Curtain lowers on BPB Season

As of Sunday, May 8th, at around 6 PM, the Ballet Palm Beach 2015-2016 season came to an end.

So….congrats to a wonderful season for everyone involved! I know I haven’t been properly keeping up-to-date, so as an end-of-season celebration, I’m going to do a recap on each of the shows we’ve done this year. What does this mean? This means lots of words (and pictures!) about:

  • Swan Lake/ Mozart
  • Nutcracker (of course)
  • Gatsby!
  • and Cinderella to finish!

All I can say right now is that this year has certainly been…an experience. I’m going to say a good one. It wasn’t easy, adulting for the first time. I had a lot of help and support from family and friends, but I was still on my own. I had a lot of times where I was very lucky, and a few times, not so much.

Oh, what’s that you’re asking about? Next year? I suppose I haven’t mentioned anything about that, have I?

Well, that’s just going to have to wait!

Yes I know, wonderful suspense is, isn’t it?

‘Till next time,

~Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

New page: Adventure List!

I’ve added a new page!

It’s my version of a “Bucket List”, and it will continually update as I remember to write down my truly inspired inspirations.

Check it out at the top of the page, or if you aren’t on my page, (or simply find that the top of the page is too far away- don’t worry, I feel you, no judgement), click on the pretty highlighted text!

Adulting Interferes with Ballet

Adultingnoun; the act of performing duties required of oneself after one turns of legal age, i.e. working to make money, shopping, car upkeep, medical appointments, etc.

Adulting sucks. I get that certain things need to get done, and that they take up time. That’s fine! I’m okay with that! But what I am really having a problem with? All the mental stress and tiredness that comes with it.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea; this is not a blog post meant to complain about normal, routine things that everyone does. I’m not even complaining about having to work and stress about my job outside my company, because I feel very fortunate to have it, and the more I work, the less stress I cause for my wonderful mother.

No, this is just to put out on the internet something I’ve come to realize: Adulting Interferes with Ballet.

Adulting interferes with my ideal life of immersion in ballet. Think about it: sure, my time is taken up by things I need to do,  important things, outside of dancing. Again, I am completely fine with this healthy, normal idea. Here comes the important But: at company, my thoughts and energies should be focused completely on rehearsing and becoming a better dancer. Instead, I find myself unable to ignore all thoughts and worries about financial crap and what I need to do outside the wonderful studio time I enjoy.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to reach this conclusion. There are so many other dancers out there who have “real life”, adulting crap to attend to as well, and this goes for anyone at any job. Ballet takes so much focus and discipline, and I can’t help but think back to my time dancing in high school. I focused more on thinking about my rehearsals and my technique and improving than my schoolwork! (I’m not endorsing this mindset, but school came pretty easy for me, so I was able to do it). It was a lovely time where I was able to grow and improve a lot.

This is not to say I cannot grow and improve in my current situation, or that I am alone in it. In fact, I count myself lucky for all the support my family gives me. I also would like to tip my hat and acknowledge all the dancers and non-dancers before me who have had to work multiple jobs and undergo the stresses of everyday life to pursue their dreams.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’ll be nice when I am able to be paid for what I love to do, and be able to pour myself into it completely. And I’m told by someone on the other side that it does in fact get easier after the inaguration year of adulting and living on your own. So to end this post, hats thrown in the air to celebrate the act of pursuing your dreams, in spite of adulting, and in the hopes that soon a greater percentage of our energies can be flung in our favorite directions!

~Your reluctantly adulting, Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

Audition Season: Video!

