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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

tomorrow morning may be another story

On Fridays I go bike riding for a couple of hours. I've done it for years and rarely stop for more than a few months at a time (usually because of work, sometimes because the weather is ridiculous, occasionally because of illness or injury- not always my own). My riding partner (my dad. I recommend riding tandem only if you started when you were like 10 years old, because that shit is CRAZY terrifying as soon as you hit adulthood) recently retired after double cataract surgery (oh yes, the last couple of weeks have been so fun around here) and suggested that instead of getting together Friday, which is supposed to be rainy, that we should do the weekly ride today. Thursday. Ballet class day. Not just ballet class, but two and a half hours of ballet class. Now, on ballet class days I usually try to sleep in as long as I can and then keep my activity level really low throughout the afternoon because ain't nobody got spoons for that. If you are unfamiliar with spoon theory please go read this.
Okay. So I toyed with the idea of just saying "oh, hell no" and then realized that my parents are aging and I am lucky to have them and that I would do almost anything to spend every possible moment with them. So, I gave it a shot. Then I went to class.
I am still capable of standing upright at this point... I just don't want to.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Magical


Am I the only one who is just sort of annoyed that the drawstrings on her shoes aren't tucked in? Anyone? No?
Anyway, very fun combo of talents, here, even if reality TV makes my eye twitch and my gag reflex act up.

I've always wanted to be able to juggle en pointe. So far my juggling is just fine but I would probably break a foot if I tried it for reals. It would be a badass photo opportunity, though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pilates: No Times

Number of times in my life I have thought to myself "oh boy! I can't wait to do some pilates!"
Zero. Zero times.
About once a year I get tired of having "lower abs, RPrin!" yelled at me ten times a week and start doing pilates. And then I start whining about it almost immediately.
Pilates.
I ... I really hate pilates. This has been discussed many times in the past. But unless and until some sort of magical ab workout materializes that can be done for half an hour every Wednesday and doesn't involve planks and that horrible arm pumping business I am sort of stuck with it. Because honestly, I am too lazy to do ten minutes every night before bed, or any of that nonsense. That's right, ballet, I am too lazy to do you properly. Am I ashamed? Maybe, but I am also quite literally amazed that I get out of bed some days, so I figure I am ahead of the game.

In other sort-of health news:
My ulcer is checking in to make sure I haven't forgotten it. Which hardly seems fair because the ulcer is directly related to the drugs I take for my arthritis. Which I have been forgetting to take on the regular. I have GOT to get my shit together, this is ridiculous. You can't have BOTH an ulcer and a flare up. PICK ONE RPRIN.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hardest Thing

Last night's 2.5 hour block of class was taught by a substitute instructor. She's a nice gal, one that often attends those classes herself, but is obviously a ballerina extraordinaire. Like, seriously ass-rockin'ly good. Does those one-footed relevés en pointe without so much as a twitch of difficulty while I laboriously haul myself up there using 10% muscle power and 90% barre. That sort of thing.
It's okay to have subs, but they do throw off your groove. You learn to expect a certain type of combination with a certain type of port de bras to a certain type of music and then BAM! Suddenly you are trying to figure out what the hell is going on and you haven't even made it past tendus at the barre, yet. And you spend the next hour+ sort of shaking your head and guessing and/or flailing around hoping you hit a ballet position of some sort by blind luck.
Anyway.
When we would universally botch the hell out of an entire combination this teacher would give us another shot at it (or torture us by making us repeat something we obviously can't figure out? You be the judge.) which meant we ended up doing quite a few things over and over again. After watching us glide gracelessly across the floor for the requisite bourées en pointe she stopped us with a question. "So. Who here loves doing bourées?" and everyone just sort of stood there, listening to the crickets chirp (honestly, I enjoy them more than most things en pointe, but after two hours of class there are few things in the world that I like). SO! "Okay, you are doing them again. AND I want to see those happy faces and softened arms. You're performing, guys! You can do this! Smile!"
I suppose we smiled. Or perhaps we just grimaced in a convincing approximation. 
I think smiling is probably the hardest thing about ballet.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Changing Seasons

In traditional Chinese medicine the closest translation of Rheumatoid Arthritis is fengshi bing, literally "wind-damp disease".
It's actually been fairly warm, here, despite the season. It will get cold for two days and then be 80* for the next solid week. The rheumy cat and I would just like it to settle on something so we can put the correct number of blankets on the bed and turn the heat on or off for more than six hours at a time. We wouldn't mind, really, if it wanted to be cold. We own three heating pads and an electric blanket, and this pile of old love letters scrounged out of my parent's attic ain't gonna burn itself.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Maybe She's Born With it... Maybe it's Photoshop

From this Huffington Post article: Anna Pavlova in a famous picture you've probably seen before. But now in high enough resolution to see the century-old "photoshop" job on her pointe shoes! She was famous for having her photos retouched to make her feet look extra pointy and small, because she got a certain amount of crap for wearing modern-style shoes. This same crap-flinging tendency still exists in ballet, of course, but now it's mostly aimed at inovations like plastics and anything that reduces your pain level. Because dancers are crazy mofos.
Anyway, I just thought this was great.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Minor Improvements That Must be Fought For

Sometimes breakthroughs are exceptional. A moment of clarity and suddenly you are doing something you've never dreamed of.
But, let's face it, mostly you get tiny imperceptible improvements over the course of three solid months of work and the final product can really only justifiably be called "less bad than it was".
Take this petite allegro combination that the students have all come to dread. It's not even complicated, it's just glissades, jetés, and assemblés. But it's quick and it changes directions halfway through and pretty much everyone hates it. Last night, for the first time since we've been working on it (ages! Ages have been put in to this damn thing!) I watched myself in the mirror and felt like it wasn't pitiably terrible, just kind of a wreck. There was, perhaps, a slight bounce in my proverbial bungee. PERHAPS.

