girls en pointe

ImageEarlier this month, the teachers at my studio took nine girls to the big city to get fitted for pointe shoes.  My daughter has been dancing at this studio for 2 years and there hasn’t been anyone dancing en pointe (except teachers) so to see this many girls mature and ready for pointe work is exciting.

My little miss is wondering when she can get some. It’s going to be a long five years, sweetie! At least. Relax, or don’t relax as the case may be. Tummy in. Be strong. Keep dancing and keep working. The time will fly!

The girls are positively giddy over their shiny, pink, pretty shoes; so am I.

a toning triumph

I’ve been exercising on my own for a couple of years, and a year with the conditioning class. I keep waiting to pull on a pair of pants and have them fall down because they’re too big, but that just hasn’t happened yet since my waist has shrunk only one stinking inch. I can tell my hips and legs have toned a lot more than that though…

I’m definitely significantly smaller on top–3 sizes smaller in fact.  hip hip hooray. I keep getting on the scale and it just hasn’t budged since I lost 10 pounds in January. What’s up with that?? But what I’m most happy about is that my girth is down 5 inches since a year ago and 3 inches since I measured for my costume in February.  My initial goal was to have my girth less than my height and it has happened. FINALLY! It was really depressing that it was more. The fact that I’m taller than average offered little consolation. This little toning triumph gets me more than a little excited because even though the scale isn’t showing any change, these measurements do. In case you’re thinking I’m referring to the horizontal measurement around my mid-section, think again and refer to the drawing on the left.

Because I’ve dropped a few inches, I decided to try on the camisole leotard that I bought last year but turned out was cut way too low in the front to ever consider wearing without something over it. I used to wear this leotard just to cover my midriff in case my shirt crept up while bending to the side or lifting my arms because I don’t think anyone wants to see my lumpy love handles. So anyhow, I pulled on this leo today for the first time in about 5 months, and–oh my gosh– I had to tighten the straps all the way. Before, I wore them loosened all the way. I can yank the leotard up where it’s meant to go, and now I’m not showing any cleavage. So it turns out, the leotard wasn’t cut too low, it was just me that was cut too big. Now it fits. I can’t believe it; I really can’t! Awesome.

I’ll keep going to class and working on my swan arms at home with the ballet blast series and doing ballet conditioning with one of my favorite exercise DVDs. My next goal: wittle my waist down enough so I can fit into a fabulous leotard like those pictured below (available at Dancewear Solutions.) I wouldn’t necessarily go for fuschia–just love the backs on these and girlfriends, don’t worry, I’ll be wearing the leotard with some yoga pants or a skirt!

the dvd is here; you lucky people

Take a number, get in line. The dvd that everyone wants to watch is now here. Seriously, all you curious people who have asked to see the performance dvd, the opportunity is here. Just let me know.

There was a time when I thought that I would never ever watch the recording of the dances I was in. I was afraid that if I watched it, I would never dance in public again. I’m not kidding!  I also figured some things are just better in the moment, and better remembered with no visual reminders. (This is why I didn’t have my wedding visually recorded twenty summers ago.)

And then I thought that I might watch it so I can see what I need to work on, how I can make improvements.  When Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher got out her proof copy and was going to show us “I Can Only Imagine” during class, I saw 3 options.

  1. Bourre’  to the nearest exit.
  2. Stay, but look away and not really watch it.
  3. Swallow, breathe deeply, and just watch it already!

I chose #3. And it wasn’t too bad. In fact, we looked pretty good; after all how bad can it be on a 7-8″ portable dvd player screen?

I just found something I wrote after the performance but never published.

my first dance performance, by ballet you say


i loved it

had so much fun

i smiled and never fell

i wobbled just a little

false eyelashes aren’t so bad

in fact, they’re pretty good

          “joyfully, i lift my voice in praise to thee

          with heaven watching over me

          i raise my hands up  high

          your majesty gently washes over me

          makes my heart begin to sing joyfully”

i feel so blessed

angels all around

This is how I want to remember the dance, not that I didn’t point my toe enough, or that I raised my arms too high, or stood at the wrong angle, or seemed a little stiff here and there, or that smoothing my curly hair into a ballet bun makes me look severe! However, because I watched the dvd, now I know some of the little, I mean big things to work on.

barefoot by the strawberries and a whole lot of random catching up to do

I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder,  not the deafening noise that makes me jump and practically throw my back out, but the low, long rumble that lasts over a minute. I listened for the rain and heard it, disappointed that once again my early morning walk would be cancelled by precipitation.

I got up anyway, craving the fresh air and went outside barefoot, feeling the cool creep up the soles of my feet and ankles. I hadn’t changed out of my pajamas so I walked around in my floral coral number I got on sale when McAlpins went out of business years ago. I took my phone with me, too lazy to turn the alarm off, knowing that it was going to ring in exactly 8 minutes, the final wake-up call that beckons me out of slumber.

