Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!

So. It's that time of year again. I am not a big Thanksgiving or Christmas person, but I have always enjoyed New Year's and it's promise of clean slates and fresh starts. Even though the year always turns out to suck anyway, at least for a few hours we get to hope for better things to come. I probably made some resolutions for 2013, though if I did they were the kind that you don't admit to anyone and maybe forget after a few months, anyway. This year I resolve to... uh... well, you see, if I resolve to do anything then I will just disappoint myself so it's better not to bother with it. Maybe I will give up reading the comments on online news articles, again. That was the best resolution I ever made.
In real life I have had a really huge (and not always in good ways) year, with moving in to a new apartment, spending an evening in the ER, and setting my kitchen on fire being just a few of the highlights. In my ballet life I advanced from my level I-II class to a level 3 class once a week and a level 3-5 class once a week. I repaired, altered, tore apart, and otherwise worked over a billion bedraggled recital costumes, and I started pointe.
It's all been a bit hectic, really.
2014 I am sure will surprise us all, as they tend to do when you think about it. I am going to be launching a new blog to keep track of a sort-of-ballet-related art project I have been gearing up for for a while now. It'll happen eventually, anyway. There have been problems involving space issues, lighting, and camera remote controls. Stay tuned.
How about you guys? Any resolutions for the coming year? Pull off that triple pirouette you've been dreaming about? Write an in-depth history of the rise and fall of... something or other? Yes? No?

PS: I ordered myself a "nude" bra (there is only one company on the planet that makes bras that fit me, so it's always an ordeal and they have to be ordered sight unseen) which is the most boring but useful color of underwear. It showed up yesterday and it is totally not beige in a nude kind of way. It's ballet pink. Absolutely identical to my pointes. Totally hilarious, and now I wish I had bought the matching panties. 

This picture is probably not safe for work but too freakin' bad. You shouldn't be reading blogs at work, anyway.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


ARGH. My calves hurt! ARGH ARGH ARGH!
Thursday's classes, like any class directly after a big travel-oriented holiday, were short on students. As a result technique class was abnormally exhausting (very little if any down time while waiting for your turn across the floor) so I was already panting and Over It by the time pointe class started. There were even fewer pointe students, and those of us that were there are all fairly new at it. So we got serious one-on-one attention and lots of corrections that otherwise would have been lost in the shuffle. The good news is that I now have a much clearer idea of what I have been doing wrong (which has been annoying the bejeebus out of me whenever I have to look at myself in a mirror) and how to correct it (I finally understand what she means by "push against your ribbons"). The bad news is that I am now so totally wrecked physically that there is no way in hell I can use those corrections and get in some practice at home (which has now been officially sanctioned). The transition back to a regular schedule after my month of bruise-induced confinement has been tough on me physically. I basically spend every weekend cursing and whining every time I have to walk downstairs.
Remind me why I do this to myself? Ballet, guys. It hurts.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Men, Listen Up

Woo! We have a dude, again! It's just that they are so rare, you kind of have to celebrate when they show up. And now we all get to bow like ballerinos* at the end of class. Oh yes, my adoring fans, I bow to you like a lady. And YES, the rest of my adoring fans, I nod my head to you and look down my nose upon your worthless selves because I am also a dude, now.
Dudes: we need more of them. Don't worry, guys! We aren't all nervous and judgmental about you! Well, I mean, yeah... so maybe we give your butt a passing glance (JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY, MIND YOU) but we are actually perfectly happy when there is a representative of the other half of the species in the room. Well, no, only if they are in class and jumping around like idiots with the rest of us. Because that boyfriend guy who was taking videos on his iphone last week? Pretty creepy.

PS: RA flare up of amazing proportions going on. There are no words for it. My ankles are officially in on the deal. If I could have saved any of my parts, it would have been them. Class continues, come hell or high water.

*actual word

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just Say No to Christmas Music...

