November 12, 2013

She's Got Legs

I got some very interesting feedback today. We were in the midst of a fondue exercise facing the barre, when my teacher came over. She told me that the shape of my legs has changed... From the tone of her voice (pleased) and the smile on her face, I figured that this was a good thing. She said that it was because of the work I've been doing. I know that my technique has improved in the past year, and I can feel a difference - but I can't really see it. I mean, I see that my feet are more stretched and pointed and my heels more often forwarded than not... But this is action, not appearance.

I've always had very muscular legs, more sporty than ballerina. And I have to admit that I've looked at some of my fellow dancers' slim and long legs with a bit of envy. When I do, I try to remember that mine work pretty well. I would not want to give up my bounce in exchange for mere ballerina looks. Anyway, my legs match the rest of my body. Still... I did not think it possible that they could look any different, not after dancing for twenty years. And guys, I'm not talking diets. Sure, I could skip my treats (chocolate + cookies), and loose a few pounds - but my face gets too skinny before my body gets just "right".  So I rather have a little extra padding. That's all on that topic.

When I got home today and changed into my comfortable sweats, I could not help but check myself out in the mirror. I still see the same: strong legs and slightly out-of-shape thighs. However, when I stretch, turn out and point, they do look like dancer legs. Not ballerina-slim and hyper-extended, but athletic and shaped by ballet. And that's pretty damn awesome.

Summer 2012, which would make this photo the "before-picture". I really should take some new.. ;)

13 comments:

  1. I have exactly the same legs, muscular and strong. We should not change, our legs are awesome! Always wished for longer slimmer legs, but don't mind the muscles any more.

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    Replies
    1. "Always wished for longer slimmer legs, but don't mind the muscles any more." My sentiment exactly. Things you cannot change, you have to learn to accept. And what's not to like about powerful & strong legs? :)

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  2. Oooo! Good for you!
    I'm looking forward to when I notice that in the mirror :)

    Tochi

    www.thislifeandtimes.com

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  3. When I first started dancing again, last winter, I had this overwhelming sensation that everyone else looked so much more legitimate. I felt like a giant dance impostor and blamed everything from my body to my outfits. Standing a year later I can say that none of that is what gives that impression, it is the movement, placement and strength. Although I'm not there yet I can definitely see little glimmers of hope where I actually look like a real ballerina. Congrats on the achievement!

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    Replies
    1. Nicola, I know what you mean... When you're feeling out of shape (long break, injury, extra weight, whatever), ballet class can be tough on the self-esteem. Mirrors. Other dancers, You start to compare, and we all know that's slippery slope. If it helps you to get motivated, fine. If you begin to feel inferior, bad.

      You can look like a ballerina, but that doesn't mean you're a beautiful dancer. But if you continuously work on your technique and your artistry, you will inevitably and eventually grow into a beautiful dancer.

      Thanks for the congrats! :)

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  4. I also have rather muscular legs, a lot like those of my father, a former athlete...can't beat genetics! However, at this point in my life, I've come to appreciate my strong legs even if they don't look like the standard ballerina legs. Like you, I also tend to get gaunt in the face before my lower half pares down if I try to slim too much. Still, it's nice to see those ballet muscles developing albeit slowly :) Strong legs make for strong dancers! Thanks for your perspective, as always.

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  5. Same to me, I don't have the typical ballerina body and that's something that it's hard not to think about it, but I think with effort, discipline and so much passion you can achieve anything you want! You don't have to stick to have a certain type of body, it's better to be healthy than skinny (in an "unhealthy" way) I really enjoy reading your experiences, keep going! :) Ps, sorry for any grammar mistake n_n

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  6. Olen harrastanut balettia muutaman vuoden. Viime keväänä huomasin yllättäen kesken tunnin, että reidet oli muuttaneet muotoaan aivan totaalisesti ja oli selkeästi lihaksikkammat aiempiin pullamössöreisiin verrattuna. Lisäksi mulla on nykyisin ihan oikeat pohkeet, en uskonut, että se olisi mahdollista näillä perintötekijöillä :). Olen ollut aina rimpula ja tikkujalka ja tuskastellut sitä nuorempana ja on ihan uskomatonta, että näin kolmekymppisenä voi asiat vielä muuttua. (Sorry, tuli nyt kirjoitettua suomeksi)

    - Hanna

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  7. First of all, your legs are beautiful, because they are yours!!!! My favorites ballerinas (Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, Sofiane Sylvie, Marianela Nunez) all have similar legs to you! So don't invalidate yourself!! Also, you have to trust your teacher!! They see you all the time, and for them to say something like that is huge! Second, Length is not only achieved by weight or proportions. When I was taking with Gelsey Kirkland, she talked a lot about dancing with length to achieve that look. Maybe you are discovering that, which is very exciting!!!.. Check out my blog!!! http://ballerinaguru.blogspot.fr ........ Thank so much!!! - Ballerina Guru!!

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  8. That is so nice to hear, and im sure that you are a great dancer.

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  9. I love your blog I want to make mine just like yours in the writting style. Keep it up.
    And
    Check my blog out!!
    bestfriendradvice101.blogspot.com
    Ps love UR skills

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