Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mama needs a new pair of shoes

After 150 years on the market you can pretty much expect a product to be refined, stream-lined, and darn-near perfected. Not clunky, horrible, and nearly-crippling. I AM LOOKING AT YOU, POINTE SHOES.
So. I finally got new pointes. Like, actually went to (braved) the only dancewear store in town (what the heck? There are easily dozens of studios in this city, how is there only ONE store that sells dance shoes?) and sat there for an hour trying on awful shoes while a professional dream-smasher critiqued my placement and shrugged at me. And now I have new shoes. Which? I totally despise. They are So Danca Auroras, and they suck. Okay, honestly, I kind of hated my other ones, too. But I think I've identified the problem. My feet are totally not the same size or shape as one another. They look fine, but they fit way differently. So, these new ones are okay on the right foot but not so much on the left. And the left? Yeah, that is my sliiiiightly longer leg. So basically all 130 pounds of my weight gets concentrated on the very tip of my left big toe and I want to die.
I'll figure it out some day. Some day... one day I will buy fancy plastic shoes at a big brightly-lit store in San Francisco, and then rainbows will trail effortlessly off my tip-toes while I leap gracefully on to the back of my unicorn and fly away...

In Hell You Probably Have to Wear Brand New Pointe Shoes ALL THE TIME

Two months. That's how long it's been since I posted. Everyone else has stopped posting, too, so... I guess I'm just a follower? Honestly, I just haven't been compelled. It's hard to feel inspired when you A) have been writing about the same subject for four years, and B) get very little feedback except from your parents.
I hate when bloggers come back after a hiatus and say "oh boy, guys! I am totally going to start posting twice a week and it's gonna be amazing!" and then you never hear from them again. So lame. So, I am not doing that. Will I be posting in the future? Meh. Maybe? There are a lot of posts I never got around to writing but always wanted to. Like advice for what to wear to your first ballet class and the reality that the most "perfect" ballet body is not usually the one in class that is blowing us all out of the water with bitchin' technique and grace. But will those posts get written? I leave that for fate to decide.
If you've followed this far, I thank you kindly.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

State of the RPrin

My folks gave me a nice big gift certificate for my birthday (thanks, guys!), so I now have new tights, technique shoes, and even a fancy leotard that I have been eyeballing for three straight years (for the record it makes me feel a bit naked, but oh well.) Mmm... new dance clothes. So good.
I had to order stuff using my husband's Amazon Prime account (I am not going to pay for shipping, guys) and just told him not to look at the invoice because he would be horrified to see what ballet clothes and women's underwear (which I also bought) actually cost. I swear. He can go down to Target and buy a pack of boxers for $5, but I buy one bra and it's practically the event of the season. Sheesh.
I am out of class today because my something-or-other has folded in on itself (I have no idea. It was badly diagnosed as a kidney stone 9 years ago, but it sure as heck ain't) so I am in just enough pain to be slightly delusional. Shoot. I'd much rather be dancing.

I'm looking for a new job. A big-girl job doing boring office work. I have precisely zero experience and I won't give up dancing in the evenings unless you physically threaten my family, so I am running up against a few obstacles. Something will work out. It has to. Because if not, and I am stuck living in this apartment with these asshole neighbors? I will probably snap and kill someone. You will see me on the news. It won't be pretty. I'm fairly certain pointe shoes with rice bags in the toes count as deadly weapons.

Monday, October 19, 2015

There Can Be Only One!

