Monday, February 18, 2013

ballet your way to a better ski trip

i just got back from skiing in steamboat, colorado with my family. it's my third time skiing, and before this trip i'd say i was... ok? i was terrified of falling, always very cautious - only skiing the super easy runs and stopping all along the way just to be sure that i could... but somehow this trip i had a breakthrough. the fear melted away and i found myself zipping down the mountain, bored with the ease of the 'green' trails, falling a lot less, and recovering more easily when i encountered unexpected terrain. what was scary became fun. i wasn't tired and ready to call it a day after a couple of hours like i have been in the past. it was awesome! i know it probably had something to do with having a little more experience this trip, but i also know that my improved balance, flexibility, and the strength in my legs came from practicing ballet. THANKS, BALLET! finally felt like i earned those après-ski beverages!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

getting noticed

yesterday in class i felt like i was kinda doing better at the barre. and then when we moved to the center of the room, i had a really difficult time with the glissade --> pas de chat (as always). i need to practice that on my own. oh, hey! we did fourth position for the first time! eee! we also learned our first "turn". it's really a half turn. errr soutenu? or something? there was definitely a sou something in there. i was completely not getting it in class, but later at work as i was walking through the halls i practiced a couple of times and something clicked. i was doing the demi-pointe version with the plié and everything!! it was amazing! and i can still do it correctly today which is even more amazing!

so anyway, immediately after class i met my husband for lunch at a sandwich shop. i was dressed in my favourite black leotard, pink ballet tights, and slippers with a pair of shorts and a hoodie on top. while i was waiting for him, a sweet middle-aged lady named helen walked up to my table and asked if i was a dancer. i said yes. her face immediately lit up... and then we spiraled into weird territory. with a thick accent and some gaps in her phrases, she proceeded to tell me how she had just watched a ballet documentary, and she knows how hard i work, and she kisses my feet (she emphasized that she has SEEN ballet feet). then she somehow managed to work jesus in there - she said "you know, jesus died for our sins...and i think it's so beautiful how you dance to make other people happy." and i was just thinking to myself this entire time "ABORT! ABORT! TYLER, YOU MORON! NEVER ENGAGE IN CONVERSATIONS WITH STRANGERS!" but it was way too late.

so, clearly, she thought i was a professional ballerina. when she started elaborating and gushing about how hard ballerinas work and how much she admires me and how impressed she was by me for dancing... i just did not have the heart to crush her and tell her i just started in like september. so, on behalf of actual ballerinas everywhere, i kindly accepted her over-the-top compliments and let her enjoy getting to talk to a dancer. much as it weirded me out, it seemed to really brighten her day.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

rondes des jambes en l'air, at long last!

i started taking ballet last september at the tender age of 25. most people probably start around the age of 5, but whatever. growing up, i had several friends who danced. i was IN LOVE with ballet, but by the time i knew it (maybe age 11-12?) i felt like it was too late to start. i occasionally tagged along with them to their lessons in middle school, and would even sometimes dress in a leotard so i could participate, but i'd always get shy or feel inadequate and opt to just sit on the floor and wait for my friend to be done.

i was lucky to find a place in town that offers classes for beginning adults...AND! surprised to find that there were bushels (gaggles, pods even!) of local adults also interested in starting ballet. some of them had danced as kids but not since, and some were pretty much complete beginners like me.

today, after several months of slowly adding tiny complexities our barre exercises, we finally did rondes des jambes en l'air! oww! and yay! overall i feel like i totally suck at ballet so far... my feet are not as archy as i'd like (not to mention i have a broken toe that doesn't exactly bend) and i'm still very much working on my flexibility... but i'm having so much fun! i know i won't be in any kind of company or probably ever dance on stage, but my goals are to eventually get on pointe, and to dance all my life as long as i don't have some kind of debilitating injury. and if the broken toe means no ballet, i think i'll switch to tap! but i hope it doesn't come to that because ballet is kinda my jam.

french it up

two things i adore: franglais & vmk