Weekly Ballet Post, 1/18/2018

Went back to ballet class last night! I haven’t had the chance to attend in a while for various reasons but I have been doing my best to work out in the meanwhile. It has helped a lot. My technique hasn’t reeeeally improved, but I now have more strength to hold the correct positions, which is the foundation on which good technique is built.

Anyway, today I thought I’d link some YouTube resources that I’ve been relying on in the meantime. I obviously do not do all or any of these in a given day, but I generally attempt one long workout in the morning (after toddler drop off, before work) and a shorter one before bed.

Literally everything here has a video autoplay warning if that wasn’t clear XD

Longer Workouts

Easy ballet barre – I do this one whenever I have the energy/time. I don’t do the grand battements at the end btw. Also, I have done this often enough that I no longer need the explanation of all the combinations, so I use the intro-less version.

Turnout barre – I don’t have much turnout but I can’t even access what I have*, so I’m trying to strengthen those deep hip flexors. This barre targets those muscles and is, accordingly, more challenging. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through a complete set, but then I haven’t tried it in a while.

Easy center practice – I don’t do the turns (I do a passé instead of a pirouette) but the rest is really great for training my brain in learning choreography. I would say this is not as “easy” as the “easy barre” though. Also effacé derriere omggggggg.

Basic Pilates for dancers – nice and basic, after the core workout there is a side leg series for developpés etc.

Total Pilates – It hits just about every muscle so sometimes I consider it allllll the workouts rolled into one. Planks suck though.

Shorter Workouts

Leg stability & strength workout – murders your calves (and ankles) but really great. I could see in the studio mirror how my relevés have gotten higher since I started doing these regularly. My favorite of the bunch since they are so quick and easy yet have a great impact.

Quick back workout for higher arabesques – I’m going to look for something more strenuous, but this is a great basic workout.**

More intense back workout – see above.

Theraband foot workout – marked as something to do before class, but IMO a good exercise to do whenever I’m bored and can take off my shoes (and have access to a Theraband) … I now have a theraband stashed in my desk drawer. The joys of an office of one’s own.

I’ve also got a few personal exercises/stretches that I feel help me the most:

– Deep hip flexor workout (not clamshells – the kind you do by rolling a leg on the floor inwards)
– Stretching hip flexors
– Stretching quads/hamstrings in the elusive hope of splits
– Stretching inner thighs up against a wall for second splits

All stretches are done AFTER working out, because they reduce muscle strength!

* The teacher used me to do a demo this week and somehow wrangled my left leg nice and open (from the hip!***) and uhhh desperately hoping I can reenact the experience.

** My biggest frustration right now is extension in back arabesques. I have the flexibility to at least hit 90 degrees (either in a grand battement or in a static stretch) but in a developpé or enveloppé I can MAYBE reach 45. And my back hurts the next day.

*** I finally shed my skirt during class because I am aware that seeing the hips is important. I got some really useful corrections this class, and plus it was really helpful to see my alignment in the mirror.

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Friday Favorites, 1/5/18

The first Friday Favorite of 2018 is Saga (Book One), by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. A shoutout to E for gifting me volume one for Christmas. I mainlined it in one day and it made me squee and laugh and cry. The worldbuilding is incredibly vast, the characters are all so real even if they only appear for a panel, and I’m just in such awe of the authors’ imagination.

And of course, it’s all about parenthood.

I had always thought that becoming a parent wouldn’t change my tastes in reading or writing. For instance, an unflattering confession: I loathed kidfic before I gave birth. Well, I was wrong … I loathe it even more now. Before it was merely insipid. Now it’s insipid and inaccurate. And don’t get me started on pregnancy fic. (And both these experiences are life-endingly fraught enough that I can’t just let it go when things are inaccurate, the way I can let LOLTASTAIC SCIENCE go.)

But Saga is the real deal done so right that I was thrown back to week three, living on three cans of coca-cola and three hours of sleep a day while quietly wishing for death. Those days were frankly dark but I’m remembering this in the best way, I swear. And let me just say that I, too, would have accepted a disemboweled ghost as a night nurse during week four AKA The First Fucking Growth Spurt.

And that’s how it is for the mom, too, when she is running through a very large and exciting universe with her family by her side!

Before having a kid, I would probably have rolled my eyes a little.

Now … now, reading this, I want to try to make the world a better place for my child. My world has no wings or horns or intergalactic travel, but we fight the same battles. I can do this. Hey, I’m no longer breastfeeding, what excuses have I got?

P.S. I just bought Book Two!

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2018

2017 was incredibly hectic. You may have noodled that one for yourself from my dramatic decline in posting frequency.

Anyway, three goals for 2018:

  • Get promoted to the next level (Beginner II) at ballet school. Overall goal is to one day be able to attend a NYCB open class at the Kennedy Center! You must be at least intermediate level to join in, and observation is not allowed, so I better do all my exercises today. (I’m ordering a Theraband stat.)
  • Sell another short story. You know they say “it never gets easier, you just get better” and I’ll vouch for #1 but I’m not so sure on #2. For quite a while now I have only been getting better at seeing how my writing sucks. A useful skill to be sure, but best paired with an actual increase in writing ability. They promise me that eventually that curve flips but I think they lied. I’m still writing though. Forgive the tone of this item – nobody ever said that grinding EXP was heartening.
  • Do something original and self-directed at work. But first, I must get good enough at my job that I have the bandwidth to conceive of something original and execute it to completion.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and heaven willing productive 2018!

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