Monday, September 19, 2016


Recognizing that I really need to get back to class more regularly but won't be able to make it Tuesday evening, i decided to attend class this morning. This class is officially the same level as the Tuesday night class, but in actuality is easier both in movement and in mental challenge.

Despite this, however, my legs gave the same "WTF?!" reactions, though perhaps a little less stridently. That aside, my balance seems okay and I didn't have any real difficulty with barre aside from not being as flexible as I'd like.

At the break one of the new (to me) faces approached me and asked if I was the author of this blog. For a half moment I wondered if I should deny it, but then my ego took over and admitted to it. Apparently I have a local fan! She doesn't normally go to weekend or evening classes and I don't go to weekday classes due to my work schedule, so this is the first time we've run into each other. I guess I'll have to keep the embellishments of my ballet prowess to a minimum from now on. I'll leave it to her to admit her guilt if she chooses. :-)

Center work proceeded fairly reasonably until about the 75 minute mark, when I started feeling like I'd run out of steam. Fortuitously this happened just before jumps, which I didn't want to do anyway given the state of my legs and feet, so I took a breather and watched from the sidelines instead. I did feel much better when we started turns (two step-over piques followed by a chassé, pas de bourrée, pirouette sequence) so I joined back in. The last bit was quite simple - échappé, pas de bourrée, glissade, assemblé - which went well other than finding my legs wanted to glissade right even when everything else was moving left. I guess that will go away with practice.

After class I was sore and stiff for the first few hours, but that seems to have mostly dissipated. I'm hoping that continues i to tomorrow, as the day after the previous class I walked only with great stiffness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Worst Part

The worst part of not going to class for three whole months is the first class. I have cramps in my calf muscles, in my feet, below my diaphragm, and an ache in my lower back. And this after only 75 minutes of a 90 minute class. At least I was smart enough to leave the bottle of ibuprofen in my dance bag.

I guess the good news is that I finally got off my ass and went to class. Sitting on my butt all the time hasn't done me any good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A visit to the Podiatrist
So I haven't been posting much recently. This is probably related to not going to class much. See, for the last few months my feet have been aching in the heel and the posterior edge of my longitudinal arches. This happens every morning when I get out of bed, and when I get up after sitting for a while. Various massage therapists have applied the tricks of their trades, but nothing much changed.

A couple weeks ago I drove my girlfriend to see her podiatrist. I liked the guy, and while I was there I asked about getting an appointment for myself. Today I had my own appointment and he identified the problem as bone spurs on my heels at the posterior end of the longitudinal arch. These develop when the ligaments and tendons start to tear away from the bones under stress. When my feet aren't under stress things start to heal, only to be torn again when I stand up and walk. Thus the ache.

The "good" news is that he doesn't blame ballet. He points his finger at the boots I wore this past winter, saying they flex in the wrong place and twist where they should be stiff. I'm about to buy a pair of new hiking boots (the soles of my old ones are badly worn) and now I know what to look for and what to avoid.

He also says that they've learned that surgery is not indicated for this sort of problem. He thinks they'll heal over time, given the opportunity. He hand-made a pair of soft arch supports from tape and padding that slide over my feet to support the arch. Although he said I could go to class wearing these supports, I'm going to be away from classes for a few weeks more for other reasons. Maybe the break will aid the healing process.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Late to my anniversary

It's not uncommon when I show up for the first time at a new-to-me ballet studio for someone to ask me if I'm new. I've gotten in the habit of answering, "New here, yes. Not new to ballet." Which leads me to try to remember when I started.

Ignoring the few years I took classes in the mid-1980s, I started in May 2011. Which means it's been five years. Five years? Really? It doesn't seem like it. Well, maybe when I first get out of bed in the morning.

It's been interesting. I've taken classes at five different schools in the DC area, three on a regular basis and two as a drop-in. I've also taken a half-dozen classes in San Jose, a few in Raleigh, and one in London (yes, England). I was tempted to drop in on a class in Kyoto, Japan, but having neither my dance gear nor more than a smattering of the language I passed; I still wonder whether knowing Ballet French would have been sufficient.

My level of interest waxes and wanes. This time last year I was taking three to four classes a week; in the first six months of this year I think I'm averaging one every other week. If I can find decent ways to get there, taking classes at TWSB will add possibilities at times when I have scheduling conflicts with MYB classes. Maybe the second half of this year will be wax-on rather than wax-off. ;-)

Something a little different

I didn't make it to class this past weekend, instead taking advantage of the nice weather to enjoy one of my other hobbies. Nor did I make it Tuesday evening, succumbing to the temptations of a freshly-cooked salmon dinner. I really didn't want to go two whole weeks without a class but the only Thursday night class at MYB is Advanced Beginner and I wasn't feeling up to that.

I've been thinking about taking a class or two at TWSB for quite some time. I've also been wishing I could take some classes from a male instructor. I checked TWSB's schedule and found they had a Beginner 2 class this evening with a male instructor. Woot!

The studio is new, having only opened earlier this year. It looks new and smells new, with sprung Marley floors. The instructor turned out to be a nice guy in his 30's, I'd guess, with a good singing voice and a hands-on manner. At 75 minutes the class is shorter than the 90-minute classes I'm used to, and the difficulty level is lower than even the Sunday Beginner 2 classes. But he gives a lot of feedback and detailed directions, and this may be something I can benefit from. The slower pace also allows me to focus on little details that otherwise I wouldn't have time (or brainpower) to pay attention to.

The only real problem with this place is that it's a bitch and a half to get to, traffic-wise, being across the border into DC proper. Even at 6pm it took every bit of an hour to travel the 20 miles twixt my house and the studio.