32 Changements…

So, at the end of class last night our summer teacher announces, “OK, to finish out class we’ll do 32 changements.”

Now, my gentle readers, ya know I’m a little fluffy in the weight department…

It was the end if class and my legs were feeling a bit spaghetti-noodle-ish…

I seriously thought she was kidding at first and I think my two fellow classmates did too…but she was serious. SERIOUS I tell ya!

She even added we could do them corner to corner.  I decided to keep them straight on and focus on my technique and pray I make it half way.

Maybe I was standing on a spring-ier part of the floor…

…maybe having the floors cleaned the night before can make a difference…

Guess who did 32 changements like a boss?

I did.

And did them well.

Boo-yah.

changements

Playing Catch Up…

Ok, it’s been a minnit since I last did an update so I’m going to cover a bunch of things that have been happening…

1.  Happy Blogging Birthday to Me!  

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

I turned 1 on April 17.  Wow! Looking back on the past year a lot has changed, some good and not so good.

Good:

  • Finally taking ballet classes and freaking loving it.
  • Putting my hair in a real “ballet” bun at least once a week.
  • Counting down the days to ballet class.
  • Doing my ballet ankle and feet strengthening exercises.
  • Knowing all the struggles I went through this past year have been worth it to finally be in ballet class.
  • Ballet class has been improving my wonky left ankle and geriatric back.
  • The amazing young ladies and women I take ballet class with.
  • My ballet teacher, Ms. Dorothy.
  • My husband and son letting me run off once a week to ballet class without too much fuss.

Not so Good:

  • I have re-gained all the weight I lost and having trouble getting going again in weight loss.
  • Wishing I could take more ballet classes during the week.
  • Realizing to dance the way I want to dance, I gotta get this weight off of me.  That’s not just aesthetics.  Bertha, my belly, gets in the way and protests when it’s time to squeeze into tights.

2. I’m a Slacker of a Blogger

I’ve been a total slacker in the writing posts department. I admit it and I admit it freely.  I do have a good reason!  See, years ago while I was pining miserably away at a job I did because it was a job and got a good paycheck, I would wish for a job that I would love and could use my writing abilities.  I got that wish and now I write all day, full time.  It’s legal writing, not the creative stuff, but I am a nerd and a glutton for punishment and I love it.  Job problem solved.  Which translates into a blog writing problem. After writing all day 5 days a week, I am pretty much done with writing for the day once I get home.  Like I don’t even want to think enough to formulate the simplest thing, like “Hi, ballet go good. I no go boom when I pas de chat”  So, that is my reason for being a total writing slacker on the blog.  I am pooped when I get home.  It is getting better now that I am adjusting to the full time hours. Oh, did I say full time?  That’s right…I was promoted to full time after two months….thank you very much.  Add that to the good pile above.

3.  I Went to a Ballet

I went to the local professional ballet company’s Spring repertoire production. It was fantastic and I took my 7 year old son with me and he loved it! I will turn this topic into another blog post.  There is just too much to say.  It was the first live ballet performance I have seen since I was in a ballet!

Last but not least…

4.  Ballet Class

It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done in a long, long time.  I leave class exhausted, sweaty, red faced, and exhilarated.  I love pushing my body to see if it can do more and amazed at how much my body just “remembers” how to do.  Some terminology I am still working out but it is coming back more and more each week.

I take class once a week on Monday nights.  I was lucky enough these past two weeks to have two classes per week.  I was off work on Good Friday and I was able to take the Open Intermediate ballet class.  That was a great class, not just the class itself, but also the other adult students.  Many were long time dancers and one was a teacher who teaches at this studio.  They were so nice to me and I really enjoyed taking class with them.  One of them even gave me a nice compliment that I had pretty feet! (Insert ballet blush here)  Also, some of the teenage advanced dancers took class too.  One even had her younger brother who was taking class to try out ballet!  I really like having the advanced girls in class because Ms. Dorothy will push the class more plus those girls are just great and dancing with those that are better are a great motivation to push yourself to do better.  Last week, since my son was gallivanting with the grandparents for Spring break, I was able to take the adult beginner class and that was really good to take so I could concentrate on basic technique.  The lady who was teaching was the one who was in the Good Friday class.  I really enjoyed her class and she was a great teacher.  A boy who was a friend of one of the advanced students, took his first ballet class with us.  He had some very good natural talent and I hope he sticks with it.  I wish I could take that class every week too.  Unfortunately, my schedule only allows for one a week.  So, I will keep picking up an extra class here and there when I can.

So, that catches ya’ll up on where I am as of now.  I am proud of myself I kept it under 950 words! LOL

 

The Trocks…

Have I mentioned before how much I love Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo or “The Trocks”? They posses two of my fave things…ballet and comedy and they do it well.  Also, these men are amazing dancers…here is a video compilation of some of their best.  I truly hope one day to go to a show!

