Sunday, July 13, 2014

My First SI: An Adventure in Achy Muscles

I'm putting this behind a cut because it will be nice and long, and for those that are just cruising through, you won't have to read a mountain of text!

First, I apologize for the complete lack of pictures.  I'm fairly new to this blogging thing, and didn't take any because I was so busy (except for the foot-in-ice action shot)!

The summer intensive I attended took place at my former ballet school in my home state of Colorado, and was six days long. We started at 9:15 and ended at 4:00 (M-F), with each class lasting roughly an hour and a half, with a 30-40 minute lunch around noon.    Quite the haul, especially when you're me and have been off for two weeks!

Monday through Friday we had ballet technique in the mornings, followed by pointe (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday), or discussions about injuries, nutrition, cross-training, and ballet history (Tuesday and Thursday).  After this, we had a short (30-40 minute) lunch, and then "character class."

This ended up not being at all what I expected.  I thought we would dance in character shoes and learn to "act," but instead it was more like a rehearsal for a corps dance--from Coppelia to be exact.  Still fun though, and quite a doozy. Following this class, we had lyrical/jazz.  We learned choreography in all but the regular technique class, so had three total dances to perform at the ending showcase on Saturday.

Saturday consisted of one last technique class, pas de deux (but I didn't participate in that one), and the previously mentioned show for family and friends.

Pointe was fun, not only because I got new pointe shoes (YAY, more on that in a separate post), but because we learned two different variations (which I mentioned briefly in my ice post: the infamous Esmeralda, and other from Les Sylphides).  I ended up performing the latter because I didn't feel my pirouettes and such were strong enough for Esmeralda.  I loved learning it though!  The Les Sylphides piece is slow and pretty, and uses lots of port de bras.  I'm usually drawn to quicker, sassier numbers like Esmeralda, but really enjoyed the change.

For lyrical, we did a fun creepy number to the theme song from Pretty Little Liars (the actual song is called Secret by The Pierces).  It has a fun creepy carnival kind of sound, so we all had a lot of fun acting creepy and morbid.

I was bummed that my tendonitis seemed to act up again right away. I started soaking it in a bucket of ice every night, and it would be better during the day, but I would still have to take an anti-inflammatory (especially on pointe days).  That was part of the reason I didn't end up doing pas de deux--I wanted to save my pointe work for the "performance."

Soreness levels were interesting.  It sort of built of slowly, with the peak of soreness happening on Wednesday (I almost cried going down stairs in the mall), then tapered off so that by Saturday I felt pretty normal again.  Crazy.

There were other adults there, but not for the entire thing.  There were several that just took the morning technique class, and one who also took pointe, but I was the sole "older" person in character and lyrical.  Luckily, I didn't feel completely out of place, and the teenagers were quite welcoming.

My only complaint?  THE FLOOR.  It's technically a great floor, being that its sprung and kept clean, but it was so sticky the entire time that I could barely do a double pirouette (and I can do triples at home!)  I began to wonder if the reason I was never able to do triples as a teen was because the floor is kept so sticky...I suppose I'll never know for sure.

Would I do it again?  Totally.  I'd probably give myself a couple extra days so that I could spend more time with my friends though!  My best friend and her husband let me bunk at their house, but I was so busy during the day that I only saw them briefly in the mornings, and a little in the evenings before we all went to bed.  We had a couple dinners together, but I also had to fit in dinners with some other folks while I was there, and felt like we didn't get to hang out as much as I would have liked.  Maybe next year.


  1. This is awesome! You're lucky to have access to a real summer intensive -- and brave to be the only adult to do all the classes. :)