Show Stoppers

I was already to finish up writing a post about the fun and substance of the Winter Show Cases when on Tuesday night I was getting out of my car and the back spasm started.

Show stopper…

It felt like I was being squeezed by something mechanical. It took my breath. I stopped. I got my breath back and thought it was over. Another step and three squeezes and I fell back on to the car. My heart was ready to burst out of my chest, my whole body perspired, when I got my breath back there was heavy breathing and then it was done.

I made my way to the elevator like nothing happened. I went into my apartment, put on my PJ’s, plugged in the heating pad, took a vicodin and slept.

Some times vicodin dreams are horrible, but this dream was amazing. I was in a fairy park that was over grown with foliage and flowers. It was humid and time was slow. I was approaching a fountain in the middle of the park that was filled with sad tired old white swans. Their heads skimmed the surface of the water because they couldn’t hold their necks up. Nothing pretty to look at, the only thing they seemed to evoke was pity. I walked to the edge of the fountain to try to see why they couldn’t lift their heads and as I reached for one they all saw me, and said, “It’s not: I jumped in, and it was cold. No. It was cold, and I jumped in. Always arrange a sentence so you appear to be fearless, when in fact you are far less than fearless—you are clueless.
”** They then rose up from the fountain, which of course had by now magically somehow turned into more of a lake, to reveal that the sad swans where really more like cowls, and these angular white sparkling dragons rose up with their wings dripping water in the foggy diffused sunlight. The image was so vivid and real, it woke me up and I was whapped in the face with a fuzzy cat tail.

Show stopper…

Luckily, I was still able to go back to slumber time.

In the morning I carefully got out of bed. I got down the stairs and sat down on the couch, trying to figure out what I should do. Stay home? Go to work. I got up and started walking to the bathroom. I got three steps in and three squeezes sent me hanging on a wall for support.

Show stopper…

I sent the official staying home sick email. Right now, I could go into the stupidness of doctors and our health care system, but the emotions I have towards it, I just wouldn’t know where to start. So let me just say this, “To the Troll Nurse who was beyond curt with me because I didn’t know the exact date of my last period, get laid. Because I’m in a bit of pain and can’t think, it in no way gives you the right to make me feel like crap when I’m on the scale that I’m at the high-end of the BMI normal healthy index. I don’ not need your judging eyes nor your whatever bad thing you are thinking about me, because it has nothing to do with me. This is all you. Check it at the door. And Young Evil Wizard Doctor,  just because I choose not to have surgery for this injury does NOT make me a drug attic. So thank you Third-Random-Doctor-That-I-Have-Been-Assigned in two years, for not looking at my MRI, and making that immediate assumption. I’m glad that I had a copy of my MRI on hand, why didn’t you? When I’m in pain I totally have more patience then you have patients.”

Not a show stopper… because I made it through… it’s weird isn’t it, when you think you have no faith in yourself and you’re just in a sad state where all is lost and then a complete stranger treats you the way you feel and then you’re all, “Screw you I’m amazing!”

I passed the test of the Angry Troll Nurse and the Young Evil Wizard Doctor and the prophecy of my dream comes true. The sad swan slowly rose up out of the pond and became a the Show Stopping Strong Sparkling Crystal A/B Dragon. Again.

**( A quote by Jarod Kintz from At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you’d still waste time by reading it. )

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(Not So) Deep Thoughts…

…in no particular order…

*****

…in a performance situation. If something is not working cut it. It’s not a reflection of you or your ability, nobody wants to see anything look hard. One perfect pirouette is more amazing than 99 when you don’t land it.

*****

The day of the dead is cool. I smell portrait sessions coming on… I always wanted to get that airbrush makeup kit!

*****

How can angels pirouette with wings? It seems like that would be really hard. Wings would be whapping you in the face.

*****

I drank so much water last night, sleeping was a big mistake.

*****

When I close the trunk of my car the hood comes up. Bruises are gone, pulled hamstring is here. Le Sigh…

*****

My Zombie Girls are going to do their ballet! I can’t wait till next week to take pictures. Last year was awesome, this year is going to be longer and better, little kid zombies. Look there I am, in the audience supporting my girls, when I had long hair…

*****

Started Christmas Show Case Routine. I like to Fox Trot. Oh, I smell a blog post coming on that is actually substantial!

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Day 3: Weird Bruise Watch

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Is it possible I actually sprained both my ankles? Same bruising is on the other foot… yesterday the feet/ankles were not happy. Grrrrr…

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Today’s Special Dream…

I’m having one of those days when I REALLY wish I could have picked another path for my life. It is epically implausible as a date with Aqua Man and a mustached unicorn while surfing in a Tutu holding my cat. But I can dream it today and today I can give me permission to dream it and not feel bad about it tomorrow.

