Thursday, March 29, 2012

10K + short reports from class

It's been a week since my last post, so it's about time to write a few words. And as I rejoiced my comeback to classes, should mention also how they went, right? ;)

Last Friday was a Good Day in general. Took some stuff to my flea-market table, then off to work, 2 lovely pupils (grown-ups both), back to the center, sun shining, some tea in a cafe and then, YES, Finally... To the studio. I had a good amount of time to get changed, warm up and strech a little. There were actually more of us than probably ever this Spring! I didn't feel as worn out as I had the previous Friday class, only a little and only in a good way. At that moment as I realized this, I knew I'd gotten better. No more flu.

On my way to work on Monday this week. Friday was almost as good! :)

Our barre-routines were still the same, so I had time to concentrate on the Quality of my movements. The tourist class I took in Helsinki reminded me of constantly Really turning out/presenting my heels, crossing the legs (tendus etc.) and stomach in - popo under... :) I tried also "work the floor" all the time, feeeeeel the toes and the whole sole sliding against it. Even in the grand battements - which were the best I've done all year. Weird. Especially to the front (devant) the legs seemed to weigh Nothing! They just flew up. Higher. W-e-i-r-d. To the side - again better. To the back - a bit better, but it was a small challenge with so much crowd. We did do the grand b's in directions, but still. I guess I'm used to too much space round me.

In the middle we had the same adagio, same tendus, same everything. But the adagio felt easier, although I do not like developpes a la seconde without barre. (Mind you, I don't like them much w/ the barre either.) Tendus we had in two ways. First (starting with the right leg) from 1st position - devant, a la seconde, derriere, a la seconde again - combined with 2 sautes in the end and a short balance demi-pointe. Same thing with the left leg. Second (starting to the right) from the 5th position - tendus a la seconde, but changing direction all the time. We started en face, but with the very first tendu we turned 90 degrees to the right. Same thing with the 3rd, 5th and 7th tendus, ending en face again. Then there was something (pirouette probably), after which the whole turning Thing to the left. (I know there's a word for it - but I forgot... :D)

Before starting the rehearsal of our Spring performance, we did some Fast grand battements in the middle. And our teacher asked us once again: "Why do we practice these throws Fast? Where do we need this kind of movement to help us?" I said jumps - and it was correct! Yay, I've learned at least one thing this year. (Or learned to remember it anyway.) (Actually, I've learned the difference between croise & efface & ecarte, too.)

 About 20 minutes (or bit more) was spent on The Choreography. We know it through now, nice and quite simple. Not much fast movements, except some piques (steps, no turns) and in the end tombe - pas de bourree - pirouette en dehors (twice, with some small running steps in between). I'm very happy to do the pirouettes, as my singles are quite solid now. And I do like the en dehors from 4th position a lot!


Saturday class had same routines also, both barre and middle. Except for one slow routine cross the floor with beautiful poses and hands, 2 pique turns and "some" chaines. And we did our Spring performance choreo there, too (different piece - different teacher). The only "negative" thing about the class was this: no pointe. Not even the 15 minutes there's supposed to be. Our teacher did ask us nice and polite, if we'd mind about doing only "a little" pointe that day. And we ended up with 0 minutes. Weeeelllllll, it's good to rehearse the performance bit, but I do pay for the pointe session... All of us don't. So they get extra teaching and us pointe-freaks lose it. Okay okay, call me greedy/mingy, but I'd been waiting to do even that little moment with my shoes, waiting for weeks... And the next Saturday class is after Easter, so there are over 2 weeks to wait again. But maybe then we'll be dancing sur les pointes. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Last but not least - I just noticed a big number on my blog. Over ten thousand visits, on different posts and pages of mine. That calls for a huuuuuuge YAY!!!!!! Thank you to all who've been here! :) I do hope you'll come back every once in a while. You most certainly are all very welcome.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Today is ballet day!

