Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


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And the nerves set in!!

Sooooooo my recital is this Sunday. And I’m so nervous. Like waaaaay more nervous than last year. Our dances are so much more difficult this year. I just want to look good and land all my turns. Is that too much to ask?!? Hah! I know in the end, I’ll end up being ok, but I’m still nervous. I’ll try to take some pictures from rehearsal and performance day! I love our costumes, so I’ll try to get pictures of them for sure. We only have one more night of classes on Thursday, then it’s the rehearsal on Saturday. A group of us is also performing at a local arts event after our rehearsal, so I look at it as another opportunity to practice!

On a side note- my pointe shoes are finally working for me. I’ve stuck with my Grishko 2007’s. I have ended up wearing a 7.5 on my left foot and a 7.0 on my right. Both still the soft shanks. It seems to be working! I had to cut the satin off my platforms and replaced it with some moleskin due to the crazy slippery satin on them. Works like a charm!

Well, here’s to another recital!! Send me all of your good-dancer-good-luck vibes, because I most definitely need them!!!! I’m so excited for our show. I know it’s going to be awesome. Everyone has worked so hard on their dances. So yay!

Happy Dancing!! 🙂

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Where Have I Been?!?!

Well hello! Where the heck have I been?!?! This is why…..

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That’s right folks! We got a puppy!!!! This is my little teacup chihuahua buddy! We named her Peanut and she is currently 10 weeks old. She was born on Valentine’s Day. So freakin sweet. I love her so much. She’s been such a good puppy so far! Other than the expected occasional accidents, she is really picking up things quick! She’s going potty outside when we let her out and she’s sleeping soundly in her crate at night. She sleeps right next to the bed on my side. Everyone here loves her too. Our one cat, Oreo, is best friends with Peanut. They wrestle and play together constantly. Even Kya, our other dog has really warmed up to her. Peanut loves to chase everyone around the house. She’s so perfect. I love her!!

I will get around to posting more, but here’s a little update on all things! Ballet is going good! We are still working hard at our recital pieces. I really am loving them all. We ended up taking our second pointe dance and turning it into a ballet dance. Between our teacher being out with her injury and everyone having foot or shoe problems, we decided it was for the best. Next year it will be on pointe though. We are still wearing our tutus, which is really cool. The dance has really come together. It’s so different from our other dances. We are still using the fans too! It’s really awesome.

I have a running event coming up soon too! I haven’t been running as much as I was last year, but that’s ok for me. I had a 5k scheduled in March that I ended up not running because I ended up being really sick. I then participated in a Run or Dye race with a couple co-workers. We ended up just walking the whole 3.1 miles and talking. It wasn’t a timed race, so we took our time! Here’s a pic from after the race!

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I’m the crazy girl on the left! It was so much fun. I recommend doing one!

Well, that’s all for now people! Catch ya on the flip side! 🙂


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Dreaming of Fouettés

I had a ballet dream last night. I dreamt that I was at some studio, (maybe at a hotel?! Weird, I know!) but was with the girls I normally dance with. We were instructed to work on our fouettĂ©s. Our teacher wanted us to be able to do 8 of them. That part is true, for our one dance, but I’m not in the group doing 8. So in my dream, we all start working on them. I was working hard, trying to get 8, when all of a sudden I just kept on going. And going, and going. I heard one of the girls counting out loud when she realized how many I was doing. The final count? 30. HAH!! And the weirdest part, I did them while keeping my eyes closed. No spotting. Nothing. That’s not even possible to do, so I have no idea why I dreamt like that. It was the weirdest dream ever. 30 fouettĂ©s?! I mean come on. I’d be happy if I could just do the 8 lol. I woke up from that dream basically laughing. I’m guessing I was dreaming of fouettĂ©s because we’ve been doing them a lot since they are in both of my ballet dances for our show. But closing my eyes?! I need my eyes! Hah!!

So I guess you could say I have a dance brain right now. We’ve been plugging away at our recital dances and I usually go to bed thinking of them. Both dances are coming along nicely and I’m so happy with them. We’re also still working on both of our pointe dances too. I ordered our first fan that we are going to use, and brought it to class last night. Practicing with it felt amazing. I thought I was going to struggle more with it, but it turned out to be easier than I expected. We had been using paper fans, just to get used to having a prop in our hand. Using the real fan was very different as well. Our teacher told us that our prop, in this dance- a feather fan, should give us strength in our movements. That we should be able to use our arms in a strong way now. Once we figured out what we were doing with our arms and the fan, it definitely changed the way the dance felt, at least to me! Holding that fan made me feel stronger in my movements and really made the music and our choreography stand out that much more. It’s just so awesome. I’m glad I embraced using the fan instead of being scared of it, which I initially was. We decided to go with black tutus for the dance, and most likely will be using red feather fans. I love the red. This dance is turning out to be one of my favorites.