Also new: apparently the studio where I take ballet has been voted "best yoga studio" in the city. Which is interesting, I must say, because they don't actually offer any yoga classes. We all think they should accept the award and put it on the front desk just to mess with people.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stretch Ribbon

I like using stretch ribbon on my pointe shoes. Forget like, I was instructed to use it by the woman who fit me for the shoes. I have a terrible tendency toward tendonitis (thank you, rheumatism) and the stretchy ribbons take a lot of the pressure off your achilles. The kind I got at the time was great, but the kind you can buy from Discount Dance, frankly, sucks. It pulls and shreds and looks like an utter disaster after being tied once or twice. It's also too flimsy to offer even the slightest support. It's like wearing ribbons strictly for looks. Anyway. So I've been doing a few searches online to see what I can find.
You see this stuff?
This stuff that is sold as "stretch ribbon" basically everywhere right now? This stuff that you can buy little headbands and hair ties made out of for several bucks a pop*? This is not stretch ribbon. This is "fold-over" elastic. It's made for lingerie. You fold it over the edge of a piece of fabric to finish it. It can be found gracing bras, slips, and underpants, but you don't recognize it because it's folded over. Please, people. PLEASE stop calling this stretch ribbon. It's making the quest for the right pointe shoe accessory down right interminable. 

*also, it's super cheap. Like, really really cheap. Stop paying so much for it made in to hair ties! It's ridiculous!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Rose by Any Other Name (with too many asides)

My pointe class recently acquired a new student. A 12-13 year old. The only trouble? We have the same name. Now, my parents were kind enough not to name me Sarah or Christian (yeah, so I kinda grew up in California's bible belt and there were a LOT of Christians, believe it or not) so it's rare for me to be in that situation. Sometimes at the theater we get a character with my name and then I complain for an entire month (you know how even when you aren't really listening to someone's conversation you can instantly recognize your name being spoken and you sort of go on the alert? Yeah, so imagine that happening every twenty minutes for eight hours a day), but another girl with my name? So rare. It happened to me once at work, when we had an intern considerably younger than me (though she pronounced it sliiiiightly differently). My name, okay? My name? No one had ever heard of it until I was ten. Then ERRYONE started using it and it's become really common for people under 20. So this was bound to happen eventually. Still. It's weird. And this other RPrin and I will be doing our thing and the teacher will shout a correction to one of us... and then we both try to do it, regardless of whether or not there was anything wrong with us in the first place... and then everyone gets confused and the teacher goes "AAARGH! No! Not RPrin! The other RPrin!"
Anyway, it's obnoxious.
Last week after MiniRPrin had gone home and I was lingering to fit skirts for a few girls who are doing a performance at a dentist's convention (I know, right?) my teacher called me "the real RPrin"
That's right, little girl. I'm the REAL one.
Snerk.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Well, she impresses ME, anyway

My 10 year old niece is utterly unimpressed with me. I love her to the moon and back, and she loves me, too. BUT. But she just doesn't think I'm all that exciting, let's be honest. I had always thought that when she found out what I do for a living that she'd be impressed. And two seasons ago when I was working on an incredibly beautiful stage version of her favorite Disney movie was she awestruck? No. And yesterday when I took time out from sewing pointe shoe ribbons to show her how Aunt RPrin can stand on her tip-toes? Totally didn't even bat an eyelash.
KIDS! What the hell, yo?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tap tap tappin' those toes

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172233100/antique-ballet-dance-shoes-capezio?ref=sr_gallery_32&ga_search_query=toe+shoes+ballet&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=vintage&ga_view_type=gallery
These both fascinate and horrify me. When I ran across them on Etsy today it took me a few seconds to realize that the terrifying industrial-zombie steel craziness going on here is for toe tap. Not too many people pull off that little party trick these days.
All for the best, really.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Does this bother you?

This. This weird new use of the term "on point" to mean something is good, right, or trend-conscious. I've only really seen it in the past couple of years... and now it's everywhere. Oh god. It's so... it's so wrong. The only things that should ever be described as on point are A) dancers, and B) hunting dogs.
So just... no. Just don't. Don't do it. Think of some other way to say what you are going for. Some other way. There is always another way...


Okay, honestly this paragraph has allllll sorts of issues. Like... at once symmetrical and what? You can't just be "at once" one thing. At once symmetrical AND delicate? Exotic? Severe? Beautiful? FIND AN ADJECTIVE. 
Ahem.

Monday, September 29, 2014

LaCroix, sweetie, LaCroix

If you've been keeping track of these things (and I'm sure you have, because WHAT could possibly be more important?) then you know about my long love affair with Christian Lacroix's beautiful Glove Seller costume, made for ABT a good 25 (or so) years ago. Well, since my original post and desperate search there has been a re-staging of the production, complete with an exhibition of the lovely costumes. And now, of course, there are ALL sorts of pictures of it!
And? I am going to share them all, because I can't stop looking at it!


This fabulous picture is from a fitting.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Orally Fabulous, That's What

So, I had a bunch of crunky oral surgery last week, right? I mean... it was okay. I had nice "hypnotic" (I didn't even know that was a thing) drugs to make the time go faster, and they let me have a blanket and all... apparently my finger isn't a great place to continually check my pulse and I am oddly sensitive to penicillin, but hey. You learn something new every day.
Anyway. Things went pretty normally. After the first twelve hours or so I didn't need painkillers anymore. Which shocked me, honestly. But, yeah... so things have been pretty good. Except...
You know what the awesome part of auto-immune disorders is? The insanely out-of-proportion inflammatory response to EVERYTHING EVER. I imagine the inside of my mouth will eventually go back to normal... I hope I live to see that glorious future day... right now I am just happy that I only look a little bit like a chipmunk with seeds in his mouth (which was not the case yesterday). Can't worry too much about the fact that my gums look and feel a bit like the inside of a bike tire, right? I'm sure the feeling will come back eventually.


My surgeon is like "take 800 milligrams of motrin!" and I'm like "I can't take motrin, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, relafen, or any other NSAID because I take a fairly high dose of Meloxicam every day and I would rather not have my kidneys fail, mmmkay?" You chop people's faces open every day, how is it you've never met someone with rheumatoid arthritis, before?

