Ballet = Fun, But Sometimes That’s Easy To Forget

About two weeks ago, I had a pretty miserable ballet class. I was upset with how I was doing in center floor and pretty much beat myself up about it for a while afterwards. I forgot that ballet class was supposed to be fun.

I didn’t make it to another class until this past Friday.

Part of the reason I didn’t go back was because I was feeling exhausted and sick, but deep down I was too nervous go back. So I didn’t.

I made excuses as to why not to go — I needed more sleep, I should do some work, I’m too tired. But I finally forced to go on Friday even though I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

There were only five of us in the class and I ended up standing at the front of the barre (technically the back) and had someone who was taking her first class following behind me.

That’s a lot of pressure for a “first” class back, and I definitely sweat more than I usually do. But I was really proud of the fact I managed to remember (most) of the combinations, even those in the center. I was practically in tears by the time I left.

Happy tears. Ballet is supposed to be fun. I need to remember not to beat myself up so much when I have a “bad” class.

I went to class again on Saturday morning. I also did pre-pointe in my soft shoes afterwards.

My body has been really sore and tight lately after class too, so I’ve decided to try to make more of a point (no pun intended) to stretch more at home, especially now that I have the room to  do so. I cleared off my barre (I had been using it as a drying rack) and did some stretching earlier today.

Another exciting thing that came out of this weekend is the fact that my instructor plans on starting at square one again in a pointe class on Fridays, so I’ll finally be able to start again.

How have your classes been going now that it’s practically fall?

Ballet Class Recap: Back to Ballet

Sometimes, I really don’t realize just how much I love ballet until I end up missing a couple of classes.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, although I have good reason: my job recently increased from a part-time job to a full-time job last week. Before that, things were really, really hectic at work, so I didn’t have much time to write (or make it to ballet class either).

While I’ve made it to a few Monday classes during the past month, I haven’t gotten much a chance to make it to classes with my usual ballet instructor. Last weekend HQ and I ended up heading home for a long weekend to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday, so I missed out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday classes.

This past Monday I went to an awesome event about anti-street harassment by a group I’ve written about a few times called Hollaback PHILLY. While the event was great, I unfortunately couldn’t make it to ballet.

I made myself go to ballet on Thursday finally–even though I was tired after a long week of work. I ended up having to grab a cheap snack–some lemon pound cake from Starbucks–just to give myself enough energy to get through the class. While the class was tough, I was happy that my legs did fine during the class and I seemed to be doing as well as I had been in past ballet classes.

HQ and I both went to class on Friday, which I felt I did better in because I knew most of the combinations from Thursday’s class. I always really enjoy Friday’s classes because they’re smaller and we often get to spend a little bit more time breaking things down. I’m also thrilled that my ballet instructor is going to start offering  pre-pointe classes on Friday evenings after our normal class. It’ll be an easy way for me to gradually get back into pointe work.

How have your ballet classes been going this month?

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Krishna

This week’s profile is of Krishna, who in addition to being a dancer herself, taught a ballet basics class to visually impaired women in NYC at Visions at Selis Manor last summer and teaches ballet to her sports medicine clients.

CWashburnTW
This photo was taken by Chinese photojournalist Lijie Zhang as part of a photo essay about Krishna last summer.
When did you start doing ballet as an adult?
 I had always been a ballet dancer, however while I was a college student, I developed a very aggressive form of glaucoma and lost a significant portion of my sight.  I was too afraid to dance at all for years.  When I finally got up the courage to begin dancing again, it took me over a year to find a teacher who felt comfortable even having a visually impaired dancer in the classroom.  I have been studying seriously again for the past two years.

Russian Ballet Theatre School

44 East Cross Street – Historic Depot Town,
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
 
http://www.russianballettheatreschool.com/

russianballetypsi@gmail.com

734.262.5093

Classes offered: Ballet, pointe

Description via website: “Classical Vaganova Ballet Instruction for Ages 4 through Adult. Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels. Technique, Pointe, Pre-Professional, Variations, Boy’s classes, Pirouette classes, Bolshoi/Kirov Stretch-Strengthen-Tone classes. ”

 


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Beginner Ballerina Profile: Helen Mao

HMao2This week’s profile is of Helen Mao, who has been studying ballet for the past three years in addition to take other ballet classes (and tap classes) in the past. Helen will also be writing guest posts for ABP in the future, so be on the look out for those!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult? 

Five years ago, I returned to ballet was when I turned 40. Since then I have been trying to take class consistently, at least twice a week. In college I studied 2 years of ballet in the school’s gym with fine instructors; I also took 1 year of class at a high school where I was teaching when I was 24 years old.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I studied for 1 year when I was in elementary school. I remember wanting to continue ballet after that year but the school’s location was not convenient. In middle and high school, I figure skated and took basic ballet classes in skating camps but nothing serious. In college, I ice danced and ballroom danced, but always missed ballet. Nonetheless, I always felt that ballet was “the real thing” in terms of discipline, flexibility and technique.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult? 

I was thrilled to take an adult tap dancing class when I was 39 years old; I had tapped for 1 year in graduate school and loved it. A tap classmate told me she was taking an adult ballet class near my house. Coincidentally, another friend of mine was in this same adult ballet class. I called the teacher, who was so inviting, went to my first class and was hooked. I now take at another school that offers more technique classes per week.
Where do you take classes?

For the past 3 years, I have been taking technique classes at least twice a week when I can at Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring, MD. Also, this past summer I started adult pointe at Joy of Motion in DC but the class’s timing and location were difficult for me. Now I am in a weekly teenage/adult beginner pointe class at The Ballet Academy in Beltsville, MD.

What is your favorite part about ballet? 

I love all parts of ballet class — barre and center — but my favorite part of ballet is executing (correctly, without relying on following others — my bad habit) a technically interesting and fun combination that covers a lot of studio floor space. I can enjoy the exercise and music while forgetting about everyday stressors/obligations for 90 minutes.

What is your least favorite part? 

My least favorite part is one area that I should work on more: flexibility and stretching exercises. I am embarrassingly not flexible, despite my previous activities. On a good day I can straddle a little beyond 90 degrees; forget splits! Barre stretches feel good but I am NOT one of those people who can pull her foot above her head; I am lucky when my foot is higher than my waist. My cambre back looks like I still standing up straight. My grand plie and demi plie in first position look sadly similar. My fondues/developpes are comfortable at 45 degrees but become a strain nearing 90 degrees.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

I am inspired by ballerinas I’ve seen (mostly through videos of European and American companies) with excellent technique, strength and grace who also are expressive actors. I’ve also been inspired by my teachers as well as other adult ballet dancers whose bodies and spirits make them seem eternally youthful. Finally, I have been truly inspired meeting other adult dancers as well as reading adult ballet dancers’ blogs in continuing to strive and improve myself at any age.