Yet another new student with my name. It's starting to get a little ridiculous. There are more of us at the studio than there are Katies or Susans, now. It all gets very confusing and our teacher has to try yelling corrections with last initials attached. Like in elementary school when the teacher called on "Jennifer G." or "Sara B."
BUT I'M THE ONLY REAL ONE. No, really. Because I'm the only one not named after a Disney princess.
I bet there are going to be a shit-ton of Elsas in ten years...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Becoming What You Hate

So. I'm one of those people, now. You know THOSE people. The people I couldn't stand back when I was in beginning ballet class twice a week. The more advanced dancer who is taking the level 1-2 class for unfathomable reasons, taking up valuable space in an overcrowded studio, and the worst is yet to come... wearing pointe shoes. UGH. Four years ago I could NOT understand those people. Those people made no sense to me. They were operating on some set of rules that didn't work in my brain. Now? I am those people. Why? Because, due to scheduling and health restrictions I am stuck taking the most overcrowded 1-2 class once a week just to get my class number up high enough to qualify for the more advanced stuff. And why am I wearing pointes? Because this class goes really freaking slow, guys. I might as well get some of the strength back in my arches while I am doing painfully slow tendus at the barre.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

back en pointe and it feels s̶o̶ ̶g̶o̶o̶d̶ like I'm dying

No, actually, it was fine. My ankles are in need of some serious work, and I have to figure out how to move my feet while they are encased in cinder blocks again, but it went better than I expected. I even kept my shoes on for the entire hour. I talked to my teacher about changing my schedule around, and while it'll mean more evenings of commuting/washing tights it will also mean I have a little extra energy for pointe. I also got the go-ahead to wear pointes at barre in any class I take. I may try that eventually, but for now I am just trying to get back in to the swing of things.
So, here I am, after five months off pointe and a summer spent mostly working with very few dancing interludes. After a solid vacation, a bit of perspective shifting (you know the Butte fire? I have family up there) and a wretched RA flare (over now) I am feeling positive about ballet again and am ready to feel graceful again (as much as I ever do...)
You know what the best part is? I now get to watch one of my regular classes as an outsider. It's really remarkable how lovely and beautiful everyone looks when they're moving, something you rarely get to experience while taking the class yourself. No one has a perfect body, or flawless technique, or 180* turnout, but they all looked so pretty anyway, turning across the floor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Closest I Get to Dancing on Vacation

A lot of people go on a vacation or other road trips and consider it a perfect time to try out the local dance studio class offerings. I ... do not. This is as close as I get to dancing on vacation:
It's a frappé. The kind that doesn't involve kicking yourself
repeatedly in the ankle and getting called out for your crap timing.

Drawing in the wet sand with rond de jambes.
While carrying a bucket and froggy umbrella.
Shut up.

Monday, September 7, 2015

This is What All Ballet Portraits Should Look Like

I mean... weightless grands jetes and perfectly curved arches are nice and all... but come on:
This is so much better!
Mademoiselle Nelova, 1929

Sunday, August 30, 2015

F this S

I'm in such a ballet funk. I really just don't want to go at all, right now. It has been a few months since work and life permitted regular twice-a-week class attendance, and I haven't taken pointe since May. And now that time is opening up? I just don't wanna! I am doing it because without ballet I am considerably less mobile and in a whole lot more pain. I'm just not enjoying myself at all.
One of the issues is that a new teacher has taken over two of my regular classes. And he's great, don't get me wrong. But it's different. Every teacher has a different style, and he isn't giving me the same experience that I have grown to expect and find comforting. He's teaching pointe, now, too, which makes me really hesitate to get back in to it. He really is a nice guy, and a good teacher, but...

PS: trying to apply steroids directly to my scalp is not my favorite part of rheumatism. Wait, RPrin, you have a favorite part? Hell yes. All the best people have rheumatism. Me, my sister... my cat... uh... Lady Gaga...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

'We feel dancey'

“...fairies never say 'We feel happy': what they say is, 'We feel dancey'.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens *

 illustration by Arthur Rackham (hittin' it out of the park, as always)

*this is such a weird story. The prototype for what eventually became the play and then novel Peter Pan, this novella is both a little morbid and desperately tragic. As if the story wasn't already messed up enough, now you get the first hand experience of Peter discovering his mother has "replaced" him, and the little naked boy running around in the snow burying the children that have died after getting locked into the park at night. So. Weird. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hardly Workin'

