A Ballet Mindset…

Hey ABE readers, guess what? Guest post. I think this book is really relevant to ballet dancers both professional and training. Sometimes we get lost in our work and sometimes we don’t know where to turn, or you just want a good read… So here is my friend Andrews new book.

andrew kendall author self help dark dictionary“Hey! My name’s Andrew Kendall, a friend of David’s, and 2017 was a life changing year in which a sixteen year old dream was realized—I published my first book. I know that ballet can be a very demanding field. And with demand can often come darkness. In The Dark Dictionary I offer advice to not only combat your inner darkness, but to alter your mindset in such a way that you bring to light the kind of awareness that has the ability to change your life. And when we think about it long enough we’re able to realize that there’s always light in the dark—always a silver lining to discover in the midst of both your creative process and dedication to the art. In a way our minds are a mirror, reflecting back to us our deepest desires or worst nightmares, but when it’s the latter it’s never too late to discover that we no longer have to be a slave it to anymore. With a new year almost upon us, most us of will be looking to start the year of right—with a mindset strong enough to conquer anything thrown our way. If this is you I hope you’ll check out my book. If you ever feel lost, which most of us do, I believe that we are always much stronger than we believe—a message I truly hope to convey within every page.” – Andrew Kendall, author of The Dark Dictionary

Follow me on Insta: AndrewwRichard

To buy his book on Amazon click below

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Halfway to the YAGP

a ballet education goes hard
Thank you all so much for your support!!!
I am actually almost halfway to my goal!! I am short about $2,200.00 so I am just four sponsors short. It has actually been really crazy as everyone has wished to stay anonymous. It is really quite encouraging and makes me think I really can make this blog a full-time job. Click below to sponsor.
Company Class
Speaking of which, job hunting has been kind of ridiculous. I am either too qualified for smaller schools and studios, or underqualified for universities. But if you know of any jobs… let me know. Also, I have decided to go back into SOCIAL MEDIA marketing, creation, protection and management. After working for Follow That Media and Social Culture, I feel like I can help dance schools and studios with their social media and websites. If you are interested please message me here.
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Okay, adult class… So, today was pretty intense… slightly because I had some drinks last night. Yes, I haven’t been feeling well, but Gin cleans the system. Okay, not true… but I know my body enough that if I have a drink while sick it like reboots me, crazy I know. So, it was a rough morning. Between the two Gatorades I downed and a Pedialite, followed by a coffee… I was ready to go. Foam roller, new RubiaWear legwarmers, and my foot stretcher I was ready. Oh, a bunch of you have asked about some stuff… First… I paid for my RubiaWear, and yes I know it is expensive but you have to invest in quality. The foot stretcher is expensive as well, but I have had it for a while, and it really does work and pay off. You have to invest in quality to ensure maximum results and the protection of your body. Foot stretchers can give you tendonitis and I feel like the foot stretcher I have doesn’t, and allows for you to shape your wing.

Okidokie, back to ballet class… NEW STUDIO. Barre was healthy. I had a really hard time picking up combinations. It could have been that I was tired or just out of it… but the combinations were really good at getting me warmed up and placing me on my legs and hips. That is always really cute. Downside, my lower back has still been really intense. Even after I warmed it up and my lower back brace it still was not feeling it. So, I didn’t do center. But, the backs of my legs are coming back… Thank god… Summer is basically here, and I need to get back down to at least a 32″… Mostly because I purchased a ton of Swimwear last year for Pride, Beach Parties, White Party and Miami last year… So, I would like to fit back into them and not have things rolling over and hanging out. And my adult video for arabesque is coming…. It’s pretty low quality but works.

Adult Ballet teachers… confusing…

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This morning I took a beginning/intermediate ballet class from a new teacher here in Arizona and I wasn’t amused… at all. I hate when teachers see a stronger dancer and so they make the class harder than it actually needs to be. One, it is unfair to the other students and two, if I wanted a harder ballet class I would definitely have gone to a class labeled advanced. As a teacher, you have to teach to the median of the class. So, somewhere between tendus and degagés, I realized that the class was getting insanely hard and didn’t make any sense. Combinations were sped up just for the sake of speed, and combinations became extremely complicated. Then at center, we were doing ronverse…. which is arguably one of the hardest steps in adagio, or ballet in general. I did not like it at all…. Then after class, the teacher was asking me if the class was good, and looking for some sign of approval… Anyways, I was polite and went on my way.

