24 April 2011

Melancholy Swan Shoe Timeline 2

In my continuing quest for the cache of tattered, worn ballet shoes described by the Adult Beginner and inspired by Balletnerd's shoe timeline, I present the second installment The Melancholy Swan's own shoe timeline.

Here are the Melancholy Swan's shoes after 6 classes.

What are your shoes like?

23 April 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan re-evaluates the "ballerina body"

The Melancholy Swan is currently reading Adrienne McLean's Dying Swans and Madmen: Ballet, the Body, and Narrative Cinema, and came across this  photograph of the members of George Balanchine's and Lincoln Kirstein's American Ballet.  It was a revelation!  Look at their powerful thighs and rounded calves!  The curves of their bodies!

This is my new ideal ballerina body and with a lot of hard work, it is one the Melancholy Swan might actually achieve.

22 April 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan finally returns to the pond

Ahhhhhh!  Last night I was finally back in class.  It felt amazing to put on my leotard (and then hide it under cropped pants and a t-shirt) and my shoes and walk up to the barre.  I still had to face the (soul crushing) mirror, but hearing the music and feeling the studio floor beneath me took away the pull of gravity.  Thanks to plies and relevés  to the timing of my Sonicare toothbrush along with my NYC Ballet workout, I was able to jump right back in with my classmates.

I feel like I can breathe again.  I feel light again.  And decidedly less melancholy.

08 April 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan plans for the future

Today was not the best day for the Melancholy Swan.  There was no class last night because the Academy is on Spring Break and I won't be in class next week because I'll be at a conference in Grand Rapids.  I'm trying to be disciplined and practice by myself, but the NYC Ballet workout just doesn't inspire the same feelings.  In class I feel light.  If I avoid the mirror, there are moments where I forget to hate the way my body looks and rejoice the feeling of weightlessness that comes from walking on demi-point, of hopping and spinning on the studio floors.  I can dance through the rest of the week just from one Thursday night class in a state of grace.

Without it, the Melancholy Swan feels the pull of gravity.  Hurtful words and rude people pull me down even further and it becomes ever harder to rise up to my toes and the grace slowly ebbs from my life.

Which is why I am looking toward the future.  The semester will be over in a month and I want to take as many ballet classes as I can during the summer.  The Academy classes are short sessions (5-6 weeks) and I am looking at the local community college and park district for more.  The community college is taught in a Russian tradition and is said to be very disciplined, but they are only offering Intermediate Ballet during the summer (MW from 7:00 - 9:45pm), and I'm not sure I'm ready.  The park district offers adult ballet courses but their summer schedule isn't up yet.

Hopefully more classes and more dancing will make the grace last a little longer.