This sounds all bitchy but it's not, really! She did a lovely job chopping my face apart, I swear! And, I am not just saying that because she is going to chop it open again in four months and I am afraid for my life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blerg

I am going under the knife tomorrow morning, the first of possibly several rounds of oral surgery that I will be dealing with this year. I'm pretty freaked out about it. I was really looking forward to dancing tonight, I need to burn off some nervous energy and I missed last week so I want to get back to the studio...
but apparently penicillin makes me violently ill? Ah, well. That's, uh...good to know? I guess?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Halcyon days of yore, balletversary!

This week is my three year balletversary! And my one year pointeversary (even though I have spent so much time out with injuries that it's more like month 9 or 10)! In celebration I executed my first real, full, honest-to-god pirouette en pointe last night! In truth, I am pretty sure I did it backwards. But, we were ALL doing them backwards (it's easier because the momentum of pushing off your working leg automatically pulls you around toward your center) so I am not going to complain too much. 
I am now going to be out of class for a couple of weeks while I take a well-earned vacation with my hubby and then have (not earned at all!) oral surgery about which I have been having panic attacks (two hours awake with people in my mouth! ARGH!) so they prescribed me an anti-anxiety drug called (I am not kidding) "Halcion". Ah ha ha. I see what you did there.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You Mean I'm Too Young To Be This Sexy, Right?

How is your week going? Today I found out that my rheumy cat, who has been terribly sick over the past week, has pancreatitis on top of everything. Then I spent a futile couple of hours trying to find white wool at a local fabric store for this big ol' scary wedding thing I am designing. After that I got myself scheduled for a bunch of really awful oral surgery the week after I come home from vacation. Provided, of course, that the cat recovers quickly enough that we can GO on vacation...
Anyway.
As I was going through the preliminary crapola with the surgeon she glanced at my questionnaire and exclaimed "arthritis? You are too young to have arthritis!"
Which I get ALL the time.
Rheumatoid arthritis isn't even AT ALL the same thing as osteoarthritis. It doesn't care how old you are or how many grands jetes you have executed. It shouldn't even be called arthritis, really, the name is sort of a relic of a simpler (AKA: crappier) age when medical imaging wasn't common and accessible (not that it's all that accessible NOW. Says the woman who just had to pay out of pocket for a CT scan of one stupid tooth) and symptoms had to work as complete descriptions for diseases. These days we know that it's more like your immune system freaking the hell out and attacking itself because it is stupid and you can't explain anything to an immune system. They just won't listen.
Anyway, consider this your public service message for the day: Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn't give a damn how old you are. 6 year olds get diagnosed with it, for reals. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

bo-doh-doh-dee-oh

What are the weirdest "ballet-ified" musical numbers you have ever had to work with in class? Recently we have run the gamut from "All That Jazz" (really amusing to watch 8 year olds dance to) to "Rubber Ducky" (really amusing to watch grown women in pointe shoes wobble across the floor to). Other fine selections include "If I Only Had a Brain" and "We are Siamese (if You Please)"
It's actually really hard to concentrate on what you are doing when you know the lyrics to a song (which is really unfortunate , because I have intimately known far more musicals than the average bear AND I like opera. Horrible combination. Also: too much Muppet Show in my life).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Leg Mounts

I hate leg mounts. Leg mounts are those things where you grab your foot and try to développé it up over your head. You know... in a perfect world, with a perfect body. When I have to do them (in the real world, with an aging arthritic body that has only been dancing for three years) it's more like I grab a hold of whatever piece of leg I can and then hike it up to about 45* off the floor. Which isn't even as high as I can développé! But it's as high as I can stand to put the weight of my leg on my hands (legs are heavy! There must be like 20 pounds in a leg. No wait, I will look it up...okay so there are TWENTY SIX pounds in an average female leg! Yikes!) All that weight on my wrists (the first and most horribly sensitive bit of arthritis in my body) is impossible! It's why I stopped doing yoga. I used to be able to do shoulder stands and all kinds of ridiculousness, but NO WAY is that happening these days. My hands are my life, my ability to work. Screwing them up even more with no payoff just makes me angry!
Last night as I unsuccessfully hauled my leg up with my aching hand my teacher asked me if there was something wrong with me. Yes! Leg mounts are wrong with me! She said she should bring me a bungee to use. Which is the silliest freakin' mental image I have ever had. Strapping my ankle up in a bungee and hauling it up like a fish in a net...

Yeah, like that. Except not at all, even slightly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No one wants you to twerk, Taylor

Oh good grief. Did I actually just watch a Taylor Swift video on purpose? I'm obviously still delirious from the end of theater season.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Workin' workin' workin' it out

Either the shiny black and slightly-reflective stall doors in the bathroom at work are extremely flattering, or my piqué turns in skinny jeans and saddle shoes are GORGEOUS.
I can't help it, the bathroom floor is huge and is constructed from slickly painted concrete. It's like the best place to do turns ever. Also: these shoes have absolutely no tread. It's ridiculous. I could kill myself in these things.
 
"Dancewear" is just a label. I don't do labels, man.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ballet Where You Least Expect It

My city is known for it's public art. Public art that is, almost without exception, horrible. I mean, did the county admin building REALLY need that V-shaped fountain pouring water in to a red pool? Really? Who thought that a giant vajay was a great idea? And more importantly... who thought it was SUCH a great idea that they bought an identical one for every side of the building?
But, I digress.
I have quite literally been going to the same dentist's office since I was 7 (yes, really. I have congenitally crummy teeth so I have stared at the same grey acoustic ceiling tiles for hundreds of cumulative hours of my life.) and for years I have walked past the same bass-relief mural in the lobby staircase. It's huge. It's lumpy. And, most of all? It's ugly. My heartfelt apologies to the artist... but it really is ugly. Anyway. As I was leaving yesterday I noticed a little corner of the mural that I hadn't really paid any attention to before:
ballet in unexpected places!






PS: I wasn't kidding about the fountain:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

are we human or are we dancer? S. Because that grammar is just.... just.