Sunday was spent filming an audition video to send out to companies! More to come on audition season, but first, here are the results of those extra studio hours (and an awesome friend to help me out):

 

Arianna Morrison, age 18
Complete audition video for 2016 including:
– Contemporary pas performance work (Middle girl) See Here, Speak by Jerry Opdenaker; video credit and performed with Florida Dance Theatre
– 3rd Odalisque Variation (6:11)
– Act 3 Aurora Variation (7:15)
– Center class work (9:14)

 

~Your (auditioning) Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

Tips & Tricks for Pesky Pirouettes

Preface: This should have been up ages ago. So my apologies, you lovely person who asked me for help!! I hope that you can still use this information in your maybe-new year’s resolution to work on your pirouettes! Also: Pirouettes I don’t actually think you’re pesky please don’t forsake me now!)

I got my first question from the Contact Me page! Can you tell I’m happy? The words sent to me from the lovely Miss imitationballerina asked me for help with pirouettes!!

First off: thanks! I love turning, and it’s the one thing I can say for sure that I’m good at. That being said, I’m always looking to improve (the studio I dance in currently has floors with a lot of friction, but one guy in particular can do four pirouettes on flat every day like nobody’s business. That’s my goal by the end of the year. Anyway…)

Of course I can help you! I hereby present to you are a list of discoveries I made to help me, taken from advice from multitudes of sources over the years, as well as some things to try while practicing that might help, in no particular order!:

  • Practice quarter turns, half turns, and singles turns.
  • Seriously, when you find yourself struggling, go back to basics. Even I do this, even professionals, even natural turners. When having trouble, slow down, do less rotations, and figure out piece be piece what may be going wrong.
  • Forget about your technique! I’m only half kidding. Pirouettes are a feeling, not a position. It is so much easier to find the feeling to turn and then correct the position that the other way around. So don’t worry about what it looks like, that can be fixed later, or in class with your teacher.
  • Spot!!! I don’t know how many times I’ve seen dancers – older dancers – not spot their turns. It’s amazing, cause they still manage doubles or triples, but how? And a faster spot can lead to more and faster turns.
  • Practice varied types of pirouettes. Practice turning both slow and fast. And practice both sides too. Trust me, we all have that side we hate (I’m looking at you left en dedans) but it will help you in the long run.
  • Get to your position quickly doesn’t mean to turn faster. You want your foot in passe fast, but don’t twist and distort your body by simply moving faster. It isn’t the same thing!
  • Make sure your body is in alignment. Don’t let it twist weird; the only thing that should move separate is your head. If you are turning to the right en dehors, then yes, you “wind up” a bit to gain some momentum and power, but only enough to propel you. Your left shoulder should be in line with your hip, and not come across to far.
  • Going with alignment. your entire body should feel like it is rotating around a vertical axis running from the top of your head down through your toes.
  • Make sure your hips are level. If you find yourself falling to one side, say to the right, you may be lifting that hip up or leaning into it funny. Try to learn from what your body does (this can be applied to more than just pirouettes)
  • And don’t overlook your arms! Your arms can either help or hurt you a lot. If you can, video yourself to have a look. If one arm is higher than the other, or your torso is bent an odd way, that could be throwing you off. And try turning with your hands on your hips or shoulders for practice. It forces you not to use your arms and to focus on your torso instead. Also practice your arms in fifth. If it is easier or more difficult, notice your shoulders and back and adjust accordingly in other positions.
  • This one goes for anything you might struggle with in ballet: Don’t dread doing the step/combination. For me, it’s adagio. I used to constantly think how much I hated it, and I dread doing it. While I still get those days, I’ve found it helpful to tell myself I love doing it, and slowly I have tricked myself into looking forward to it more. Think of it as a personal challenge to yourself. I will help you become less frustrated and more relaxed, which I’ve found helps me a lot.

That’s pretty much everything! I’m sure you’ve already heard at least half of them before, but sometimes it helps to hear things in a different way for it to *click*. All these are things I still think about today, and each has made me a bit better.

Unfortunately, all I can do is share some information I’ve gotten about pirouettes, and what I’ve found helpful. And there may be more I remember later, which I will be sure to add if anything new pops up. Ultimately, it really helps to try and “listen” to your body. Watch a video of yourself, analyze how it feels, go slow and correct one thing at a time. Experimentation! Exploration! Accomplishment as you land that triple pirouette!

