Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Knee Update Part 2

Man, has this been a roller coaster. After my last post, I attempted a class on Saturday. I wore a brace and was careful about not doing grand plies or jumps, but about 30 minutes after class my knee was stiff and sore again...but not terrible.

I had just about talked myself out of the surgery, then last night I took a class with La Danseuse, teacher extraordinaire. I definitely pushed myself a bit more, and felt it during class. That class solidified my Friday, I'm having the surgery. It's not just about the pain and swelling. To be honest, I could deal with that. The real reason is what I learned AFTER class last night.

Pointe Class. January. Bring It.

That's right, they approved our beginner pointe class! I do not want to risk further injuring myself or flare-ups around the time I start pointe. This has been a dream of mine for years, and I am beside myself with excitement! So, I will take a modified class this coming Saturday and Tuesday, then I'll be off for recovery. Start crossing your fingers & fifths that the surgery goes well and I end up with a few weeks of recovery, not a few months.

The ups and downs of this thing have my head spinning, but right now, I just want to be healthy and dance.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Knee Update

So the verdict is in, and the docs think I have a torn meniscus. Ce n'est pas bien. They recommended surgery, which if all goes well, will have me back in my dancing shoes within a few weeks. Yay!

But, like all things, this meniscus ain't gonna go away quietly. On Monday, I was ready to rip the damn thing out myself. My knee had locked up, and it was uncomfortable to do anything. Walk, sit, stand, lean, you name it. On Tuesday, the day of my surgery consult, it was only moderately displaying symptoms, so surgeon said he'd leave it up to me. I mean the knee was still stiff, but not painful.

And today, as the universe sits back and laughs, it feels freaking fantastic.

Seriously, WTF? Spontaneous meniscus healing? Is this a cruel joke to lure me into cancelling surgery, only to have it act up right as I'm about to (hopefully!) start the beginning pointe class? I don't understand.

If I have surgery now, the chance of recurrence is much more slim. From all the obsessive Googling I've done, it seems it's basically a crapshoot. You could never have a problem again, or 3 months down the line the meniscus shifts and you're back on crutches.

What the hell do I do? I honestly don't know.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Bee's Knees

What does that mean anyway, "the bee's knees?" Bee's knees are supposed to mean something awesome, but when you think about it, bee's knees are very delicate, likely knobby little things. Which is why I'm convinced I must have The Bee's Knees.

It all started about a week ago after class, with pain and stiffness in my knee. And continued yesterday, with X-rays after class, and today with an MRI.

Argh. And I just got healthy.

To Be Continued......

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Legwarmer Mania

In the Great City Where I Live, fall has officially arrived. I've been busting out the wool coats, scarves and sweaters for about a week now, and absolutely love it. I'm one of those strange people who loves cold and hates heat....yes, I know I'm weird. I also love fall because the shrugs and legwarmers exit their summer hibernation, enveloping me in soft, cozy, cuddly-ness for ballet class. I may have mentioned my love of legwarmers before, but this morning, while packing my bag for work, I realized I might need to seek help...

Me: Don't forget, you have Pilates class after work today.
My Inner Crazy: YAY! We're going to stretch, and bend, and get all ab-tastic!
Me:  Whoa there, cowgirl. That's a lot of happy before coffee. I'm just reminding you so that you bring clothes, and don't have to crawl onto a reformer in your jeans and sweater.
Crazy: Ooh - sweaters....soft and furry and FALL!
Me: Focus. Find some workout pants and a t-shirt, and get on with it.
Crazy: You're no fun. But you know what would be fun? Your capri running tights with LEGWARMERS!
Me: You're crazy. Everyone will look at you and think "who the hell does she think she is, wearing legwarmers with running tights in a reformer class?
Crazy: But they are SOFT! And COLORFUL! A pop of color to transport your mind to fields of poppies and gerberas and tulips!
Me: It's not the Land of Oz, it's Pilates class.
Crazy: It's the Land of LEGWARMERS!
Me: No.
Me: I said no, they're all going to laugh at you and you'll look stupid.
Me: Sigh. How about we compromise and wear a shrug to work in place of a cardigan.
Me: Sigh....put them in the bag. You win again, my legwarmer-obsessed friend, you win again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Pink Tights

Not only was this Sunday's class full of drama (see previous post), it also forced me to face one of my greatest fears....The Pink Tights.

Many of the bloggers I follow have blogged about the horrors of The Pink Tights. Unless you are a stick insect, Pink Tights make your thighs look very, very scary. You cannot hide from The Pink Tights. They will find you, put a spotlight on your popo, and make you squirm with insecurity. This post from Pointe Til You Drop is one of my favorites on the subject. Now, I will wear The Pink Tights if I have booty shorts or a ballet skirt to go over them (and my thighs), but a leotard with seulement Pink Tights? Quelle horreur!

Well, on Sunday, I switched out my usual ballet bag, and when I got to class, realized I had left my shorts in the other bag. I didn't have a scrap of fabric to cover myself, just my leotard and The Pink Tights.

This is embarrassing, but I legitimately freaked out for a minute, and contemplated leaving class. Luckily rational thought set in and I realized no one is going to be looking at my thighs except me. Even my friends in class are more preoccupied with their own dancing - they aren't going to judge me for the way I look. And if they do, well, I don't need to be friends with them.