I stretched this way and that, lengthening my muscles, wondering what my body would feel like today. My hip and lower back have been sore for a few weeks, limiting my range of movement, but they have been progressively improving. I looked towards my strawberry patch and saw a few tossed aside, one bite taken out of them. Why doesn’t a squirrel eat the whole fruit? I walked toward the strawberries and peered under leaves, looking for the ripe ones. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Conditioning class was cancelled last week so I was especially looking forward to going today.Stretching alone in my living room just isn’t the same as being with others. There were only 2 of us there, plus my little miss. I let her join in the class whenever she has the inclination and there is room on the floor for her. My knees: let me tell you about my knees! The last time I posted, I complained about them. They were killing me! But today I plie’d further down than I ever have before. Yeah! I hope this trend continues and that it isn’t just a fluke. I’m considering orthotics to help with knee and back pain.

my kind of barre 
So in the 15 months or so that I’ve been taking conditioning, we’ve only done barre twice before; it’s just not the focus of this particular class, but today, Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher had us pull out the barre. It was awesome. It was slow and I could do it.  Thank you, so very much!  She repeated the movements and then did them again even slower. And then we did them again. (yeah, I need this much help:)

Two Mondays ago the barre was so overwhelming for me, I about got scared off from going ever again. I called Miss BBT before class  and told her I was trying to psyche myself up to going (yes, the previous week was *that* hard for me.) I asked her if she was going to use the same music and she didn’t even remember what music she had used. LOL. It had been fast-tempo Irish music. I loved it; I just couldn’t even remotely keep up with the pace, it was mentally and physically exhausting to the point of…well, I just never wanted to go back if that’s the way it was going to be.

an audition 
Last Saturday, my little miss “auditioned” for our city’s summer performance. Everyone who wants to participate can so she’ll be able to do the production. Another ballet mom who has done this before told me that girls her age don’t get solos. …I just deleted several sentences that I wrote; I’ll just leave it with this for now.

busy summer
I hope I’ll be able to make it to ballet this summer more often than not, but with rehearsals for the little miss for the aforementioned ballet, and swim meets for the older boys and soccer practices, I just don’t know how what it’s all going to look like. I haven’t received schedules yet for any of these things, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to squeeze some time in for me!

That’s it for the catch-up! Til next time.

just haven’t been able to write about the performance

Do you ever have something you just can’t put into words? You have a great experience and trying to describe it would minimize it. Yeah, that’s what happened here. I’ve sat down about 3 times with an empty screen in front of me to blog about the performance and my screen has remained blank.

When we rehearsed the songs Saturday afternoon, I did worse than I had done the night before, forgetting steps all over the place. My head was not in the right place so I prayed. Fortunately, I’ve got the songs on my iPod, and I decided to go find a secluded corner somewhere and run through the songs a couple of times. I asked Miss Crazy Outfit Lady if she wanted to come with me so we found a hallway off another hallway and danced on the polished school floor by an open window.

Because we didn’t dance before the intermission, I was able to sit in the audience and be a ballet mom and take a zillion pictures. The ages 3-5 ballet and play class stole the show wearing poofy blue tutus and leaping, skipping, giggling across the stage over and over again. It was a crowd pleaser!

I did it. Two performances. After my first song was over, I texted my husband and said, “One dance down, three to go.”  I wasn’t exactly nervous. I didn’t forget any of the choreography and I wasn’t wobbly like I had been during dress rehearsal. phew.

People said it looked like I was really enjoying myself. Yes, I most definitely was! A couple friends said they cried through How Great Thou Art. Several commented how wonderful the multi-generational aspect made our dances. Yes, that’s one of the things I love about it–nine of us ages 12 to 60+. I’m the youngest adult at age 41. Just got an e-mail that said, “It was lovely to see you dance.”‘

I’m just treasuring all these comments.

Now that the performance is over, I am going to miss the extra time in the studio for rehearsal. What’s a girl to do?

dancing through a season of grief

When I told my mom that I’d be dancing to a song about heaven, she asked me if I’d be able to handle it. Be able to get through it. I think she was/is worried that I’ll break down. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to happen, but if it does, I’ll be surrounded by people who can help me off stage, bring me a box of kleenex, and put their arms around me.

A few of my friends said that they would cry through the whole thing. I’m going to let you all have your tears and thank you for them! For fans of CCM, it’s a popular song. A powerful song. Many have attended a funeral where it’s been sung.

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still?
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine.   ~lyrics by Mercy Me

This song was sung at the funeral of my friend Beth who died of cancer at age 36. I always think of her when I hear this song on the radio. But before I heard it at her funeral, every note, every word had been burned on my heart…it was one of the songs that had helped me after my daughter died unexpectedly at age two. The only thing that has made losing a child bearable is the confidence that I have she is singing and dancing with the angels in heaven, worshiping at the feet of Jesus.

So I love songs about heaven.

“Dancing through a season of grief.” That’s the title of this blog post. I called it that because this is my season of grief whose beginning is always marked by the daffodils breaking through the frozen ground in my front yard.  That happened this week. My daughter’s birthday is this weekend. Then her heaven day is right around the corner–a week before the dance performance. My daughter died Easter week so the anniversary of her death is always marked twice for me since Easter floats around and isn’t a fixed holiday like others. So the performance is sandwiched between those two “heaven” days.

So how has this been for me so far?  Fine. Part of it is that at rehearsal, I’m just so concentrated on learning the choreography that I don’t have time to be consumed by grief. One night,I  put the song on with no intention of feeling anything and just started sobbing. But that was once. Don’t know if it will happen again.

Stay tuned. I’m not just dancing to Mercy Me’s, I can Only Imagine. I’ll be dancing to two songs. More on that later.