June 26, 2012

Back Into Ballet-Blogging

For a moment or two I really thought I'm out of ideas for this blog. You know, been to class, done that and wrote about it. I seriously contemplated that PTYD had run its course and it was time for me to move on. Let other ballet bloggers bring fresher points of view to the table. Yeah, I had come down with a case of blogger's blah.. But my ballet friends came to the rescue! I was told to take a break, eat lots of chocolate, go to class and let myself be inspired again. One blogging friend told me to step back! Which made me think of a crime scene, and little white chalk lines drawn around my many discarded blog beginnings.. Thanks go to Lorry for that hilarious image! Others gave me actual ideas to write about, and loads of fun questions to answer.

Asta wanted to know how ballet affects my daily life, what my summer plans are, which dancers inspire me the most, how to get over "ballet lows", what books/films or dance gear are my favorites and whether I've taken any "ballet holidays". Kirsten has issues with slipping pointe shoes, and would like to know how non-dancers respond and relate to my ballet passion. Mark wants to know what I've been doing, where and with whom - and I trust these were strictly ballet-related questions! [insert ;)] But you know what struck me the most? Not only that you guys are still interested, but that you've actually been inspired by my blogs. I can't tell you how much that means to me, it's just beyond awesome! Thank you, Lorry, Noora, Kim, Nellie, Kirsten, Nic, Asta, Mark, Katharine and many more (you know who you are)!

Now, to get back into the flow and groove of ballet-blogging, lets start small. A few random notes, and some answers to your questions:

A: Summer plans -  I'm staying in Finland, sadly my budget wont let me do any traveling this year. But the Finnish summer is lovely, especially once it stops raining.. The beach is close by, and Helsinki is a fun city! Staying home also allows me to take ballet classes without interruption. Although, if someone wants to invite me to their summer cottage, I'm good to go! But not more than two weeks. After that I would go stir-crazy! LOL. So, yeah, I take classes four - five times per week. There are no pointe classes, but I've been doing a basic level in pointe shoes. Which brings me over to my first random note:

Last night, after class. I was still in pointe shoes and practicing pirouettes from fifth. Was feeling steady and balanced. Decided to go for a double. Be the boss of my turns, not the other way around. And.. I did! Clean and balanced double pirouette from fifth, on pointe! Yay! My teacher didn't see it, but I had to tell her, I was so excited about it. Well, she seemed to be happy for me too.

So, there you go. I'm not done blogging yet. :)

That's my beach. Plan to do some water-ballet here!

21 comments:

  1. You have done a great work really. A lots of efforts behind this...singapore holiday

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  2. I've been taking a break for blogging, but only to build up ballet experiences I can blab about on my blog, so you're not alone! I've got a long, tiring summer intensive anyway. But don't stop blogging. Even if it seems the same as what someone else wrote, remember you're always going to experience things differently than someone else, and that is invaluable in itself. I like to read your blog to know I'm not alone with triumphs or frustrations or any of that stuff.

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    1. Thanks, Amber! I had in fact too much ballet experiences building up, and got tired of trying to catch up with the blogging.. But now life is pretty much back to normal, minus the ballet frustrations. :)

      Great to hear about the summer intensive! Don't forget to enjoy yourself, even when it gets really hard and tiring.

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  3. I think blogging is like that - sometimes I feel like I have tonnes to write and other times there's nothing new for at least a week, sometimes two.

    I'd like to more about other exercises you do to support your ballet (e.g. do you work on stamina or flexibility outside ballet?). Also, specific pointers for preparing to go on pointe (I'm years and years away, but nevertheless I'd like to aim for it!).

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    1. This time there was too much to write about - I had to get my thoughts organized first! :)

      Other exercise? Right now I just do power-walks aboout four times a week, and some ab-work at home. In the summer I also enjoy swimming in wild waters, e.g. the sea. Stretching is also a daily routine.

      Pointe prep? Regular class is the best preparation. Be especially diligent about using your demi-pointe - pointe to its full potential. When you do your degagés, always go through demi-pointe. Then point your toes to their maximum without scrunching. You will also need to work on your highest demi-pointe in relevés, while holding your turn-out from top to bottom. Take care that you're not sickling your feet, that your knees are fully stretched when not in plié/fondue. And that you have your weight correctly placed between first and second toe. And work on your core strength!

      Unless you've just started, you might not be "years and years" away.. Just keep up the good work in soft shoes and eventually you will get there! :)

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  4. i read a tip from a professional american dancer (can't remember which one, perhaps kathryn morgan) on pirouettes. she said to count down not up. meaning, instead of counting one, two, etc. every time you hit front, count down from the number of turns you want to make. that way, it's already in your brain that you are doing a double or triple or whatever and you're prepared to keep going. so on a double, you'd think two after the first turn and then one as you're landing. hopefully i'm making some kind of sense in trying to describe it!

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    1. I have to try that! Maybe I could cheat my brain too!

      Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. I'm so glad you're back, Johanna! i've been waiting for you!! i love your blog, you speak directly to me it seems. you are now as valuable to my dance experience as my friends, teachers, and the dance videos i watch endlessly. thank you for writing!

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    1. Thank you Shannon, that is so sweet :)

      I hope that I can keep contributing to your dance experience in a valuable way.. I would certainly love to!

