The Making More Progress

I’m shocking with myself with how much I’m improving. Like I said in the last blog, improving is part of consistency and that is to be expected, but it’s almost weird when things get easier sometimes, you know? You almost get used to struggling with things, it seems.

Anyway, I’m now able to get to a single leg releve without the death grip on the barre (aka, my bedroom dresser). I couldn’t believe it when I was doing a combination and I got to releve without using two feet or barre-leaning. After the combo, I kept doing them just to convince myself that I was. Overall, my body is stronger, as it should be. I can do a single en dehors turn in both directions now as well. Now I’m working on my fifth position pirouettes – not so easy but I’ll get those soon enough.

Still don’t have full splits, but I rarely work on them now. I’ve been focusing more on improving dance technique and remembering the basics like squeezing everything and getting taller and keeping that arm up in second. I still don’t really know what to do with my arms and head yet most of the time, but I think I’m getting better.

That brings me to some exciting news – I’ll be able to start going to dance classes soon! I’m going through some life changes at the moment that will make that possible. I’ll save the sharing of that for later.

Jesus love you! He keeps me on track with this journey because He’s the bestest. Love Him so much. Love you guys so much! I’m too happy for my own self right now. Ok bye now!

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The Getting Around

My pirouettes are improving still. I have the force to get around more than one time, but I’m still figuring out how to stay up on my foot after the first turn. My splits are better despite not really working on them. I could hit the ground if I put a little more effort in.

The next area that I want to improve are my developpes. They are still quite low, so I definitely want to improve my hip and hamstring flexibility.

Overall, everything is consistently improving, which is what’s supposed to happen if you just keep at it, right? I’m keeping at it.

The Pirouettes and Other Such

Hi there! Another lazy blog for you today.

Not much new to share other than my strength and stamina is improving quite impressively. I’m gaining weight, but seeing as I look (about) the same, I’m going to say that it’s muscle. (Been eating a lot of bread and cheese lately, though, not gonna lie.)

I’ve been practicing pirouettes, and I’m pretty good with singles en dedans from fourth. I haven’t been really practicing them from fifth much. Still trying to get the hang of en dehors. I’ll have to do some research about what I might be doing wrong. I always find myself slanting backwards as I go around.

I’m still finding my balances a bit of a challenge. I also found a lovely Lazy Dancer Tips video for turnout that is helping me to strengthen my hamstrings, which can be difficult if you don’t have all kinds of workout accessories.

I haven’t been working my split as of late, but the stronger my legs get, the more flexible it seems that I’m becoming. I don’t really leave myself much time these days to stretch after my workouts, so maybe I should maybe add a flexibility routine or two on the weekend and at random moments during the week.

I’m starting to recognize my body’s signals. When my pelvis starts to tilt forward, I know I need to work the abs. When my low back gets tight and sore, it’s time to work hamstrings. It’s very helpful for me because even though I prefer to work with a plan, I pretty much wing it every day, and the area that’s out of whack let’s me know what I need to do.

That’s all for now, folks!

The Whole Leg

I have been really working on my coupe and passe balances, but it doesn’t seem like I have been making much progress, although my feet and legs are getting stronger. But you know how sometimes you hear something 100 times, and it’s the 101th time that it finally clicks? That’s what happened to me!

Everybody in ballet knows that ballet is not done with little pieces of the body. Tendus are not done with the foot, but with the whole leg. You don’t just use your arm, you use the whole shoulder. Of course, when I started, I kept using just my foot, until I started having to do faster tendus and I wasn’t able to keep up. But once I started using my inner thighs to tendu – bablam!!!

So just recently the same revelation hit me with my balances – USE THE WHOLE LEG! When I started to squeeze the glute more in the balance rather than only pushing through the foot, I balanced for like a whole second without my dresser! I felt so stable – it was crazy! Yay me!

In doing this, I discovered that my turnout has dramatically improved, since I’ve been strengthening my glutes and hamstrings more in order to loosen up my lower back. I was able to do my first position stance without strain and without my low back tightening up. I just love these little breakthroughs. Thank you Jesus!

The Doing It Right

I was doing this Lazy Dancer Tips ballet barre for epaulement one day, and I got it. I just got it. The whole thing of how to carry your shoulders and body opposition – it just clicked. I could tell I was finally doing it right.

There are other times I’m doing the same barres I’ve been doing all along, but now I’m more tired and different muscles are sore. I’m like “What’s up with that?” Then I realize I’ve been using my inner thigh instead of just my foot to tendu or I was actually on top of my hip doing a degage or rond du jamb instead of sinking into it. Maybe I’m extra tired and sore because…   I’m actually finally doing it right.

That’s all. I’m just kinda excited about it.

 

OK, bye.

The Lazy Dancer

I blame the Winter Olympics. I also have a new job that I work in the afternoons now, forcing me to squeeze my workouts into the mornings (since I don’t want to get up any earlier). So the don’t feel like it is rearing its head.

At the same time, I can’t quite just sit here for an hour and a half and do nothing. Yesterday, I literally did nothing. I can justify a day off. But now I’m in lazy zone. It’s not as cozy as it used to be, though. A lot of fitness folk say that after a while the bug bites you. I’ve been bit, I think. Ballet kind of just gets in your bones, you know?

It’s a tiny bite, though, so I’m still sitting here watching the Olympics and the Olympics is now over and this blog has been sitting as a draft for the last week and a half, but at the time I decided to work on my feet. That’s good, right? Who doesn’t need stronger feet? Perfect!

So I lie on the couch doing that plantar fascia flexion thing or whatever – basically just lifting and extending the toes. I roll the ankles around a little and work on my reclined turnout. Not sure how effective that turnout work was, though. All the muscles you need for it were buried in couch cushions.

This is one of the challenges of doing something completely by faith. There is no deadline, no show schedule, no teacher, no routine class – no accountability other than you know God can see if you’re being obedient or not. You have to self-motivate and trust in God’s grace to get you about His business every day. Fortunately, He has never failed to supply with that grace in abundance. I just have to yield to it.

 

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The Splits Progress

My splits are coming along. My training feels a lot better now that I’ve changed a few things. When I first started, as probably most do, I started stretching mostly the hamstrings. I even read that for my kind of pelvic situation, working the hamstrings was going to be what I needed to work on most. However, this turned out to be very uncomfortable when trying to get more flexible. There was always this feeling of something wanting to tear. I would often get up the next day with sore, tight hamstrings that never wanted to stretch again.

I found myself trying to stretch the front leg forward and the back leg back as much as possible. This would cause my hips to open to the side. We all know the goal of front splits is to be square. What to do?

One day the Lord opened my eyes to see that I would do better if I focused on trying to “sit” the split instead of stretch it. Cue light bulb sound.

Now, I start off in a lunge (after a series of hip, hamstring, and quad stretches) and then extend only at the knee instead of at the upper thigh. Then I focus on “sitting” the front hip down, rotating and pulling it back as needed. I concentrate on not moving my back knee at all, even though I’m tempted to in order to try to cheat a little.

Doing this has helped in so many ways. I am able to stay more square, and I don’t get that feeling of my hamstrings wanting to rip. I feel the stretch in my hips, inner thighs, and hamstrings all at once and much more comfortably than before. I am also able to keep my back more straight up as opposed to bent forward.

In these pics, I had just done a back routine, and I had done a barre exercise about 30 minutes before, so I was semi-warm. I hadn’t done really any splits prep. So, not bad, eh?

And the battement goes on…