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.

dance camp woes

Not beginner. Not beginner. Not beginner.

I expected something different at dance camp tonight based on the description, so I got a little whiplash when it was the usual hard stuff, just a different name.

I was really looking forward to something easier than what I normally get on Monday nights because this week was supposed to be BEGINNER.

A few minutes into class, I thought about running from the room and joining the rest of the family at the swimming pool, but I re-grouped and just decided, oh well, might as well stay even though it was NOT what I was expecting.

Here’s the shortened class description sent out in a reminder e-mail a few days ago:

13 years to adult class for beginners and “refreshers” is on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 5:15 to 6:45 PM.

BUT WAIT! That’s not all:

Demonstration and improvization dance at 6:30 on Thursday. Invite friends and family.

Say WHAT?  There is no stinking way that I’m inviting anyone and there’s also no way that I’m doing any type of anything in front of these kids’ parents. nope. NOT gonna happen. I think I’ll just sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show that the teeny boppers put on.

flashback to last Tuesday:

Awesome! There are a few extra classes this summer for mixed ages and levels–level III and up. Last week, there were 5 young girls on one barre, us 3 old ladies along the barre on the wall, and GASP, Mr. Studly Danseur on the barre all by himself in the middle of the room. Never had class with HIM before.  Plus bonus entertainment: Miss Never Know what she’s going to wear had on salmon tights and a different color salmon shirt.

After stretching on the barre for a good thirty minutes or so, Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher told us to turn and face the barre. This particular week that put me facing the wall and thus, facing away from anyone I can watch to see what I’m supposed to be doing. This always causes inward groaning on my part especially when she shows us combinations that I have no way of doing without watching someone.

YIKES.

I almost stood next to or across from Mr. Mr. so I could watch him or someone else. Seriously, I couldn’t wrap my head around this super fast-paced, feet ever-changing movement. OVERWHELMING. I stayed put. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get this one. I turned my head to the right and to the left  and they didn’t exactly know what they were doing either.  I think the 3 of us were all trying to follow each other and since no one was leading, the following was quite haphazard. I just started to laugh and wished I hadn’t even attempted it.  Then it was time for the next combination. Oh good, I know this one. We’ve done it lots of times in class. Not that I’ve ever gotten it correct, but with this demonstration, I think I finally caught on to the order of things. I did it. I think Miss BBT was super surprised that I was actually doing what I was kind of supposed to because she shrieked my name rather loudly with a “GOOD.”

oh yeah, I got this. This class was much easier for me–only one overwhelming part instead of many–and I’m guessing it was because of the barre full of under age 12 level III girls. 🙂  I like to be challenged, but I do not like to be overwhelmed repeatedly.

My knees are hurting. When I started to climb the stairs on Saturday for conditioning, I didn’t get very far when I turned around to go back to the van to get some ibuprofen. Tonight, walking the stairs was pain-free but it wasn’t very long, when the pain started shooting from my knee with the slightest of plie’.  ugh

On the agenda for tomorrow: I suppose it will be another day of beginner/refresher dance that’s not beginner.

liturgical costumes: the sarcasm and the serious

I came across a seven year old post about liturgical costumes and I laughed the whole way through it and all 47 comments so then I had to go read the post again.

My favorite sarcastic descriptions:

“Also, please note the versatility of this costume, as it also allows you to wear again if ever you had to double as medieval court jester in a pantomime. Glorious!”

“Please also note the flattering V-shape of the blouse, which succeeds in bringing your bosom to the region of your waist ”

“Highly recommended for roles which require you to play the angel atop the Christmas tree.”

To read more and to see the costumes being described, go here.

no more sarcasm, my serious opinion

Liturgical dance costumes should be both modest and flattering. As we focus on worshiping God, our clothing should reflect the intent and rhythm of the dance whether it’s reverent worship or joyful upbeat praise. Modesty doesn’t have to equal frumpy or ugly (what I would consider most if not all of the costumes at the above link.) Wearing something unattractive would be as much of a distraction for the audience as dressing immodestly. Our garments of praise can and should be beautiful since the One who gave us dance and the One we dance for is a God of beauty.

she danced in Paris; how awesome is that? i can’t even dance out of town

I’m going out of town later this summer and I’ve thought, oh, no what’s a girl to do without her twice weekly ballet class? Seriously, I’m going to have to hide out for some stretching and hope I don’t bang my wrist on the low ceiling of the camper in my mother-in-law’s front yard when I releve’.  I am going to be in the middle of nowhere surrounded by more middle of nowhere.  No organized ballet for me.

I know that others will visit a class when they’re out of town, but I just don’t have enough guts to do that. I would need to KNOW someone and go to class with them before taking this beginner derriere into a supposedly beginner ballet class that I know nothing about. And besides, I’ll be in a state that has only 2 cities that anyone has ever heard of and I’ll be at least 100 miles from both of them. So all in all, I doubt I could even find a class to go to…

As I was contemplating my sans ballet vacation dilemma a couple weeks ago, adult beginner published a guest post, a seriously entertaining read from another beginner ballerina who not only danced out of town, she danced on another continent where she barely knew the language.  WOWSER.  Dancing in Paris. Pretty cool.

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

haha

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.