I just worked eleven days in a row, mostly 11 hour per day. Because apparently it was someone's bright idea to build an entire show out of flimsy silken nothingness and no one planned on... you know... hiring people to put it together. My joints no longer function, but that's okay; my brain doesn't either.
An incredible amount of the past two weeks of my life is in this picture:
 just click on the damn thing for the attribution, I have 
no brain nor patience left for that shit

and even though I pretty much despise every single one of these dresses, now, at least it is over and done with and my life can spiral slowly back to normal. Which apparently means binge-watching the entire fifth season of Downton Abbey in two days, but whatever.
I took class last night. Apparently I have forgotten how my feet work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Life Happens

Where have you been, RPrin? I have been either working 11 hours shifts on my days off or dealing with my poor cat (not the same one as last time), who had to have her eyeball removed this week after several weeks of vet visits, ultrasounds, x-rays, and other tests. Tonight I got to take class for the first time in a few weeks. It felt great! Whew! Got to get back on the ballet train, girl.

Often, in class, a song will remind me of nothing so strongly as the ancient computer game (which I played for hours and hours on my Dad's then state of the art Atari ST, so you know we are talking more than a few years ago) Lemmings. You can still play this ridiculousness online, but without the tinny practically-arranged-for-ballet-class classical music accompaniment. So it hardly counts. 
Which probably leads to the question "why are class arrangements so bloody awful and plunky?" the answer to which is "because it's way easier to hear the timing that way"
I suppose...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wherein I Complain a Lot

So. How's the ol' dance world going? Over here I've just been overwhelmed and stressed out for a few solid months, but my part in the recital preparation is complete, so I feel a little lighter emotionally. Of course... now the people I have turned it over to are doing strange things like sewing hot pink trim on to my carefully constructed flame orange dress and trimming meticulously created white skirts in wrinkly grey ribbons... but you just have to learn to let it go. I guess.
I can damn near see the whole floor in my sewing room, now! So many bedraggled old tutus have finally left my presence. It's sublime.
While struggling through this year's miasma of sewing, design, and actual dancing, I stopped attending my regular pointe classes. It was just too much to deal with all at once. I have decided, I think, that I just can't do two and a half solid hours of intense cardio. It's exhausting, and not in a good way. There are not enough spoons in my proverbial drawer. There is a problem, though. I mean aside from the feeling of defeat at not being able to do this incredible thing I busted my ass to achieve. I know I am the first person in the entire history of the world to say this but... I am pretty sure my poor feet would feel 100% less awful right now if I was taking pointe again. Isn't that ridiculous? But it's true! My arches aren't getting stretched the right way, my muscles aren't as strong so they don't support me as well. The whole thing is infuriating, to be honest. I WANT to do pointe. I ENJOY it (for some reason?). But it also makes me feel better. Dancing, in general, helps my pain levels and joint mobility so much. I never notice how much until I don't do it for a while.

In other dance related news: I have just discovered these crazy floating Russian dalek dancers, and while they are the least exciting dance troupe you have ever seen they are mesmerizing and amazing and put one in mind of beautifully creepy automata like the Schloss Hellbrunn mechanical theater. I imagine there are lots of interesting steampunk possibilities, here. Also, I want to know how they do that, because I totes want to pull off that little party trick:
skip ahead to about 1:30 to check that madness at the door.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I don't even

Almost without question within the next few years my husband and I will have to move and settle in an obnoxious suburb that neither of us is particularly excited about. A family thing, we don't have a lot of say in it. Unless we win the lottery, I guess.
Anyway. We were discussing it last week, after I had just walked in the door from class and was sweaty and disheveled. The husband mentioned how annoying and inconvenient it would be, commuting from the aforementioned suburb to his job, at least a 45 minute drive even when there isn't any commute traffic. And he said this: "but you could just take your ballet classes at the community college".
I hardly even knew what to say! I am pretty sure that any dancers reading this immediately understand the horror I felt. Are you KIDDING me? You don't give up reading because you moved next door to a movie theater!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Call This One "Somebody Else can Press the Damn Skirt"

More Peau D'ane. Maybe? For her moon or stars dress? Who knows. This is another "here, take this tutu and this thrift store salwar kameez and make it a Cinderella dress"
I refrained from making another lace-up Swiss waist, but only because I don't want another teenager to hate me. ONE IS ENOUGH.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Princess Furball (or Whatever)

