Monday, June 30, 2014

Wardrobe Woes

I've been pondering some changes to my usual class attire.

I'm a creature of habit, so when I started dancing again I just wore what I've always worn to class: leotard, convertible pink tights, shorts (originally knit, now spandex), and pink canvas slippers.

My usual ballet gear just isn't doing it for me anymore

Alas, because I am now an adult woman*, this combination is not as flattering as it might have been when I was 16.  These days, I have what I like to call a "J-Lo" thing happening (bootylicious!), and I'm pear-shaped.

This is a lovely shape to have when one wants to wear cute a-line dresses (which I do).  It is, however, a difficult shape to dress when one has to wear ballet attire.

http://www.modcloth.com/shop/dresses/traveling-cupcake-truck-dress-in-black
Why can't I wear THIS to ballet class?
(Traveling Cupcake Truck Dress, from Modcloth)
 
For example, I have tried several brands of tights in an effort to find a pair that doesn't have a waist band threatening to sever me in half.  No luck in that department, except to wear a body tight. I have a love/hate relationship with the body tight: on one hand, I don't have the lovely "muffin top" problem caused by the waist bands of normal tights.  On the other, they make things like going to the bathroom even more difficult, and they flatten me out (which would typically be a good thing, except it makes me feel like I look even more disproportionate as far as the J-Lo situation is concerned.)

Speaking of my bottom half, the shorts are also proving to be a problem. Contrary to what one might think, they don't actually camouflage that area--instead, I think they actually make it more noticeable!  I'm not quite brave enough to go without something on my bottom half quite yet, so I've considered various options: skirts, capri leggings, black tights, but am still experimenting. I just bought this long georgette wrap skirt, but I haven't had a chance to wear it yet; I'm hoping the longer length with hit me in a better place than the shorts.

The weirdest thing?  I am having a problem giving up the pink tights.

Let's be real: having a light colored fabric on one's bottom half isn't always flattering (especially for a pear shape).  But the lighter colored tights also make it easier for the teacher to see how your legs are working.  I can't really go tights-less, or wear carpi tights because I have sweaty feet, and I know that if I wear my shoes without tights, the stink factor would be horrendous (not to mention the blisters in pointe shoes).  I suppose I could keep the pink tights and wear black capri leggings or tights over them,  but I feel like that would be super hot?  I just don't know.  It's become popular to wear tights over your leotard, but there's no way I could do that with pink ones.  Black ones? Maybe.

http://london.sansha.com/catalog/frontend/model/id/2694
I don't hate this look.
Leotards are the least of my worries.  I'm lucky that my ballet studio doesn't have a strict dress code for adults, but I do dance with the teenagers and we technically have a class leotard (it's black, and actually quite lovely), so I try to wear black leotards pretty often so I blend in. That being said, the key to dressing a pear-shape is to draw the eye up, so I'm trying to put together a collection of leotards that have patterns or details up top, or pinched fronts (i.e. I have this leo in several different colors).  I have no self control when it comes to purchasing leotards, though I do get frustrated with ones that don't have generous enough leg openings.

Fellow adult and/or curvy dancers: what do you wear to class? Any tips?




*By age standards, anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hanging Out to Dry

I have this fancy metal screen in my bedroom:


It matches the metal bed frame I inherited from my parents when I moved out of their house, and is nice and old timey (I'm a bit of a history nerd).  I like the "pretty, but rustic" look.

It sits off to one side of my bedroom, "hiding" the door to the bathroom (which is blocked by cat litter boxes on the other side, so I don't use that door).  It has no purpose other than to be pretty and decorative.

I have found a second use for it:


Who knew, right?

Monday, June 23, 2014

It Rains, It Pours

My body has decided to go on strike.  I've been having some pain/aches around my ankle and heel, but its another thing that comes and goes depending on its mood (I assume).  It's only my right foot, which I had sprained (twice) over 10 years ago, so I originally thought maybe it was just not as strong and needed time to get used to all my dancing and pointe again.

It has continued, so I started thinking maybe my never-ending point shoe saga was to blame--and I'm sure isn't helping things.

So, since we're on a break from classes (during which I fully intend on just RESTING for once), I made an appointment with a foot/ankle specialist to get it checked out, just to be safe, especially since after break I'm going to that SI.

Good news: not my Achilles.  Also not an os trigonum issue (whew).  Bad news: I have some inflammation/tendonitis in my flexor hallucis longus tendon*. (yea, trying saying that fast...or at all).

Its the tendon that runs from your calf area, up under your foot to your big toe.

(This picture was shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia.)

