Sunday, April 13, 2014

How it Is

"So how is ballet?"
Do you hate that question? People seem to be perpetually asking me how ballet is going. How is it? I don't know. How am I supposed to answer that? It goes. It is exhausting. It is physically painful and draining, but it also makes me stronger and pulls me above my pain. It is emotionally rocky, I feel defeated sometimes but it can also be rewarding. I dread class, and also pine for it. Some days I am frustrated because I simply can't do the things I am asking my body to do. And I see people who have been taking class for a year doing things I can't mange after three. But sometimes I développé just a little higher than I did the week before, and I feel amazed at myself.
But EVERYTHING is like that. Everything you do in life is a collection of moments, of triumphs and defeats. A great bundle of cords made of the strands of every memory you have collected along the way. How is ballet? How is work? How is the ocean? How is the sky?

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I really try to keep expenses related to ballet (and other silly and/or stupid things like paper doll collecting) limited to what I can afford to spend out of my own private bank account, which is filled via Etsy and Ebay sales. It works out pretty well, at least for the majority of the year. And then all of a sudden I need another pair of pointe shoes and it all goes to hell. Thankfully my dear husband is the type that doesn't require asking permission to buy things. Not that I would hang out with that kind of guy, anyway. It always amazed me when I worked retail and would ring up a woman's purchases and she looked at me nervously and declared "my husband is going to kill me!" Really? Is your husband a jerk-face control freak or are you just really really bad at understanding budgets? Because for realios, guys. It's just weird.
Also: buying new pointe shoes all the bloody time? Pretty unappealing. Get with the program, ballet! Embrace plastics!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Swan Song

I've been terribly negligent about my writing, in all capacities. We recently found out that a dear friend has a terminal illness, and after news like that what is there to say? It certainly puts my bitching and moaning about achy joints to shame. In the end there is nothing to say that will eclipse news like that, and you just wait until enough life crowds in to give you an excuse to talk again.
So far I have found nothing that warrants much attention. But I am giving it a shot.
This year's recital is killing me, and we've only just begun. Swan Lake, guys. I am sort of in the mood to kill Swan Lake with fire. Well, heck. I suppose dancing it is less painful than watching it, anyway (I know, I know, sacrilege).
Also, once again I have been reading all about how you should never "static" stretch before doing any exercises. You know, all those calf stretches and legs up on the barre and all that (and all those splits, I suppose, if you are one of those people). Supposedly it actually decreases the strength in the stretched muscles. And if there is anything I could use a little extra strength for it is 2 and a half solid hours of jumping around like a swan. Anyway. So I tried it out last night: no stretches before class, only stretching as I went along and warmed up. My verdict is: PPPPBBBBTTT! I just felt worse, and had to stretch EVEN MORE afterward. Tight calves make my shin splints flare up. Tight quads are just... they just suck. Forget it, guys. Go ahead and put that leg up on the barre. I won't tell on ya.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Raymonda: A Synopsis That REALLY Won't Help You

I was pooking about in my drafts folder and found these notes, taken while watching Raymonda online almost a year ago. I honestly can't say I remember exactly what was going on, I really should have gotten around to writing up a review ages ago but it never happened. So now, presented without further embellishment or explanation (because I am drawing a blank, guys, for reals) here are my notes on the classic story ballet Raymonda:

ugly night gown costume
Arab who doesn't seem all that bad
my boner is so powerful it can command these underage slaves to wear really unflattering costumes while jumping around in a deeply silly way
shaggy-haired white dude
dream sequence, living statue
the bit of choreography we learned in class for the recital
sexy pre-sword-fight face off, sexiest 5 seconds of the whole ballet
I guess I just don't really like Petipa all that much OH THE HORRORS AND SACRILEGE

Saturday, March 22, 2014


13th in an occasional series of ballet paintings that are not Degas:

Dancer with a Hoop (1881)
Jean-Louis Forain

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pas de Neuf

Well, it's that time again. That time when, like it or not (in it or not), everyone has to learn the choreography for the Summer recital. Tonight in pointe class we attempted the pas de quatre from Swan Lake (AKA "four little swans"). Except that there were 9 of us and we kept alternately squooshing one another and drifting perilously backwards.
Oh wait, no. I mean that we looked amazing. In fact, here is a video of us:

HAHAHAHAHA! What do you mean you don't believe me?

PS: looking at this video I see that our arms were all wrong, which explains the sqooshing to a certain extent.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fight for home, pinot, and Glory!

I continually have nightmares about having to perform in a recital. I used to have nightmares about plays, because I was a drama nerd in high school and was in a lot of them. So, I would dream that here I was, 15 years later, and I had to perform one of those plays on the spur of the moment. That is pretty nerve wracking, right? Having to try desperately to dredge up old dialogue that you thought you would never have to say again? And then I have the nightmares about having to costume an entire production that opens in an hour, and that is totally a work thing. But these ballet recital dreams have been edging both of my old standards out on an increasingly frequent basis. They generally go something like this: it is the night of the recital and I haven't rehearsed in the last month. I try to stand behind the other girls and fake it as well as I can... until we get to my solo! And then I just have to make it up from scratch on the spot. I shall throw this leg in to front attitude and affect a haughty facial expression so that no one notices!

PS: and this whole thing just made me think about school plays, which made me think about what bits of them I can remember... and now I have the entire national anthem of the duchy of Grand Fenwick stuck in my head.