Saturday, May 26, 2012

Changes afoot

No, that's not a pun.

As I said in the last entry, I've been pretty good about making it to class twice a week. A week ago Thursday I had a private lesson by virtue of no one else showing up. Although I enjoy the social interaction with my classmates, it's fun having a private lesson because the teacher gives me direct feedback without any of that "let's not call out someone for their mistakes" filtering. And I get to work on what I'm having trouble with without having to worry about disrupting the class for others.

This week Tuesday Catelyn, our regular teacher, had the day off to recover from the school show she ran over the weekend. Substituting for her was a friend who has also recently graduated from college with a degree in dance. She'd taught a class for us some weeks ago, and I liked her. The only thing I don't like about her is that she hasn't quite gotten the concept that we're out-of-shape adults, not college-age dance majors. She's not stupid about it, but I was quite sore afterward. The next morning my calf muscles were still aching, which went on all afternoon, evening, and night. 200mg of Ibuprofen every 12 hours dampened the ache, but didn't make it go away.

Thursday I was still sore, which didn't bode well for class Thursday evening. Catelyn gets such a kick out of seeing her students sweating and sore, and she was positively gleaming in class. The stretching at the barre helped loosen my muscles a bit, though I think things are still a bit inflamed as it felt like I had a fold of cloth or something caught in the hollow behind the knees when I bent my legs.

So what's this about changes? Rumor is that we'll be seeing a lot more of the substitute instructor in the months ahead. As much fun as Catelyn is, I favor the change. Catelyn prefers modern dance, and I think she feels constrained by ballet's rigid forms. My impression is that the new teacher likes ballet a lot more.

Oh... one more thing. We're doing a series of steps that included a pas-de-Chat. Catelyn said something like, "I think some of you have a lot more plie than you're doing -- it'll give you more height." So we all practiced a couple of times without the music. Apparently white men CAN jump, as I got enough altitude to elicit bitchy comments like "why can't I jump like that?" Catelyn's reply was "That's why we all hate men -- they can jump like that and women can't." Heh.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oh, wow! It's been a while!

Sorry, I got involved in life stuff and forgot about keeping up this blog. But that doesn't mean I haven't been dancing!

Still going to class, twice a week most of the time. I looked at the calendar and realized it's been a whole year since I started back (and more now). Where has the time gone? I think I must have overslept and missed most of April.

I'm going to keep this short, but I have one thing I'll crow about. We've always included stretching at the barre with one foot up, which is one of my least favorite things to do. If the groans and swearing is any indication, I'm not the only one who feels that way. To this our teacher recently added a rise to demi-pointe and balance. When we started this I could hold it for about two seconds before having to come back down, often due to cramping in the calf muscle. Last night I was able to hold it while on my left foot for the 10-20 seconds of the exercise, and for much of it while on my right. Woot!

One of the reasons, I suspect, is that I'm finally getting enough flexibility in my ankles so that I'm (almost) able to get my foot in line with the rest of my leg, and I can feel a lessening of the strain off the calf muscles. I can definitely feel it in our plié/relevé routine -- there's a point in the rise when the effort level drops. I'm not there yet, but it's the first really notable sign of improvement in that area. And it's been a long time coming.