I do have to say one thing though: in the beginning, when first learning how to turn? Honestly? It was because I practiced like crazy. Sure, some of it may come naturally, but I really wish I had a video of the first class we were introduced to pirouettes (I actually can still remember it- we were all a hot mess!) I can remember a good solid year where all I did was turn in the back of the class. I was never very flexible, and it was something I could practice in a small space. While girls were taking their turns in the center combinations, the other students would wait their turn patiently, or talk to their friends (which we weren’t really supposed to do, but it happened). I almost always went in the first group, because I picked up on combinations quickly, so I spent my time waiting doing pirouettes over, and over, and over again in the back corner.

So yes, at first it sucks, because really, they take practice more than anything else. But having a sense of what is going on in your body, and how to fix what you might be doing wrong helps a lot. And as I’m sure you do, I have spent my fair share of time online looking up anything and everything that could help me in ballet!

~Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

P.S. I’ve found that pirouettes, more than anything else in ballet (except maybe partnering) are extremely sensitive to you psyching yourself out. As you might trust your partner in a pas de duex, trust your body! As much as you have to think of corrections, if you overthink or freak out right before, you will tense up and not do as well. You got this!

Back into the groove

2016 has now settled around us, and I have been back at company for a week. I have to say, after not dancing for two weeks, and using that time to surround myself with a whirlwind of activity and people to visit, I almost forgot what dancing felt like!

It was actually pretty surreal. I mean, of course I danced around my house like I always do. I danced around at work, when I went ice-skating (I finally learned how to spin! Sort of!), and everywhere else. My body craved the movement. But even still, there was a little part of my brain that said, “Oh no, I forgot how to be a dancer”. You may be thinking….what? How could you forget how to be a dancer? What does that even mean?

Well…..I’m not quite sure how to explain it! But after taking all that time off, and visiting all those people, and doing all those other things, I started to feel like a normal person. I have seen many jokes along the lines of, “There are people, and then there are dancers”. And yes, I suppose you could substitute ‘dancer’ for any number of things. But it does ring some truth. Dancers have been trained to think differently. I spend so much time in the studio, or thinking about ballet, or working so that I can dance, that there isn’t a whole lot of time for other things. So that time off, while nice, felt a bit weird towards the end.

Near the end of my break, I even asked my mom what she thought it would be like for me if I wasn’t a dancer. It’s a loaded question. I wondered what my life would be like if I never started in the first place; neither of us could conceive and answer to this. Understandable, because that would require some form of alternate/parallel-universe-jumping to comprehend. So we let that aspect of the question lie. But in answer to the question, if I were to stop dancing right now? Mom: You’d probably go crazy.

And she may be right. I might go crazy. I’ve lived so long as a dancer, two thirds of my life, that I honestly don’t know how to function differently. And if two weeks off is any indication, it would definitely take some adjusting to. But you know what freaked me out the most? The thought that I might not go crazy. I might be okay if I stopped. I would find something else I loved and go do that. It’s not a bad thing, but it was strange, and a bit scary, to think about. Voicing these fears, Mom just dismissed them with a reprise of her original answer.

But! Have no fear, because this Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be has no intention of going anywhere! In fact, she plans to upgrade and drop the “-to-Be” part someday!

So, basically, I was very happy to discover on my first day back that I had not actually forgotten how to be a dancer. I was perfectly happy and at home back in the studio this week!

Signing off,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

 

 

Hello 2016

2015 was a strange year. Really, just strange. And to be honest, I was ready for it to be over. Not that it was all bad. Looking at my Hello 2015 post, I did pretty good with my “resolutions” (In quotations because I really hate using the word, because most New Year’s resolutions are broken, so I try not to think of them quite that way), especially with the year I had. Let’s see:

  • Fall in love with dance all over again….Check!
  • Stop worrying about the future. Whether my hip pain becomes better or worse, worrying won’t solve anything. I need to just focus on one day at a time……Actually been getting better at this. I really didn’t have a choice with the events of 2015; I guess I asked for this one?
  • Take every opportunity that comes my way……….Again, getting better at this.
  • Think less and do more. This goes along with the worrying and taking one day at a time…..I got better at this, then not, then better again. This one is something that is always a process.