My instructions for this were just that it had to be a Cinderella dress that "looked like the sun". I'm not certain which version we are dealing with, but that pretty much sounds like Peau D'ane to me. Or Catskin, or Sapsorrow, or Princess Furball, or... You get the idea. Princess Furball was pretty much my jam back in elementary school. That and The Paperbag Princess.
So, anyway. Peau D'ane is a Cinderella story with a princess who goes to three balls, wearing three beautiful gowns: one as silver as the moon, one as golden as the sun, and one as sparkling as the stars. There you go, that is pretty much all you need to know.
I was given a plain little white romantic tutu and an ugly (and boxy) thrift-store Indian (?) skirt and blouse of orangey cationic chiffon with beaded front panels. And then told to do whatever. But without being able to fit the dress on the girl who will be wearing it, so it needed to be somewhat adjustable, stretchy, and forgiving. I was also instructed to add sleeves come hell or high water. This is what I ended up with using only the materials provided:

It really did not photograph well. And in the end I had to get it done in a hurry, so some of the sparkle and jazz that was going to go on the white bodice never happened. Sigh... Anyhow, I left the boob region mostly uncovered, for the sake of fit. The little underbust bustier thingy laces up the back (again, for the sake of fit) and I love it and want one! The sleeves are puffy, which you would be able to see if I had bothered to put the arms on my display form. The skirt is slit down the center front so that the white skirt tulle flashes through as she leaps, mostly to balance out all that white on the bodice that I couldn't get rid of. It looks pretty awesome on the girl, but I am almost sure she despises it because it takes so long to get in to and requires a helper. I dunno, guys, I just don't know.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


The theme for this year's recital is Cinderella. All the Cinderellas. So many.
This is a goose hat for the little girls portraying geese/footmen in Tattercoats, an English variant of the story. I wish I could find a picture to show you, but the internet has failed me. Regardless, the hats are based on an illustration for a 1976 picture book version. You are just going to have to trust me that they are a pretty good facsimile.
Now, here's the thing. Each story was supposed to have five dancers doing their thing. You know, five geese. Or five lily pads. Or birds, or whatever. But it keeps changing. There are currently TEN geese. This is why I see no particular end in sight for this recital sewing. It's like little girls keep coming out of the woodwork. If you haven't been to class in six months do you really need to be in the recital? Holy cow, people.
Many goose hats:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Can't Stop

The work. The work. It's endless! It just goes on and on! I am actually missing classes because I need the time and energy to make recital costumes! Aye carumba. And? I haven't even started on the adults, yet!
I will post some photos soon, so you know I am still alive.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I can't so I will

I don't often feel compelled to post about something that is just going to go viral in 12 hours, anyway (I mean, I was tempted to complain about how saggy Misty Copeland's Odette tutu was, but I controlled myself), but this hit me right in the feels:
Here's where I found it (linky linky)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Career Planning With RPrin

I'm sure everyone has their regional weird dancing road-side mascots. At least... I sure hope so. I would hate to think that only in California can you experience the joy of sitting in traffic while watching a dude in a chicken suit do a little two-step and wave a large sign extolling the virtues of the $4.99 lunch buffet...
Tonight on my way to class I passed a Liberty Tax sign waver that was really giving it his all. Quite an impressive display of commitment to the dancing mascot job. On my way HOME from class (admittedly, I left early, but still) he was STILL going at it! Talk about stamina!
Now, me? I have often thought about the possibilities. You could work on your dance moves AND get paid? How awesome is that? Probably really flexible hours, too. But no Lady Liberty for me, guys. For me it'd have to be Mr. Pickles. Work on your moves, get paid... BUT ALSO no one could tell who you are! Just make sure you don't wear really unique shoes or expose any identifying leg tattoos.
Imagine a person dressed in an anthropomorphic pickle suit busting out a tour jete or performing a graceful rendition of the Dying Swan. You'd want to go in and buy a sandwich, am I right?
Is it the perfect job? I don't know, but it's got to be better than retail.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It Begins

