“Why I Love Dance” Link-Up

Recently, one of my favorite things about the blogging community has been the idea of Link-ups, where bloggers can all share a post they’ve written on a single topic in one place and read the blogs of others. I wrote one called “Weekly Wishes,” and I’ve got several more coming up in the month of September to help keep me motivated to keep blogging. So I’m hosting a very simple one to get the ball rolling called “Why I Love Dance.” At the bottom of this post you’ll find instructions on how to add your post. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a post you write specifically for this link-up–feel free to share anything that generally relates to why you love dance.

If you don’t have a blog and would like to write a post, you can contact me about getting yours posted here. I would love to have it!

button

Why I love dance

As a kid, I did practically every sport imaginable. I did dance, gymnastics, t-ball, soccer, swimming, cheerleading, and more I’m sure I’m forgetting (however I was NOT a runner as a kid–I kind of can’t believe that I am now). The one I probably the missed the most, however, was dance.

I took ballet (as well as other dance classes) for two years in elementary school before my mom switched up what dance studio I was attending–and soon after that I quit and moved on to take gymnastics classes. Growing up, I was always jealous of those who had stuck with it and were dancers and thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly go back to it–I was always too old (sidenote: this post on What Sends Grownups to the Barre is highly accurate). It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I actually decided I could go back and it took a lot to get me there.

Surprisingly, my first dance class as an “adult” wasn’t ballet, in fact, it was a hip-hop class with a friend. We went to a tiny studio a fair distance away. While I enjoyed it and we swore we’d go back, it was truthfully too much of a commute for a Sunday morning, which was primarily my homework day. But still, I wanted to dance, and was forever jealous of my boyfriend’s participation in dance performances at Temple.

My next class was a hip-hop fitness class that just wasn’t for me (sorry, but shaking my butt for 45 minutes just isn’t my thing). I think the primary reason I had chosen hip-hop was because it seemed easier and that more beginners were doing it, but it wasn’t working out for me.

Eventually, somehow, I ended up walking into a dance supply store and ended up purchasing a pair of ballet slippers after I found an absolute beginners class online. Then I knew I HAD to go to ballet, despite being terrified.

But, I fell in love.

Dance primarily serves an escape for me, I think. It’s a hobby, but sometimes it’s so much more. It’s an escape–the times I’m struggling or stressed out the most are the times I feel like I need to get into a ballet studio even more. Although every week I go in terrified I’m going to mess something up or make a fool out of myself I get to come out stronger every week having learned something more.

Why have you fallen in love with dance?

Add Your Post

The rules are simple (and pretty flexible):

1. Your blog post must relate to the topic in some way. Like I said, it’s pretty much open as long as some how the post communicates in some way why dance is important to you.

2. Link back to this post if you want. Here’s an easy widget you can use if you’d like:

Adult Ballerina Project

3. Comment on the blog link that was posted before yours to share the love!

Entries will be open until the end of September, so keep sharing!


DIY Barre–ballerinas can build too!

Before: giant pile of pipes and wood. After: beautiful ballet barre that matches my decor. Yippee!

 

I’m really excited for this post today because the project in it has changed my life. (A little dramatic, maybe, but you get the idea!) It has been so nice to be able to have a barre at home to practice my port de bras, tendus, pliés, etc. when I don’t really have time to go to a full class. I had been using my door frames and kitchen counter to balance previously and let me tell you- not so graceful looking! I had seen some Instagram posts of people using portable barres so I looked online to see where to buy one and was not super excited about price. I got to scouting for other solutions and found this lovely tutorial by Laughing Abi and I thought I’d give it a shot. As to not be horribly boring and repetitive, I’ll leave the step by step out and summarize the process and also include the little changes I made to my barre from the tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need to replicate my barre:

  • Six 1 1/4 inch PVC cross joints
  • Four 1 1/4 inch PVC elbow joints
  •  Two  30 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC  pipes (I made my barre at 43 inches because I’m tall. In order to change the height of the top barre, adjust the lengths of PVC that are 30 inches.)
  • Two 6 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC pipes
  • Four 12 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC pipes
  • Two closet rods or wooden dowels between 1 1/8 inches and 1 1/4 inches in diameter… these should be around 6 feet long in the store.
  • 8 screws
  • Spray paint (I used Valspar Perfect Finish Gloss in “Tropical Oasis”)
  • PVC glue (I used Christy’s Red Hot Blue Glue)