It's been 1,5 weeks since my last class (the tourist one) and 2 since my last regular class. And 3 since my last Friday class! But today at 6 pm I'll be there, YAY! And the sun is shining, don't have complaints about that either ;)

p.s. The blog has a new look, wanted something for Spring, but the choice turned out quite summer-like...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wanna see some ballet? Let's go!

Okay, I did not go to Helsinki bit more than week ago to see Le Corsaire (by Bolshoi) in a movie theatre. Would have wanted to, though... But luckily there are some wonderful people in this world, for example this certain blogger. I sincerely urge you to visit his page. To see the Corsaire, for example.

In 1,5 weeks I'm going to see some ballet LIVE. On stage. In Helsinki. It'll be the farewell performance of our National Ballet's biggest star (at the moment), Minna Tervamäki. Got a very nice place, too, from the 1st balcony, 1st row, in the middle. And of course I'm trying to figure out what to wear. I want it to be something at least a little bit festive, special even. And as I've lately found, I put together a fun outfit - got the inspiration from birds (scarlet macaw, to be exact). Here it is. (p.s. The ballet is going to be La Bayadere.)

Inspiration - Ara Macao


I'm soooooo waiting for Friday, have to get back to class. Have to. Really. And Saturday.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ballerina on a Boat

Needed some cheering up, so searched the youtube with words "ballet" + "cartoon". Found something that really is worth watching! :D It's hilarious, dramatic, beautifully drawn/painted and has good music in it. I give you....

Ballerina on a Boat

"Balerina na korable" (1969)
Director: Lev Atamanov
Writer: Roza Khusnutdinova
Music: Alfred Schnittke



Saturday, March 17, 2012

In the meanwhile, some outfits...

Have been feeling a bit off this week, so decided to skip yesterday's class. My conscience is blue-ish because of it, but it was a good decision. Today we had a Suzuki training day in Kouvola, had to wake up early, catch a train there and back and so on... So now I'm extremely tired, soon to bed. BUT first some sets I put together this evening :)

St. Patrick's outfit 2012

This first one is inspired by St. Patrick's Day, which happens to be today! I've actually never celebrated it, as it isn't a tradition in Finland. Except in the Irish pubs ;) But found a gorgeous dress, shoes (Louboutin, baby, yeah!) and stuff in polyvore, and there it was. The Green outfit.

My work outfit vol.1

And this is basically what I wore today. My stripe shirt had a bit bigger stripes, but the coloring is the same. Also the collar is about the same. Jeans, cardigan = exactly the same. Shoes - I have those black superstars and I Love them, so decided to put them there (as I couldn't find those that I actually had on). The bag I do have and use it a Lot (mine has some red details, but the main color is black). Earrings, well, close enough :)


And now - some reading, lots of sleeping.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ballet tourist reports from class!

Well, not "live from class", but almost!

Yesterday's teacher was of course Madame Greve herself. I have experienced her talent once before (read here about it), last September to be exact. This time I could only take one class with her, but decided to make the most of it. (Even though the level was for beginners.) And I sure did - can feel it in my body at the very moment... :D

I had time to warm up before the class, luckily, because the studio felt a bit too "breezy". When Madame greeted us as a sign of starting the real business, I had a comfortable feeling inside, ready to work. Just like in Autumn, the routines were very different from what I'm used to doing, so they kept me awake the whole time. I knew her favorite phrases and we did hear them all - about our popos (bum), tummies, knees (STRECH YOUR KNEE), shoulders (down), neck (long)... But I was also prepared for them, so I got only 2-3 strech-your-knee's and one popo-remark, once also shoulders-neck-stuff. I was happy that she also paid attention to me, although I'm not a regular. I wanted to show my best effort and I think she was happy with it :)

Most of the class we spent at the barré, but that I knew beforehand. Challenging for me was to keep my "working" hand in 1st position almost the whole time. It was somehow liberating, but as I'm used to using the hand, it was also one other thing to keep me focused. From the routines I'd say grand battements were the tricky ones - we stood with our backs close to barre, faces towards the center. Grand battement devant we did that way, both legs. Then a quick turn, other hand on barre, grand b:s a la seconde (that was easier). On the devant side we also had our both hands on the barre, on our sides. I think I've never done it that way, or maybe as a child... It was interesting!