My body was screaming in pain mostly because the class did not progressively warm me up or make any sense. Not to mention we did fouettés after adagio. Then, I think to myself… shame on me for not doing my research. But then, I thought no… Shame on this teacher… or shame on whoever educated or didn’t educate this teacher. I have always known that there are very many bad teachers or uneducated teachers out there but this one took the cake in my experience. Even worse, she wasn’t young… So she has been teaching like this for a while… Which makes me wonder what her injury rate is at her studio…

Anyways…  I just finished doing three different covers for studio recitals and they turned out pretty great. The price for me to illustrate cover art for non-commercial use, as in you won’t be selling it is $99.00 with 1 revision. If you are interested in having me draw something please don’t hesitate to contact me: aballeteducation@gmail.com

I am also shipping a ton of posters to Maryland for the public schools- so that is fun.  But important news…

I AM GOING ON VACATION! I will still be working… this book is killing me and it just keeps getting longer and longer… I guess it is good for you but exhausting for me. Like this book is literally killing me… okay, not literally but it is emotionally and mentally exhausting.
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Don’t forget… digital books are on sale right now! Click below to shop!
The Guide to Fierceness copy

Feeling Dead… ballet class: 3 me: 0

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March 18, 2017

So, I didn’t go to sleep last night mostly because I have had a lot of things on my mind… So, like any normal human at 5:00, I decided to have more coffee and just stay awake and go to Ballet Arizona for 9:00 AM class. Because taking ballet class when you haven’t slept in two days is always smart.

Accomplishment: I made it through an entire ballet class without dying, falling over, or giving up.

Downside: Saturday Class….

 

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Should be warming up but instead listening to the Weekend.

Like most dancers around the world today, we all woke up, had breakfast and coffee and moved our way towards the ballet studio. Sitting at Ballet Arizona in the Lobby right now waiting for a student, I am surrounded by young bun heads aspiring to be ballerinas. All of them getting into the studios hours before class, in their custom leotards, trash bags, lululemon vests, therabands, foot stretchers and all the other gadgets and gizmos o plenty… I definitely don’t miss this world, sort of…

 

OKAY, anyways… god awful getting to the studios at 8:00, a slew of adults were already there… the class was packed, and the craziness began. Rolling out, foot stretching, floor exercises and more… Adults are so hard core when it comes to ballet class. (These kids around me are even more hardcore… but the winners are the parents. The ballet moms of Arizona are quite serious… too serious… way too intense.)

Class was pretty decent as I passed myself. I avoided anything on releve. In adagio I learned my lesson and didn’t put my leg up… at all. I got through everything but chose to sit out of grand allegro as that was just not going to happen. Heaving 200 plus pounds of Kung pao chicken into the air is not cute. Okay reality, I don’t know my weight as I am avoiding the scales like the plague. Pirouettes were pretty good today, not going to lie… did a triple without trying. I was mostly concerned if I was going to be able to releve. Extension is nonexistent, and my left foot is still having this horrible sickle issue. I need to theraband the heck out of it, but alas my theraband is broken.

Finally, and lastly, the most important thing that I have learned today is my inability to communicate what I want out of my body. My thighs today were trembling trying to stand in fifth, and my back was overly exhausted. Day three of getting back in shape is not cute. What is more not cute is the ferocious cliques surrounding me. What is scarier than a young tenacious ballet dancer? A young tenacious ballet dancer who has no fear and a mom that feeds an ego.

Lastly, I am more excited as I am going to see Beauty and the Beast and go to dinner for my Birthday with my Arizona kids. Yup, that’s a thing today. 25 years ago I had Beauty and the Beast Birthday Party…. and now I am going to see it again….
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Later, after Beauty and the Beast I walked into a surprise birthday party from all of my families and students I teach. That was quite wonderful!

Getting in Shape as an Older Dancer…Day 2…

Hell hath no fury like a ballet dancer scorned….
Today, I woke up with a vengeance. Super motivated about life and getting back in shape, I hoped in the shower, ate a healthy breakfast and moved on my way to ballet class. I had to do some extra searching to find a small studio where I wouldn’t run into CPYB friends, former colleagues, professionals I write about, or students who follow the blog… I get to ballet class and everything seems quite normal, until midway through barre the teacher asks if I run a Ballet Education. #fail.

Ballet class wasn’t going so great. Trying to balance somatic approaches, mentally pushing my body to be where I once was, paying attention to my body… the list goes on. It was a pretty miserable class, mostly because the teacher really had no clue what she was doing…  No joke. One of the worst structured ballet classes I have ever taken. (Sorry if you are reading this…) So, depressed as I was, I decided to blog. Did that. Was eventful.

Tried staying on my diet for lunch, but by dinner, I had given in and eaten three bowls of brown buttered pasta and pesto. It was delicious. I don’t regret it. BUT, then I felt super guilty and it was off to the gym…

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FEELING GOLDEN…

So, I am ridiculously out of shape. It took me 14 minutes to complete a mile, but I kept pushing. Core work, free weights, stretching, turn out exercises and more… I felt really good about myself. My ankles are still really crunchy and using the foot stretcher for help, but they are still pretty biscuity at the moment. They are still supple and work the floor well, but they are not as elastic as they once were, and somehow my wing is now really painful. Not like tendonitis painful, like just irritated and weak.

