today was the day I faced all of that.
After trying on both, I ultimately decided to wear the pink tights, despite the tear. I arrived at the studio nice and early. By this point, since I had already made the decision (I really think the deciding part is the worst), I felt like I was on autopilot. I didn’t know if they had a changing area, so I wore my leotard and tights under my clothes. So glad this week isn’t as hot as last week!
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Me trying out the black tights.
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My poor torn pink tights 😦
So as for the class…
I had so much fun! I am so glad that I faced my fears and didn’t let them hold me back.
The teacher was super friendly and nice and not intimidating at all. So that was really cool. The class had a very chill, laid back feel to it. There was five of us students, all adults. I was the only one wearing a leotard! Yet strangely I did not feel weird, I felt like a ballerina.
The combinations at the barre were not hard, but since they were new to me it was a bit of a challenge. It was awesome though, nothing that I can’t handle. Plies and grand plies in first, second and fifth. Tendus, degages, rond de jambe, frappes, some balancing in releve. Some developes but no fondues.
Now center, my favorite, lol. (sarcasm) Well, it wasn’t horrible. The port de bras and releve combination was do-able, but unfortunately I’m one of those people that needs to do a lot of repetition before they can do something right. So it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. We did some balancing in passe releve, and I’m so glad that I had been able to do that recently, or else I would have probably been intimidated. We did sautes and changements, which at least I was able to do in timing. I need to stop forgetting my arms though.
And I even got some compliments from the teacher!
So will I be back? HECK, YEAH!
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Hoping that the tear isn’t obvious from a distance, lol.