Christmas music. Why is there always that one student who requests Christmas music for the entire month of December? Two and a half straight hours of Ballet-arranged Christmas music.
Thank whatever god you've got that at least you don't have to listen to the lyrics (if you do then I am SO SO SORRY).
I worked retail for years and December was just a non-stop 8 hour loop of what felt like maybe ten Christmas songs (several different versions of each, but let's be honest: whether you are Sinatra or Jessica Simpson there is only so much that can be done with "Winter Wonderland".) One year my coworkers and I actually started a tally sheet. Every time we heard a song we would add a tick to the list. I think the most repeats in a single eight hour day was some horrific "classic" tune played a total of 12 times. It's pretty much enough to make you want to kill people. Especially after hearing "Christmas Shoes" for the tenth time in a shift. Argh!
And, is it just me or does Andy Williams sound totally wasted in this song?

Maybe it just seems that way after a full day listening to it incessantly. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Inspiration and Defeatism

Honestly, I had a really awful ballet week. I suppose there are just stretches of time in which you feel overwhelmed, unprepared, incompetent, and just plain lost. There are times like that in any pursuit, I suppose. Even in real life. I know there are days when I feel like I have no idea why I am considered so great at my job (brag brag) when holy crap, I have struggled all damn day to do something ridiculously easy. Eventually the feeling passes. Eventually you bang out a string of perfect buttonholes or land a double pirouette. But while you are feeling the slump there is very little you can say to yourself that sounds positive.   My teacher has been stepping up the complexity of our center work to the point that I now feel like I am utterly floundering and starting to question how I have spent the past year + in level three classes and still can't dance my way out of a sack...

Anyway. So that is how I have been feeling this week. Yesterday I ran across this post on a tumblr blog called Brilliant Broad. It was inspiring and I asked if I could share it with you guys, and she graciously agreed. I am going to let her post speak for itself:

Anyway, it reminded me of the good things about dancing and I needed that. Way to go, Brilliant Broad. Way to go all of us adult beginners and awkward/unlikely dancers. Long may we ronde de jambe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back en Pointe and it Feels So... uhm...

This has been my first full week of honest-to-goodness classes since my foot bruise incident. I even did a full two and a half hours of class last night, including an hour en pointe. It wasn't as bad as I had feared! The bruise feels fine, astoundingly. The end of my big toe is still sore the next day, and I can still feel my calves, that's for sure. But I think I owned it pretty hard, all things considered. I was just exhausted by the end of the day.
My teacher was amazed I made it through, and I have to admit that I am pretty amazed, as well.

Several times now my nearest and dearest friends and relations have grumped at me pensively "I've never even seen you dance!" as if for some reason they would actually like to witness such a thing. I was reminded of these comments last night. While attempting a ridiculous (everything is ridiculous in pointe shoes. It's like wearing cinder blocks on your feet) waltz turn combination across the floor, my teacher announced that she was giving us tougher combinations because she wanted to get us to actually dance. And I thought "Pssh! Woman! If I wanted to dance I wouldn't be in ballet class!" 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spotty Spotting

I can't spot. Or, no, I can sort of spot. Like... I can look at that thing over there while I'm turning and whip my head around so that I appear to be spotting and travel in the general direction of my gaze. But it doesn't work, you see. I'm nearsighted.
Everyone in my family has completely whack vision, so it's not like this is something I don't know how to live with. My eyes really blew out on me to the point that it was noticeable in high school. I was awkward and bullied, though, so I scraped along with my shitty vision until I graduated. I insisted on getting glasses before college because I actually cared about college. Still, I only really wore them in class. The last time I had my eyes checked at the DMV (at age 29) I somehow managed to pass the test. Well, no, I failed the test. So then they gave me an easier test and said I was fine to drive with no corrective lens requirement on my license. Which really explains some things about California drivers, but anyway. As soon as I hit 30 it was like switching off a light. I have worn my glasses full-time for the past 2 years. Except in ballet class.
Because they get all sweaty and gross and fog up and when you turn they fly right off your face and across the room. It's just not worth it. It's not like I am reading any road signs in there, right? There are big neon colored sheets of paper taped to every surface in the studio, to give us something obvious to spot and aim towards. But... uhm... yeah... it still doesn't work. I can't quiiiiite focus my eyes on anything so my spotting is effectively useless and I end every turning combination dizzy as all heck.
So far my solution has been jumping up and down gently after each pass and hoping that straightens it out before I have to attempt the turns from the other side of the room. Very professional, I know.