Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Rest

Our Christmas show is over, and as always it's a little bittersweet. I have such fun making new friends in the cast each year, and bonding over choreography troubles.

I do have some happy news on the injury front--I was finally able to see a PT with a background in dance medicine, and met her the week before the show. She showed me how to properly KT tape my leg, and gave me other exercises to add to my repertoire. I was also given instructions on how to ease back into full classes properly (floor barre, then regular barre, then barre AND center, then pointe, then finally jumping again). First order of business: REST for at least a week (no releves!) Weirdly easier said than done for me! I have a tendency to dance around my house more than I thought...

We don't have floor barre at our studio, so I've been investigating methods to do at home. That in itself was a little overwhelming, but I settled on the one that not only appealed to me, but was cheapest and easiest to get …

How much is enough?

Sometimes I see a fellow adult dancer go crazy town and DO SO MUCH (i.e. take classes at multiple studios, in multiple dance styles, every day of the week), and I start wonder to myself if I'm doing enough/dancing enough.

Then I remember how easy it has been for my body to freak out and develop issues (ahem) when I overdo it. My body is not the same as their bodies--mine gets grumpy pants if I don't rest. (As an aside, will I ever outgrow this comparison crap? UGH.)

But it makes me wonder. Fellow adult dancers, how much dancing is enough dancing for you?


I realize that your answer will likely depend on why you dance in the first place; maybe even your "dance goals." As an adult dancer who wants to continue to perform (while I can), I find that I want to dance as many hours as possible so that my technique continues to improve and I stay strong, but not overdo it. Dance is also my happy place, the refuge where all my real-world adult troubles disappear.

I just have to…

OOPS

I was talking to the PT Monday about how I still have a cranky spot deep up inside the back/outside part of my ankle, and she suggested that maybe it was a grumpy ligament that I had mildly sprained.

My initial reaction was, "Nah," but then as I thought about it, I recalled how my ankle likes to give out, and how earlier this summer it had given out in class and I'd actually rolled it slightly. OOPS. That may have been the catalyst to setting off this most recent bout of ankle grumpiness.


In other news, I'm still being threatened with a boot after the performance if my pain doesn't go away. I'm torn about it, to be honest--on one hand, I'm worried about losing strength, on the other I just want this damn thing to get better.

Woe is Me (etc.)

I mentioned in my last post that my ankle has been bothering me again, and this time the pain was not content to disappear after some minor rest. I've been seeing a PT and a second podiatrist and apparently I have both sinus tarsi syndrome AND peroneal tendonitis, likely due to a large number of factors.

While frustrating, it's fascinating to me how connected everything in the body can be--for instance, at my last appointment the PT mentioned how my hips are slightly out of alignment, which may be causing my hamstring to be tight, which in turn is limiting the movement of the fibula, which may be contributing to the peroneal problems. OY VEY.
I have yet to determine the starting point of all this chaos, though sometimes I wonder if it stems from my injury/surgery on my left knee several years ago (causing over compensation on my right side). The doc and PT think its very possible.
I'm doing a limited amount of dancing (I took a 3 week break awhile back to no avail)--I can&…

Just the usual

Things have been crazy busy, so I've been a blogging slacker.

Updates!

I started doing my own strength training circuit at home through August, and was pretty good about sticking with it. I did both arm and legs exercises every other day throughout the month and definitely saw and felt some improvement. Now I just have to keep up with it because I've been a slacker so far into September. No surprises there, really.

My stupid ankle is bothering me again, so now I'm seeing a PT (who is a former dancer, yay!) To the shock of no one, she told me that I have tight calves. What was surprising was that I have weak calves (for a dancer), and likely some muscle imbalance. We'll be working on that, and also checking my pelvis for any other imbalances. My first homework assignment is to stretch my poor calves every day (especially after class). Good times.

The Pointe Shoe Saga also continues, because I dislike the Airess. I have two major problems with them:

I can't seem to pad…

Final Challenge Update

Slightly delayed due to my being out of town! Apologies.

I finished all three of my 30 day challenges, and only missed one day the entire month (my shoulder was bothering me and I didn't want to push it), which I'm pretty proud of.  Things I realized:
Planks are still evil. The longest I was able to hold one was 1:20. Ugh.Lunges are evil but also kind of awesome? I hurt for a couple of days but in that weird good-hurt kind of way? (I may be slightly insane)I can't seem to do back flies without making my shoulder grumpy, so I stopped doing them and just did the others instead.My butt seems perkier (?) but everything else looks the same. All in all, I want to continue doing strength work (both arms and legs), but maybe as more of a circuit type deal, which I'll try to do every other day (as I keep seeing recommended). We'll see how THAT goes. I think blogging about these challenges was good motivation because I felt accountable SOMEWHERE. I'll try to keep at it!��…

Planks are Evil

Today is the 1/2 way point for all of my challenges, and everything is going well except the stupid plank. I hit the minute mark a few days ago, but have been having a hard time making it any further (even 1 minute 10 seconds is too much). I don't know if its because I'm more tired this week (my schedule is rather crazy), or what. Frustrating!