Recital season. It isn't really approaching all that quickly, you know? It's a couple of solid months until the performance. Regardless, I am already working on costumes. It's good, really, to get started ages in advance because the Summer brings with it an early theater season and a wedding I have to sew for/do anything else I am asked to for. Also, apparently I am supposed to make all sorts of stuff from scratch for this recital? Which was news to me, but whatever. I've been dragging home piles and wads of tutus, dresses, fabrics, and even a couple of thrift-store wedding gowns that I am going to be chopping to bits. My sewing studio is already a sight to confound and distress.
It's not supposed to look like this.
 Would you believe I have a proper cutting table? You wouldn't know it from that stupid cutting board on the floor that I perpetually use to the detriment of every joint in my body...

Anyway, that is the state of the very small sewing-related union. I'm currently mid-way (or less, there might be more girls added to the dance) through turning five really ugly little tutus in to water lily costumes for a group of teeny tiny girls (maybe 5-6 years old? So small.) Here is an awful blown-out flash-in-a-dark-room-at-10pm glimpse of the progress:
Well, you can see what I'm getting at, anyway.
They would be much cuter worn with little froggy head dresses, IMO.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dermaroller Craziness

I basically have every single rheumatism-related inflammatory skin nonsense that it is possible to have, right? Acne, rashes, dandruff, hyper-pigmentation, all this fun and exciting stuff that they have just started to realize is part of the rheumatic package. Which makes it sound like a free gift with purchase. "Buy any rheumatic condition worth $40 or more and receive -at absolutely no cost to you- a thank you gift including sample sizes of all your favorite skin and digestive problems! OOOH AAHH!"
Anyway... Uh...
So anyway. To top it off rheumatism comes with the fun little symptom of making your skin heal REALLY effin' slowly. I get a pimple and that sucker is going to be with me for a while. Months, sometimes. It's awesome.
The newest, latest, hottest, etceteraist (new word I just made up. You're welcome.) thing in skin care is derma-rolling. Have you heard of this? It's gross. Don't google youtube videos, I did and immediately had a panic attack (though, admittedly, I have panic attacks on the regular and this is not news). It's like... acupuncture? For your face? Using this little roller wheel that looks sort of like a pattern-maker's pinwheel and sort of like the business end of a wool carding machine. Lots of little pins. That you stick in your face. But hey, it's what all the coolest beauty experts are doing these days... or something like that. I can never keep track of that stuff because I have precisely zero interest in beauty products beyond soap that makes me not break out so much and green $1.50 lipstick that turns fuchsia when you put it on. I am bad at Girl. This insane torture device would have no place in my bathroom BUT. But it's supposed to help with that hyper-pigmentation and dreadfully slow healing time. So, I researched and groaned inwardly and bought this damn thing. It's like... it's just this weird thing. I mostly decided to go for it when I realized how utterly ridiculous and hilarious the whole thing is. Throughout history women have done stupid-ass things to themselves in the pursuit of beauty. This is one of those stupid-ass things in a major way.
I figured that my chances were pretty even that it would either do nothing or cause my insanely intense immune/inflammatory response to kick me to the curb after one go. I decided to give it a shot on an inconspicuous non-face area (thighs. They are big and they are right there, after all) just to see if ten minutes after rollerizing (you are welcome AGAIN) myself my skin would turn bright red and swell up like a party balloon for the next week. A day after the trial run I can report that my legs have not fallen off, so there's that. They mostly don't even itch anymore. I sure as heck wouldn't do this the night before a big event, though, as there is a certain amount of prickly redness and stinging involved for several hours after the rollerizing.
Also? The pain involved? Was basically nothing to a seamstress. And probably a lot less painful than pointe shoes, to be honest. Like... a LOT. Women sure do some cray-cray things for that perfect complexion and that pretty shoe. Women. Such weirdos.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Le Roi Danse

I tried, okay? I really tried. I tried to watch Le Roi Danse (the king dances), the French costume drama about Louis XIV and his ballet-arific life. I tried. I gave it a real, honest, loving attempt. But I couldn't even make it half way through. I know! It's all that you could possibly want in a movie! 18th century costumes! Ballet! Royal intrigue! Homo-eroticism! Beautiful music! But I just couldn't. I could. Not.
Maybe you will have better luck. Here, give it a shot:

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Ides of March. Or Whatever.