Ballet Class…À la Seconde…

So Monday night was my second ballet class…and it was…

less like…

awkward ballet

but felt more like…

ballet pose 2

The second class was just wonderful!  My body is remembering more and breaking from it’s shell of ballet dormancy.  I arrived early again to spend about 15 minutes in the back studio warming up and I definitely could tell it made a difference for me.  It was really cold that night and I knew I had to get my ankles and back good and warm for class.  I even sported leg warmers to the studio to keep the ankles warm on the way.  I very, very 1986. LOL

Pretty much, only I had navy blue sweatpants and grey legwarmers!

Pretty much, only I had navy blue sweatpants and grey legwarmers!

In class, I felt my turnout working better and standing straighter and working to keep square.  My turns had more ease but I was still dropping my shoulder.  I was remembering the combinations better, but I still need to be bookended by other two dancers in my class to keep me on track at times!

Center was the most fun for me even though I worked my tail off at the barre.  We had a lovely stretch and then got to combinations.  The first one was a brain twister but loved its’ slow and measured movements.  Then she moved us to the side and we went down the room in something more fast paced…piqué turn, piqué turn, balancé, balancé, piqué turn, piqué turn, sauté, balancé, sauté, balancé, pas de chat, step, sous sous and then we would do this gorgeous walk in a half circle and be ready to go on the other side.  OK, do you know how long it has been that I have wanted to report on my combinations from ballet class like everyone else? Ha!  Now I have.  It was a simple combination but I just loved the flowing movement and I felt like flying.  I was a complete dork and imagined I was dancing on the Bolshoi stage and just let go.  It was freedom.

After class it was so nice to chat with the other ladies in the class and they really inspire me.  The younger girl works her tail off in college, holds down a job, and she manages to fit in ballet class.  She is a really pretty dancer.  The other lady I can tell really enjoys ballet and tries so hard and she has some very pretty extensions.  They invited me to sign the birthday card for our teacher which she had this past Friday.  I thought that was so nice.  I really like our little group.

Now I have to wait until next Monday for another class…WAH!  I can tell I am going to have to find a way to work in a second class during the week…I am really getting back the ballet bug!

I wasn’t as sore the next day as I was last week, so that means I am either recovering better or need to work harder. 🙂  I vote both.

OK well, I am now back to counting down until my next class on Monday…who woulda thunk that Mondays are now my favorite day and can’t wait for it to get here!

Dance-Music-Quotes-Ballet-is-a-dance-executed-by-the-human-Soul-Alexander-Pushkin

Ballet Class Was…

FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!

My muscles feel like..

download (6)

But my spirit feels like…

GrandJete8

I will write more on the class soon…for now…need to get into a hot shower and soothe this tired, achy, and happy body. 🙂

This is Dedicated to “Mrs. L”…

I received this back in October during my self imposed exile

Mrs. L's Drawing with the real life zebra leg warmers she knows I love so much.

Mrs. L’s Drawing with the real life zebra leg warmers she knows I love so much.

Ballet 016

Ballet 008

In case it’s hard to see in the picture, her letter reads…

Rachael is a beautiful ballet dancer.  She loves to dance. And she also needs to get back to writing her ballet blog because lots of people, including her awesome bff “Mrs.L,” really like reading about her journey regardless of whether or not she’s currently enrolled in classes.  Seriously though, she inspires people, me included.  I hope she realizes that.

This is a work of art from my dearest friend, Mrs. L.  She sent it to me  for encouragement.  That is something she gave to me on so many levels and more than even I may realize.  I also think it’s awesome that she gave her the zebra legwarmers that I love so much!

When I received it, I was really stunned that anyone would do something like this for me.  I was a bit overwhelmed and it brought tears to my eyes reading it and seeing all the detail she put into it.  It made me face something she knew I loved but was hiding from.  It took me awhile to even show this to my husband because it hit such a deep place inside of my heart. I needed some time to just process it. It’s not easy for me to expose my deepest feelings and hurts to anyone but she has a keen eye on what’s going on with me like I had a giant bulls eye on my forehead.

I told her many times I was going to post about her drawing and I kept putting it off and off.  Over the past months, it just didn’t seem like the right time.  I think mostly I wasn’t ready to share it and I needed it to myself for awhile.  I would think about blogging and then think about the drawing.  I would think about ballet and feel the twist of not knowing when I will be able to dance and even if I should pursue it at all and then I’d think about the drawing.  It was always there as a reminder that I can do this and to keep pushing forward, even though the bleak feelings I had wanted to tell me otherwise.  It was like a ray of light in the darkest of places.  For many reasons, this drawing and the meaning behind it, are why I did return to blogging and to taking up ballet again and not just giving up completely.