As for the other two challenges, I like the exercises and the fact that I can get through everything fairly easily and quickly, but think it would be more beneficial if I increased the reps. For example, this past week it said to do 12 of each exercise, but I'm wondering if I should treat them as reps and do 2-3 sets of 12 (or something). Will have to investigate further!

The Very Latest in the Pointe Shoe Saga

I mentioned back in May that my Grishko Novas had started giving me problems because they were twisting (especially on my left foot). I changed my elastics (used something heavier and criss-crossed them) and that helped some, but not completely. My AD thought I might want to try something with a higher wing.

So, when I went on a family vacation at the end of May/beginning of June, I did my usual and looked up all the dance shops in the areas I'd be visiting and ended up being fitted at two.

First, can I just express my annoyance that, when I called these shops looking for specific shoes, I was informed that yes, they carried them, only to get there and they had ONE pair that was not in my size? That doesn't count as carrying them, people!

Anyway, at the first shop the fitter was REALLY into the new Capezio Airess (in fact, I think the girl before me was trying them on too), and I was subsequently fit into the 1133 (tapered) model. I haven't tried a Capezio shoe yet, and I…

July Challenge Time

While my dance school does have a summer session in the month of July, the schedule tends to be a little more relaxed. With that in mind, I decided that I should amp up some of my other training and start working on (what I consider to be) problems areas. For me, that's my core, arms, and glutes (side note: I read this fascinating article via the Dance Training Project's Facebook page that talks all about how tight calves (!) can be a by-product of weak glutes).

So, I decided to give this whole 30 day workout challenge thing a whirl, and on July 1st I started a couple of them. The big one is the 30-day plank challenge (I'm trying the one from here).

Having a strong core is super important for so many aspects of dance that I thought it would be a good place to start. Plus, I kind of want to be a bad-ass who can plank for 4 minutes. If you feel like joining me, comment here and keep me posted on your progress! We can all be bad-asses!

That being said, I'm already a little…

Post-Recital Relaxation Time

Our summer show was last night, and I finally feel like I can relax. The whole week was stressful, what with fretting over the little ones and getting ready myself (and trying to remember all my choreography). Luckily, things seemed to go pretty well for the bitties.  Me, however? Ugh.

I messed up little things in both tap numbers I was in, though both jazz numbers went well. We had two pointe pieces, one more modern in flavor, and one classical (a variation from La Bayadère). The modern piece went super well, but the classical piece? My strong suit? I totally botched it.

There was one pirouette section in particular that I've always had a little trouble with because I don't get my weight forward enough, and last night I lost my balance a bit and had to fake the last turn. Ugh. I also messed up the beginning entrance, and a bit at the end I've never had trouble with before. I'm annoyed with myself because the last few times we did it in rehearsal it was actually going…

A Little Bit of Everything

Sorry for the radio silence, y'all!  I've been pretty busy and haven't had a proper chance to sit down and blog, which of course means that I have a backlog of things to say (this is a little long). (Also, apologies for my liberal use of gifs.)

Teaching Update
Because of the whims of fate, I have suddenly found myself teaching three days a week! The teacher of the tiny pre-ballerinas got injured, so the AD took over and had me assist her teaching the class. After only 1-2 classes AD decided I was fine on my own and let me take over--eep!
On top of teaching them three days a week (there are 3 different classes--so many precious tiny ballerinas!), I have also had to come up with new dances for each class to do for the spring recital. I have no experience choreographing whatsoever, so that has been a bit of a learning curve. Luckily, this is the 3-5 year olds, so the steps are very simple, and they're cute no matter what they do.

Class/Rehearsals

As for us "big girls&q…

Serendipity

In a weird but wonderful twist of the universe, we had a (former) professional dancer drop into the adult class at my dance school earlier this week. If that wasn't amazing enough, it turns out her new career is as a physical therapist! My AD asked her if she would be willing to look at my foot, and she was gracious enough to give me a little exam before attending class (awesome!)

She told me that my symptoms were very similar for having an os trigonum, which can be hard to detect (I told her my podiatrist had checked for that and nothing had shown up on my x-ray, but I guess sometimes they can be super hard to see).

Alternatively (and equally as likely) it may be the result of my tight calves in conjunction with my having had previous ankle sprains to that ankle many moons ago. Because of the sprains, I've lost stability in my ankle and now my peroneal muscles are overcompensating when I do all my balancing/pointe work. Makes sense to me!

She gave me a bunch of exercises to do…

Spring Break

We just finished a two week Spring Break, and I actually (gasp) took a break. I decided that if I wanted to be able to do pointe for our spring show, I should probably let my foot rest. The latest news on that front is that it seemed to be some peroneal tendonitis, which is an overuse injury (everyone is shocked, right? haha). Besides the increased pointe in class, I have been walking more than usual, and because I walk turned out and supinate (all of which is bad), I think I aggravated that entire area. Le sigh.