We had some time left for center work. Tendus (devant) en croise, en face, efface, temps lie, same tendus with the other leg, tendus a la seconde with some heel down action... It was a nice routine :) Then some small jumps (echappe + soubresaut, then a set of glissades). And last-but-not-least, a beautiful reverence from the back of the studio, walking to the front (not just ordinary walking of course, steps with soul in them) with different port de bras.

Can't wait to get back to her class! I have every second Tuesday off, so I could go each of those days, but don't know if my budget would allow that :D But at least once or twice I Am Going to go this Spring. (I'm also dreaming about taking summer classes in Helsinki, but that's a whole different thing.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tourist at ballet class, second edition

Yay! I'm soon off to Helsinki and among other things there'll be a ballet class. Beginner's level (don't have time for the other ones), but still it's going to be amazingly fun, as I know who the teacher is :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shine of the past week

No ballet in this post. Instead, a photo of my hand and the foot of my flute! :D Tried on 5 different shades of the same nail polish, also one glittery kind on 2 fingers. Well, I'll put 2 photos so you'll get a small idea. (My hands aren't that pretty, nor my nails that long, but they are fine for me and my flute playing.) (Also I took the photos after wearing the polish for over a week, so it's very worn out...)

My Powell's b-foot <3

The funny glitter-stuff was a very cheap purchase from H&M, a set of 3 small bottles (3,95 euros). I like it! :)                   The "dotts" are in different sizes.


p.s. I have taken 2 classes of ballet during the weekend, but at the moment feel to tired to write about them. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Contemporary Intensive

Last week was my winter/skiing holiday, as we say in Finland. I had decided to keep it Free - usually there's been a day or two of working, but now it was all for me! :) So I took that contemporary course I mentioned earlier, 5 days with 90 min. class a day. Could have done with a longer set per day, but this was good too.

As it was a LONG time since my last modern dance (as it was called back then) classes, Monday was a day of getting to know the relaxed-yet-active feeling again. And the style our teacher had. And the other participants in class. Luckily there were 2 familiar faces (besides the teacher) and in the end of the week they all felt that. There were about 10-11 of us, one quit after 2 days (but she'd Never been dancing before, so it felt a bit too much/difficult for her). The studio isn't too big, so 10 really is enough when doing stuff in the middle and everyone at the same time. Especially when you're tall like me, with long arms and legs and wanting to move properly (big steps instead of tiny).

Tuesday was (mentally) a bit more loose, the routines were somewhat familiar and it felt more dancing than just trying to remember a bunch of moves. In the very end we started a short choreography, with Japanese style "music". It felt like meditating, taiji, dancing all combined. There were no beats in the music (well, harmonic background noises), no counts in the moves. You just streched until the farthest point you could, then drop or move on. That was kind of the basic idea. So there were slooooow moves and fast, twirling, moves, swings and others.

Wednesday came, the routines stayed the same. The choreography got a bit longer. My favorite routine of the whole class (besides the taiji-meditation :D) was in diagonal. Balancé-type steps with small jumps/leaps.
-> balance, balance, 3 slow leaps, 1 faster (as an upbeat for the next balance)
The music was a quick-ish waltz, balances of course on beats (in three), but the slow leaps in two. 

