Tag Archives: ballet

Dansolutions 2016 update

*insert pathetic, whingey excuses for not blogging here*

The triple pirouette is not coming on at all. Even my sporadically consistent double has left me and my singles are wobbly. This happens every now and again, I freak out that I will never be able to turn again and eventually thy come slowly back.

On the other hand, I changed my pointe shoe maker to one with a slightly harder box (I wear Freed classic plus, btw) and I am sort. Of managing en dehors en pointe again. Woo!

AND, after some very sensible advice from one of my teachers, I am revisiting dansolution 2015 which was to wear deshanked dead pointe shoes for ‘normal’ class. It’s working out better this time round but in some aspects I feel like I’ve gone back to he beginning again.

In running news, I hit my 2016 runsolution of a sub-29 parkrun in January. Then I did it again in February and in March. Then we moved back on to the summer course and my times have slowed because it’s fractionally trickier. Seeking a new challenge, I’ve signed up for a 10k next month – I’m aiming for 65-70 minutes!

And in Operation Read All The Things, I am on O-P of the fiction shelves. And in knitting news, I got sucked in by a yarn sale and am now happily addicted to a sock yarn blanket.

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Dansolutions 2016

I would resolve to blog more in 2016, but I’m more about resolutions that I’m likely to stick to. Besides, is anyone still even with me here? Hi, our patience has been rewarded if so!

I had a measly three dansolutions for 2915:

1. Keep a dance journal: I managed for a month. Never mind.
2. Wear soft blocks: hahaha. Managed this for about a week before I wimped back to my flats.
3. Sort out my dancewear: I did this multiple times, it continues to expand without my knowledge 😉

I think I only really have one dansolution for 2016:

1. Do a triple pirouette (either side, any direction)

That should do nicely.

I’ve got a runsolution as well to sub-29 at parkrun (5k with a current PB of 29:21) and to intentionally complete a 10k (rather than unintentionally because I screwed up at the finish line of a 5/10k race and stayed on for the second lap).

That’s it: that’s all I intend to achieve in 2016.

I also want to knit a bit more than I have done this year. Oh and I aim to carry on with Operation Read AllThe Things: I managed A-H of my fiction (excluding Agatha Christie which I’m saving) interspersed with one new book a week.

And on that note, I’m going to watch Sherlock.

Happy New Year, chums!

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Running is for other people…

…except when it’s not.

I have never understood the attraction of running. Running around playing games (football, cricket, tennis, whatever), sure. But just running? No thanks, unless it’s for the bus and even then that’s under duress.

Except recently something changed and I found myself in Decathlon buying trainers and running kit. I downloaded the NHS Choices Couch to 5k app on to my phone. And I went outside wearing my brand new kit. I interspersed 60 seconds of running with 90 of walking.

Over the weeks the amount of running built up. I took my trainers on holiday and ran pretty much every day. I became *that* person who gets up at 6am and goes for a run. I went to a (very hilly) park run and completed it in 32:56. I went to a different (flatter) park run and completed in under 30 minutes. I stand an read running magazines in the supermarket rather than terrible scandal rags.

I’m not sure what happened, where the change of heart came from or where it will lead. My goal this year is to focus on running for half an hour and working on my 5k times. The first 2k are great, the next two are TERRIBLE and the final is just about getting to the end.

It’s helping a bit. I think. I’m struggling less with allegro in class now. I can get through the final 32 changements with a decent bounce. Running in the morning clears my head and I can focus more clearly at work. It’s a practical past time I can take on holiday in a way you can’t take ballet.

I became a person who runs. And 15 year old me is astonished by this fact every time I put my trainers on, go for a run and come back beetroot faced, sweaty, happier and more clear headed.

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“Because you’re a ballet dancer…”

My physio said this to me in my last appointment whilst he was trying to free up some movement in my impinged ankle. I have to admit, it made me feel a bit weird.

I mentioned it a couple of days later to one of my teachers, who looked at me like I’d gone mad and said “but you *are* a ballet dancer”.

I protested on both occasions. Because I’m not. Or am I?

Instinctively I define myself by my day job, the thing I do between 9 and 5 that pays the bills and ballet lessons and pointe shoes and dancewear…

Ballet is my hobby. It’s something I do in my free time. It’s something I fell in love with. It’s something I can’t not do.

But I’m not a ballet dancer. I’m a [my day job] who happens to also take ballet lessons. And I just happen to have an injury that is typical to ballet dancers.

Essentially I don’t know how I feel about being defined as a dancer by somebody else.

But I wonder, at what point do you become a dancer?

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Over at the dark side, no cookies here…

It’s been a few weeks since I jumped the Good Ship Freed and slunk over to the Dark Side of the pointe shoe world and invested in a pair of Gaynor Mindens.

My reasons for doing this were, essentially, singular. I’d heard tell from my Minden-ed up ballet pals that they last 5eva and, having just spent ALL of my money forevermore moving house, I figured they’d be a better investment than a new pair of Freeds every few weeks.

I’m not entirely convinced yet that I’ve made the right decision and there’s a niggle in the back of my mind that really I’ve just made a horribly expensive mistake.