In completely non-foot related news, I am still struggling with finding something both comfortable and flattering to wear for classes. I mean...I don't mind wearing leotards and tights, but the leg holes of many of my leos squeeze things a little too much for my liking, which makes me feel like they don't fit and, therefore, aren't flattering. It's a little frustrating. I also continue to hate normal tights and how the elastic forever makes me look like a saus…

Finicky Calves

As I had predicted, the steroids the doc gave me for the foot didn't help much. I saw him again and he felt around more, finally finding the sensitive spot just behind my outer ankle bone (the lateral malleolus for those of you who are medically inclined.) Seems like it may be my peroneal tendon/muscle, which is an overuse injury (of course). It can also be caused by tight calves (which the doc noted I had while he was flexing my foot around), so I have lots of stretching and massaging in my future.

I did the math, and I was definitely dancing more in the winter, but I am doing more pointe which does a nice number on the calves, so I think that's my problem. I'm going to have to be religious about massaging and stretching my calves at night.

Things that are worrying me, though? Our spring showcase. As of discussions right now, I may be in as many as NINE numbers (two tap, three ballet/ballet-esque, and four jazz!) AHHHHHH.

In which I might be cursed

My stupid ankle/foot is bothering me again. It feels very similar to the problem I was having over the summer, so I saw the foot doc again. This time he thinks it might actually be my sural nerve, but I don't really feel like that's it because I don't get any weird tingling or numbness. It's more of an ache/pinching feeling? Sigh.

However, because it seems like my calves are forever tight (I had problems with shin splints early on), I asked if tightness in my calf could cause problems in my ankle and he said yes--tight calf muscles can restrict ankle mobility(!) so that's also a big possibility (yay relevé!)  Time to break out all my self massage tools and see if that helps.

And maybe one of these fancy calf stretching deals:


(They had me use one during my PT recovery for my knee injury a few years ago and it was the best thing ever).

In any event, whatever this is seems to be pointe related. I've come to this conclusion because during the winter I w…

Ballet is Exciting!

My first teaching experience went pretty well, though I could tell near the end (before we played a ballet version of charades) that the girls were getting a little bored. They were very well behaved (likely because they're not sure what to make of us yet, heh), but I still want them to have fun, so we'll have to see what we can come up with to make things a little more exciting.

I also somehow ended up teaching the beginning/intermediate adult class when the teacher had to cancel last minute. I only had three students (all of whom I've taken class with), so it was relaxed and quite fun. They were good sports, and I have a suspicion that I might like teaching adults over munchkins. I said something about it to the AD later, and she kind of smiled and nodded and said, "Everyone is different." It's obviously very early in my teaching experience though, so time will tell.

Learning to Teach

The AD of the dance school I attend has been hinting that she thinks I should try to teach. I was hesitant, because I've never taught anyone anything before, and ballet can be kind of complicated.

I've found myself with much more free time than usual, and when she asked again, I decided why not? So another student teacher and I have been assigned a class together (ages 7-10ish).

I'm both super excited and nervous. We went over with the AD all the things we'll work on, things we'll introduce later, things to watch out for. It's a lot, but I'm looking forward to making up combinations and digging up fun music.


I'm also finding myself wondering what kind of resources there are for a beginning dance teacher? Are there manuals/books for this kind of thing? Will I be able to break down steps in a way that is easy for a 7 year old to understand? Will I be able to make the class both fun and disciplined (e.g. no kids running around and hanging on the barres)? T…

Wait, what?

As previously reported, I am a right/clockwise turner, so you can imagine my surprise the other day in pointe class when I managed a lovely pirouette to the left, but barely turned at all to the right.

I don't...what? I don't even know.

My problem on the right is that I just don't seem to GO anywhere--it's like I lose all my momentum. I suspect that I'm springing up onto pointe too much on the right side, but I'll have to ask my teacher about it. SO WEIRD.

In which I am ridiculous and jealous of nothing important

Sometimes I get frustrated with myself, and generally its because I'm doing that horrible thing I think a lot of dancers do, where I compare myself to others and always come up short. I think many of us are perfectionists, and so we get ourselves into trouble when this kind of thought process starts (me especially, as I have a history of low self esteem and eating problems, boo).

(Under a break because this is LONG.)

What's in Your Bag?

I was cleaning out my dance bag the other day, and started thinking about how personal a dance bag can be. Some people have small tote bags and only carry the necessities (e.g. tights, leotard, shoes), while others (like me) pack every possible thing they could ever need.

In my defense, the dance studio I attend has an actual "dance bag requirements" list for the advanced students, which does actually include me (unlike the dress code). Subsequently, I have a giant dance bag filled with a ton of stuff:


Stereotypical New Years Post

The last month has been a little intense, and not just with dance things. Two weeks before Christmas, I suddenly found myself unemployed. The company I had worked for for 10 years lost a contract, and thus all of the planned work for the next year; nearly everyone in the office was laid off. It was very sudden. Ironically, I had been considering a career change (to what, I have no idea, but still wanted a change). I guess we'll see what the future holds?

Luckily, I had dance to focus on right after it happened, as we had tech/dress rehearsals and our Christmas show. Everything went really well--I had a small solo bit and managed to not mess it up once in any of the three shows. Go me!

We had a two week break and started classes up again this last week, though not everyone is back yet so things are slow. Going back to class after a break is always an interesting time, and while I somehow managed to get in some decent double pirouettes to the right, the left was a complete disaster …