Anywho! Hope everyone else is doing well out there!! I *think* I see an end in sight to this crappy winter we’ve had?!? It was literally 60 degrees here on Tuesday and then we had a snow storm and it was like 10 degrees out on Wednesday. Crazy weather.

Happy Dancing 🙂


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It’s That Time of the Year!!!!

Wow. I can’t believe January is almost over. Time flies. It snowed a lot here where I live this weekend, and it’s been pretty cold. And to think at this time last year we were in sunny, warm, Disney. Oh how I miss that place!!! But anyways. With January comes “that time” of the year. The time of the year where we start working on our recital dances in ballet. We’ve been working on our pointe dance a few months now, and it’s really looking great. We’ll also be doing our pointe dance from last year too, but changing up some parts since we are more skilled now. TWO pointe dances! I’m so excited. I think we even get to wear tutus in our new one. How cool is that?!? We’ve also started on our Ballet 1/2 and Ballet 2/3 dances as well. Both dances have awesome music….I can’t remember their names though. The Ballet 1/2 dance is off to a good start. I feel really confident and comfortable with what we are doing. That class is definitely my more basic class. Last year, we had a separate Ballet 2 class, which was my most challenging dance (With that dreaded double pirouette!!!) This year the classes have been combined to have just two different classes/levels. The Ballet 2/3 dance is definitely more difficult. It’s chock full of turns right from the get go. Double pirouette, fouettĂ©, fouettĂ©, attitude. And then soon after that two pique turns, fouettĂ©, fouettĂ©, attitude. These turns are definitely kicking my butt!! But I love the dance and music. I am pushing hard every week to work on my turns. It’s funny… I can do several fouettĂ©s after just a single pirouette, but I’m struggling with pulling them off after a double. I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it (I’ve never tried them this way before) and being more confident with them. The girls in class are very supportive and are always pushing me to do better and not give up.

I help teach a Beginning Ballet 1/2 class, which is mostly 6-8 year olds. We’ve picked an awesome Irish sounding song that’s played mostly with a violin. So cool! The little girls love it and it’s so cute watching them dance. We’ve been searching for the “perfect costume” for this song, and I think we may have narrowed it down to a few options. So exciting!!

We haven’t started much with the teeny tiny kids in the Saturday classes yet. We’ve narrowed down their songs and have started working on some choreography. These girls are just so stinking adorable. We’ve had a big increase in attendance too which is just amazing. I think we had 20 girls in the 3-4 year old class and about 16 in the 5-6 year old class!! I’m doing really well with teaching them, and I’m becoming more and more confident. My teacher is still always there, just in case I need her. It’s nice because some days the kids just need some more assistance in class. Things have been going good! I am loving teaching the little ones. With my teacher being out due to her injury from time to time, I also get to fill in and teach the Beginning Ballet levels too. Which I am absolutely loving, when I get to do it. I remember being so scared and nervous the first time I had to teach way back in October. Now it’s just fun! The girls have gotten to know me and I’m (slowly) learning and trying to remember all their names. I think I was meant to be a teacher sometimes! Hah!!

The show will be here in 5 months. I just know that time is going to fly by. Pretty soon we will be ordering costumes, which is also exciting. This means I also have to finish my prototype tutu! I started making a tutu for us to possibly use in our pointe dance, but I’m struggling on figuring out how to finish it. I have the stiff tulle to put under the softer tulle, I just need to figure out how to sew the stiff tulle in the correct circles and then attach it to a brief. Should be easy right?! Hah!! Luckily my mom is an excellent sewer/ quilter/ crocheter/ any-type-of-crafter-extraordinaire, so I’m hoping she can help me. There’s always my mother in law and grandmother in law (lol!!) to help too. If this doesn’t work, we might just stick with using the classic black tutus my teacher already owns.

I also just got a new pair of pointe shoes in the mail! Just ordered another pair of my trusty Gaynors! So I have to remember to sew my elastics on before class this Tuesday because my old pair are dead. Like beyond dead. These ones will most likely not last until the recital. The dances we are doing are just killing my shank. But the timing should work out well to order another pair before the show and get them broken in just right.