What does it mean to be a "dancer"? There is a lot of talk in the adult ballet community about just this topic. Is it okay to think of yourself as a dancer if you haven't been dancing since you were three? At what point do you become a dancer? Is two classes a week dancery enough? Three? Five?
Here is what I think.
I think that you are a dancer when you see someone walking down the street in the summer heat (105*, by the way) in a painfully short black skirt and blindingly pale pink tights and your first thought isn't "someone call the fashion police" or "whatever she is selling I am not in the market for." but "OH YEAH. Me too."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Taking a Break Pays Off

After the excitement of the recital our teacher (who basically does everything involving the recital) took a much-deserved two week vacation. I only went to class once during the entire time. I know, I know. But really, there were things, and life, and... just stuff. Stuff was happening. My very best friend ended up in the hospital. I had to work until 8 pm for several days in a row, and then not get home until 11 on a couple more.
And I just didn't want to.
Sometimes it's okay to not want to.
So, this Tuesday was my first day back in a while. Annnnnnd... I got complimented on my improved articulation through tendu in to battement, degage, etc. And not a single posture correction. Thursday was my first pointe class in nearly a month. That also went swimmingly, I progressed significantly in pirouette prep. and finally nailed down the shape my foot is supposed to be achieving at the barre.
What is my secret? What was my daily regimen? Uh... nothing. I didn't stretch, practice, or even bother to think too much about ballet in the time I was away. I read a book that had some dancing in it, does that count? 
Well, then.
Maybe a break was what I needed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Like Dancing on the Moon

In my house we love to listen to Stephen Fry. He could basically narrate the phone book (do people still know what those are? It's that big squodgy book full of advertisements that they leave on your doorstep wrapped in a plastic bag. You know the ones. The ones you deposit directly in the recycle bin without even glancing at) and we would listen to it in the car. Anyway. So my husband tracked down a silly little show he hosted a few year ago that featured gadgets and gizmos (aplenty. That song is SO STUCK IN MY HEAD.) and we've been watching it here and there.
Tonight's episode showcased this crazy thing:
it's an "anti-gravity" treadmill. It basically seals your lower body in a big plastic box with increased air pressure, which supports your weight so you "float" up and barely touch the track under your feet. They say it reduces the load on your legs to 20% your normal weight, the equivalent of walking on the moon.
It certainly has all sorts of wonderful uses in physical therapy. I mean... that is surely what it's intended purpose is. I should probably be thinking to myself "wow, that would be an amazing way to work out without causing my knees so much pain and wear".
So, why is it that all I can think is "HOLY CRAP let me at that thing in a pair of pointe shoes"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Everything Was Beautiful at the Ballet

So, at work we just finished a run of A Chorus Line, which is a hugely popular and iconic musical theater classic. That should be in quotes or something: "Hugely Popular and Iconic Musical Theater Classic! (tm)" Anyway, I had never seen it before, but there was no way I was going to miss the fleeting 50 seconds or so that the horrifying taupe satin tuxedo I labored over for three full days was going to be on stage.
You have probably all seen it already, so this was only news to me, but...
It is wildly depressing. It's all about dysfunctional people who dance for a living. Which is probably very intimate and slice-of-life but as a theater person AND a person who sorta-dances it is just DEPRESSING.
Dee. Press. ING.
The dancing was fun, though. Even if it was accompanied by 70s porn guitar riffs (is that just what music sounded like in the 70s? How did anyone survive?)

 my tuxedo is dead center at 4:07
Not that I could tell at the time, of course.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Tears Of Angels


See this little bottle of bluish stuff? This is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I call it the Tears Of Angels and it is pretty seriously the only thing that gets me through the work week right now.
A couple of years ago the arthritis in my hands was giving me a lot of gyp (not that is ever doesn't, but some times are worse than others). I already take a prescription Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) drug every day, and I am not allowed to supplement with any other oral medication in the same class of drugs (they are pretty dreadful for your internal organs). That means aspirin (I occasionally take a single migraine-strength excedrin when I am getting a headache, but don't tell my doctor), ibuprofen, aleve (naproxen), and every other thing that might possibly help is off-limits. I can take tylenol (acetaminophen), but it's worthless, honestly.
Anyway. You can get topical anti-inflammatory medications with a prescription. When I asked my doctor about trying a topical NSAID he agreed that it might help. He said he would write the prescription if I wanted to try it BUT my HMO (Kaiser) wouldn't cover it and I would have to pay (the not-insubstantial) price out of pocket. He suggested switching me to a new oral NSAID instead (it worked okay but ultimately gave me an ulcer so I had to switch back).
And then I realized something. You know those ibuprofen gelcaps (or softgels, or liquicaps, or whatever dumb-ass thing they are calling them today) that are filled with liquid? These ones?


The liquid inside comes right out of them if you poke a hole in the pill. For reals. Easy peasy. I tried it out, and it actually worked fairly well. I just squeeze out the goo, put a few drops on my hands, add a little lotion (or a bengay-type "pain relief" gel. They don't do much but distract you via skin irritation, but why not?), rub that shiz in... and ta-da! It works pretty well on my hands, and helped a lot when I was suffering from constant shin splints, too. It doesn't do as much for my knees, I must say, but hey. Considering that I work with my hands so much that even my non-athritic counterparts complain about cramping and pain?
Yeah. I will take what I can get.



Please note: if you are going to take medical advice you find on the internet you will get precisely what you deserve, whether it's good or bad. You are the keeper of your own health and the decision-maker for your own body and mind. I really shouldn't have to tell you that.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ring-a-ding-a-doo

I've discussed spotting before, and how no matter how well I try to spot I always feel dizzy after turning. So far the only solution is to hop up and down while making my way back to the starting point for the next pass across the floor (very classy, I know). Either I can't focus well enough to make a difference, or... something. Whatever.
So, when I found out about this guy all I could think was "oh man. I am gonna barf just WATCHING this"
How about you?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blog Maintenance and Life Update

I've gone through and added some new related blogs, and removed a few that haven't been active within the last six months +. If you are one of the people I dropped, never fear! If you post again I'll pop you back in to the blogroll. I'm just trying to keep it tidy up in here, up in here.

