Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crazy Tutu Day

Well, Halloween class was pretty dang fun. There were costumes, and crazy rock and roll accompaniment, and I didn't even run over any trick-or-treaters on the drive home. Woo! My teacher was wearing a full-body bear suit, which was basically adorable during EVERY SINGLE exercise. Dance class should be like a high school and have crazy hair day or pajama day (or more likely tutu day) once a month.
You know, when I was in high school I never (never EVER) participated in those "spirit days" but to this day I have nightmares that I go to school with no clothes on because it is supposed to be naked day and no one told me it was canceled. And then I have to pretend I am not naked and hope no one notices? Ugh. Never mind.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All The Grace of a Cantaloupe (Not Antelope)

I am the clumsiest and least physically graceful person on the planet. How clumsy am I? Clumsy enough that my husband worries about and teases me for my clumsiness. He has an autistic spectrum disorder. Like, he was in special clumsy kid classes in elementary school. No, really. We joke that it's a miracle we haven't killed each other yet, and that it's only a matter of time before one of us accidentally stabs the other while cooking and goes to jail.
I mention my utter lack of grace to illustrate the fact that I am sort of frustrated with class these days. And my teacher is straight-up frustrated with me, as well. Last night she made me re-do tombé pas de bourrées across the floor about four times in each direction. She has been giving me special instructions when we are preparing for a combination "if you want to, RPrin, you can just do one piqué turn." while everyone else is supposed to do two. Standing directly in front of me during petite allegro and obviously getting flustered with my inability to make it look effortless. The problem is that I can do the steps, I just can't do them quickly. It doesn't help if I only do one piqué turn, you see, because by the time I am done with the preceeding waltz turn I am already half a beat late.
Just... just argh.
She often wonders at my strength en pointe and my weakness on flat, but it's not strength that I have trouble with. It's speed. When I speed things up it just becomes a mess, more akin to badly executed tap dancing than classical ballet.
Sigh... anyway. So it's all been rather disheartening lately and my motivation levels haven't been at their peak. The fact that I just smashed my head against the corner of a bookshelf is not helping.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Dream

So, I have class on Halloween, this year. In fact I have 2 and a half straight hours of class. And everyone at the studio wants to wear costumes!
I am a BIG fan of wearing costumes at every opportunity, but I seriously doubt the ballet potential of anything in my closet.
What do I have all ready and waiting? Let's see.
There is: Dr. Horrible
Alex Delarge
the White Rabbit (from Alice)
my Renaissance Faire garb (yes, I am one of those people)
And these aren't "sexy" costumes, either. Well, Alex has a miniskirt because there was no way I could pull off a jockstrap and I had to embody over-sexed violent youth culture SOMEhow. But otherwise we are talking full-body costumes, here. With accessories and goggles (and a bitchin' dinosaur hat complete with feathers).
Choices, choices.
In seriousness, though, I'm pretty sure that almost anything that goes on my head would fly off as soon as we hit that first flic-flack, and anything that requires face painting or makeup would just end up dripping down my face and getting smeared all over the place because dudes, I am old and it is always 80 degrees in the studio. So, I will probably just bust out the one dance-proof costume headband I have (tiger ears). But, oh, what fun we could have. Now I wish I had tiger striped tights! I could totally rock that.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Too Legit to Quit

So I have this toenail. And it gives me guff when I forget to trim it really short, but it's usually no problem in regular shoes. It's only when it's squeezed up in ballet slippers that I remember "oh yeah, I should cut that nail". Sometimes I cut it shorter than usual, and then it gives me even MORE guff, and feels like an ingrown toenail just waiting to happen. So I always knew this was going to be a problem when I started pointe. There was never any question of that. I was trying to trim it in various ways, hoping that I would find the right solution and not end up with something nasty and ingrown.
And then yesterday it broke off.
Well. I guess that is one way to solve the problem...
This makes me a super legit ballerina now, right?

PS: it didn't break all the way off, just the end bit. It didn't hurt, and I taped it up for class tonight, which was fine. I certainly won't be wearing any open-toe shoes any time soon. Not that I do, anyway. Blech.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mr. B! Mr. B!