I’m loving the no breaking in bit, but equally it’s a bit creepy that they never change and also, I actually miss the breaking in process a teeny bit. But it’s great to just be able to put them on and go dance and feel (sometimes) like dancing rather than clomping about and struggling. Except for turns but my turns are broken right now anyway.

I’m not totally sold yet on, I suspect, this individual pair. I can’t tell if the shank isn’t right or if the vamp is too low but both things are bugging me. I can get up on to the platform every time but quite often find myself going straight over and then my feet collapse – equally that may be my terrible technique or weird feet. Much as they seemed to fit perfectly in the shop, I keep finding myself having to add more bits of elastic or changing things to make them feel like they’ll stay on for an entire class. And these were an absolute sod to sew up, it was a bit like trying to sew through a rock.

They’re quiet, which is nice and makes me feel like I’m doing allegro properly! And I don’t wobble off everywhere working on flat in them. And the built in suede tip is nice, although damn squeaky on the first couple of wears! Plus the drawstring at the side gives for a nicer line. So they’re aesthetically pleasing.

I’m just not entirely convinced by them yet though. Maybe with a bit more time. Or a slightly different model. Or maybe I’ll just go back to good old traditional paste shoes, I’ve got a not quite dead pair of Freeds on the radiator calling to me… Or maybe there’s space in pointe class for both the Gaynors and a good old paste shoe.

I don’t know, I think I’ll just stay on the fence a while longer and risk the splinters. In the meantime, have a picture of The Metrop being pretty:

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Cos you’re there for me too…

So far 2015 has mostly involved me not knowing entirely if I’m coming or going…

We moved office at work, total relocation to a different part of the Metrop. Largely from my perspective, leaving our old building involved me trying out the various packing crates for size, climbing into the empty stationery shelves to prove I fitted and sneaking up on to the roof to admire the view… The new office is working out pretty cool: I have a new commute (on the DLR, I can pretend to drive it!) and we have an on site canteen (second breakfasts FTW!) and, when the weather’s nice, we get so much light because of all the windows.

Along with moving offices, I moved house… After several years, My Beloved Housemate decided it was time to move on so I am now flying solo in my attic flat. It’s been a couple of weeks since I got the keys and it feels completely like mine now. I need to buy another bookcase at some immediate point in the future because there is no such thing as too many books… I keep remembering about things I don’t own (like a corkscrew!) mind you…

Ballet wise I made a move to the dark side for pointe shoes. After six months of various pairs of Freeds (which I loved but never lasted, yes the pair of Studio Operas that died in one class, I’m looking at you), and prior to that Blochs and Grishkos, I made the leap to Gaynors. I think I might be in love…

And finally, I got over the entrelac fear in knitting. I’ve attempted it several times over the years but never quite got my head around it. Now I have and I feel like I’ve crossed the final frontier of knitting!

This is a photo I took on my walk to the tube from the new office, cityscape featuring the Tower of London, the Shard and some trafficlights:

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ETA and the title? I may be marathon watching Friends…

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Dansolutions 2014

So after 211 classes, my ballet year is over and I’m indulging in a whole fortnight of no classes and eating, drinking and being merry. Although I did something funny to my big toe in my sleep and I can’t put weight on it so my Christmas plans of demanding that Favourite Auntie walks me as well as the puppy on a daily basis are looking a bit like a pipe dream which is TERRIBLE because (a) puppy and (b) hills! Anyway, it seemed the opportune moment now I’m back in the Shire to reflect on the last year from a ballet perspective. Well attempt to anyway…

So my dansolutions 2014 were:

  • manage a pirouette en pointe without getting up to passé and freaking out: yes and no. I’ve managed a few vaguely successful en dehors to the right, failed consistently at turning to the left and not really attempted en dedans. To be honest, pointe’s been a bit of a trial all year: sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s utterly terrible and I can never entirely tell which one it’s going to be. On the bad days I feel entirely like quitting, but I won’t. Not yet anyway, there’s still so much I want to try.
  • achieve some kind of consistency with pirouettes (at the minute there are some classes where I just settle for hitting a decent balance and I’d quite like to get over that now thank you): No. Fail whale right here. No consistency, no anything and far too many off days. In short 2014 has not been my turning year. Well except for waltz turns which I CAN NOW DO!
  • manage an attitude pirouette: Achievement unlocked. Not with any sort of consistency or grace or anything BUT I’ve managed a few. And arabesque pirouettes. I even managed an attitude one in tire-bouchon and that was HARD.
  • achieve consistent doubles en dehors both sides: see 2014 was not my year for turning. Never mind. Next year.
  • get my demi pointe balances more consistent: work in progress but we’re definitely getting there. Except retire at the barre.
  • start jumping again (my patella tendon/ITB have been… niggly so jumping’s been out since about October which is galling): achievement DEFINITELY unlocked. There have been on and off periods of jumping but the on periods have been BRILLIANT. I am definitely more of a jumper than a turner, especially big jumps (petit allegro is the work of the devil sometimes).

I need to make some dansolutions for 2015 but I think I might leave it until I’ve had a decent break and time to ruminate. Isn’t ruminate a great word?

What I probably ought to do is go and rescue my father from the Christmas tree as my mother is making him rearrange the decorations. But I’ve still got half a cup of coffee left to drink and, well, coffee.

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