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?
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


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