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  6. Oh Johanna, please don't go anywhere. How do you deal with ballet blues? Do you have them? I read your blog religiously, partly because you are the same age as I am and have the same first name (thanks to my mother's German side). Although I too take class about 4x-6x a week, I am, regrettably, a very very beginner, and am dealing with the frustrations of wanting to be taught like the pre-professional children, yet feeling my "adult" limitations and apologizing for the fact that I am an adult, amateur, and probably silly for thinking I can cram 30+ years of training into 5-6 classes a week, despite supplementing with private instruction. Sigh. I adore your blog, and please, keep writing.

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    1. Hi Johanna!

      Not to worry, I'm not going anywhere. I will keep blogging as long as I keep dancing - which is hopefully for a long time!

      Do not regret being a beginner, no matter what your age and adult "limitations" might be! It's the most valuable time in your dance education, as all the foundation is being laid now. Of course you can't cram 30+ years of training into three or four years.. But why should you? You need to enjoy it now, not when you're "good/advanced enough". You are learning and progressing all the time, even when it's not visible. Take your sweet time, literally, and love every tendu and degagé and pas for what it's worth!

      I do get the Ballet Blues, yes, but usually because I'm setting myself up for failure. When I start to listen to the "Shitty Committee", the nay-sayers in my head. You know, the ones that tell you you're not good enough and never will be. But I've decided to silence those for good!

      Sometimes you might get the blues because no matter how hard you work, you feel like you're getting nowhere. But you are! It just takes time, and perseverance. Don't dwell on all the stuff that doesn't come naturally, move on. Eventually it will come! :)

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    2. "Sometimes you might get the blues because no matter how hard you work, you feel like you're getting nowhere."

      This sentence just summed up all of this summer's ballet classes. But I guess you can't always expect yourself to advance at lightning speed. I just wish I could "graduate" (it's been over 2 years in basic beginner, after all) to the 90min intermediate classes, because there's a lot more across the floor work and jumps than in the 60 min basic beginner class.

      On to other things: so happy you're back blogging. I was worried there for a couple of days, obsessively checking my Google Reader, and still no sign of updates from PTYD!

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    3. Sorry about that, Noora.. I needed to get my ducks in a row, so to speak. Or should that be swans? ;)

      Two years in a basic beginner level isn't that long - and I'm sure all the time has been well spent! Just think about it, there's no new level for each year that you dance. Well, except for kids and teens. I have not advanced beyond advanced class, because there is nothing else. Luckily that level will keep me challenged forever! :)

      But I do understand what you mean. "Graduating" to the next level is a goal, something that you've been working towards. Eventually you will get there, and then face a whole new set of challenges. Lucky you! :)

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  7. Hi-5 for getting your 'groooooooooooooove' back. I'd've been on the first flight Suomi bound if you'd abandoned this blog forever to reverse the decision, just so's you know ;)

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    1. So that's what it would take.. And you would bring lots of cake too, right? ;)

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  8. Please keep on blogging! I had dreamt of starting ballet and had a hard time finding the courage to start at the age of 24 (with no dance background what-so-ever). Reading about your experiences and recognizing the same passion for ballet as I have, gave me the final push to sign up for class. I really owe a great thanks to you since ballet has improved my overall quality of life so much! I now have about 5 months of ballet behind me and much more to come!

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    1. That's great! I started when I was 21 going on 22, and without any dance experience - and look where it got me! You're still young, kiddo, and you have a wonderful journey full of discovery ahead of you. I would almost envy you, if I weren't so happy dancing myself!

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  9. Congratulations on the pirouette! Well done! I'm very happy that you are back blogging. I have another post idea -- your stretching routine. I think you've promised to write about it and I'm not sure if you did it. If there's a post and I missed it, could you please post a link?

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    1. Thank you Asta, it was really a happy moment! :)

      Yeah, I wrote a stretching-post a while back. You can read it here:

      http://pointetilyoudrop.blogspot.fi/2011/09/stretch.html

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  10. I don´t know what i would do without your blog, im always here, trying to learn and feel a bit better ;) even if i don´t write often. So please keep up on writing. You are still going to dance more so you´ll have plenty of experiences to share, im sure. Maybe you are just in the summer mood and need a rest, like all of us (i have to do and extra effort and kick my ass to get out there and do some exercise since i started my holidays...just want to rest) :)
    I have some questions too, maybe they give you ideas: Have you dance any other kind of dance? Would you try other kids, if so, which ones?
    How do you recover from a hard class or from a hard week of trainin? when do you think it´s moment to stop? How do you organise yourself, work-classes-life (ive found it hard to keep up with also house chores as i arrive very late every evening, just to know how other people do it)
    One idea, i saw it in one of the other posts: maybe you could organise a trip with some of your fellow dancers and go see a ballet somewhere else, maybe Ballet Kirov, or in Paris or London, that would be an awesome experience to write about it too!! (don´t know about the money though..). I almost go to St.P with a russian friend and he asked me what i´d like to do if I would go there and i said about the ballet...so it never happened, hehehe he told me "if we go there, well, yes i can take you to the ballet but i leave you alone there and then i pick you up when it´s finished". Not a bad deal I guess; but it´s always better if you are with people who share your passion.
    Other things, pains/injuries. Common ones. Have you had any? what did you do about it?
    Ok, ill leave it here. Ill think of more questions to ask ;P
    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi Baluka!

      I'm not going to stop writing. In fact I'm going to attempt a blog-a-day project this July. One post for every day. Some will be tiny mini-posts, and others not so short.. I will be answering some of your (and other readers') questions and just write about whatever else pops into my head. Should be fun! :)

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