So, on the eve of going back to classes.  This is to say thank you for all of your support, Mrs. L.  You’re the best friend I could ever have and I couldn’t have done it without you.

Okay, I need a tissue now….

I’m Packing It Up…

I’m packing it up…

…to go to ballet class…

Polka Dottie is ready to go!

Polka Dottie is ready to go!

Guess who is starting ballet classes on Monday?  Oh yeah….ME!

It feels SO good knowing this ballet bag finally has a destination. 🙂

It also feels awesome to press publish on this post that I have been wanting to write for nearly a year now!

Dusting Myself Off

Hello?

Helloooo?  Anybody home???

HELLO!!!

(echo) …..                         

                                                                                         ………… (echo)         

                                   (echo) ………………………..      

                                                                                                                                                    ……………………..  (echo)       

Why, hello!  It is so good to see you again!   How have you been?  I saw!  I have been keeping up with you on your blog.  That’s great!

Yes, my little narration is directed to you, my readers.  It IS good to see you again and I have missed you. I know this place is dusty due to my reduced activity, but I have brought my broom and windex and I am gonna give it a good scrubbing!

What does this mean?  That I have been missing blogging and writing about my ballet obsession.  I have kept up with my other ballet bloggers and loved seeing Nutcracker season and how everyone is doing with their classes.  I swooned at Bush Ballerina’s class with Tibor!  Rejoiced with Traveling Dancer’s auditions. Had fun watching the fun All Round Girl was having. I was inspired by Legal Ballerina’s courage.  Envy at all the dancing LoveBallet89 is doing, plus many more of you!  What I am saying is I did not forget or ignore. I was just quietly lurking in the wings.

Now, you might also be wondering, what went on?  What’s happening now?

Well, I am going to grab this bull by the horns and call a duck a duck….

When I realized ballet classes were not in any kind of foreseeable future I basically did this…..

I feel deflated...

I feel deflated…

and this…

Timber!!!

Timber!!!

That pretty much sums it up.  Honestly, my heart was broken.  I tried very hard to keep a strong front but inside it felt like glass shattering.    It was no one’s fault but circumstance.  At first we thought things would be financially more feasible sooner but that was not the reality to allow the room for ballet classes financially.  So, taking ballet classes were put off for much longer. As a result, I fell off the weight loss bandwagon pretty quick since my last weight loss update was back in August, I really got to the point I didn’t care anymore.  So, I have gained most of the weight I lost in this time period.  Not really proud of that fact, but it’s a reality and something I have learned from, that I don’t need to tie my weight loss to an extraneous goal, more on this later in the post.

So, to make things more financially fluid with the family, I needed to get back to work.  I have been a nanny over the past year but I needed to start pulling in more so I got on the job hunt.  I wanted to get back into doing something professional, which is my background, but I was determined this time around I would do work I would really enjoy and that it would make a difference in someones life.  I also wanted work that would allow me to get my son from school and to keep his schedule as routine as possible. This became an odyssey… It went from I needed like 10 PhD’s or 35 years experience (not really but it felt like it) to just nothing. Facing this realization, I was happy to go work at the grocery store or the Dollar General as a clerk…then my back happened.

Back in late September or early October, my back had been doing some weird stuff . At this point I had not been exercising for weeks and I had done nothing strenuous to warrant what happened. I have always had back problems and I do have scoliosis.  So, back pain on a daily basis is common to me. Then one day I literally felt like I was going into labor…like I am not kidding the pain in my back was exactly like when I was in labor with my son years ago.   Contractions were happening like a wave, all concentrated in my lower back, just like when I had been in labor prior to having my epidural. It started off with just pressure and not able to get comfortable to a crescendo of agony over and over again. I was envisioning myself on that show, “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant”.  I mean the pain was THAT bad.  I knew I was not pregnant. Coincidentally, I had taken a pregnancy test just a few weeks prior.  I was in so much pain I was crying uncontrollably not knowing what was going on from fear and pain.  I was not insured so the thought of needing to go to the hospital was daunting, especially when in light of our financial situation at the time, but we were on the verge of going.  So, we called Ms. L thinking I could be passing a kidney stone, being that she churns one of those out regularly she is an expert.  We determined it was not a kidney stone.  Then the waves of agony started to lessen and I started to calm down. We now think I had a severe muscle spasm in my left lower back.  I was laid up for about two weeks where I could barely walk and spent most of my time in the recliner in the only comfortable position relieving the pressure off my back.  My left lower back has not been the same since. During all of this, I have been worried if this is going to hamper my ability to dance.  Standing on my left leg or standing for long periods of time is challenging.  In ballet, what is the left leg primarily? Yep…  I have switched to wearing sneakers almost exclusively because that made a big difference in the pain level in my back.  I don’t take medication, because I  just don’t like taking meds.  Being that I have pain daily, I do not want to take daily pain meds.  So I learned to live with it, how to ease it, and work around it.  I also know it wouldn’t take much to throw me back to the fangs of agony that I experienced months ago so I am very protective of my back.  I also know that losing weight and strengthening my back and core would do wonders for my back as well.

