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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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!!!