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Question for ballet peeps…

I discovered bruising this morning on the top of my feet, while it is a little tender to the touch now, I did not experience pain when the bruising occured. Which is why I’m wondering what did it. I was on pointe yesterday and if this is the result of that is it typical for newbies to experience? Or am I doing something horribly wrong? Yes, it is on both feet, it is just harder to make out on the other foot because of my tattoo.

Anyone? Thanks!

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-My busted feet.

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My Boyfriend, Chuck.

Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend Chuck. Here we are dancing :

Please stop thinking, that is a doctored photo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with my face plastered on Ginger and Jensen Ackles face on Fred. Stop thinking it right now. Because you’re already right.

I confess, Chuck is my imaginary boy friend and if I’m playing this game then my imaginary boyfriend Chuck dances like Fred Astaire and has the face of Jensen Ackles and all the personality of Jon Stewart. In my imaginarium that qualifies as a pretty f****** perfect imaginary boyfriend. (If you want an imaginary boyfriend, go dream one up for yourself, he’ll be perfect for you, I guarantee it.)

So what’s all this noise about? Why have been reduced to dreamed up something so silly and juvenile? Because if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I spend a lot of time explaining how exhausted I am and, recently, it’s only gotten worse, which is why I haven’t posted in a while and why I was finally forced to confront it the other day.

There are things that have happened in my life that are really hard for me to talk about, but to sum up, paths I have chosen to take in life really weren’t supported or taken that great an interest in by the people who I think probably should have been. Career and educational paths were never out right said, “You’ve got to be an idiot to try that.” , but they were always “supported” with that as it’s subtext and the added bonus of “And what are you going to do when you fail?” . To those people’s fears and projections of total failure, this idiot succeeded. A lot.

This set off a trend in my life of doing really stupid things with out the support of people around me and this trend has sort of become a litmus test for me to figure out who is fair weathered and who you can count on for life. And while I have also realized that is a really stupid way of testing people because I have finally learned, people are going to be there for you or not. Often, if they aren’t there it’s not because they don’t want to be. If they aren’t there it’s most often about something going on with them and nothing to do with you. So be grateful when they are and forgiving when they aren’t because that is what I ask them to do for me. Only took me 30 years to figure that one out. But I digress.

I start ballroom dancing and there are these amazing people coming into my life and these people are not only supporting me but are telling me, saying things out loud, to my face and ears, that I can do things and achieve things that I have never let enter my mind before… To me, hearing this, it’s like the first time I’ve tasted chocolate and there is no one to tell me to stop eating it. It is a start of a life long addiction and I will go on midnight runs in my PJ’s to the store for it. I will seek the finest but also be content with a Hershey bar next to my pillow…

… and because of everything in my life that has led me to this moment, I have developed zero coping mechanism for this. Like that same child being given chocolate, I don’t know how regulate my intake and have only made myself sick gorging on chocolate. I need someone or something to teach me limits because I don’t know how to be supported like this. I don’t know how to deal with the expectations of these goals that are now initiated and attached to other people. All I know is, if I have a goal then I’m all in. So what do you do when someone else is betting on you. I have no idea. I can’t go any more in then all in, can I? The only thing that I could figure out to do was take all the classes. 7 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. (That’s not a fast track to burn out, ha ha, really.)

And this is how I got so dam exhausted. When you add that up with the stress filled 9 – 6 day job, well, it’s kind of like when you multiply anything by zero, you get zero. Replace zero with drool and that’s all you’re going to get from me at the end of the day. I will produce drool. Really. It’s disgusting.

How does any of this connect to Chuck?

While fetching coffee for my face a couple of mornings ago I ran into a friend who also has “the dance” about her life and we talked. Ok she smacked me up side the head, as a good strong tattooed lady should do to another when they are being an idiot.

I told her of my stupid solution to this “problem” that I was having. She asked me if I had a boyfriend and I explained to her that I was currently in a very serious relationship with dance, but if a sweet boy were to come over and take my hand, I’d drop dance in a second. In fact, I’d trample my mother for another shot at love. (Sorry Mom, but I know how you would love a grand kid, so I think you’d be ok with my treads in your back.)

And that’s when the idea of Chuck was born. Oh, Chuckles… sigh. You are my new coping mechanism.