What you’ll want to do is assemble the 2 of the 12 inch pieces together with a cross in the center and an elbow on each end. Repeat for the other side. I glued all of those joints together for extra sturdiness. It’s optional but if you choose to do it, make sure you work fast because that glue dries in a heartbeat! From there stick the long pieces (mine were 30 inches) into the cross you just attached the 12 inch pieces to. You’ll then add a cross to the end of that. Repeat for the other side. Now you can slide in your first barre! Now insert the 6 inch pieces into the top cross joints. Add the final cross joints to the tops of those and now slide in your first barre. This is where I took mine apart again to paint it. After the paint was dry I put the barres back in where I wanted them and instead of using foam as suggested on the tutorial, I screwed through the cross joints into the wooden barre. This was my dad’s suggestion to help the whole thing from wobbling side to side. I did a screw on each side of the cross joints (8 total). I then carefully sprayed those teal as well. That’s more or less it! It was simple, sorta fun, and fast. I think I managed to finish the entire project in under two hours which isn’t bad for something I get so much use out of.

In progress.

 

Overall, I’m pretty pleased. It made practicing at home a lot easier. It also has come in handy for stretching! I must say, because of how lightweight it is it isn’t super sturdy. This means that you can’t really put much weight on it, it’s really only good for adding some balance to what you are doing. In the end, that’s really what a barre is for anyway so it is helpful not only to help you keep balanced but also to remind you not to use the barre to hold you up. Make that supporting leg do some work! 🙂 I also added a big piece of cardboard left over from when we had some bark delivered for our landscaping in order to keep my shoes from getting scuffed on the flooring. It also comes in handy for practicing in the bedroom, where we have carpet. The combo has become my own little studio that all tucks behind my dresser when I’m not using it which is perfect for how small our place is.

Using my barre for pliés and stretching in my kitchen which is right across from a full length mirror.

So there you have it! An easy, affordable, and portable ballet barre that you can make yourself. I honestly am glad that I made it. If you decide to give it a whirl, let me know how it works out! Do you have any other suggestions for ballet at home?

-Caysie

We’ve Moved!

If you’re reading this, then my process has been successful! I’m still in the process of figuring stuff out, but for now, the majority of posts and other resources on this blog have been moved over to WordPress.org. We’re still accessible at AdultBallerinaProject.com.

I’m still in the process of getting followers moved over from WordPress.com, but that should happen shortly and everyone who was receiving an e-mail update should receive one with the upcoming posts, but this one might not make it.

If you were subscribed to my posts via WordPress’s reader, my posts should still show up in your reader as an RSS feed. I’ll be testing this out shortly and crossing my fingers that it works.

I’ll have another way of subscribing now too: feel free to subscribe via MailChimp, where I’ll send out a weekly newsletter with the news and posts from this week.

The good/awesome news is, I’ll be at an awesome 2 day workshop this week with Girl Develop It Philly to learn the ins and outs of WordPress so that I can make this blog even more awesome.

 

Guest Post: Finding the Right Studio

Caysie face pictureUnfortunately over the week I seem to have developed a bit of a chest cold that prevented me from going to dance (among other things). What’s with this summer cold business?? Anywho, I was hoping to post a nice tutorial blog with photos of a DIY stand alone barre that I made before I started feeling unwell but because I am not up to setting up to do the pics for that post, it will have to wait until next week. Why even tell you, you ask? Perhaps then maybe you’ll be motivated to check back because that DIY barre is a life saver for a busy lady like myself who just wants a 20 minute tendu sesh here and there. Now that I’ve dangled that like a carrot in front of your face (mwahaha), I’ll get on to my post for this week which is a bit inspired by the lovely Queen Michelle at Kingdom of Style, but a more beginner focused version.

I’m currently in the process of switching studios because the one I currently go to is so far away. I figured that since finding a studio/class and going to the first class is a huge hurdle for a lot of adults who want to begin ballet but haven’t yet I’d write about that process. I’ll address some of the most important concerns I first had myself.

1. I’m going to look like an idiot. Ok. So this fear of mine really was the absolute biggest I had that stopped me from starting up a class.  It’s hard to start something if you have little to no experience with it. You can be nervous that people will laugh at you or that you’ll be the center of attention cause you can seem to EVER get into first position. I have tested the waters with a few classes and can tell you, from personal experience, that this is 95% of the time not the case. Adult beginner classes are just that- BEGINNER. Even if you don’t know a plié from a piqué, it’s unlikely that anyone will judge you for it. You’re there to learn and build these skills just like everyone else. From my experience it’s just been an hour of laughing and commiserating because no one is perfect! We all have our “looking silly” moments, and you know what… it’s ok that it’s funny because it’s fun!

2. I have no idea what studio is the best fit. This one has the easiest solution: try them all! Many studios offer the first class for free or allow you to come watch for free. If you’re concerned with fit of the style of class and the instructor, it’s always a very good idea to check it out. Sometimes you’ll love it, sometimes you won’t but HEY! it was a free ballet class and that never sucks!