The studio is closing in on it's recital (just a couple more weeks and then I get to take pointe class without running through Swan Lake like a million times. Hallelujah!) and I am down to the wire on a few remaining costume things that need finishing up. Just embellishing the Firebird's leotard and whipping up two more little peasant bodices for the kids (six total, I think). I will be extremely thankful when it's over and I can reclaim my sewing room. You can't even walk in there, it's ridiculous (tutus, man, they take up a lot of space).
To add a little extra to my plate (because I totally needed that) my summer work schedule has just kicked in. So, now my days off are rare and precious and the arthritis in my hands is going to need a lot of babying. Right now I am building a new show, so basically I work 8 hours a day making bodices and then I come home and... make bodices. I am going to be pretty tired of bodices by the end of this week, let me tell you.

Here is the Firebird's tutu embellishment, done and out of my life. sadly you will just have to believe me when I say it has lots of texture and looks interesting in motion:
Oh man, guys. I wanted to bedazzle this thing SO BAD. I had to stop myself with sequins in hand TWICE. It just... it just needs glitter. It does. Everything needs glitter, guys.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Firebird: Part the First

One of the more daunting projects I have been tasked to complete for the studio's recital is the transformation of a drastically normal black Sansha rehearsal tutu (with a serious case of the chicken butt) in to a Firebird soloist costume.
If I was doing it with no limitations I would probably dag the netting and taper it back from a shorter poofy front to a longer and more sleek "tail" at the back. But, these suckers are spendy and we need to be able to rip it down and refashion it next year.
So far I have just about figured out what I am doing with it. Here is a progress shot. Not that it is in anything like finished condition, here. For one thing there will not be any weird gaps in the flame-y fabric overlay, and the wonky bit at the back will hopefully evolve in to more of a tail-like thing as I go. The extra bunchy stuff at the waist will be tacked and folded over to create a short layer of points that "float" with the dancer's movement.



Right now my problems are: A) this is going to require a curved needle to implement and in all these damn packages of needles I seem to have there is not a single curved one to be found (they are STUPID hard to come by, I think I have owned two in the past fifteen years. There was a near-sacred one in my mom's sewing tool box when I was a kid. I used to be utterly fascinated by it, as well as the electric shears that she steadfastly refused to part with but never actually used), and B) in the perfect world I would be working on this while it was on a pants form, or dress form with legs. As I do not own one (so sad) I am going to have to put it on and attempt to sew it WHILE I am wearing it (I will have to put in on backwards to do the butt!). This is only an issue because the panty part of this sucker is stretchy, so you just pull it on over your hips rather than hooking it together down the back. I wouldn't even bother if I was certain exactly how big the girl wearing it will be, but as it is I have to allow some stretch and wiggle-room so it's gotta be done while the skirt is held taught. I think I am going to have to borrow a bar stool and sit on that while I work, because sitting on the floor is already getting pretty tiresome!
Okay. I am done rambling, now. In my own defense my two glorious hours of sleep last night are being buoyed entirely by sugar and caffeine right now. I think I will go lay down and hope for the best before I try to work on something and just screw it up royally.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RIP Tiny Silver Toyota

So, after class tonight I picked up a bunch more recital costumes to work on and hit the road. About a half mile from the studio my car suddenly self-destructed. Not a huge surprise as it is 15 years old and had been handling really badly for a while now (the... whoziwhatsit broke. The thingy. Wossname. Sticky-outy bit that makes the wheel attach to the car. That thing.). It was completely seized up, I couldn't even move the gear shift out of park. So, anyway. I do not have road-side assistance, but my husband does, so I called him to come (thank god we recently bought a second car) and call me a tow truck. And I am standing there by the side of the freeway like a transient wearing pink tights and a sweat-soaked leotard. Such a good look. And then IT STARTS RAINING. Because obviously someone said "it could be worse!"
When my hubs and the tow arrived I drove our second car home and my husband pretended he had been driving the busted car so AAA wouldn't argue about it.
"OF COURSE." He said. "Obviously I was driving the car with the giant freakin' tutu in the front seat. I see nothing strange about that.
"And the ballerina purse is totally mine, too."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

the Purple Tutu

Still working on recital costume repair/alteration/etc.
You see this tutu?
This tutu makes me sad. It's not constructed badly. It's made from a pretty standard pattern. There is a full underlining/flat lining. The basque and bodice are separate pieces. It's all as it should be. But the materials they chose to make it out of? They are awful. The acetate satin is bad but forgivable. But that skirt, regardless of the fact that it is constructed exactly the way a classical tutu should be constructed, is made with such limp and lifeless tulle (that has then been washed a hundred times, probably) that it just sort of... droops. It makes me sad because someone must have put so much time and effort in to it, and the result is so... just... sigh...
Oh, and it was closed all the way down the back with velcro. I don't know if you have ever accidentally caught tulle (or lace, or your pantyhose, or that beautiful silk chiffon blouse you just made...) on the scratchy side of a piece of velcro, but it's insanity. I couldn't even wear my wrist braces while working on this thing because the tiny edges of velcro that hold them closed kept catching on the tulle and shredding it. As you can imagine, the velcro closure has done horrible things down the back of this little guy.
My seamstress's heart. It aches for you.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An Ode to Vintage Ballet Photography

Modern dance photography is all about captured movement. Graceful arabesques, dramatic leaps, and that fraction of a second when a dancer is perched just so on the front edge of her pointe shoe platform. Photography meant to inspire and thrill. To make you feel like you have seen a dance, not a photo. Dare I say it? This sort of fabulousness is ... well. Not really all that attainable for most of us.

http://geneschiavone.com/

But Oh! for the days of classic ballet photography! Where a dancer could simply stand in her gloriously ornate costume and still cause a stirring in your heart:

Ornate and GIGANTIC. Did I mention gigantic?
How many modern dancers have even 
worn a costume big enough that you can't
get through the door?
I ask you.

Or better yet: lean subtly against the wall. Cuz mama don't need to be supporting her own weight for this whooooole dang long exposure. Walls were invented for a reason, right? Use 'em.


