Monday, May 16, 2016

Top o the class

I knew I wouldn't get to class either this weekend or tomorrow, so I made arrangements to attend a class this evening offered by someone who taught the classes I took several years ago. Her studio is on the opposite side of town from where I work, so this takes some juggling of my work-at-home schedule.

This evening's class was a bit slower than I'm used to, as two of the other five students were taking their first ballet classes ever. Since I went mainly to keep limber I didn't mind, and used the time to concentrate on finer details I usually don't have time to think about. I got some exercise, a break from work, and a chance to be one of the better students in the class.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Help me, Obi-wan Ibuprofen, you're my only hope

This evening I was inspired to stretch a little more during barre, and seemed to be somewhat more flexible than usual. But mid way through center my mid-back started aching. Not like I'd injured myself; more like I'd strained the erector muscles a bit.

Toward the end of class it was getting distinctly worse, so I bailed on the last exercise. I carry ibuprofen in my dance bag (doesn't every dancer over 50?) and I took one before seeking out dinner. Now that I'm home I'm debating taking a second before heading to bed. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On the Island of Misfit Monkeys

I left for class late, and was quite worried that I wouldn't arrive before class started. In fact, I walked up to the front desk thinking class would just be starting and I still needed to change clothes. Yet on my way to the men's dressing room I encountered our instructor in the hallway. What the...?

I'd correctly remembered that evening classes started 15 minutes later than they used to (for about the last year), but I misremembered the old start time as the new start time. Great. They say memory is the second thing to go... and I can't remember what the first thing was.

So quite unexpectedly I had 15 minutes to change and stretch before class. It was during this time that the hallway conversation turned to the subject of a year-long sabbatical on the island of misfit monkeys. Don't ask; it wasn't my idea.

Tonight there was a familiar face I didn't recall seeing for a while. It was a former regular who is working as an au pair in Paris. She was so excited to be home she really seemed to want to talk. Unfortunately, in this class, I really can't afford to skip the descriptions of the exercises once we get past the first few familiar ones. 'Tis a shame, too, as I'm sure she has some great stories to tell. Such as French ballet classes focus very heavily on the artistic qualities and very little on the physical strength required to actually execute ballet steps, so she was finding our classes exhausting. She did make an unsolicited offer to play tour guide next time I find myself in Paris. Should that occur.

I've been feeling a bit asthmatic the last few days, so I felt a less energetic than I might otherwise have. And the infrequent-ness of my attendance leaves me more prone to calf muscle cramps. But my balance seems to be better and better, and when I can muster the energy my turns are improving. Now if I could just lose 30 pounds I'd be pretty happy.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Picking the wrong first class

I'm going to be busy tomorrow morning so I went to class this morning instead. Our instructor opened class by welcoming a "guest artist", who really was a new student. New, as in never having taken a ballet class before. In the class I refer to as Beginner 2.75 because it's almost as hard as the Advanced Beginner class. Not the best choice.

I'll give her credit, she stuck it out through about half of barre (with some help from the instructor), but bailed just before rond de jambes. The instructor tried to talk her into staying for the class that follows, which was the the first class of the 5-week Introduction to Ballet, but she couldn't stay. Such a shame.

Today's class was thankfully smaller than last week's, there being only 20 students rather than the 30 we had then. There really isn't room for 30 students in that room!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Adult Weekend Workshop 2016?

Apparently two weeks is as long as I can go between classes before my subconscious starts prodding me to go back. Late last week I woke up from a dream, a dream about trying to learn a sequence of steps in center. I almost knew the sequence, but the more I thought about it the less well defined it became. Then I realized it was a dream and I was awake. Point taken.

After class Saturday (yes, I went) I noticed a flier for this year's Adult Weekend Workshop. For those who missed reading about it last year, it's a 3-day (Friday - Sunday, 5 hours a day) workshop for adult dancers at the Beginner II and higher levels, ending in a "recital" Sunday afternoon.

How has it been a year already? This time last year I'd been taking classes on a regular basis, often at the Advanced Beginner level. So when registration opened for the 3-day Adult Weekend Workshop, I allowed myself to be talked into signing up. I ended up spending Sunday evening laying flat on my back on the floor with my legs elevated on the couch to alleviate some of the throbbing in my calves and feet. I had a bruise under my toenail that lasted months. And I was tentatively considering signing up for the next one.

But I'm not signing up this year. No way, no how. Since late last year I've been making a couple classes a month, maybe. None have been at the Advanced Beginner level. I'm in no shape to take on a 3-day ballet marathon. Maybe next year.

That's not to say everything is terrible. I felt pretty comfortable in Saturday's class. I think my turns are improving, which is amazing given how rarely I attempt them — I even got a compliment on a pirouette. And I seem to be able to grasp center sequences faster than I have in the past. I sat out one center sequence because I was just feeling too out of it, but that allowed me to recover enough to put some energy into the rest of the class instead of just stumbling through it.

I think if I go back to a regular, more frequent schedule I'd do okay. One Beginner II class a week for sure, and maybe a second when I have time. I miss the challenge of the Advanced Beginner classes, but I have too much going on right now to make the time commitment required to get back into them.