Thursday with the same stuff. One bit more to the end-choreo. And the diagonal routine had another version (probably already on Wednesday).
-> balance, balance, 3 quick leaps ending in plie (in 2nd pos.), small jump and back to 1st pos. (as an upbeat to next balance)
Then we put both versions together (first the newer bit, then the one with slow leaps) and the teacher wanted us to moooooooooove a lot with the 3 fast ones, it was Fun! :)

Last day came way too soon. Would have been great to have one day more, or at least 120 minutes a day. Just to work a bit more on the routines. By the way, we had two (yes, 2) men in class! On Monday the older one came wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Didn't look too comfortable in them... :P He also looked like he'd never been dancing this kind of style, but still sticked with it. Have to respect that (though he was a bit on our way sometimes). The other one was in his 20s, shorter than me (but then again, I am 177,5 cm), very nice. On Monday we were starting the diagonal bit and no-one wanted to go first (really, what's wrong with you people??). So I said to him that let's be brave and laughed - and that's what we did all 5 days, went bravely as the first pair.


Two of the biggest thoughts during the intensive were "how to move economically" (always as close to your body/floor as you can, use the natural force that comes from swinging the leg etc.) and when opening/turning out, think of a spiral going through the Whole Leg, right from the hip joint to the toes. Not only opening from the hip. Feels like it worked for me quite nicely, but have to try it out in ballet class :)

This week I've been a bit sick. Yes, again. My lungs didn't want to work, just a terrible itch inside. Coughing all the time, feeling tired, some slight fever... Now it's a bit better, but not all gone yet. I hopehopehope I won't get the influenza that's going on. Don't have time for taking sick leave. Tomorrow there'll be a ballet class, after TWO WEEKS!!! I am going to give it a try, even if I'd had to sit for most part. But I want to get warm from the plies. (Of course I have to listen to my body, so I still might Not go. But I just waaaaaaaant to. If you know what I mean.)

There's also a dream of getting new pointes. But let's not get into it too much.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Today's collage - The Perfect soft shoe?

As a kid and teenager we only had that one type of soft ballet shoes. The ones you got from the local shop. White ones usually. First with one narrow elastic over the foot, later with white cotton ribbons (like the satins in pointes).

Now I'm a grown-up and the choices are almost endless! Well, mostly 3 colors (white, black, ballet pink/tan-ish), but the types/models are so diverse. As are the brands, too. I've narrowed my testings on three brands, Sansha - Bloch - Capezio. These days we have still only one brand & model in our town, but luckily it's easy to go to Helsinki or Tampere to get what I want. Or just order online! That way it's also cheaper (but one really has to know what size is good, before ordering). (Or at least I have to, it's boring and tiring and everything to send stuff back and get the new size... In my opinion! :D)

Now, here's a collage of what I've tried and what I'm using. 

1* Top left corner -> Sansha - Silhouette
2* Top middle -> Sansha - Pro 1C
3* Top right corner/right side -> Bloch - Pump
4* Below left corner -> Capezio - Juliet
5* Below middle -> Bloch - Prolite II

The perfect soft shoe for me would have qualities from all five types. They do have one thing in common: material (which is canvas). I've never even tried leather ones, probably never will. For some reason I like canvas more. (Frankly I wouldn't be able to say that as I haven't even tried the other option, but let's not care about that. For now.) Let me tell you the other (good) things I've found about these.

1. Silhouettes are a bit more snug fitted than the Pros, but they have a good suede/leather patch under the ball of the foot (the demi-pointe area). It's stiched over the pleats, so I find it more flat and stable. (Some might say that the pleats are uncomfortable there "inside" the shoe, but I don't feel them.) I have to wear a bigger size from Silhouette (12) than from Pro.

2. Pro was the first model I bought after starting ballet over again. Got a pair of black ones, but they were too big, eventually. When fitting in the store they felt good, but after half a year or so I got used to tighter feeling around the foot and heel. To be honest, the black pair is size 13 and the pink pair (I've got now) is 11! But I love how the pinks feel, not squashing my toes or anything. Also I got black cotton ribbons for the first pair, but after that it's been 2 elastics crossed over the foot, always. Feels much more firm. What would I take from this model to my perfect shoe? Maybe the overall fitting. They feel good. (But what I certainly would Not take, is the fairly thick elastic drawstring, just Too thick I'd say.)

