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A Well Choreographed Routine.

14 Jul

I’ve figured out why going without dance these last few weeks was so difficult… it’s because it wasn’t the only part of my routine that suddenly changed. I went from 4-6 classes a week to none, added two physical therapy appointments to each week, and watched my work schedule hit epic levels of turmoil. I never realised how much I had become a creature of habit until I had to change my entire life around. Luckily, it’s only temporary. But I’m trying to learn from this and hoping to become more flexible (not just physically).

The awesome news is that I was able to go to class last night. I was advised to start back by just trying out barre and avoiding anything that involved extending my left leg over 90 degrees. I played it safe, and came out feeling pretty good. And when I got home after, my leg didn’t lock up like it used to! It felt amazing to go back, even just for one class, and tonight my physical therapist said I can keep easing myself back in as long as I’m aware of what not to do with my hamstring. I’m definitely improving, though, little by little!

Of course, I still can’t help contemplating my weekly routine. I was so thrilled going into the summer because my work schedule had changed to allow me to take even more dance classes per week, now my dance schedule and my work schedule are all messed up. But what can you do? I am just happy to be working and now happy to be dancing again, even if it’s not as often as I am used to. I’m starting to feel less out-of-sorts, though still a little stir-crazy sometimes. I just keep telling myself the end result will be worth it, and that I will be back to my normal life in no time.

Intermission

8 Jul

It’s Friday night. Most of my Friday nights lately have been spent at the dance studio for a double-header (lyrical & ballet basics), but tonight I’m just hanging out at home. I did some baking, some stretching and my physical therapy exercises, and now I’m hanging out on the couch. As of tonight, I haven’t been to class in two weeks, and now I’m not sure when I’ll get the okay to go back.

Last week I was pretty optimistic that I would be able to go back sometime next week. Nothing really gave me cause to believe that would be the case, as I hadn’t even met my physical therapist when I made that declaration. I guess I was just feeling hopeful, and maybe a little impatient. Now I’m worried I might even be out for the rest of the summer, but I’m really hoping that’s not the case. It’s frustrating because I absolutely want to make sure my hamstring is healed and I’m cleared for a healthy return, but it’s just driving me crazy not to be dancing.

Is that reasonable? It’s possible I’m an addict. A ballet addict. I can’t be the only one.

I’ve been telling myself most dance schools take a summer break, and there are certainly many dancers who go this long between classes — so who am I to complain? It’s just strange to me to go from 4-6 classes a week on average… to none.

I’m trying really hard not to get all wallow-y, but I’m in this strange position where I’m trying to figure out what to do with my time in between. Ballet had become my source of socialization during the week, something to do after work, and now I’m going a little stir-crazy just hanging out at home. My first instinct would be to turn to another form of exercise, like yoga or pilates, but I’m not sure those would be wise options just yet. For now, I’m resigned to my PT exercises and some light additional exercise to keep me in shape (especially since I have a dress to fit into next month for a friend’s wedding, ha!)

I think what I’m most afraid of is that I won’t go back. Not because I’ll be told I can’t, but because I’ll move on. Before I came back to ballet, I’d been kind of flighty with my hobbies, never really sticking to one thing for too long. I’d get distracted and lose interest. When I decided to take up ballet again, I wasn’t sure it would last, but it did… and it went from a once-a-week hobby to a lifestyle. What if I change? What if I’m away so long that I’m too afraid to start back again?

It sounds ridiculous to say, because I believe 100% that ballet is in my blood now, but these are the things I think about when I’m sitting at home missing class.

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up and only think positive thoughts. Y’all are free to slap me if I don’t.

Dancer, Discouraged

26 Jun

Today, I did something I hate doing: I skipped a class, and one of my favourites, too. My little aches and pains were just bothering me too much today. I usually just do my best to power through, working to my current limitations and trying not to push myself, but I knew that if I went to my pointe class I would make it all worse.