I attempted the splits for the first time in like months… that was pretty awful… but not as bad as it could have been.

My hypermobile back that was once my favorite feature of my body is now my worst enemy as it just sways and does its own thing. It is quite irritating, but I know my core is ridiculously weak… soooo that’s fun… While runing I noticed my right foot peeling off the treadmill slightly sickled, I’m assuming it is from my ankle injury two years ago,  as it pushing from the top. My left foot has a hard time rolling down when stepping during the run, but I think it is because I am gripping my arch, or it is super tight… one or the other.

When doing free weights, I went through the standard port de bras, and my left side is quite stronger and more supported from my back as my right side started to grip in my trap… What was nice is that my shoulder blades are still layin’ rather flat. My neck has shortened but that’s because I am constantly hunched over a drawing pad or at the computer… So, I need to be mindful of that (I just corrected my awful posture)…

My calves are over working but my shins are fine. I had to stretch the crap out of them after running…. jogging…. power walking… yeah that is probably more accurate.

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3 days till I turn 30… I refuse to use the scale or measure body fat for getting back in shape… but I do know… that I don’t fit into my 32″ skinnies at the moment… Not cute. Nor do I fit into last summer’s 30″ short shorts.

 

Ballet for the Older Dancer… prologue

Ballet for the Older Dancer… prologue

Today, I decided I am going to get back in shape, not to be a professional dancer again, but to lose the weight I have put on from stress eating. I am also having those gay, turning 30 nerves. So, I got up early and decided to go to 9:00 AM class at Ballet Arizona… This isn’t the first time I have taken adult class, but this is the first time I have felt like a real adult. My body hurt, I am ridiculously out of shape, and haven’t taken class in months… So… here is what was in my dance bag:

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Bio Freeze, Foot Roller, Foot Stretcher, Apolla Performance Socks with Traction, Grishko canvas flats, back support brace, leg warmers, warm-ups, ibuprofen and a broken theraband.

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Typically, I hate Russian based classes. This was no different, but I have do have a point to this so bear with me. My body was exhausted by dégagés, and I decided to give up by adagio. On the way home I was thinking, “Wow you are out of shape” and “You must have looked ridiculous” and “Don’t embarrass yourself” but then I thought, “No, good for you. At this point in your life, ballet is something you should enjoy. You should just go with it, and help those around you.”

This is when I talked to Bethanne, and realized how limited adult ballet classes are.

So, as I was going home, I realized that the class I had just participated in was not designed for adults at all. Russian based classes are not designed for adults, and it just hurts your body. My hips were on fire and my back was shot. My feet were crampy but that was because I’m out of shape. Anyways, I am straying from what I actually want to talk about…

Okay, here is what you need to find for adult class… Someone who actually teaches and just doesn’t give class. Unfortunately, the teacher who was teaching class was teaching class as if it was company class. I actually don’t think a correction was given at barre. Second, you shouldn’t find a Russian class or go looking for a crazy ballet class… You should be looking for a teacher who is familiar with the somatic approach to ballet. You need to be able to attack the technique without constraining your body or hurting yourself. Thirdly, you need to have all of the tools and support to help you get through class.

Mentally, you have to take ballet class completely different. Normally, when I would take ballet class I would be pushing my turnout, and stretching the heck out of my feet and giving combinations 110%. This time around, my body was so against me dancing this early that I had to really pace myself. Pliés became about the music, tendus became about just articulating my feet and so on. Different combinations I had to think of different things… It was quite different.

Then came center… we did tendus and pirouettes first and then adagio. Adagio was super brutal. Normally, it is my favorite, but this time around in promenade attitude derriere my back started to pinch, and by the elongé my back was completely shot. It could be that the weight gain on the front of my body was pulling and putting more pressure on my knee, and the weight on the back side was causing my leg to not go up… You can’t get your leg up to the back with a back roll pressing down lol… It was pretty intense…

So, now I was just in pain… But, I could have listened to my body early on… I mean at fondus my body was already telling me that my pelvis and lower back were not in a bendy mood. I have gained so much weight this new year that cambré forward is almost impossible.  It was really depressing.

Now, onto the positive… So, I have decided to also start writing for the adult dancer… 

If you want to join me on this, feel free to follow along.

So, to get in shape I am going to start kind of dieting… I love food, sooooo, it isn’t going to really be about dieting, but more like portion control.

This evening, to prepare myself for the next ballet class I will write the alphabet with my ankle and foot, do theraband exercises, stretch and do some core work. This will be followed by 32 relevés in first and second. Sur le coup de pied exercises. Hip flexor stretches and some turnout exercises. You will probably want to get a pair of appolla performance socks as I do barre in them. If you are following along. They offer all the support of a ballet shoe but lets you feel the floor.

Then I am going to Epsom and lavender oil bath and rub some essential oils on.

stay tuned…