Look, if Margot Fonteyn can lean subtly against a wall then so can I.
Or. You know. Not so subtly:


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

today on pinterest:


Hmmm. I suppose so. In that nothing makes any sense and you mostly just feel awkward.
Or maybe that's just me.

I also found this one, though. This one I can relate to:

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ae/6c/86/ae6c86e26378be2ee9a62826c8e4ba9f.jpg

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's not a pooch it's a POODGE

I hate pilates. I really do. So it has been...many moons... since I last did any pilates videos on my own time. Uhm... possibly a year. Anyway...
My teacher has been on me about core strength for a while now. I am pretty darn tired of hearing about it (almost as tired as I am of hearing "smaller steps!" during chaînés turns). So maybe it's time to get back on the ol' ab train. Ugh.
Last week I tackled a boring and elderly pilates video that I have done many times in the past. This week it's 93* in the only room with enough space for that sort of thing (a previous tenant must have smoked in there, so I have to leave the window open perpetually), and the thought of half an hour on the floor in the heat (and amongst my dropped straight pins/piles of ugly prom dresses I am supposed to be altering) just wasn't making the cut. So... of course I turned to Pinterest. Because... well, honestly because Pinterest is where I spend most of my time that should be spent working out, anyway (pinning recipes for pomegranate champagne cupcakes > doing boring stinky old crunches).
Here is what Pinterest told me to do:
for the record? I could just about get my feet (barely) off the floor for about 2 seconds. But only if you count them really fast. ONEMISSISSIPPITWOMISSISSIPPII'MDONENOWOHMYGOD.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't Glue It, You Have Sew Much to Live For!

You know what is awesome? Slipping on the carpeted stairs (because you are wearing slippery satin shoes with fuzzy socks on top) and falling all the way to the ground floor, hitting every single stair along the way. Every. Single. One.
Did I break in my pointe shoes, or did I just break myself? It was one of those things where you think to yourself "you know, this is really dangerous and I could really hurt myself" a split second before it all goes wrong. I am lucky I didn't break anything.
That happened last night. Today I feel... like I just fell down a flight of stairs, honestly (also stupid, I feel really really stupid). Both elbows are skinned and bruised, my butt looks like I was hit with a two by four (actually I was hit with half a dozen two by fours...), and I appear to have majorly pulled every single muscle in my upper back/neck/shoulders. You know that whole port de corps en ronde thing? Yeah, that SO isn't happening right now.

On the recital costume front:
I was sent home tonight with this... thing (there is no nice name for it) and told to remove the junky lace apron and ugly trim across the front (it's going on an ugly step sister in Cinderella, BTW) and to generally clean it up (at work we call that "making it pretty" which is just a nice way of saying "this thing needs some serious help. Please. Stage an intervention")

Only problem? As soon as I got it in my lap with a seam ripper in hand I discovered the awful truth. It is all attached WITH GLUE. Uuuuuggggghhhhh...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ballet Etiquette and teaching Conundrums

So, I was recently chastised in class by one of the other students. Now, granted, this person is apparently also a ballet teacher. But in this class she was a student. Not an assistant or a student teacher. A student. Because that is what you are when you are taking a class taught by someone else. Regardless of your own position, you are now equal to every other person at the barre. Okay. Obviously I am experiencing some major feels about this.
So, anyway. It was a minor etiquette correction, but one that I had never encountered in almost three years at this studio. In honest fact the correction is sensible and good to know, and I will try to abide by it in the future. If my ACTUAL teacher had said it I would have just taken it the way it was intended, I'm sure. I mean, etiquette stuff... especially ballet etiquette... it can be kind of counter-intuitive and in any case it is obscure and weird and you have no way of knowing it until you are told.
Maybe it is my own experience as a student teacher in college, or maybe it is just my intense social anxiety and shyness. But it just didn't seem like it was her place to correct me on anything while attending a class taught by someone else. Like... isn't it kind of rude to the actual teacher?
GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP.
What say you, ballet friends? Has this ever happened to you? Did it make you mad? MEAN MAD. Or did you duck-back it off like it was no problem? Is it totally awkward and weird or am I just overreacting because I am emotionally over-sensitive and probably also a little bit crazy? The jury is out.

Friday, April 18, 2014

On Your Bod, In Your Class

Spending a quiet evening (hubs is asleep because our neighbors were up past 3am playing UKELELE directly outside our bedroom window. Yes, words were exchanged.) turning second-hand salwar kameez in to approximations of sarafan for Firebird's dancing princesses (which will be portrayed in this year's recital by adorable four year olds) and wondering why on Earth you always see pictures of women en pointe with no tights on. Because these new shoes I am attempting to break in right now (and was too lazy to fetch socks for) feel like they are honest-to-god lined in sandpaper.
In other recital-I-am-not-in news: there are lot of really stupid silly strange unusual things that swans do. Like hopping backwards in arabesque. Hop hop hop. I do not want to hop after two hours of class. I want to take off my shoes and have a cocktail.

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

Moolah

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

contemplative

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!
Sheesh.

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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Four Classes!

I took four classes last week! It was... whew! It was intense. On the second consecutive day I was definitely feeling it. I'm starting to gain back some of the strength I lost over the past few months, though, and that is nice. Of course, now my stupid pointe shoes are getting squodgy. Wait, have I entered the unending cycle? You wear these things until they are finally comfortable and then POW! They die. Super awesome.
My mom once apologized for not putting me in ballet as a kid. But no, really, it's okay. For one thing I was shy and had body image issues and already ate myself up about my imperfections. And for another thing... we never really had money, you know? Like... ever. And a serious teenage student can blow through a pair of shoes in a week, easy. I am pretty sure we would have been selling plasma to keep shoes on my feet.
Anyway.
I haven't decided yet if I am going to try four classes this week or not. On the one hand I could use all the help I can get, and free classes are nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand... well. I am lazy. I mean, come on. I have important things to do at home. Like watch kitten cams and ignore the ever-expanding pile of dishes in the sink...
You know. Important stuff.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Craftin' All Up in Here

I am completely in love with leotards that have mesh or lace components. At first I thought they would be cooler than sleeved leos ( I get SO sweaty), but I know better now and I still like the look. But DAMN they are expensive. Like, $40-60. In leotard land that is pretty darn spendy. So I said "to heck with that" and bought a cheap $17 camisole leotard on Amazon.com and a yard of stretch lace for $6 from my local fabric store and BAM:
 

It is stupidly difficult to photograph your own back, guys.

