Friday, January 25, 2013

First Ballet Class Back

So my first class went really well. It is a small class, just 3 other dancers and they are all pretty much at the level I am. I think I am the oldest one in the class, but only by about 5 years.  One of the girls is a college student, the other two work at the University like I do.  Two are super in shape skinny minnies, the other is about the same size as me, so it is a really comfortable class to be in.  I don't think anyone stands out in anyway- which is really perfect.  Everyone in the class wore a leotard and pink tights, though everyone had some sort of coverup on the bottom half (shorts, a skirt, and I wore capris, but don't plan to once my skirt comes in.)  There is no dress code and the teacher told us we could even dance in socks if we wanted, so it was nice to see everyone dressed for a ballet class (honestly, I was the worst- but these thighs no longer belong in pink tights!)

I think the teacher was just feeling out the ability of the class, she had only had one of the students previously, so there weren't many corrections. We did a few combinations at the barre that were difficult for us all to remember, but not necessarily to execute if we remembered them- for example tendu/degage was 3 front, 3 side, en croix, 3 back, inside leg. Not quite as simple as front, side, back. I don't even remember what the frappe combination was- but I was an awful mess at it. I got a correction about extending my neck, and also to tilt my pinky in when I hold my arm to engage my shoulder muscles.

Center was a long adage combination, but broken down into two parts. It sounds like this is a combination we will do throughout the year, adding a pirouette where we now have a balance. Hopefully we will do some other stuff too, but the extensions in this are definetly something to work towards!

Across the floor we did balance, waltz-turn (but turning under rather than in the normal direction), pirouette, then a pique turn (again, turning against the normal direction, as it walked back from where the first turn was), and detourne.

Jumps we did just normal jumps in center two sets of 32 and grand allegro we did a simple tombe pas de bourre glissade sout de chat.

Then we stretched.
I did better than I thought I would, I was really worried...  My extension is TERRIBLE- I can't believe how inflexible I am now.  My left ankle is also really weak.  I was hurting by like the 3rd thing we did at the barre from taking one foot releves on it.  I just can't support my weight anymore.  My turnout is terrible, but really always has been.  My knee was also hurting enough that I chose not to grande plie, but it started hurting 3 days before the class and hopefully will go away before the next one.

It was a really nice class. It sounds like there will be an opportunity to perform in the spring recital at the end of the year, so that could be fun. Yesterday when asked I said I'd do it if anyone else wanted to, and the college student said she would.  One of the other girls said no way, and the final said "ask me in a few weeks?'  I hope she decides to do it.  I like performing.  I don't care that it will be in a recital filled with kindergarteners.  Their parents can suffer through watching us dance for a few minutes! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Repurposing the blog...

So I think I'm going to just use the blog for my athletic pursuits, while I wait to figure out what they are.
First, bad news on the rowing front: the coach has resigned (not due to any issues with the rowing club or university.)  I don't know what that means moving forward for rowing...  I had planned to go back in the summer, but I guess I will have to wait and see.
I signed up for an adult ballet class.  It starts tonight.  I am very nervous.  My last year of college I started ballet, spent a few years doing it, got pretty good, got my pointe shoes, and then switched to skating.  When my hip got hurt I did 6 months of ballet. Now it has been 2 years since that.  I put on a leotard this morning and if you gave me a pink tutu I would perfectly recreate the look of the hippos in Fantasia.  It was not a pretty sight. 
 I am terrified of the class.  I signed up for "Continuing Ballet" rather than "Beginner Ballet".  I called and asked "What level of beginner is your beginner class" and the director laughed and said "Uh....well, most people come in not knowing anything, but by now they've all had 16 weeks (the fall semester), however, since you're asking you should probably take the other class. Beginners don't think to ask, they know they are beginners."   So that's what I'm doing.  My ballet vocabulary is pretty large, but my ability is not.  If the class is people who have moved up from a few years of beginner, I'm good.  The problem is, since it is a University outreach program, if it is college students coming off 11 years of training fresh out of high school, I'm screwed.  Without a doubt I'll switch classes, or if the class level is appropriate, but it is all college students, I might just have to go in a hippo costume, because man, I'm huge compared to what I was when I took ballet in college!  (Size seems to be so much more an issue in ballet than skating.  Leggings and a t-shirt are just so much more covering than tights and a leotard.  I don't feel like a whale in my skating costume, but OMG that leotard was not pretty...)
Last night I did Sh'Bam at the gym.  I really like this dance aerobics class.  We had a new set that had a ballet like exercise in it, sort of a rombe de jam, arebesque, penche, and then to the other side.  One, it showed me that I still knew how to do it correctly, because man there was some ugly form in the classroom (to be fair, they weren't being told to do it in a ballet way, so of course they just pitched over at the waist), but my balance was SO wobbly.  I'm in for a learning curve for sure at ballet.  As for Sh'bam, I've finally gotten over the embarrassement of the 'club' dancing and really shake it now.  It's fun, but I look ridiculous.  Did anyone watch "The Middle" this week? Sue does her wrestler-ettes dance, and that is pretty much exactly what I look like.
So far, no regrets on stopping skating lessons.  Guess time will tell.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Announcing my retirement

I think everyone who reads this blog reads skatingforums, so you probably know this, but I have decided to stop skating.

There are a few reasons.

The first is that my heart just isn't in it.  It is a chore to get to the rink.  I don't spend every minute of everyday waiting until I get to go to the rink again.  Instead I stall and wait until last minute to leave, I sleep in late and think I don't want to go to freestyle.  The thing is, when I am at the rink, I still really love it- and I was making progress and ready to test and things are good, when I'm there.  It's too expensive to not love it.

The second is that my coach is graduating this year, and I don't really want to find another one.  I had someone in mind, the coach who helped me with my loop when Carson was gone.  But I kind of get the feeling she is transitory too- coach hoping sucks.

The third is cost.  It is really expensive.  My first three dances have been ready for a really long time- and it is costing a lot of money to maintain them.  I'm happy Carson had me move on and start the Cha-Cha, and now that is pretty close to ready too, and we're doing the swing dance.  But then, I have the cost of 4 dance tests- and dance tests really add up.

The fourth reason is kind of a weird one, but one that makes a lot of sense to me.  As much as I have always been driven to take tests, it makes more sense to me to NOT take the dance tests.  Taking the dance tests actually makes coming back to skating harder for me, not put me further along the line.  Skating is lifelong, and I tend to be cyclical with hobbies.  I very well might skate again.  Having these tests to work on means something that is achievable.  If I came back to skating with Silver moves and the Swing dance to work on- it will be a long row to hoe before I could really feel like I was making progress.  But being able to take the Dutch Waltz- that gives me an achievable goal to work on with what will likely be a diminished skill set.

So, I decided to stop now, rather than wait for Carson to leave.  It just made more sense than spending another five or six months on something that is less fun than it used to be.  But man, I'm so happy I learned to spin like a real skater- I hadn't reported on it for awhile, but my backspin was consistently foot crossed, my change foot spin was doing much better, and I was getting a good 3 revolutions on my camel.  Spinning is what skating is about to me.