Which brings me back to the job search….

Pretty much...

Pretty much…only I was in a skirt and heels

I now had to add to the criteria…non-back aggravating. Which meant no work that required physical lifting, standing for long periods, etc. Just going to WalMart or Target on long shopping trips are physically challenging.  I can’t imagine a 6 or 8 hour work shift on my feet.  So I had to look for work that was at a desk, but me being me, I can’t stand being relegated exclusively to a chair (I’d go stir crazy) and would need a job that did have some moving around and such. Finally, in early December some positions opened in the legal field which I qualified for and would really like to do.  I had two choices and Job 1 fit better in the parameters than Job 2, but Job 2 seemed a bit more interesting, but something kept nagging at me about it and I decided to go with Job 1. Really, when “they” say to listen to your inner voice…”they” are right!  I love doing Job 1, it’s perfect for me.  I enjoy going to the courthouse everyday, doing what I do, the people I interact with, my boss, and co-workers.  It’s been great and I really know I made the right decision.  I am happy, my family is happy, and we are back on the right track.

So where does that leave me now?  Thinking about taking ballet classes again that’s where! THAT desire never went away and it has been tucked away into my thoughts everyday. Realistically, it looks like I could start classes soon, like in a month or two.  I know the cost and the studio, and we just need to make sure some other things are straightened out first before I make the financial commitment.  So now I really am on my way to classes finally.

Do I wish I had kept up with my weight loss? Yes.  I know my weight really poses a challenge for me in ballet classes and the care of my back. I can only do what I can do and at this point that is to climb back on that band wagon and start to focus back on losing weight. I have learned that I can’t have weight loss only connected to taking classes but it has to go deeper than that. I need to get more serious about my health.  I think my back is just worn out from carrying the weight around my middle for so many years.

So that’s that folks. Which brings me to today and it has been really great to write a post. Almost like stretching a sore muscle. It was painful but felt great.  Don’t forget you can check my Facebook and Pinterest pages. I post fun stuff there all of the time as I am addicted!

Despite the disappointment over the year and the challenges I faced, it’s been a good growing experience. I learned a lot, cried some, screamed on occasion, loved deeply, and became inspired by my fellow bloggers.  Through it all I am still moving forward, while things didn’t happen as I wanted I know they happened the way they were supposed to and here I am again close to getting back to classes and I can not wait.

glass fragments #1 with WM

Battements

Nostalgia and Pointe Shoes

December 10th is a nostalgic day for me…

28 years ago, a ten-year old girl had one of the biggest days of her little life.  It was a day she dreamed of, fantasized about, and held in her heart.  It was the day I was fitted for pointe shoes.

At my studio, Tennessee Festival Ballet, my teacher, Anna-Marie Holmes, with her hair in an elegant bun, navy blue long-sleeved leotard, with a matching navy skirt, announced to the class that we were ready for pointe shoes and to go to the upstairs “closet” to get our shoes.  The “closet” was a huge storage room of pointe shoes and such.  I had only caught glimpses of it before this day watching the company girls get their shoes and supplies. We weren’t allowed in there unless with the teacher.  We all ran up the carpeted stairs and squealed and jumped excitedly for our turn to get our shiny satin pink pointe shoes.   I can still smell the aroma from the closet, like freshly cut wood, and the squish of the thick carpet below my bare feet while I tried on pointe shoes.  I remember my teacher showing us how to use the lamb’s wool to pad our feet and showing the mothers how to properly sew the ribbons and elastics on for each student.

To a ten-year old ballet dancer, this was the biggest day of her life and still is in so many ways.  It was a rite of passage, a changing of the guard, a welcoming into the “club”.  I could not wait to start dancing en pointe.  A week later, with our pointe shoes tied on properly, we spent the last 10 minutes of class doing pointe strengthening exercises.  I am sure it hurt and was harder than I expected but I really don’t remember any of that.  I remember the feeling of height, the curve of my foot, and air whooshing around me with each releve.  This is a memory I hold dear.  I don’t know what became of those pointe shoes, maybe they have retired to some corner of my parents house or lost.  I very much wish I still had them but at least I have the memory of them and what the day meant to that 10-year-old little girl.

December 10th is my pointe shoe “birthday”.  Every year on this day I have always remembered what this day meant to me and still means to me.  What a good memory it is.

I am not certain but I think this could be a polaroid of my first pair of pointe shoes.

I am not certain but I think this could be a polaroid of my first pair of pointe shoes.