Cats, rheumy stuff, extra classes

Sorry I haven't been writing a lot. The arthritis in my hands has been extra shitty for the past couple of weeks, spreading up out of my wrists and in to my fingers. Last night I had a dream that I lost the ability to articulate my right hand. It was pretty scary, guys.
Anyway. This is undoubtedly made worse by the stress in my life right now. My sick cats find new and exciting ways to send themselves to the emergency vet on a near weekly basis. My cat with the rheumatism-related digestive problem? She somehow came down with an infection so rare and so aggressive that she needs to be treated with an antibiotic the size of a tractor twice a day for at least two months. Yeah. And then the antibiotic is making her feel sick, which makes her not eat... which is not what a 9 pound (formerly 16 pound) cat really needs right now.
ANYWAY.

My ballet teacher recently told me that between now and the recital at the end of June, because I am helping out with costumes and such, that I can take as many classes as I want, gratis. Which sounds pretty freakin' awesome! At the beginning of June I will be going back to a crazy work schedule and won't be able to take any extra classes at all for three months, so now is a great time to cram in as many as I can. The only problem so far has been that I end up having to haul a cat to the vet on all my available afternoons. And I have to plan ahead, because on class days I can't take one of my medications in the morning (it makes me shaky and throws off my balance), so I am left little room for spontaneity.
OH how life never seems to work out the way we plan...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Skate

The olympics are over! Which really just means that I have now missed at least two olympic cycles with no proper TV, and therefore no ability to actually watch the figure skating. Because, guys, figure skating is awesome. When I was a kid I would pretend I was a skater, twirling around on the slick grass (AKA overgrown weeds) in our front yard at night, just the porch light on. I could never even stand upright on skates, and actually didn't really mind so much. The handful of times I even tried were all on school field trips. We took one trip to a roller skating rink and one to a super-ghetto ice skating rink per year. I steadfastly refused to actually *do* anything while I was there. For years. I would just sit in the stands and have a perfectly lovely time entertaining myself for several hours. I, mustering determination only slightly stronger than my omnipresent fear of failure, put on ice skates ONCE and oodged around the outside edge of the rink while holding on to the railing desperately. Yeah, that was enough of that. But I love watching the olympics. I think I am still slightly heartbroken that Timothy Goebel had to retire after only one medal. Looking at the videos now he looks so tiny and young! But at the time I could have just eaten him up! 12 years ago! I lived a totally different life in a totally different world 12 years ago.

The news coverage this year has been all Nancy Kerrigan v. Tonya Harding. All. The. Time. Which sort of cracks me up. I remember watching that year. I distinctly remember watching them do their free skate while I sat on my grandmother's bed with the other ladies of the family. The whole scandal had been EVERYWHERE for the past month, so everyone knew about it. But I was 12? It's not like I had an opinion. I had never seen either of them skate before. I remember feeling sort of dreadful for Harding, who skated like she was terrified and unprepared, and feeling utterly unimpressed with Kerrigan, who managed to medal (as far as I could tell) simply because everyone felt sorry for her. The girl who won gold was Russian and amazing, and she was wearing the ugliest costume on the planet. All fluffy maribou stuff to match her fluffly 90s hair.
It's weird the things you remember all of a sudden. Things that take you back to a different time and place. Green paint. A shelf of porcelain cat figurines. My little white leotard with pink rosettes just below the chin.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Turning. Brain party.

Last night my pirouette from fifth at the barre (that is at least two awful things strung together. Pirouettes at the barre, AKA: smashing your knee in to a stationary hard object with force. AKA: if you had a REAL partner you would have just kneed him in the balls, way to go! PLUS pirouettes from fifth, which just suck.) was declared "awesome!"
Of course, it was only one out of six of the damn things, but I threw a little brain party, anyway. There was confetti raining down, and sparklers. I am pretty sure I heard a few noisemakers in the background, you know, along with all that cheering like the ball just dropped on New Year's Eve.

In the next class I discovered that it's not hard to turn en pointe. It's hard to STOP turning en pointe. If you use any force whatsoever you just... keep on going...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Level 1-2 visit

Since I have missed so much class I have a ton of make ups on the books that need to get used up before Summer starts and my life dissolves in the face of work. Last Friday I took the level 1-2 class that was my regular thing not so long ago. It's interesting, barre didn't seem as grueling as it did when I was in that class. It may be an actual change in the exercises, but perhaps I shall just seize this opportunity to say "oh wow, look at how far I have progressed".
They are doing different things, now. For example: I never did a pirouette until I started level 3, but they are working on them in 1-2 now. Probably wise, as I still struggle with them some days. Then again... would they have felt over-the-top difficult and insane and defeating two years ago? I think it's a strong possibility. I mean, it took a long time to nail down a lot of the things I take for granted now. When I started taking that class I basically had no foundation to build on, yet. Sure, I don't even have to think about how to do balancé (or pas de bourrée, or where to put my arm when I tendu to second... etc) these days, but it has been an uphill battle for those little victories (I'm not complaining, that is what ballet is all about). Pirouettes would maybe have killed me a little. Or I would now be amazing at them. You know. Either/or.
PS: in the past two months I have taken pointe twice, I think. And does it show? OH YES it does. I have lost so much strength in my legs that I'm shaking as soon as I get going. I guess this means I should get back on the old theraband and calf lifts train... blergh.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

letting yourself sit one (or several) out

Warning: This post became a lot more stream-of-consciousness rambling than carefully planned article. Sorry.

