Friday, January 30, 2015

"A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever" - John Keats

People give you stuff when you sew. Like... "Hey. My granny just died and I was cleaning out her closet and I found this garbage bag full of polyester double knit and plastic beaded fringe from 1974 and I thought of you immediately!" And of course you accept it, because that's really nice (and besides their granny just died so you feel bad for them). And... well... because you can't pass up a sack of fabric! It might come in handy some day. You never know what treasures could be in that sack! I've got lovely silk brocade hanging in my closet that was buried at the bottom of a garbage bag full of broken trim and powder blue metallic netting.
Apparently, if you run a ballet studio people do something similar. But with costumes. "You teach ballet! Wow! You won't believe it but my second cousin's great aunt's neighbor's niece used to do jazz and tap and somehow I ended up with an entire storage unit full of AMAZING costumes!" Your gratitude is assumed.

In preparation for the studio's big Summer recital I am going through tupperware bin upon tupperware bin full of random tutus, leotards, and other costume bits and bobs that somehow ended up in the studio's possession, weeding out the ones that are beyond hope and fixing the most egregious flaws in the remainder. I have spent a couple of weeks, now, going through these, and it's totally awesome, to be quite honest. Especially because I get to remove/trash the ones I would rather burn than work on (a rare and empowering experience in the world of costuming!). Below I present some of the most heinous incredible creations that ever graced the form of a 7 year old in tap shoes and pigtails...

Now. Some of them aren't so bad. This one, for instance, could use to be soaked in Oxiclean for a month and gone over with a steamer to remove wrinkles, but you can see what they were getting at, anyway:
I'm thinking Tinkerbell.

And there are things that... well. They aren't really SO bad. Not when you consider that they must have come from 1987:

I mean, yes, it's ugly. But check out that sky-high French-cut leg opening we've got going on, here. You
just can't be mad at a leotard inspired by Jane Fonda AND Gunne Sax, can you?
No. You can't.

Of course, then there are things for which words seem inadequate:
It inspires one to poetry, does it not?
The neon pink fringe
it lay-th below
acid green sequins,
all aglow...

And then this happened:
I want to point out that this neon yellow and pink
leopard print unitard, here, is an ADULT size small.
Adult. I am just going to leave you with that.



Saturday, January 24, 2015

terrifying, honestly

BAM! And she's doing piqué turns en pointe, everybody.
'Betta recognize, mothafuckas.*

*EVERY single time I try to type "mothafucka" it comes out as "mothfucka". I don't even know.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, 2015

So. The year happened. 2014, in the end, wasn't an incredibly great year for me but could have been worse. The year began with both of my cats coming down with terrible abscesses and needing emergency treatment. Thankfully the cat situation is mostly on an even keel, now. In the Spring there were absolute acres of recital costumes to fit, repair, and/or create. They turned out okay, and in exchange for my effort I have been taking class for free for several months (which, hoo boy, really helps right now). In the Summer I spent a lot of time worrying about a sick friend and driving back and forth to visit her in the hospital about two hours away from home. Nothin' proves devotion like watching someone have a catheter removed. In the Autumn I had oral surgery. In December my Dad had cataract surgery, it went well and I spent a few days dealing with that, then I had some traumatic family stuff to deal with. So far in 2015 I have had a miscarriage and had the locks on my car doors destroyed by someone with a screwdriver. It's actually better than last January, though? All in all I think my life is about as solid as it gets in the real world.

In my ballet world... meh. I suppose I improved on some things. To be honest ballet and I have been going through some rough times in our relationship. It's been physically really hard on me for a while (the last two weeks haven't been too bad, though) and I am not really wild about my class schedule. The back-to-back classes on Thursdays are so hard. So so hard. The worst part of the whole RA thing is the utter exhaustion, but I am not sure how much of this stamina issue I'm having is related to that and how much is just too many high-energy classes too close together. Regardless, feeling like you are going to keel over at any moment is not really encouraging and I have been feeling a lot less excited about going to class because of it. I'm working on it, but my enthusiasm isn't all that it could be.

This year I am going to actually try to do that damn ballet-related art project that I have been talking about for a solid year +. We'll see. I set up a blog for it last January. Haaaaaa. Yeah, way to go, RPrin, gettin' it done.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pleats Fo'EVA

So, my best friend is getting married. Whateva, whateva, whateva makes ya happy, girl*. She's set the date for late August (outdoors, in central California. HAHAHAHA! So droll) and things are kicking in to high gear. She is making her gown. She has designed a skirt adorned with graduating tiers of pleated organza. Now, this would normally not be a problem. We work together. She's a pro. She's made ball gowns of gold tissue lamé. She's beaded. She's boned. Girlfriend knows what she's doing. But.
But, six months ago, at the very height of theater season, she had a stroke. A damn-near fatal one, at that. She has spent the past six months in the hospital/rehab facility/working like a dog to try and get her body functional and her life back together. She's winning, and I am so proud of her. But let's be honest. This dress needs 36 yards of pleated organza. 36 yards AFTER pleating. That's... that's a hella** lot of fine motor control. So I offered to do the pleating.
At first I thought, ha ha ha... oh no problem, I will buy a pleater foot for my industrial sewing machine and somehow magical sewing angels will arrive on the crest of a rainbow and deliver unto me 36 yards of pleated organza whilst the choir sings and butterflies flutter about my studio. But, alas, it was not meant to be. In other words: AW HELL NAW that ain't workin' out for me. This son of a bitch is going to need a pleating board, several pots of tea, and the patience of a frikkin' saint.
This is all just a very long-winded way of saying that I have a pleater foot, now, which might be kind of handy for making tutus in the future, perhaps. I really need to learn to get to the point...

*and thus ends my one and only attempt at writing a Beyoncé song.
**slang courtesy of 1995. You're welcome. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

ze Queen and ze firebird

How is the "no ballet in opera" scene from Amadeus not on Youtube? How am I supposed to make this post even vaguely related to ballet without a visual aid of the most ballet-related thing going on in my life right now? GEEZE, PEOPLE!
My husband has been gone to visit family for the past few days and I have spent my alone time eating entire pints of sherbet straight from the tub and watching movies set in the 18th century for fabulous rococo costuming inspiration (so depressing, all these movies! All of them! Why are there no happy movies with panniers and giant hair?) and because I am reading a biography about Marie Antoinette.
Did you know Marie Antoinette was a dancer? Ballet was different, naturally, than it is now, but she loved to dance. Here she is performing a ballet with her brother at a state wedding:

Last week my teacher gave me a copy of all the videos from last Summer's recital. All my costumes! Eeeee! The Firebird looked so cool! I wish I had stills to share with you guys, or that the videos weren't in such a shitty low resolution that I could take screen caps that weren't awful. It looked really nice moving around, with all the flamey bits swishing about. Sigh...

I would blur out faces but the resolution on these is so dreadful that I am pretty sure they count as anonymous.
PS: I am not responsible for the weird little poky-outy feathers at the edges.
Someone just did that. I had no control.