So, I stood up tall, grabbed a barre, and did the whole class - in just The Pink Tights. I feel like I have passed some balletic milestone, a sort of right of passage. Granted, I hope I never, ever have to do that again, but you know what? I did it. I faced my fear, and just danced. And isn't that really the point, and the lesson we all need to learn? It's not about you, and it's definitely not about your insecurities. It's about the art, and we are lucky to be a part of it.

Adultes et Enfants

Happy Monday, mes amies! Quel weekend! Today's post is all about Adults and Children. There's a great quote in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, where someone says, "Never lose your childish innocence. It's the most important thing." As adults, we can act like children - sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad. Observe....

This weekend, I made a tutu. That's right, ya'll, tulle overload in a beautiful shade of sea foam green. My walls are also a shade of green, so it's a little hard to see in the photo, but you get the gist. It's a little big, so I need to take out some of the tulle, but it was super easy and super fun. Took me about 25 minutes, and no sewing involved!

Why on earth would I make a tutu (other than the obvious of wearing it around the house while you vacuum and/or drink wine)? You see, me and the Ballet Buds decided it would be age-appropriate to wear tutus to class during Halloween week. Personally, I think we need more excuses to wear tutus. Even Lone Boy in the Ballet Buds is getting into it, and he's going to wear a nice cavalier-esque vest for class, although I think a tutu would be hilarious. Anywho, it's done. If I get enough interest I'll post a tutorial, but there are several fabulous links on the Interwebs to help you through the process. Dancing, wearing silly costumes, and making tutus could all be considered activities that help us get in touch with our inner children. It's not just about taking the time to smell the roses, it's about taking the time to smell the roses, and then imagine yourself in the middle of a fairy tale where you have to hide in a beautiful rose garden while you wait for Prince Charming on his white horse. While wearing a tutu and drinking wine.....or something like that. So wear your tutus, dance while no one is watching, or even if someone is - never lose your childish innocence.

Now the bad side of adults behaving like children. In class this Sunday, there was a Ballet Brawl (a Barre-Room Blitz, anyone?) over mirror space. Never in the years of taking classes at Awesome Ballet School have I seen this type of behavior from adults...or children for that matter. One dancer was using the barres along the back wall. Another dancer was using a portable barre in the center. Back Wall Dancer asked Center Dancer to please move her barre a little bit so that she could see the teacher and the mirror. Center Dancer refused, multiple times, and finally did a "talk to the hand gesture" which infuriated Back Wall Dancer. They continued to shoot daggers at each other throughout the class, then at the break before center, The Confrontation occurred. Grown-ass women yelling at each other, displaying the behavior you'd expect from 4th graders. Luckily the teacher was out of the room for the exchange, otherwise I cannot imagine what she would have said.

At some level, we have to remember that while acting like children can be a healthy past time  we are adults, and are expected to act like adults. Fighting in an adult open level class? Are you serious? This is Awesome Ballet School, and you are an adult recreational dancer. Get over yourself and act your age.

Or better yet, get yourself some wine and a tutu and chill out.........

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taking Baby out of the corner...

The other day, my friend and I were watching the Disney movie Aladdin. Yes, we are thirty-somethings with successful jobs, but we couldn't resist the pull of a childhood movie. It got us talking about our favorite movies from the 80s - the ones we associate with our youth. Growing up in different parts of the country, my roommate and I had different favorites, gems like Top Gun. The Breakfast Club. E.T. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But the one unanimous title that elicited that gushing "OH MY GAWD I LOOOOOOOOVED THAT MOVIE!" sentiment was none other than Dirty Dancing.

I can remember going over to my friend's house to sneak a peek at the movie - my parents were a lot more strict than those of my friends, so even watching the movie felt like an illicit thrill. It wasn't until I watched the movie again many years later that I realized my parents were probably right to keep my "Hungry Eyes" from the screen - Dirty Dancing dealt with topics that I, as a seven year old, couldn't possibly comprehend. In the end, it didn't matter, because seven-year-old Black Sheep didn't care about the adult themes, she cared about two things. The Dancing...and The Music. Dirty Dancing was my first introduction to choreography. Not being a dancer when I was young, the dance moves seemed so exotic - so happy - that my friends and I couldn't help but watch that VHS tape over...and over...and over again, learning the dance moves. Who of us hasn't tried the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey lift in the pool? How many of us did talent show versions of Hey Baby? How many of us wore out cassette tapes singing Hungry Eyes at the top of our lungs?

Dirty Dancing was so much more than a movie musical that was accessible to everyone - it was the precursor for dance-themed movies like Center Stage, Save the Last Dance, even the Step Up franchise. The soundtrack is instantly recognizable - to this day I can't hear some songs, like Stay or Hey Baby without thinking of jamming out in my friend's basement. As this is the 25th anniversary of the movie (man I feel old), Sony is releasing a deluxe anniversary edition of the soundtrack. It's the original 1987 soundtrack along with a host of special features and freebies. It just begs you to pick up a copy then go home and put on your best Baby costume, find your Johnny, and dance & sing along. And in the meantime, enjoy this blast from the past.'re doin' it right.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bar Method?

I came across this US News article today about the Bar Method craze. I know a few people who have tried it and loved it, but they were not dancers, nor had any interest in classical dance. I'm afraid my purist inner-ballerina would be at odds with the class, and mutter snide comments during a vicious inner monologue about the bastardization of dance. That said, I'm still curious. I do Pilates reformer, after all - could it be that much of a stretch?

What say you, Cher Readers? Have you taken a Bar Method (or other ballet-based fitness) class? Did you enjoy it, or did you ballet run as fast as you could back to the studio for a proper barre workout?