Hope everyone in the ballet (and running!!) world are doing good! Happy dancing people!! 🙂


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Looking Back…. And Looking Forward

I cannot believe that December is over already. This year has completely flown by. I thought I would do a little end of the year recap on both my dancing and running. Ya know, take a look back and see what I’ve accomplished and what my goals for next year are. I’ll start off here with my dancing and save my running recap for another post. So here goes!! I apologize for the the long post!

This past year has been a lot of fun. My dancing has greatly improved and I’m becoming more confident in things I never thought I could do. I had my first real recital as an adult in June. I performed in 3 different numbers- 2 lyrical ballet ones and 1 pointe dance. I really liked all of the dances and felt pretty good about my performance. I got a copy of the DVD from our show and watched it several times. I was able to see where I did good and where I needed to improve on things. One thing that needed improvement was my turns. All of them. I needed to be cleaner and more solid. I also needed to work on my nerves and my confidence. I needed to become more secure with pointe and trust myself more. I’m stronger than I think.

Summer session came and went quickly. I remember the first or second week into it we were working on pirouettes. Without even thinking about it, I started doing doubles. On both sides. What?! I had just struggled a few weeks prior with landing a double pirouette in our one dance, and now I could just do them! My teacher told me it’s because the stress was gone, and she was right! Ever since then I’ve been easily doing doubles on both sides and even starting to land triples on my right. Holy crap! I was so happy. My teacher was proud of me too, along with some of the girls in class. I have come such a long way! I remember my first few lessons with my teacher where I was too afraid to even try a single pirouette at the barre. Now here I am working on triples. I also started improving on fouettes, at least on my right side. I went from not being able to do one on my right to doing 8 in a row in class this week! I even received compliments on them from my teacher. I was so proud of myself. Now, fouettes on my left are a different story. I struggle to even get one. Hopefully that will improve with time and practice. I still notice that turns to my left in general are still difficult for me. I can do a double pirouette but that’s about it. I haven’t tried for triples yet on that side because I can just feel my body is not ready. My chaĂ®ne turns to the right have really improved. I’m becoming faster and more solid, which is a great improvement. My turns across the floor on my left have improved some. My chaĂ®nĂ©s are the best out of the turns on my left. I really struggle with getting all the way across the floor with my piquĂ© and soutenu turns on my left side. I try every week, but just feel like I’m not improving lately.

Pointe has been going great. I’ve finally got a good pair of shoes that I can really work and look good on my feet. I decided to stick with the Gaynor Mindens in the hard shank. I could use a little tapered of a box, but don’t feel like special ordering every pair of shoes. My shoes seem to last for about 1.5 – 2 months before the shanks are really broken in. That’s where I’m at right now, but I’m not having any pain yet. I’m starting to fall off of pointe on some things because of the lack of support, but I’m still able to dance in them. I will probably buy a new pair after the holidays. My feet are getting even stronger and I’m becoming more confident. I can even do pirouettes on pointe now and I’m even trying for doubles on my right. I couldn’t be happier! We started working on the choreography for a new pointe dance and I love it so far. It’s definitely more complicated than last years. So far we have two pirouettes in the dance, one of them being a double! Wowza!!

My flexibility is still meh. I haven’t really worked on it much though. I have found some stretches that I do routinely in class now. I can now do a few things I couldn’t do before, but my flexibility still has a long way to go. I’ve injured something in my inner thigh, right where it attaches to my pelvis. It’s really tight and really sore, but I’m trying to stretch it. I don’t know what I did to it. Boooo.

Teaching dance has been going great. The kids are starting to know me and I’m starting to know them. I think I finally might know all of their names now?! Hah! When my teacher unfortunately broke her wrist in October, I was asked to fill in and teach some other classes too. I had a good time with it and the girls in every class were very helpful. We started working on one of the recital dances in the younger class and I think we finally might have the songs picked out for the the 3-4 and 5-6 year old classes. I’m loving teaching and have become more confident in myself because of it.

I also got to partake in a few different Master Classes this past year. I got to take class with Allison DeBona of Ballet West, Daniel Ulbricht of NYC Ballet, and Ashley Bouder of NYC Ballet. I learned some things in each class, and got to see other little future ballerinas from schools all around the Cleveland area. It really was a good experience! I’m looking forward to taking class with Allison DeBona and the men of Ballet West again in the Spring! I’m so excited she is coming back- Allison was a great teacher. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take these classes.