3. I’m nervous about the other people in the class being WAY better than me, judging me, or being cliquey. This one is a little similar to the first but not quite the same. This was a big concern for me for my first few classes. I’d arrive early, sitting in the lobby stretching and no one would talk to me. It was a weird feeling to be on the outside. I’d look around and see some women in their 40’s talking about their daughters’ recitals and having a hard time stretching. Then I’d see a 16 year old who could not possibly be in my class (just look at her with her perfect ballet bun in the front splits reading a school book!). Then I see a 60 year old woman with her leg stretched over her head in the corner. I am like absolutely none of these ladies. How on earth do I belong here?! Let me tell you how we ALL belong here- we love ballet. After class begins each time, any sort of social barrier gets left at the door and we all have a great time focusing on our technique, stretching together, and joking around. Moral of this story is: you may meet some friends at ballet, but if you don’t that is OK too. You’re there for dance and in the end that is what will unite you!

4. I don’t have time! This is something that I still struggle with when it comes to ballet. I find myself tempted after a busy week and when I know that I have lots of homework to skip ballet (whether at home, using a video, or in a studio). We’re all busy but it’s really important to make time to take care of your mind and body and ballet is great for me to do both. I fought myself for hours last week whether or not I was going to go to class. I was grumpy the whole way there. But about 10 minutes into class, I forgot about being busy and just enjoyed moving. So, if ballet is for you then make time! Even if its just 30 minutes at home or an hour of class a week. On occasion if I’m particularly busy or if I’m traveling, I just squeeze in a 15 min Ballet Beautiful workout along with some stretching.

Hopefully that covers some of the fears some of you may be having about starting a ballet class or about being in one. If there are any other things you can think of, I’d love to hear them in the comments and we can talk about them as well! I’d also love to hear any ideas about what you’d like to hear about from the beginner perspective, I’m open to it all! Again I apologize for the lack luster post due to my being sick, but I promise I’ll make it up to you with that DIY barre post when I’m better.

Guest Post: Meet Caysie!

Caysie is going to be a regular contributor to Adult Ballerina Project in the future–check out this cool introduction she wrote about herself!

dHi everyone! I am so excited to get to be writing for this blog today. Just a while back I was browsing the search results for adult ballet classes in my neighborhood and was completely shocked to find this website. It’s so wonderful to know that I am not the only brave soul willing to put in the work to learn ballet as a “grown up”.

A little about me: I’m Caysie. I’m 23 and currently in my second year of my master’s program learning to become a therapist. I am getting ready to start seeing clients as a trainee, which is exciting and scary all at once! One thing we talk about a lot (when I say a lot, I mean A LOT) at school is a term called “self-care”. Ok, ok, I know this isn’t a totally new term to most of you but the value was a new concept to me. It’s important, not only as therapists but as busy adults, that we take time for ourselves on a regular basis so that we can feel fulfilled outside of work and school. I sat and thought- most of my hobbies are so product related (DIY projects on Pinterest, home improvement, etc) and are good for some quick fun but they aren’t really things that I can sink my teeth into and be passionate about. I had to find something that would keep me sane and happy, something I could love forever.

Enter my love affair with ballet.

I took dance as a kid–tap, jazz, ballet, you name it!- but I ended up not pursuing it beyond elementary school. I stretchbasically forgot about it until when I started my undergrad degree and started nannying for a 12-year-old ballerina. I had to drive her to both of her studios daily and watch her dance through class after class. I fell in love with it. Unable to make time for classes, I picked up doing ballet related exercise through the NYC Ballet Workout DVDs and the Mary Helen Bowers Ballet Beautiful series. I’ve seen my mood and my body change in such wonderful ways over the past few years but it wasn’t enough. So, I ditched my last ounce of reservations and found myself an adult ballet beginners class. I’m not far in, but I’m loving every second of it. I’ve even set up my own little “studio” space in my apartment where I can go to tendu and plié to my heart’s desire.

I’m excited about the possibility of getting to share my journey of not only learning to do ballet, but learning to live ballet and to bring the grace and strength from the art into all aspects of my living.

Just for fun, here are the answers to the questions for profiles that I didn’t yet cover!

What is your favorite part about ballet? 

It’s a way to just lose yourself and totally enjoy creating art using nothing but your body.

What is your least favorite part?

The muscle pain! Haha.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Maria Kochetkova and Mary Helen Bowers

What motivates you to keep dancing?

The sense of pride in the amazing things my body can accomplish!

What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started? 

Don’t be afraid to look silly when you first begin. Ballet is about grace, but it takes time!

Skip to toolbar