"You are so good at this"
That's a nice thing to hear your teacher say, while standing directly behind you at the barre. We were, for the record, doing some crazy développé variation that included strange fondu-esque synchronized leg straightening. I was hitting it out of the park, I guess. Because I am just a badass like that. In all honesty it's probably the only thing I did well all night, but you have to take what you can get.
I've also been getting a lot of praise on my posture, lately. I have two lovely curves in my spine which freaked out my pediatrician and make standing up straight a matter of opinion more than anything else. I get SO much crap for my posture. Like, constant crap. For some reason I recently tried straightening my back by pulling my pelvis all out of whack and pushing back as hard as I possibly can with the lower third of my spine. Apparently that did the trick. It does make balances easier, I'll give it that.

Blargh. March. I really hate March. Nothing good happens in March. I am having a hard time not feeling like punching everyone I meet right now, so please excuse the terrible lag in blog posts! I am winding up for a VERY long and stressful Spring and Summer, in which I will be working like a dog and trying to be a good maid of honor at the same time. Recital season is approaching fast and I've already been tasked with figuring out how to turn a bunch of kids in to geese and a bunch more in to water lilies (water lilies are... they are round, flat, green things. Here ya go, kid, I made you a swathe of green spandex stretched over a hula hoop. Now look graceful! Haaa... no. I promise not to make any small children suffer. Much.) Mostly I am looking forward to September, simply because I will be done with all these obligations. That should tell you something.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

the felicities of rapid motion

"It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind;--but when a beginning is made--when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt--it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more."

-from "Emma" by Jane Austen

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Calling All Nerds

Who here is a nerd? Anyone? Anyone? Just me? No. I know you are. Admit it. Relish in it. Look at Uhura rockin' out with her Spock(in'?) out in these lovely behind-the-scenes photos (clicky clicky!):

Has Uhura got a better penchée than you? Yes. Yes she does.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

cabriole is the new assemblé

If orange (or gray, or puce, or what-the-hell-ever) is the new black, then cabrioles are the new assemblé. If you obsessively memorize every thing I post here (and let's face it, even I don't do that. Well. Not always.) then you know that assemblé has traditionally been my least favorite ballet step. Because when you are first learning them they not only look stupid (like a cartoon frog, and I won't change my mind about that) but feel like the end times. I have very little bounce in my proverbial bungee, and petite allegro is basically my Achilles heel. Achilles ballet step? Something like that. As time has gone on I have thankfully progressed to a level where I am not asked to perform solid assemblés for ten minutes at a time, and a crappy assemblé is pretty easy to hide when it is only one of a string of disastrously crappy steps all crammed together in a petite allegro combination.
My new least favorite step to hate (my frenemy, you might say) is cabriole. Cabrioles, contrary to what their name seems to imply, are not small boxy sports cars, but a big and impressive grand allegro step wherein you throw yourself up in to a graceful leap and smack your feet together in the air before coming back down again. Cabrioles sure look exciting when they are well executed. But when I attempt them? Ridiculous. Aside from feeling like you are going to plunge to your death at any moment they also look like hell. I am sure I would improve at them if I spent some time practicing... which is really too bad, since I have mostly given up practicing every single thing. Ah, yes... that dedication business is all well and good, but apparently I can only keep it up for a year or two before burnout sets in. Hmm. Well, I am sure I will improve dramatically at SOMEthing. Drinking an entire bottle of water at one go, perhaps. Or walking past my neighbors in my ballet togs without feeling self-conscious.