I'm on a course of steroids for about a week to help the inflammation, and in the future I'll have to be sure to ice myself after dancing.  I told the doctor about my pointe shoe woes (e.g. how all the pressure was on my big toe), and he said that was very likely contributing.  Moral of the story: get a proper pointe shoe fitting, kids!

*My favorite part of that online article I linked for the FHL tendon is the bit that says, "This is particularly common in ballet dancers who spend significant time rising onto their toes."  Um, yes. That'd be me.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Operation: Recital, a Success!

We had our show last night, and things went pretty well for me.  We had some hiccups with staging/timing on a couple of numbers due to not having had a full dress rehearsal, but overall it went well!  There's always a little something that doesn't pan out quite like you want, but they're always minor things that I'm sure the audience doesn't even notice, so I try not to dwell.

Two of my coworkers came to the show, much to my surprise!  Neither of them had said anything about coming, so when I spotted one of them in the audience I couldn't help but give her a big grin (luckily, it was appropriate to the character I was portraying).

I had spent most of the day being anxious and nervous, but by the time we started dancing I was as calm as can be.  I was glad, because during our Christmas show I'd been super nervous (for reasons I can't explain).  In the past (when I was younger and doing Nutcracker every year), I'd get nervous right before going on, but as soon as I was on stage I'd be fine.  I did not have this experience during our Christmas show, so I wasn't sure how I'd be for this performance, but my nerves appear to have reverted to normal (thank goodness!)

We have a two week break before the summer session (July) starts, though technically I'm taking three weeks "off" because I'm traveling.  However, that third week I'm actually going to be doing a Summer Intensive at my old ballet studio, so I will be dancing!  I've never done an SI before, and there aren't too many available for adults, so I'm excited to get the experience.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Please Not Again

I have a dumb knee.

I don't like to say its a "bad" knee, because it still totally functions (quite well, actually), but it has some issues due to past injuries/surgeries (meniscus tear).  Every once in awhile it will ache (typically when the weather changes, which my friends find hilarious), but then it will feel normal again.  Sometimes a particularly rigorous class will make it ache too, but its nothing a little post-class icing/elevation/resting can't cure.

At least that was true until a couple of weeks ago.  The weather had been weird again, so when it started to ache, I didn't really think anything of it.  Then last week I somehow managed to overstretch my hamstring on that side, and it REALLY ached.

I'm naturally hyperextended, so I figured the combination of overstretching (and also forcing my knee back while doing so), plus the weather stuff had just made it irritated in general.  I wasn't really doing more classes/rehearsals than I had been at Christmas, so it was just a bad combo.  However, just to be safe, I called up the surgeon's office to see if I could get it checked out.  I fully expected that he'd tell me it was a Baker's Cyst, or just a little strained.

The Bad News: I might have another meniscus tear (sad trombone noise).  The only way to know for sure would be to get an MRI, though.  The Good News?  It might NOT be a tear.  Except for some slight swelling/fluid in the back (behind my knee) and the pain when he pressed a certain area of my joint, I don't have other typical signs of a tear--I would be much more swollen, and it would prevent me from dancing.  I have no instability and had no pain when he twisted it in various directions, so that's good.  I'm hoping its just a mild strain and that our 2-week post-recital break will help it heal some.

 
My knee after surgery in 2010--do not want again.

However, if it still is bothering me, gets more swollen, and/or prevents me from dancing, I might have more surgery (and recovery) in my future, which is something I don't want to re-live.  No dancing for 3 months? NO THANK YOU.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Well, That's a Bummer

Our pointe teacher is leaving; today is her last day. I am super bummed because she is amazing and fabulous. Even though I was often the lone adult dancing with the teens, she always made sure to treat me the same--give me corrections, compliments, encouragement. She was amazing and I'm sad she's leaving us. She was both really technical (which I like), and lots of fun (the class has several inside jokes now).

That's been one of the things I've noticed about my school, and I'm not sure how common it is elsewhere, but it really does seem like teachers come and go fairly often. I wonder if its common in the dance world? I guess its a symptom of dance teachers also having other jobs/lives, so I can't imagine its completely uncommon. Just a total bummer when one of your favorites has to leave.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ye Olde First Post

I've decided to chronicle my dancing shenanigans in blog form!  Let's see how well I can keep up with it.

I've made an About Me page, but just for the sake of saving your clicking finger, here's a short rundown of who I am:  I am a dancer in her early 30 who has recently started dancing again after a long break.  I take both ballet (which I originally started as a youngin') and jazz (a recent development). 

I was inspired to start blogging about my dance adventures because I'm a big fan of both The Remedial Ballerina and Adult Beginner.  Reading dance blogs was one of the things that really helped motivate me to return to dancing.  I figured the more of us out here in the blogosphere, the more encouragement someone else might get to try or restart ballet. (Go do it!)