Sooooooo. All in all this past year has been great! I’ve learned a lot of new things, got to see an amazing ballet, and had some good experiences in master classes. I started teaching- which I love. Overall I’ve become more confident in my dancing. I’m not afraid to try new things anymore. And I’ve formed relationships with the girls in the studio through teaching and just being in class with them every week. I can’t believe 2013 is almost over, but I’m looking forward to 2014! Here are just a couple goals I have for the next year in dance:

~ Land triple pirouettes on my right
~ Land double pirouettes on my right in pointe
~ Increase my flexibility
~ Improve my turns across the floor on my left
~ Improve my fouettes
~ Become an even better teacher
~ Work on making my upper body softer while I’m working my lower body

Do you have any dance goals for 2014?
Did you achieve any dance goals in 2013?
What was your favorite thing about dance this year?
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY DANCING!!!


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A Tale of Two Ashleys

I had the opportunity to attend another Master Class put on by the great Ballet in Cleveland organization. This time they brought NYC Ballet’s Ashley Bouder and Phil Chan of Armitage Gone! Dance, also out of NYC. First off, I was really nervous. I tossed the idea of going back and forth in my head for over a week. I just got the feeling that this particular class might be too much for me. Legal Ballerina also was unsure at first of going. We ended up deciding to just go and try it. Jessica, who runs Ballet in Cleveland, said she had emailed Ashley Bouder about us and that she was looking forward to having us take her class. She was to teach 1.5 hours of ballet technique followed by a 1 hour variation class. She was going to be teaching Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Variation!! En pointe!! I figured I had to give this a shot. It’s not every day I get the chance to learn a variation. If you want to learn more about who Ashley Bouder is you can look her up here.

Let me start with warm ups. LB and I found a place at a barre and started to stretch. There were a LOT of girls in this class. The class started on time and Ashley and Phil came out. Jessica briefly introduced them and then Ashley started class. We were at the last barre on the end. Ashley stood in the center of the room- a good 20 feet from us. She quickly started demonstrating a combination. I could not see anything she was doing at all. I also could barely hear her. So before I knew it- the pianist started playing and all these girls started the combination. I had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. This remained the same throughout the entire barre session. I could not see her demonstrate a single combination. And I could barely hear what she was saying the entire time. This was very disappointing and upsetting. I understand I am not an “advanced ballet student” but I have never been so frustrated. Ashley flew so fast through each and every combination. I noticed most of the “advanced girls” around me struggled through every combo. For them, I think it was mostly lack of being able to see/hear Ashley. I understand that Ballet in Cleveland is a non-profit organization, and I appreciate Jessica letting me attend these classes, but there were just too many girls in this class. I think in all the combos we did at the barre, Ashley only came around twice. I got no critique-nothing- from her each time. She didn’t appear to critique too many girls. The one thing I loved about the previous classes there, were that the dancers teaching would walk around and critique you. And the combos they did were challenging, but not like this time. Her combos were so fast and difficult, I literally ended up just standing at the barre, barely moving anything. We finally moved to center where I thought things would get better. We were able to split up into smaller groups for the combos which was nice. Unfortunately, Ashley gave us fast, faster, and fastest combos. Once again, I just ended up standing in the back, not able to dance. The combos were way too fast for me. I couldn’t pick any of them up. I felt very inferior. Ashley kept yelling out that girls were doing something wrong, but no one seemed to be able to correct it. Once again, most of the girls were struggling to get through these combos. The only thing I ended up being able to do were the jumps we did from first, second, and then changements. I was so disappointed. I felt like I paid to just stand around.

Up next was the pointe variation. I was extremely nervous, especially after how the first part of class went. But, I put on my shoes and started to warm up. I wasn’t really familiar with this particular variation, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was fast- imagine that! It was so fast, I thought I was going to fall. Ashley broke it up into different pieces and we ran through it a few times. By the time my group was up- I was in the first group- I still did not have it. I kept working on it though as the other groups went. By the end of the fifth group, I had finally gotten that little piece of choreography down. It wasn’t pretty like some of the other girls. My arms were all over the place, but I had gotten the footwork down for the most part. I was so happy! Finally, I had done something. LB was struggling with choreography- heck everyone was- and she ended up just wanting to be done with class. She was just as frustrated as I was with this class experience. I knew from watching the other girls continuing on in the variation, that I would not have been able to keep up. Out of all the variations out there, I just have to wonder why did she pick such a fast paced one?