I'm finally back to a full ballet schedule after the disaster that was my past month or so. Pointe class was sort of a wreck, but I will survive. No one says I have to be good at what I'm doing, after all!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

... and 5, 6, 7, 8

You know you're a dancer when... you are trying to time something entirely unrelated to dance and find yourself counting in sets of 8.
I've actually missed a lot of class, lately. I had oral surgery again last week, and I have discovered that stitches don't go well with raising my heart rate (THROB THROB THROB). Before that, though, I simply flaked out on pointe class for a few weeks because I was feeling leftover hormonal stuff (mainly fist-shaking rage). I think I am going to try technique class tonight (probably not pointe, simply because I can't eat well enough to get my energy levels up that high right now) if for no other reason than to unload the car load full of tutus that are clogging up every square inch of floor space in my sewing room. This latest batch was gone through while I was feeling particularly nasty, so I'm afraid I was pretty ruthless about throwing things away.
Honestly? I'd kind of like to blow off class, tonight. On the other hand... yesterday was stressful and upsetting so maybe the ballet "therapy" is exactly what I need. Besides, the inactivity of the past week has made my knees seize up something terrible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

You've Never Worn Pointe Shoes, Have You?

Saw this posted by a "friend"* on facebook today:

Which was obviously created by someone who had never worn ballet "slippers" in their life. These particular ballet shoes basically ARE steel toed boots, but with the added bonus of requiring serious effort, skill, and training to function in. Pointe shoes are NOT for sissies.

*"friend" here meaning person I went to high school with who maybe had a brother I dated and so I like to keep up with her dreadfulness online, yes I am terrible.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Teeny Trina

I recently received a message from Oshini, the owner of a small ballet-inspired greeting card company, asking me to plug her site on the RPrin blog. While I don't usually do this sort of thing, I am a small business owner myself. I know how hard it is to get the word out, especially to a receptive audience. My own fabulous contributions to the world of art are not exactly soaring out of my sewing studio, you know? Anyway, I took a look at her work, and it's pretty cool. Super cute illustrations, like This Valentine's Day card. It's all of us, am I right?

I am also particularly fond of her ballet alphabet, which would make an adorable poster or t-shirt design, right guys? I would wear this on a tank top in the summertime, for sure. You know, just an idea for the future (hint hint):

And this is her:

I mean, damn. Anyway, give her site a look, in support of dancers and artists and small business owners and all that jazz.

Friday, January 30, 2015

"A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever" - John Keats

People give you stuff when you sew. Like... "Hey. My granny just died and I was cleaning out her closet and I found this garbage bag full of polyester double knit and plastic beaded fringe from 1974 and I thought of you immediately!" And of course you accept it, because that's really nice (and besides their granny just died so you feel bad for them). And... well... because you can't pass up a sack of fabric! It might come in handy some day. You never know what treasures could be in that sack! I've got lovely silk brocade hanging in my closet that was buried at the bottom of a garbage bag full of broken trim and powder blue metallic netting.
Apparently, if you run a ballet studio people do something similar. But with costumes. "You teach ballet! Wow! You won't believe it but my second cousin's great aunt's neighbor's niece used to do jazz and tap and somehow I ended up with an entire storage unit full of AMAZING costumes!" Your gratitude is assumed.

In preparation for the studio's big Summer recital I am going through tupperware bin upon tupperware bin full of random tutus, leotards, and other costume bits and bobs that somehow ended up in the studio's possession, weeding out the ones that are beyond hope and fixing the most egregious flaws in the remainder. I have spent a couple of weeks, now, going through these, and it's totally awesome, to be quite honest. Especially because I get to remove/trash the ones I would rather burn than work on (a rare and empowering experience in the world of costuming!). Below I present some of the most heinous incredible creations that ever graced the form of a 7 year old in tap shoes and pigtails...

Now. Some of them aren't so bad. This one, for instance, could use to be soaked in Oxiclean for a month and gone over with a steamer to remove wrinkles, but you can see what they were getting at, anyway:
I'm thinking Tinkerbell.

