Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


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Pushed to the Limit

Man, have things been busy over here!! I’m working more now, got the new puppy, have dance 2 nights a week, teach on Saturdays, and I’m adding volleyball into this crazy mix now!! I haven’t been running as much as I was in the fall, but I am running the Cleveland 10k this Sunday. Woo hoo! Husband is running it too, and this is his first time running more than a 5k. I’m so excited for him. My friends asked me to join their volleyball team for this summer since my friend just had a baby and isn’t ready to return yet. I played with them a few times over winter, but this will be sand volleyball! I’m so pumped!!

Dance has been crazy. But a good crazy. Our recital pieces this year are really hard. Way more difficult then any of the ones I was in last year. For example: our fan dance has 3 sets of double pirouettes just about back to back. And then, we repeat it again towards the end of our dance. The length of this dance?? Just over 6 minutes. We do a lot of running on and off stage for this piece, which is really cool. We change our formations a few times and it looks amazing. One of my other dances has fouettés in it, which I’m doing good with for the most part. I get a little mentally intimated by the one set, but I’m getting better. We do two piqué turns and then two fouettés ending with an attitude turn. It’s so weird- if I just do two piqué turns and then start the fouettés, I can do over 10. But in the dance, I struggle with just the two. So frustrating!! I know it’s just a mental thing. I just need to trust myself more.

This year has definitely taken me to a higher level of dance. I’ve never pushed so hard and worked so much on such tough skills. Every class, every week, I’m pushed to my limits. And I love every second of it. I love the challenges of these dances and I’m pleased with how well I’m doing. I love coming home with aching feet and sore calves. It’s the best feeling.

Nothing new has really been happening with teaching. The girls are so adorable in their little recital dances. They love the songs. We are doing Pharrell’s “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 for our 3-4 year olds and Kesha’s “Blow” for our 5-6 year olds. They sing along while we dance and it’s so cute. They really enjoy it. I’ve been working on some new things to incorporate into their classes. I would love if anyone had any suggestions!

Hope everyone is doing well. I’m so glad warmer weather has come to Ohio. It’s been nice to get outside and do home yard work and play with the pups! Speaking of pups- here’s my little baby Peanut!

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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 fouettés. 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 fouettés?! 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 fouettés 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, fouetté, fouetté, attitude. And then soon after that two pique turns, fouetté, fouetté, 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 fouettés 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 chaîne 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 chaînés are the best out of the turns on my left. I really struggle with getting all the way across the floor with my piqué 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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Dance Recital = Success!!

Well it’s all over!! Our dance recital was yesterday, and man was it a good time!!! I only have a few pictures from the day, which is kind of a bummer. I have all the memories though!

Pointe was the opening number. Talk about big expectations!!! I was so nervous. My legs were really shaky, but I tried my best to calm my nerves. Luckily, the girls I dance with are so encouraging. Well, the curtain went up and off we went! Once we got past the slower beginning, my nerves settled a little. It was a serious dance, so we didn’t smile. The task of not keeping my mouth hanging open to breath was the difficult part. My mom afterwards said I looked down a lot during it. I guess that’s ok….I was really nervous!

I then had the rest of the First Act to watch the other girls perform. The company girls are so amazing! They had a bunch of dances and each one was done beautifully. They truly are amazing to watch.

Then, came Act Two. My other two ballet dances were towards the beginning. They were only separated by 2 other dances, giving us just enough time to change. My Ballet 1/2 dance went great! I think I did a good job. I know I slightly flubbed up my one set of chaine turns, but it was because we had a small area to turn. I didn’t want to hit into the one girl near me, or push her into the curtain, so I had to adjust my turns as best I could. I felt the most confident in this dance, mainly because it was just below my skill level. Only a single pirouette, chaine turns, piqué turns, and a soutenu turns.

My last dance was my Level 2 dance. This was the dance I have been stressing over. I struggled with consistently landing all the turns. Other than that, I felt confident with everything else in the number. Well the time came….and I hit my double pirouette!! Even my husband said, “You hit your double turn and landed it so nicely!” Yay!! The other turns were just so-so. I know I came around out of each, but I think they were a little sloppy. The first set was a tour jete into an outside attitude turn into an inside pirouette. The second set was a tour jete into a double inside pirouette. That’s the one I think I flubbed a little. I also slightly flubbed my one attitude turn, boooo.

All in all, it was a great experience. I enjoyed every minute of it. I will eventually have a video from it, but until then I am lost to wonder what I really looked like!! Eeeekkk!

Thank you everyone for all your kind words and support!! It’s so awesome to have the support of other fellow adult beginners 🙂

Here are a few pics. The one is of Legal Ballerina and myself in our pointe costumes. Then the other pic is from us performing our pointe dance in stage. If you are looking at the stage, I’m the farthest on the left and LB is the next one in slightly in front of me. The last pic is of LB, me, and her little sis- who also danced with us!!

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MAY 30 Day Challenge Recap

Well, as usual, life got in the way of my 30 day challenge. Sigh. I was able to work on a few things, but not on others. Here’s what my goals for May were:

Ballet:

1. Stretch daily.
2. Clean up double pirouette on right side.
3. Clean up my arms in my dances.

Running:

1. Get myself to a steady 10:00 pace.
2. Improve my 5k time.
3. Increase my distance to 8-9 miles.

Well, I can tell you now…I did not stretch daily. Heck, I barely stretched. Most of it was due to my nagging calf muscle. Stupid calf muscle. I have cleaned up my double pirouette on my right side….just slightly though. I still struggle with being consistent. I’ve also worked on my arms a lot. I’ve cleaned them up considerably in the pointe dance.

My running goals didn’t really get to happen. After I injured my calf, my teacher put the axe in me doing any more running until the recital was over. With the exception of my Cleveland 5k that was. But in running the Cleveland 5k, I improved my 5k time to 28:06…..took 4 minutes off my last PR. Also in that race, I ran a 9:02 pace. Most likely a fluke, but we shall see. I was not able to work on distance. That will try to happen in June.

All in all, my May challenges went pretty well. I was able to achieve some improvement in both ballet and running. I’m looking forward to new June challenges.

How did your 30 day challenge for May go??