Thursday, December 31, 2015

Past Year / New Year

So it's been pretty much a full year since I started this blog and got more serious about ballet!  Thank you for hanging out with me in 2015.

I've actually been really busy this week taking class.  I'm off of work and the studio is open so it's been class one or twice every day.  It's given me a lot of time to realize how much better I've gotten.   Looking back on the first entry of this blog, I couldn't even do frappés back then!  Or anything really.  I don't think I could even stand properly!  I look back at the combinations I wrote down back then that I thought were hard, and can't believe how far I have come.

So, going back to the first post of this blog, I'm going to go through my resolutions for 2015 and see how I did!

2015 Resolutions:

-Ballet: at least 2x a week, ideally 3.
Yes!  There were some gaps because of shows I was in and some injuries (ankle sprains), but I ended up the year going to class 3-4 times a week.

-Handstands: do 5 minutes every day.
Uhm...I did not do this.

-See more shows.
Yes!  If you read my blog, you may remember my whirlwind ballet season.

-Fix my body/stop being injured.
Sort of.  Some things have gotten better (my hip and back).  My old shoulder injury is now backsliding and giving me some problems.

-Eat more home cooked meals.
Mostly?  I've recently stopped eating meat, which makes me cook more of my own meals.

I think I did okay?  As for 2016, my top priority ballet wise is to stop working so much on stuff I'm already good at and tackle the things I struggle with.  Like, my extensions are already high.  Time to start working on turns, which are awful on me.  And flexibility wise, I already have my oversplits so I should stop stretching my hips all the time.  Time to work on backbends.  No more avoiding the things that don't come naturally to me, because they will never get better.

2016 goals in list form:

-Ballet:  at least 3 times a week, ideally 4-5.
-Cross training:  I started doing reformer Pilates and I think it's going to be amazing for me.  Keeping up yoga and flexibility/contortion training.
-Handstands: Okay, really this on these.
-Become a morning person:  I've been waking up early and stretching and warming up before work.  It makes me feel great, and even when I take class hours later, I feel a lot more prepared.
-Keep going with everything I accomplished last year: more home cooked meals, stick to eating vegetarian, flossing, seeing shows, etc.

Happy new year ballet blog friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Secret Ballet Wish

All I want for Christmas is...a private ballet lesson with LF.  I have lots of ballet wishes, but most of them are of the more fantastical variety (like somehow growing amazing insteps).  This wish is more practically feasible, but psychologically feels impossible.

As you know (if you have been following my LF saga), LF is an amazing teacher and danced for many years with a top company.  She also  teaches at a prestigious prepro summer intensive run by a former principal of that company (shaping the future of tomorrow's possible ballet stars!).   And she only teaches one class at the beginner level.

So, how can I ask someone who is perfect in my eyes and mostly teaches people better and more advanced than me for a private?  And what would be the point?

"Hi LF, I know I'm terrible and won't actually be that good in any meaningful way, but can you help me be less terrible?"

Sometimes in our beginner class, I wonder if she gets depressed teaching us adults these basic things.  Especially when we're going across the floor and she's like, do you have it?  And we're like no.  And she has to do the combination with us over and over again.

Objectively I know that she loves ballet and teaching, and probably even loves teaching us mere mortals these basic things because of that.  And she is kind and never is actually impatient with us, and maybe only sometimes frustrated because she wants us to get it because she cares.

I also know that if I asked she would probably say yes, because privates are where the real money is for ballet teachers.  But I want her to not mind teaching me.  And maybe even be happy to.

I just trust her teaching so much.  Usually in her class, I restrain my extensions and don't do high legs because I want to be perfectly placed.  But last week, I just let my battement to the side fly way up because I have been working on it, and LF said it was beautiful.  It made my day and also now I trust that it is right.

It was easy to do privates with FBT.  I knew of her love of teaching me, and she knew of my love of ballet.

I wish FBT were still here.

I wish I had beautiful insteps.

I wish I were brave enough to ask LF for private lessons.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quotable III

Me:  My butt is too heavy for my legs to assemble in assemblé!

Friend:  It's not too heavy, it's too weak!  So get on that.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Trusting the Process

I know I haven't updated in a while, but I have been taking classes.  It's been a couple of weeks where classes have seemed routine with no ground breaking realizations or shocking improvements,  just trundling along.  I once described it as "the classes in between."

But in class this past week, there were a few moments where I noticed little things that have definitely changed.  Like in grand battement à la seconde.  My left has always been high and now is approaching 180, but my right was always lower.  Same with développé (although I'm not near 180 on my left for this, I just mean my left is much higher than my right).  But this week, my I noticed my right is rapidly catching up, and my extensions just look better in general!  And the funny thing is, I really wasn't trying or thinking about high legs.  I've been focusing more on holding my standing side and rotation in both legs and not the height at all lately, and it just sort of happened.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that the bane of my existence has been petit allegro.  I wish I could say that I am now brilliant at petit allegro, but sadly, this post isn't about that.  It's more like, in class this week, during petit allegro, I found myself thinking, "Oh, I think I'm doing it!"  And I was.  Not beautifully, or even that competently, but I knew what was happening and wasn't completely flailing and tripping over my feet.  Of course they were all very basic combinations along the glissade, jeté, glissade assemblé variety, and again, it was much more of a feeling of comfort than  brilliance.  Pirouettes also felt this way this week.  No, I did not finally figure them out, but they feel familiar now, and once in a while they work out.

To me, it's very heartening that the process works.  Going to class regularly and doing the routine does give results!  Even when you don't think it is working!  I had previously described some classes as a drop of water in a bucket that you initially don't notice, but right now I'm thinking of it as a planted seed.  It might seem that giving it nourishment isn't having any effect, but secretly it is spreading roots underground.  Making a foundation for sprouting and growing, perhaps even one day flowering and bearing fruit.

Trust the process.