So, I've been missing a lot of class, recently. Annoying, but what can you do when you repeatedly injure yourself and then somehow manage to have two cats come down with emergency medical problems within days of each other? There is simply nothing for it, I'm afraid.
I always feel bad about missing class.
In a lot of cases I enjoy taking class on an otherwise stressful day because it's therapeutic. I simply can NOT think about anything but class while I'm there. There is too much to focus on and too much to remember. On days like today, though, when I am full-out emotionally exhausted (emergency cat surgery yesterday that ended up being so complicated and so expensive that my vet actually took us aside to apologize to us in person. No, really.) and the classes on my schedule are the ones that are HARD CORE ass-kicking classes that carry a certain amount of emotional baggage of their own... yeah. Not happening. All I really want to do is sleep, eat too much, and snuggle on the couch with my husband and kitties. Possibly drink cocoa and read Scarlet Pimpernel novels, because that is the most intellectually stimulating thing I am currently capable of.
Sometimes I feel a bit cheated when I can't go to class. In a way I feel like I am dancing in defiance of and in anticipation of the day that I can no longer dance. I know it's a day that will eventually come. And when it does I will be devastated. So I feel a bit annoyed with circumstances (an with myself) when things don't work out the way they are supposed to.
Sometimes I just feel guilty. There is this person that sits in the back of your head and grumbles to you "maybe you just don't WANT IT enough" as if it was your inner personal trainer. And then you have to cock a figurative (or literal, I make a lot of faces when I talk to myself) eyebrow and ask that little bastard what s/he thinks "it" is and why it is so damned important to want it in the first place. Because no one can piss you off or make you feel worse than you can, right? Screw that little dude.
Sigh...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Duparoo

While watching painfully (yet exquisitely) old infotainment with my husband tonight (because I'm stressed out and James Burke is a comforting beacon of my lost childhood. Almost as good as muppets.) I learned that nylon was almost patented under the name "Duparoo"
Wouldn't that have been more fun to read on all the tags of your dance clothes? I think so, too.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rain Dance

My state is in the midst of a terrible drought. I have lived here all my life, and I have seen bad droughts before. This year blows them all away. Our reservoirs are lower than they have been in my lifetime. The snow pack in the mountains that we depend on for our water all year long is down to 12% of normal. It's... it's pretty ridiculous, guys. It has quite literally not rained since NOVEMBER.
But tonight it's raining. It is too little too late, of course, but at least it's raining.
It's because of me, guys. The rain. I did a rain dance. And by "rain dance" I mean I put on pointe shoes for the first time in several weeks and then proceeded to forget how my feet work.
YOU'RE WELCOME.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cure


When you see this type of old advertisement you are tempted to laugh. Such silliness! Such gullibility! Oh, the things our ignorant forebears would believe! How little we knew about medicine then! How easily the predacious could market useless products to people who didn't know better!
But... was it really so different? There are still myriad "cures" of dubious efficacy on the market. You can't go to a drug store or turn on the TV without seeing some sort of snake oil pitch.
Is it really so hard to understand why people purchased these things? In a world full of advanced technology in medicine and health we STILL don't really understand some of the dreadful things that can happen to our bodies (or that they can do to themselves). In this modern age there are still countless people suffering that can't find the help they need to get through the day without pain. When you live in pain you are desperate for answers. Desperate for relief, for help. And? If the medical establishment isn't offering that to you? Is it so strange to look for your answers elsewhere?
Sometimes, while slogging through the research debunking yet another cure-all, I have to remind myself not to judge others too harshly for finding relief when and where they can. Not to roll my eyes (well, not where anyone would see me, anyway) when someone on pinterest posts countless herbal cures that have very little chance of helping. We are all searching for something, after all.




Thursday, January 23, 2014

SO MANY TUTUS

The first batch of OH SO MANY unfortunate burgundy tutus that I have to alter in to wearability before the next recital:

I regret everything.

As I was carrying the giant trash bag full of these things out to my car last week my teacher said I looked "just like Santa Claus! But with the ugliest tutus EVER."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Anyone can get yelled at for their posture...

You find the darndest things online. For example, this awkward book-reading ballerina pinup girl:

 by Freeman Elliot, circa 1949.


And lest you think that this is too random to be a particular niche in vintage erotica, here is another (and it's not even by the same artist):

by Gil Evgren, circa 1953

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What What, in the Butt?

My level three class has a batch of new students, so the complexity of combinations has been stepped down a bit. Like, to the point that I actually feel competent. But my mixed-level class has only gotten harder and harder, so now I am stuck either feeling unchallenged or overly challenged. For cryin' out loud, can I get a level four class, please? These dead-dull en croix degages aren't doing it for me any more, and no matter how many times you tell me the sequence of a 13-step grand allegro combination it ain't gonna happen right now.
Sigh...

Sorry, I am feeling a bit shouty, tonight.
Because I... pulled my butt muscle? Or... something. Class was fuller than usual tonight so I got stuck at a portable barre which is a good foot or more higher than the lowest rung on the regular barre. So, when we were all supposed to hike our legs up on the barre... something went terribly wrong. I got through the rest of class but begged off pointe and came home early. If anything, it hurts worse NOW than it did in class.
Effing ballet, guys. What the hell?

PS: this has been a really butt-centric day for me. First thing in the morning I had to take one of my cats to the vet because she has a ruptured booty gland. Well, at least I don't have THAT.

PPS: Look. I am REALLY REALLY SORRY, this is in terrible taste, but I seriously have this song stuck in my head now, and I am sharing it with you because I am basically a bad person and I'm going to hell (and I want you to share in my pain):

Monday, January 13, 2014

Out With the Old, In With the New

Goodbye, old slippers. You were trusty and strong but your time has come. I won't throw you away because I have something of a weird sentimental attachment to you (at least not until the next time I am moving and going through my possessions with ruthless determination.)
And let this be a lesson to all of you out there: my old slippers were tight to the point of being painful two years ago, but the exact same brand, model, and size is now slightly larger than I would like. Either Grishko has changed it's sizing or my feet really have shrunk by about half a size+ since I started dancing. Either way: caveat emptor.  

Also: I would say that "that is just what my feet look like in the winter" but come on, let's be honest. I don't tan, my skin goes from translucent to lobster-red in ten seconds flat so I just don't tend to flaunt my lizard-belly whiteness in public. Tights are awesome. Tights are my best friends.