So, not bad! I actually managed to keep my thoughts in mind throughout the year. So without further ado, some “resolutions” for 2016:

  • Once again, fall in love with dance all over again. You have to love dancing to stick to it, and while I haven’t fallen out of love, as I get older it doesn’t hurt to look for new excitement.
  • Participate in at least one of these noble and artistic pursuits every day: read, write, blog or draw. This gives me options, so I can improve and spend more time on them without a ton of pressure. (And it means more time doing good stuff on my new laptop, and less time interneting aimlessly.)
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo. I heard about this on Youtube a yer or two ago, but then forgot about it until about a week ago. Of course, this is only done in November (though there is a spring event I believe), so I’m kicking myself a bit I didn’t remember this two months ago. Oh well, I’m pumped for this year!
  • And while Rule of Threes is a thing, I like four so…..I also want to stop comparing. I learned a lot about this last year, but I really need to. My life isn’t looking to be the cookie-cutter American early adult life I thought it would be, but then again, whose is?

So yeah, there we go. I think these are pretty good for this year. Okay blogosphere, I’ve put it out on the internet, so there we go. Here’s to 2016, may it be a year of answering questions rather than asking them.

Back to the Blogging!

Hello Internet Blogosphere!

Today, I return! As a collaborative early holiday present, this year’s big ticket item, my uncle, mom, and nana got me a brand new laptop! Needless to say (though I’m going to say it anyway) I’m so happy and thankful and excited! This is the first time I’ve had a brand new computer, and it’s my new precious. So now, I am officially saying thank you where it will immortalized forever on the internet: THANK YOU! My family is awesome 🙂

In other news, I’ve passed the one year mark! Despite the recent tumbleweeds that have been blowing across my blog, I have now had it up for a year. And people actually read some of what I write, and that makes me very happy! As I get back on the blogging horse, I hope to grow this blog and keep writing about the adventures of a ballerina-to-be.

From said Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be,

It’s great to be back!

Brief Hiatus?

Hello Internet! To those that follow along with me here on the blog: awesome! 

Also to those that follow along with me here on the blog: I’m sorry!

I have had so many posts that I’ve wanted to write, including an answer to my first submitted question! (A long advice post is coming!). But, I have found a couple of things to be true: my phone is really bad for writing long posts, and finding time an energy to go to the library and use their computers is extremely difficult. 

So! I should be getting a new laptop soon, so that I may blog comfortably late at night from my bed. Until then, I fear I must continue to be a stranger on the blogosphere. I shall see you all in the future!

-Your Absent, Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be

Guess who has an Instagram? Ari_dancer!

First of all, this ballerina-to-be would like to apologize. While I don’t have a set posting schedule, I have been mentally chastising myself lately for not posting more. Then, the other voice in my head argues that I have had pretty limited time lately. And that second voice has a point. I am very fortunate to have found a part-time job with more hours, and with work after company and extra rehearsals, I have one day off a week: Sunday. Which I am working to make Blogging Day.

Back to the point: I have an Instagram! It’s a personal account, but the majority of it is dance-related (big surprise). I am way more likely to post an update on Instagram, because it is faster and easier than writing a blog post. And pictures are pretty great; Instagram is like a more instant Facebook. (Anybody? No? Okay, I tried).

I’ve put the Instagram Widget on my blogging page, but in case you lovely reader are like me and don’t want to use the effort to click through and find it, I’ll make it easy for ya. To follow me, or just check out my photos, my username is: ari_dancer.

Enjoy the photo updates, and here’s to hoping I can get my schedule together enough to go back to posting more on here!

~Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be.

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