You know ballet class was awesome when every muscle in your body still hurts 4 days later. Probably didn’t help that I decided this week to take some extra barre exercise classes. Or that I started to stretch extensively . . . because why shouldn’t a 30-year-old should be able to do her splits??
Heating pad and NSAIDs, anyone?
I have never seen Nutcracker.
(Brief pause for shocked gasps and exclamations of disbelief.)
Of course, I know the story, and I’ve seen excerpts on television, and photos. But I have never seen it live on stage. For a ballet lover, this is shameful, I know.
But this is about to be rectified. My studio, like most studios world round, puts on its own Nutcracker every year. What better way to view my first performance of the holiday classic than at the studio where I began my ballet journey?
I saw a bit in a fashion magazine about the “newest hair trend – the Ballerina Top Knot.”
Ballet seems to be everywhere these days. In advertisements, television shows, fitness crazes, and – apparently – fashion magazines. And it’s awesome – more people taking a look at this beautiful art and understanding its rewards and challenges is great. But this particular article made me really upset.
The “Ballerina Top Knot,” as you may have guessed, is a bun. Plain and simple. We wear ’em every class. SImple bun. BUT the girls in the fashion photos had the messiest, sloppiest, hair-falling-all-over-the-place-est buns I’ve ever seen. Grrrr.
Maybe I’m being picky (been accused of that before, I’m afraid!). But ballet to me is all about the details. Yes, class is class, and we’ve all been a bit sloppy in class. But there is a standard. Ballerinas are perfect, ethereal creatures with impeccable tastes and every hair in place. They are NOT walking down the street with a sloppy “top knot.”
Okay, even as I write this I know I’m verging on ridiculous. But the flawless dream ballerina of my girlhood lives on in this 30-year-old adult beginner. And when I see ballet all around me, I want it to be right. Pink tights, black leotard, pointe shoes, smooth bun. It’s what I aspire to be.
YAY! (Courtesy of the internet ballerina who pays attention to details)
BOO! (Courtesy of an internet ballerina wannabe who forgot her ballet shoes in class)
My little corner of the world was the recipient of several crazy storms yesterday, including a couple of tornados that did some pretty hefty damage. There weren’t any casualties that I know of, but some people did get hurt. All in all, the area was very lucky – in 2010 a (much stronger) tornado came through the same area and killed 33 people.
The major losses this time around were power lines, trees, several bits of siding off my back porch, a gas station, and a drive-in movie theatre. And 3 ticked off cats at my house who did not appreciate being banished to the basement as a precaution.
Power was out for thousands, and still is for certain areas. And when my power came back on, my first instinct was to turn on every light in the house. As if to say, “Take that Mother Nature! We have lights!”
In all seriousness, I hope everyone has a plan for when Mother Nature does some stupid crap like this. Have flashlights and candles and escape plans and first aid kits. And remember your four-legged family members. They count on you to protect them too.
I’ve noticed that Madame has started giving me individual corrections. In my first few classes, she gave a lot of general corrections to the class. I always try to take ANY correction given, even if it’s directed at another dancer. I think she was feeling out the situation, just in case I was the type to break down in tears when she told me to point my foot.
And I LOVE the corrections! Especially when I correct myself, and Madame gives the elusive “Good” or “Much better.” I feel so much more improved after class when I’ve gotten a specific correction or two.
In addition, I got the best compliment last week that Madame could have ever given. Class was over, and I was walking out the door of the studio. There’s a desk and computer set up right by the door, and Madame is usually there after our class getting ready to close up. Since it’s Nutcracker season, Mr. Director (the studio owner and artistic director) was there as well. I said goodnight and thanks.
And Madame said to Mr. Director, “Watch out for this one. She’s a hard worker.”
Best. Compliment. Ever.
There’s no question that I am the worst one in ballet class. Everyone in the class has had previous ballet training, and several have danced in other genres too. I have no such training – unless you count being cast as a dancer in high school plays because you’re the same height and build as all the other dancers.
It makes sense. I SHOULD be behind the other dancers.
This would have bothered me a few years ago. When I was in grade school, I had to best the best in class. Classic over-achiever. I cried when I got a B. Later, in college, I changed my outlook a little. When classes were actually a bit tough for me, I liked to be the second-best in class. I still wanted that A, but I also wanted one student to be a little smarter and a little better than me. Because I noticed something.
When you are top of the class, you get simultaneously praised and ignored. The other students figure out that it’s easier to approach you with questions instead of the teacher. And the teacher figures you’ll get it on your own, so it’s safe to spend time with the students who struggle with the material. But who do YOU go to with questions? Who helps YOU study? No one, if you’re the number one student. So I learned to find the one guy (at least!) in class smarter than me.
Ballet class is a bit different, of course. But I don’t think bottom of the class is a bad place to be. When I look around at the other dancers, I realize there is something to learn from each of them. They’re all so unique in their abilities. And, there’s no where to go but up when you’re at the bottom!
Got my Modern Classic! And even the packaging is pretty!
And a hand-written note. Nice touch!
I expected to get the black one, since it’s the most basic – and hey, it was free!. Imagine my excitement when I opened the box to this beautiful Barre Blue! The photos really don’t do the color justice.
Sadly, the Modern Classic did not come in time for ballet class. So I wore it to work yesterday. I just HAD to wear it! I neglected to take photos (silly, I know). But I wore it with jeans, pulled down to around hip length with a black blazer over it. And it was so comfy, I wore it to the gym for my workout too! So, yes, it really is versatile!!
I plan on trying it for ballet and yoga, but here’s what I like so far:
- The fabric. It is one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever put on. It moves with you so you don’t really realize you’re wearing it. And at the gym, it didn’t get heavy or sticky when I started to sweat.
- The drawstring sides not only make it adjustable, but create some really flattering ruching. For us adult ballerinas with a little padding round the middle. 😉
- Versatility. I love that you can customize the length. It’s like having 3 tops in one!
But there is a downside:
- The built-in bra. There’s very little support, especially for a large chest. I wore a bra under it both times (standard underwire for work, sports bra for the gym). I tried it on without one, and it just looks awkward. However, on a small chest, I think it could work. Sadly, for me, I can’t really imagine wearing it out of the house with no extra support. Defiantly wouldn’t hold up to leaps in ballet class!
That’s all for now . . . I hope to wear it a few more times and see what happens. And now I’m really excited to see what gwenyth comes up with next for these of their active line!