 Meet dancer, actress, and opera singer (triple threat, boo-ya!) Betty Luster, primarily known for her staring role in a weird little promotional film for a musical instrument company in 1956. Mr. B Natural. The film is famous for it's featured appearance (and later running joke) on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which was basically a huge part of my childhood). The joke being, of course, that "Mr." B was considerably less convincingly male than Cathy Rigby in any given performance of Peter Pan. Considerably. After watching the short with my hubby recently I was inspired to look her up on the vast and fabulous internet.
When she wasn't gadding about as Mr. B she was actually a very cute ballet dancer. Here she is (in the weird 50s high-low costume and pointe shoes):

And, for the uninitiated, here is the full-length un-riffed version of Mr. B Natural. Just, you know, in case you are aching for a little awkward mid-century surrealism. It also features some pretty darn adorable dance moves of the sort you make pre-schoolers execute in "creative movement" class:

PS: I always thought I would, if I ever went to a comic or sci-fi convention, go dressed as Mr. B. I have the figure for it, and the hair, and everything! Sadly, however, it has already been done. A lot. So never mind. On the other hand: Mr. B Natural pony!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I don't have a lot to say right now because, let's face it, at the moment the whole ballet part of my brain is still excited about my acceptance to MIT (the Moose Institute of Toe-dancing. It's a Rocky and Bullwinkle joke, and I am terribly sorry if you are too young and/or not cool enough to get it. Netflix streaming, guys.) and my slow and steady progression in class. Two classes in I could already feel the difference in strength during technique class and three classes in I am starting to find my balance, though it is still pretty shaky business. I am also pretty sure I will NEVER get tired of hearing my teacher say "RPrin! You look so god en pointe! I just can't get over it!". I wanna hear it, babe! Don't get over it on my account! Flattery and compliments are a very strong motivating influence in my life, so keep it coming.

I shall now change the subject, because I know you are tired of hearing about pointe class, pointe shoes, and pointe EVERYTHING. Geeze, girl, get over your silly satin shoes and talk about something else for a while! Okay, okay! You don't have to be so grumpy about it, sheesh.

It occurs to me that it has been a bit over a year, now, since my last disastrous appointment with my rheumatologist. It took months to work up the nerve to file the complaint about it. It has taken me this long to even contemplate calling Kaiser for another appointment. I sometimes wonder if that is their goal: to make you so angry, depressed, and otherwise emotionally exhausted that you just give up and leave them alone.
Anyway, I am trying to psych myself in to it, but I think it's going to take me a little while.

My new goal is to combine these two topics by having someone photograph me standing en pointe and holding my cane. Ballet is my defiance.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Are You There, Taglioni? It's Me, RPrin...

So. Before I had taken my pointe test one of my classmates (who had recently started pointe) was asking me about my plans in that direction. She was very encouraging but also assured me that I would probably wonder what I had been thinking as soon as I actually got up there. And I said "oh yeah. Like when you're 11 and you can't wait for your period to start, right?" and she said "EXACTLY"
You see, if you are a dude you totally don't get this. If you are of a certain age (say, 55+) and your mother was tight-lipped about that sort of thing you don't get it, either. But for women of my generation there were secret girls-only classes once a year in 5th and 6th grade. And there was "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" and as soon as we hit ten we were standing around like "OH MY GOD I SO WANT MY PERIOD TO START IT'S GOING TO BE SO FREAKING COOL". And you talked about it with your friends, and you thought about it constantly, and it was this major obsession (I think we have purposefully moved in this direction, culturally, because so many women pre-1950s never talked about it AT ALL and were kind of confused when it hit). And then it happened. Like, say, while you were walking home from school in the rain after a completely dismal day that included chocolate cravings so intense you spent all your lunch money on See's candy bars. You know, just as an example. And suddenly it was like "Oh. Crap. Well. You mean I have to do this, now? For, like... ever? Fuck."
And while I wouldn't say anything ballet-related (and therefore fun) is exactly like that, let's say I do see the similarities.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Raisins are Gross Enough Already

I was browsing Pinterest when I came across this:

Gin soaked raisins will cure your RA, guys! Or, you know, you could cut out the middle man and just DRINK HEAVILY. That oughta make you feel better. Aw yeah.
Sorry, sorry. But really? I will tell you what else will make your rheumatism feel better: competent medical care (I am working on that one, myself. BUT I hear it does wonders if you are lucky enough to find it).