Support Adult Ballerina Project — Grab a “anyone can do ballet” Shirt, Tank, or Sweatshirt!

As you may have seen on Facebook or Pinterest, I recently launched a Teespring store featuring some ABP merchandise. Just like the stickers I made earlier, I’ve put together a few shirts, tanktops and sweatshirts you can purchase with the ABP slogan, “Anyone can do ballet” on them. You’ve got a few different style and color options to pick from:

T-Shirt:

blue-shirt

Flowy Women’s Tank:

pink-flowy-tank

 

Tanktop:

purple-tank

Sweatshirt:

pink-sweatshirt

The store is at https://teespring.com/anyone-can-do-ballet-abp. I plan on using the profits from the sales to fund ABP, including hosting and other costs that go into the website and maybe (if I eventually sell enough) coming up with some sort of way to fund regular contributors. So if you want to see more great content, purchase a t-shirt or tanktop and show it off!

To Return or Not?

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Many adult ballet dancers take a break for various reasons like work, family and school obligations, health issues and financial constraints. Returning to ballet after any hiatus is often difficult. Even harder for me was deciding whether or not to return. Until 10 months ago and despite having Morton’s Neuroma, I attended 2-3 ballet classes per week. Non-surgical treatments (Epsom Salt soaks, acupuncture, acupressure, cortisone shots and even ultrasound guided radiofrequency ablation – which is sounds scarier than it is) helped temporarily, but eventually dancing full-out become impossible. Rolling up onto demi-pointe was painful; even everyday walking in comfortable sneakers hurt. If I stood high up enough on my toes (e.g., en pointe or on 3-inch heels), I could roll through and past the neuroma in the ball of my foot. However, in flat ballet slippers or low heels (like 1-inch character shoes), my weight rested squarely on the ball of my foot, radiating pain to my third and fourth toes.

Stubbornly, I kept trying to dance but eventually stopped; I had to stay on flat or mark steps whenever I put weight on my left foot. After years of avoiding surgery for Morton’s Neuroma, I finally gave up and gave in. Due to work and family obligations, however, I couldn’t fit surgery in for another 5 months! During that period, I missed ballet but also felt strangely relieved too, no longer rushing to and from class squeezed in between meetings and errands.

In the meantime, on other adult ballet blogs I found similarly ambivalent feelings towards ballet. Last year Nikki (profiled on ABP) of Mercietchatons also had surgery and during recovery wrote, “You’d think I’d be dying to go to dance. But I don’t. I want to be normal again most of all.” Nikki returned to class but noted, “sadly a lot of the Adult Ballet-er blogs I followed have gone silent.” I was touched by the insightful, articulate and self-aware posting by Zoe (also profiled on ABP) of Bush Ballerina on why she decided to stop dancing this summer. Blogger Rheumatic Princess admitted, “I’m in such a ballet funk. I really just don’t want to go at all, right now.

5 months post surgery: I’ve endured a slow but steady recovery that progressed from barely putting weight on my left foot and using my hands to bend my toes to walking 2 miles and pointing my toes unassisted. Physically, I may be ready to return to ballet but ask, why?

My reasons for “why not” are:

  • Money (gas, parking, class fees, gas)
  • Time (a 45-minute commute each way to and from the studio for a 1½ hour class)
  • Preparation (changing on the run; remembering necessities like a water bottle, shorts to wear over my leotard, change for parking, etc.; putting up my hair at red lights)
  • Guilt (I’m not a pre-professional teenager and thus have trouble justifying devoting so much time, money and energy to ballet).
  • Fear (Will my foot hurt? Will I be able to dance?  If so, will I ever return to my previous level?)

My reasons for “why” are:

  • I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try at least a couple of classes again
  • Ballet is one of the few forms of exercise I actually like
  • Ballet is a unique pursuit among 40-something suburbanite women (that I know)
  • I love and miss dancing ballet

During recovery, the only ballet step I’ve executed outside of physical therapy and on my own at home was relevé (on both feet) to put away dishes in the kitchen. I’ve tried to relevé on my left foot alone only a few times and for no longer than 2-3 fraught seconds. Was I really ready? A professional ballerina friend was encouraging but advised, “Take it slow and don’t be frustrated by not being able to do what you used to do.”

Fast forward to after my first class back, which I’ll discuss in another post: I enjoyed it! I survived class and fulfilled my 3 criteria of success:

  • I didn’t fall or hurt myself
  • I didn’t hurt or make anyone else fall
  • I didn’t get in anyone’s way

The disciplined barre exercises, muscle memory/ingrained technique for combinations (on both sides), live piano music, and my welcoming teacher and classmates all made me feel like I returned home after a long trip. I’m rusty, weak and out of shape, but at least I’m back.