We briefly got to talk with Jessica before we left, and expressed some of our concerns with her. She could tell that we were frustrated. She felt bad that we did not have a good experience. Even she thought Ashley was moving a little quickly with the teaching. I’m really sad that this class didn’t go better for me. To be honest, I left with not a good image of Ashley in my mind. Don’t get me wrong- she is a phenomenal dancer. I love watching videos of her dancing. Her teaching though? I have to say that she wasn’t a very good teacher, in my opinion. I loved the way Allison DeBona and Daniel Ulbricht taught when they were here. I took something away from each of those classes. I took nothing away from this one. I felt like all she did was call out combos and then would yell out that girls were doing it incorrectly. I could be wrong, but I got the vibe that she was just getting irritated with them. She didn’t seem very nice. And I don’t like saying that about people. I really wanted to like her and this class, but I just didn’t. 

I’m not so sure about taking any more master classes in the future. I know Allison DeBona is coming back in February or March I think? I would take from her again, because I liked her style. But for any new ones, probably not. I know as an adult beginner I will never dance or look like these younger girls. That’s ok with me. I just don’t think I’m at the ability level for these classes. And that’s just ok. I know I have come a long way, and I may not be dancing with “perfect” technique, but I’m still dancing- and that’s what makes me happy. I feel so bad that this review wasn’t a good one. I’m sure there were girls there that would say the complete opposite of me. Every one has their own opinions. Some of the really good dancers got a lot of advice from Ashley when they were dancing. So, good for them. I wish there had been less girls in the class. I understand there will be a lot, but this just seemed like way too many. Hopefully when Allison comes back next year her class won’t be overfilled too.

Here’s to another week of dancing! 🙂


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Back in the Saddle Again!

I love me some Aerosmith….anyways…..

Well hello there! I feel like I haven’t written a post in a long time. Yikes! I have been crazy busy lately and I’m sorry for the silence over here! My husband and I were out of town the past 2 weekends and this upcoming weekend is filled to the brim as well!

The first session of the new dance year has begun. Last Thursday was our first class back since summer session. After having 3 weeks off I thought I would be super shaky and a little sluggish, but it was the opposite! I got right back into the groove of things. Most importantly? My pirouettes. I don’t know what happened since our recital in June, but ever since then my pirouettes are off the hook! Hah! I struggled landing my double pirouette in our recital dance for months leading up to it. And now? I’m easily landing my doubles (on my right) and am actually getting my triples. I’m not landing the triples as smooth as I should, but hey. I’m getting around. I am so proud of myself! And my dreaded pirouettes on my left side are actually becoming a little easier too. I used to have to struggle for a single, and now I’m almost consistently landing doubles. I can’t help but think what a long way I have come in the last year. One of the girls in my class said the same thing last week to me. She told me “remember how a year ago you were afraid to come off the barre? Now look at you!” And she is right. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily struggles, but don’t forget how much you have accomplished. Hearing her say that to me totally made my night. Even my chaĂ®ne turns on the right have significantly improved. I’m turning faster and I’m keeping better control over my feet and body. I love being able to actually feel how much I’ve improved. Makes me so happy.

As for my pointe shoe situation… I’ve gone back to wearing my Gaynors. The ones I bought before our recital. They are the hard shank. I emailed Gaynor Minden and asked about being able to special order shoes and she gave me the go ahead. But, I’ve decided to hold off. Being $130, I just have a hard time spending that money when I have shoes that I can use, just are a little annoying. So that’s what I’ve done. I’m just going to keep wearing these shoes and stuffing a bunch of lambs wool in them. It gets the job done! I do have to say that my left foot is already really breaking in the shoe. My teacher thought the shoe was broken already. Yikes. Silly left foot. I’m not having any pain though, so I’m going to keep wearing them. They actually feel very comfortable. I’m sorry Gaynor for every cheating on you with Grishko. It was a silly thing to do. Just a moment of weakness. I’m glad we’re back together 🙂

Tomorrow is my first day of teaching! My teacher will be there with me, so I’m nervous, but not super nervous. I’m so excited!! I also have a 5k race this Sunday. Even husband is doing it with me! Who wouldn’t want to run and then get a beer and cupcake at the finish line?! I also have to find time to get my long run in this weekend. The scary 8 miles. It will be my first time going this far. Eeeeeekkkk. I’ve also talked to my teacher about possible cutting back just a little with ballet. At least until my half marathon is over. My little calves just can’t take it! We’ll see though. I love ballet too much to miss it. But I’ve got to listen to my body. So we shall see!

I’ve loved keeping up with everyones blogs. So fun to see everyone getting back into the swing of ballet season! Keep up the good work everyone 🙂