3. The newest model for me is the Pump. Some friends have been praising it, so last month I finally got my first pair ;) I've only been wearing them at home, but will try next week as I'll get back to ballet class. But I can tell what I like already: the heel. It's just So comfortable and stays put. Also I like the sides of the shoe, they feel lower than in others - revealing maybe a bit more, but still stay put (like the heel.) I'm a bit iffy about the size. I've had 6,5 on Bloch pointes and 7 felt "quite" snug on the Prolites, so I felt secure enough to get size 7 on Pumps too. But now it seems that the 6,5 could be right on these. 7 isn't too big, but there's some space I probably could live without. Well, next pair smaller then... Maybe :) (Yes, I'd take the whole heel from Pumps to the perfect shoe. Also the sides.)

4. Capezio's Juliets were a quick purchase, they were on sale and I didn't even try them on. How clever is that... Anyway, I'd been wearing Capezio's pointes (Glisse) half a size bigger (and they are too big), so I figured these wouldn't be too small at least. And they were actually okay. What I like about them? The lightness of the material, the middle of the sole is just Lovely (no seam there, me likey), inside sole has fabric under the heel and ball/toes, but not in the middle, so it gives a nice look for the arch. What I don't like? The fabrics I just mentioned, well, they tend to rip off very easily. But if you put some glue in there or sew them with few stiches, they'll be okay. (For the perfects -> the middle of the sole. No seams.)

5. ProliteII's are the ones I can get from the "local dealer". The only problem is that they seldom have my size. But they'll order when asked to. And as I go to the local dance school (my "alma mater"), there's a small discount, yay! At first I got one pair of blacks and one pair of ballet pinks (more like tan), later on a pair of whites. They come with only one elastic (not pre-sewn), so I always have to buy or have at ready some extra. (Silhouettes, Pumps and Pros have 2 elastics, probably Juliets too, if I remember correctly, some even pre-attached.) Good things are as follows: the overall feeling/fitting - very comfortable, also the inside sole - which is sofffft suede leather. And that's what I'd take for the perfect shoe.

A short summary:

* Leather patch (outside) under the ball of the foot -> Silhouette
* Overall feeling of the shoe -> Pro and Prolite II
* Back and sides of the heel -> Pump
* The "slim" elastic drawstring -> Bloch models
* Sides of the shoe (and probably the vamp, too) -> Pump
* Middle sole (especially outside) with No middle seam -> Juliet
* Insole/sockliner (soft suede leather) -> Prolite II (or Juliet, if they'd stay put better ;))

That's it. Almost. The canvas material could be something between the stuff they use in Sansha and in Bloch models. Padding/leather patch under the heel (outside) something between Juliet and Pump. Maybe.

Anyway, it would be so great and Interesting to get a shoe with those features. But I never will, so it's just dreaming and varying between models :)


p.s. The color would be between Bloch and Sansha (ballet pink).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today's collage - Skirts!

This one looks the same as previous collage (layout I mean), but let's not care about that :) Skirts skirts skirts! I STILL haven't started the ones I was going to make myself, except the looking & going through the fabrics and satin ribbons I already have... There's dark green, for example. I just need a room for sewing - my cat is too eager to help with that stuff.

But here are some nice ones I found one evening :) And ready made, might I add. Oh, I'm so longing for to be friends again with my sewing machine...


I've got a new set in -> Dance Gear -> Feel free to flip through :D (p.s. I do not have those things, except for 1 or 2, but those are fun and useful stuff I'd Like to get.)


Testing! Photo collage - Ballet Shorts'

I've been wanting to figure out how to make these photo collages, so I decided to try Picasa first. It seems quite okay, but not laying my final opinion yet.

Here's what I came up with this evening -> some nice shorts' for classes. Wouldn't mind owning them all... ;)