Image via Flickr User Kryziz Bonny via Creative Commons License 

Ballerina Profile: Dr. Karen Lambie

Screenshot 2015-09-23 10.33.05Profiles are back! We’re kicking off this week with a profile of Dr. Karen Lambie. Want to be profiled? Fill out this form.
When did you start doing ballet as an adult?
I started taking ballet about 2 years ago after a 30+ year absence.
Did you ever take lessons as a kid?
I did take lessons as a kid from the age of 4 to the age of 8. I started classes again when I was in my 20’s.
Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?
I decided to take classes as a 61 year old ( I am now 63) because I loved it so much when I was younger and felt I needed the exercise.  
Where do you take classes?
I take classes right here in my small town of Statesboro, GA.
What is your favorite part about ballet?
It is difficult to say what is my favorite part of ballet, but I have always loved being able to express the emotions I feel from music through the beauty of dance, especially ballet.
What is your least favorite part?
I suppose my least favorite part is wanting so badly to be able to execute a particular move and not being able to due to the level of difficulty.
Who/What is your ballet inspiration?
I get my inspiration simply from the beauty of the art of ballet. Some of the most inspirational ballerinas for me include Gelsey Kirkland, Sylvie Guillem, Margot Fonteyn and Svetlana Zakharova.
What motivates you to keep dancing?
What motivates me to continue is the feeling that runs through my entire body when I am dancing–I feel as though I am flying! No other kind of dance makes me feel like ballet and I believe that a good barre and center workout is about the best exercise there is!
Do you take any other dance classes?
Occasionally I go to a modern dance or jazz class.
What are your hobbies outside of ballet?
My hobbies include reading, making jewelry and I love playing around with drums.
What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?
What I would say to anyone starting ballet or who wants to start is that it is not an easy discipline. It is very challenging, however, it is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling endeavors ever! It can be extremely frustrating at times, but most of the time, you will have a wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end of a class or performance, so don’t give up! Let yourself go as far as you can! Even at the age of 63, I am still improving!
Anything else you’d like to add?
 
Additional information about myself: I am a retired teacher with 32 years of experience. I am a foster parent. I have become a public speaker concerning the fast growing crime of human trafficking. You may visit my Facebook page at facebook.com/Karen.AmbassadorOfHope. Thank you.

 

October 1 is World Ballet Day

Who’s excited for World Ballet Day?

Following last year’scollaboration for the first World Ballet Day LIVE, five of the world’s leading ballet companies will once again stream 23 hours of live, behind-the-scenes footage on Thursday, October 1.

The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet have partnered to provide viewers around the world with an inside look at professional ballet companies in the studio, on tour, and in performance. Here’s the trailer for this year:

Want to participate? There’s a couple of ways you can:

DANCE ANYWHERE CONTEST

Submit a video or photograph of yourself dancing anywhere! In your yard, on a plane, at dinner, in front of a landmark — wherever you are, dance! Tag your photo or video with #WorldBalletDay and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before September 30. We’ll pick our favorites and share them during the live broadcast! Have fun and remember, dance anywhere!

Then, join the conversation the day of World Ballet Day. You can chat with other ballet fans, while you watch the broadcast on worldballetday.com. You can also submit questions for the dancers or comments about the broadcast through Twitter. Just tag your posts with #worldballetday.

How do you plan to participate?

What Did You Do This Summer?

Image via gfpeck on Flickr via Creative Commors

Image via gfpeck on Flickr via Creative Commors

It’s officially the last day of summer. A while back, I put out a crowdsourcing call on Facebook asking everyone what they did this past summer. Like I mentioned, while my summer was filled with lots of ballet (2-3 classes at least every week), as you probably noticed, there wasn’t much blogging.

Here’s what you said you did:

  • Many of you went on summer classes binges (like Louise who got a chance to try out the Sun King dance workshops — I’m so jealous!)
  • Some of you had off because of no classes offered, like Illene and Karen.
  • Others watched video classes like Celeste, who also couldn’t take classes during the summer.
  • Some of you took off, like Suzanne, because her body needed the rest (I took the first week of September off — the best thing I could’ve done!)
  • Others worked on putting together a ballet area at home to keep practicing at home.

Please share more about what you did in the summer in the comments — or share your own personal ballet story here — we want to read ’em!)

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