My Poor, Aching Feet

I need your help!

Madame is always very specific about making us really work through our feet in class – rolling deliberately through tendus, maintaining a nice high demi-pointe, and being aware of how our toes grab the floor.  These are things that I heard in my first few months of class, but didn’t really understand what they meant.  it has only been in the last couple of weeks that I can tell that I am articulating and using my feet.

Because they hurt!  The morning after class, my feet feel sore and crampy and weak.  They become fatigued during other activities that I never thought about before.  In short, I am using new muscles, and the muscles are trying to get used to being used.  This is good news since I think it means I’m finally working the way I should be.

But here’s where I need the help.  It seems harder to get over this particular muscles soreness, and it’s so unique because your feet are in use constantly.  How do you treat your sore feet??    Any advice would be appreciated!

A Double

I am not talking about cheeseburgers here.

(Although a double cheeseburger sounds delicious.  I am somewhat easily distracted today.)

You guys.  Last night in class, I did a double pirouette.  Two turns.  TWO.


Pirouette are not my forte.  I struggle with them.  I don’t spot well, and although my balance is fairly solid, I always feel out of control when I turn. I am super pleased when I get a kinda clean, at-least-I-landed-in-the-right position single.

Needless to say, the double was quite unexpected.

I didn’t mean to.  We were doing a combo across the floor.  And the second time through, I just. Kept. Turning.  Luckily, we ran out of music, or I may have fallen down in shock.  It honestly scared the crap out of me – I looked up at Madame watching us from the front of the studio and she just smiled and held up two fingers.

A double pirouette.  It wasn’t clean, or pretty, or technically sound.  But I did it.  Which means I can do it again.


Ballet . . . and gymnastics?

Today, my sister and I took a gymnastics lesson.

We used to take gymnastics.  Over twenty years ago.  Needles to say, our athletic abilities are not exactly the same as they were then.

Actually, the lesson went pretty well.  The instructor (Miss Hannah!) was fairly easy on us, but definitely made us get out of our comfort zones.  Ballet has prepared me for the flexibility and posture, and some of the leg strength.  But my upper body needs work!  Do you have any idea how much wrist strength (yes – WRISTS) gymnasts have?

We’ve scheduled our second lesson for next week – more to follow!  I’m sure I’ll be grand jete-ing on a six foot balance beam in no time!

Image (In case you didn’t know, this is not me.  Maybe next class.)

Variety = Ouch.

One of the things I really love about my ballet class is that Madame is constantly switching up our exercises.  I’ve heard from a few of the students that they have attended a class in which the instructor did the same barre, every class.  I have a friend who loves Bikram yoga, and one of the studios she goes to does the same 90 minute class, every time.   And I get the point.  Constant repetition forces you to continually improve on the exercise.  I get it.

But it doesn’t work for me.  I get bored easily.  So switching it up appeals to me, and I think I improve more when I don’t know what’s coming next.  I have to perfect the movement AND remember the combination.  And, occasionally, I have to do something entirely new.

Let me tell you: sometimes new hurts.  A lot.

In my Thursday night class, everything was going along swimmingly.  I even made it through frappes without too much drama.  And the best part about making it through frappes is that grand battements are next.  I love grand battement at the barre.  Because I’m good at it.  I have long legs and decent flexibility when it comes to battements.  (Full disclosure:  I also like it when people move down the barre so they don’t get kicked by me.  That’s power, my friends.)

Madame, however, threw a not-so-little wrench into my battement routine.  Battement front, battement a la second . . . and then battement a la second en releve.  Honestly, I wasn’t nervous.  I distinctly remember thinking, “I got this.”

Then the music started and I almost fell over.  Thank goodness for the barre.

In case you didn’t already know, grand battement a la second en releve ain’t no joke.  Time for some extra crunches.

What a Week!

Monday:          Ballet class

Tuesday:         Upper body/Abs with personal trainer

                        (Then came home and did Finis Jhung’s “Stretch, Turnout, Extension” DVD . . . Whew!)

Wednesday:    Sand volleyball game

Thursday:        Ballet class

Friday:             Lower body/Abs with personal trainer

Image (You need to Google “Work It Kitty.”   Seriously.) 


What are YOU doing this week??

Did You Know? (And if you did, why didn’t you tell me?!)

It’s that time of year:  School has let out, which means my college town is no longer crawling with drunk frat boys, but quiet and peaceful.  The weather is perfect for playing outside, and going to ballet class without several sweater layers.  For many of you fellow adult ballet students, I know summer also means no class.  Luckily, my studio does hold a limited number of classes.

But here’s another thing that happens this time of year . . . all the teenagers at the studio are buzzing about summer intensives.

I’ve listened longingly to the tales of auditions, and all day ballet, and spending weeks with people who love dance.  But I’ve just been grateful I have the opportunity to continue class.

Until I flipped through an old issue of Pointe magazine.  And saw an ad for Sun King Dance Camp.

What WHAT??

If you don’t know, Sun King is a week long dance camp held in several American and Canadian cities that caters only to adult ballet students.  It is a summer intensive for adult students.

The existence of this camp makes me extremely happy.  I am hoping to attend a session next summer, although none of the locations are particularly close to me.

Did you know such a thing existed?? Have you attending an adult student camp or intensive?