And there are things that... well. They aren't really SO bad. Not when you consider that they must have come from 1987:

I mean, yes, it's ugly. But check out that sky-high French-cut leg opening we've got going on, here. You
just can't be mad at a leotard inspired by Jane Fonda AND Gunne Sax, can you?
No. You can't.

Of course, then there are things for which words seem inadequate:
It inspires one to poetry, does it not?
The neon pink fringe
it lay-th below
acid green sequins,
all aglow...

And then this happened:
I want to point out that this neon yellow and pink
leopard print unitard, here, is an ADULT size small.
Adult. I am just going to leave you with that.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

terrifying, honestly

BAM! And she's doing piqué turns en pointe, everybody.
'Betta recognize, mothafuckas.*

*EVERY single time I try to type "mothafucka" it comes out as "mothfucka". I don't even know.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, 2015

So. The year happened. 2014, in the end, wasn't an incredibly great year for me but could have been worse. The year began with both of my cats coming down with terrible abscesses and needing emergency treatment. Thankfully the cat situation is mostly on an even keel, now. In the Spring there were absolute acres of recital costumes to fit, repair, and/or create. They turned out okay, and in exchange for my effort I have been taking class for free for several months (which, hoo boy, really helps right now). In the Summer I spent a lot of time worrying about a sick friend and driving back and forth to visit her in the hospital about two hours away from home. Nothin' proves devotion like watching someone have a catheter removed. In the Autumn I had oral surgery. In December my Dad had cataract surgery, it went well and I spent a few days dealing with that, then I had some traumatic family stuff to deal with. So far in 2015 I have had a miscarriage and had the locks on my car doors destroyed by someone with a screwdriver. It's actually better than last January, though? All in all I think my life is about as solid as it gets in the real world.

In my ballet world... meh. I suppose I improved on some things. To be honest ballet and I have been going through some rough times in our relationship. It's been physically really hard on me for a while (the last two weeks haven't been too bad, though) and I am not really wild about my class schedule. The back-to-back classes on Thursdays are so hard. So so hard. The worst part of the whole RA thing is the utter exhaustion, but I am not sure how much of this stamina issue I'm having is related to that and how much is just too many high-energy classes too close together. Regardless, feeling like you are going to keel over at any moment is not really encouraging and I have been feeling a lot less excited about going to class because of it. I'm working on it, but my enthusiasm isn't all that it could be.

This year I am going to actually try to do that damn ballet-related art project that I have been talking about for a solid year +. We'll see. I set up a blog for it last January. Haaaaaa. Yeah, way to go, RPrin, gettin' it done.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pleats Fo'EVA

So, my best friend is getting married. Whateva, whateva, whateva makes ya happy, girl*. She's set the date for late August (outdoors, in central California. HAHAHAHA! So droll) and things are kicking in to high gear. She is making her gown. She has designed a skirt adorned with graduating tiers of pleated organza. Now, this would normally not be a problem. We work together. She's a pro. She's made ball gowns of gold tissue lamé. She's beaded. She's boned. Girlfriend knows what she's doing. But.
But, six months ago, at the very height of theater season, she had a stroke. A damn-near fatal one, at that. She has spent the past six months in the hospital/rehab facility/working like a dog to try and get her body functional and her life back together. She's winning, and I am so proud of her. But let's be honest. This dress needs 36 yards of pleated organza. 36 yards AFTER pleating. That's... that's a hella** lot of fine motor control. So I offered to do the pleating.
At first I thought, ha ha ha... oh no problem, I will buy a pleater foot for my industrial sewing machine and somehow magical sewing angels will arrive on the crest of a rainbow and deliver unto me 36 yards of pleated organza whilst the choir sings and butterflies flutter about my studio. But, alas, it was not meant to be. In other words: AW HELL NAW that ain't workin' out for me. This son of a bitch is going to need a pleating board, several pots of tea, and the patience of a frikkin' saint.
This is all just a very long-winded way of saying that I have a pleater foot, now, which might be kind of handy for making tutus in the future, perhaps. I really need to learn to get to the point...

*and thus ends my one and only attempt at writing a Beyoncé song.
**slang courtesy of 1995. You're welcome.