But that wasn’t the entire reason I decided to stay home. I needed a good sulk, too. I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged lately with ballet, with dance in general (and with life in general, too, but that’s another blog post entirely). Last Thursday, I celebrated my 100th class at my current dance studio, and it felt wonderful. I was worried I would be let down by it… that my 100th class would feel no different to my very 1st class. It was an Advanced Beginner/Elementary level class, which I’ve been taking in addition to the studio’s Beginner, Basics, and Intro to Pointe classes for a few months now — I love the challenge the Elementary class gives me, because I am still in that awkward not-quite-beginner/not-quite-intermediate stage of my re-introduction to ballet.

Back to the point*, though. My 100th class was amazing. I felt like I had made progress, rather than just doing well enough and not looking helpless and ridiculous, but progress is such a fluctuating thing in dance. Some days it’s there, some days it isn’t. In Friday night’s classes, I found myself split: in Lyrical, I felt helpless until I watched the video of our choreo at the end of class and realised I hadn’t done quite as poorly as I’d thought; in Ballet Basics (taken in my pointe shoes), I tried my best not to let my mood seep into my performance, but it may have done just that. I did as well as I ever do, I guess, which should be well enough, but I walked out of there feeling like something was lacking. I’m too hard on myself, and I expect too much of myself, and get discouraged when I feel like I’m slipping backwards or not moving forward at all when it comes to marking my progress level.

So I took today off, and I sulked a little, and I nursed my aching hamstring, knee, and shoulder. And I worried that these aches and pains will never go away, that they’ll just get worse and my dancing won’t get any better. And I resolved to make an appointment to get a doctor’s advice on the more annoying aches, even though I’m secretly a little terrified of hearing, “You need to stop dancing.”

Because at this point, I’m not sure I ever could. Good or bad, encouraged or discouraged, dance has become so much of my life that I’m not sure how I’d function without it.

 

*Yes, I had that typed as “Back to the pointe” and didn’t realise it until I was proofing the post. If there were ever an indication that ballet has taken over my life…

Free Time. I Wish I Had More.

3 Apr

I got a little spoiled this past week. Between jury duty, temporary changes to my schedule, and the lack of any pressing social obligations, I was able to take a CRAZY number of dance classes. Let me break it down (numbers are duration, not time):

Sunday:

  • 1:15 Tap
  • 1:00 Pointe
  • 1:00 Hatha Yoga

Monday:

  • 1:15 Beginner Ballet

Wednesday:

  • 1:15 Beginner Ballet (done in pointe shoes)

Thursday:

  • 1:15 Elementary Ballet

Friday:

  • 1:30 Lyrical (my first class… awesome!)
  • 1:00 Ballet Basics (done in pointe shoes)

Sunday (today):

  • 1:00 Hatha Yoga (with lots of amaaaaaaazing hip opener stretches)

I only wish I had the time to go to all of these classes every week! It felt so rewarding to be able to dedicate all that time to dancing, and to be able to take my mind off of work-related stress and social life frustrations. Of course, it also brought me to some realizations about my stamina and endurance. I typically do barre in my pointe shoes during Wednesday night’s beginner class, but this time I succumbed to peer-pressure (some of it self-inflicted, haha) and left them on for the whole class. I discovered when I piqué to arabesque and retiré, I can hold the poses a little longer than I could’ve a few weeks ago (sadly, only with my left leg as the supporting leg… for now). Progress! I love it!

Of course, by Thursday night’s class, I finally started to feel the effects of working and taking classes all week… I was exhausted! But I managed to make myself go to the studio Friday night and I’m glad I did. My first proper lyrical class was fun, but for the first 20 minutes or so I felt utterly out of place. I thought, “There’s no way I can keep up,” but by the end of the class I felt I was coming along. Still not quite keeping up, but getting the hang of it. It’s so strange to be breaking some of the rules ballet holds dear, but it was also fun to find new ways to move and express myself. I am already hoping I can add the class to my regular weekly line-up.

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