Friday, June 3, 2016

Late to my anniversary

It's not uncommon when I show up for the first time at a new-to-me ballet studio for someone to ask me if I'm new. I've gotten in the habit of answering, "New here, yes. Not new to ballet." Which leads me to try to remember when I started.

Ignoring the few years I took classes in the mid-1980s, I started in May 2011. Which means it's been five years. Five years? Really? It doesn't seem like it. Well, maybe when I first get out of bed in the morning.

It's been interesting. I've taken classes at five different schools in the DC area, three on a regular basis and two as a drop-in. I've also taken a half-dozen classes in San Jose, a few in Raleigh, and one in London (yes, England). I was tempted to drop in on a class in Kyoto, Japan, but having neither my dance gear nor more than a smattering of the language I passed; I still wonder whether knowing Ballet French would have been sufficient.

My level of interest waxes and wanes. This time last year I was taking three to four classes a week; in the first six months of this year I think I'm averaging one every other week. If I can find decent ways to get there, taking classes at TWSB will add possibilities at times when I have scheduling conflicts with MYB classes. Maybe the second half of this year will be wax-on rather than wax-off. ;-)

Something a little different

I didn't make it to class this past weekend, instead taking advantage of the nice weather to enjoy one of my other hobbies. Nor did I make it Tuesday evening, succumbing to the temptations of a freshly-cooked salmon dinner. I really didn't want to go two whole weeks without a class but the only Thursday night class at MYB is Advanced Beginner and I wasn't feeling up to that.

I've been thinking about taking a class or two at TWSB for quite some time. I've also been wishing I could take some classes from a male instructor. I checked TWSB's schedule and found they had a Beginner 2 class this evening with a male instructor. Woot!

The studio is new, having only opened earlier this year. It looks new and smells new, with sprung Marley floors. The instructor turned out to be a nice guy in his 30's, I'd guess, with a good singing voice and a hands-on manner. At 75 minutes the class is shorter than the 90-minute classes I'm used to, and the difficulty level is lower than even the Sunday Beginner 2 classes. But he gives a lot of feedback and detailed directions, and this may be something I can benefit from. The slower pace also allows me to focus on little details that otherwise I wouldn't have time (or brainpower) to pay attention to.

The only real problem with this place is that it's a bitch and a half to get to, traffic-wise, being across the border into DC proper. Even at 6pm it took every bit of an hour to travel the 20 miles twixt my house and the studio.

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.