Since I am the type of girl who will drop everything in my life at the smell of love, a good coping mechanism is a boyfriend to be responsible to. (I have to just add, that I am not advocating that any one person needs another to be a whole person. What I am saying that love is love and why not? In this world with so much hate, in my opinion it should be a crime against God to deny yourself love. Who wouldn’t want something like this love story to leave on the earth? But again I digress…)

So when I need a break, when my body is begging me for a break, I have to tell myself that Chuck really needs some quality time. He’s feeling very neglected and I’m being very unfair to him by putting all these other things in front of our relationship. It’s a good thing to go home and make us dinner. It’s a relationship builder, plus I’ll have time to do things to help me process everything I learned from dance class, write it in my blog and sleep.

*Update. My apologies to Jensen. I’m sure that even though we have never met, you are much much more than a pretty face.

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Bourrée B*****S!!!!

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In the waters of Grenada my feet were happy, manicured and not totally and completely busted. Like a spunge in water they were floating fat and happy, ever saturated and free. After pointe class yesterday, my feet were crushed and practically desiccated, yet the sometimes seemingly impossible drug  to get a hold of called accomplishment has masked the pain to give me the delusion of a new and different kind of freedom. I must be high, my feet can’t touch the ground; I’m flying.

One of these pictures was taken before I started pointe, the other was taken after. Can you tell which is which? No, this is not a trick question, it is a rather rhetorical one. But looking at the pictures, up until yesterday, my only question was, with results like this, What the hell is the lure of dancing on pointe?

In my new dance incarnation happening now in my mid 30’s, when first presented with the idea of dancing on pointe, I was not interested. In middle school I had friends that were on pointe and I saw what became of their feet that were still forming, practically mutations. The blisters and the bleeding, memories of this, I was quick to come to the conclusion, no way, not interested. The other thought of starting now, at my age, was just ludicrous, not only was I too old, too round, but too completely broken and injured.

It is so difficult to do this thing called dancing on pointe shoes but if you have ever worked hard and become good at something, then I believe accomplishment becomes a drug and it is easier to be drawn into the next challenge. About six months after the word, “pointe”, in my group of novices had been uttered, I’d been completely worn down. I had to eat crow and just admit that the challenge had just become too alluring. The superficial allure was always there. I mean come on, pink satin with ribbons, the added bonus of when standing on the tippy top your of your toes, you are the pinnacle of grace, beauty and (best and most important of all) strength.

Little by little, it caught my interest because it is the definition of not easy. I very much enjoy a challenge and the tasty tasty rewards that come of something accomplished, so when the idea also collided with my growing confidence in my abilities in ballet the challenge of pointe didn’t seem all of a sudden like an implausible and ridiculous attempt at a reach for the moon. It was more now like attempting to eat an elephant (metaphorically, I’d NEVER harm an elephant) and in my sweaty clenched fist, I had a plan to do so; bite by bite.

Yesterday I did Chassé and Bourrée for the first time ever and it was so painful and so magnificent both at the same time. I totally understood what was meant when it was said that,”It is the nature of dance to exist but in a moment.” because once I was up on my toes something made my feet move and I’m fairly sure that it was the amazement that the moment happened and because there was a desperation to keep that moment, however fleeting, a moment longer, I took more and more steps, then went into the circle and my arms decided the moment was just too delicious not to take a bite too and followed.

It all seems so ridiculous when you could describe dancing on pointe as somethings that resembles a bunch of toes crushed so bad they are numbed by the very hard wooden satin pink hove shoes, but that’s the hangover description that my toes are yelling at me as they slowly, even the next day, come back to life from being pushed so far into the foot itself, it seemed that my toes would be fused forever.

My toes have a forgiven me though, because they really can’t wait till my next pointe class. I’m so excited to jam my feet in those shoes and feast of the drug of the next accomplishment and now not dancing on pointe just seems ludicrous.

.

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Grace

I had reservations about posting this picture because I might get in trouble with the event photo people, but until they tell me to take it down, screw it… My first lady of dance Tina Mayer, just looks fierce!

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Card Rescue

This incredibly illegal posting was brought to you by the amazing “CardRescue” software. Two shots lived, enjoy…

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Ballroom Shark

From this picture you can tell, I am a Ballroom Shark. If I stop moving, I’ll die.


Ok, not really.

My recap of Embassy Ball starts off in stark contrast to my Palm Desert experience. This trip, I would never be lonely, not for one second. Wednesday night I picked up my BFF Mrs Purple Shira at her home and together we drove down to Irvine. She had an inspirational playlist on her ipod ready. First song, the Rocky Theme Song, (*OF COURSE!) and it only got more inspirational from there, Eye of the Tiger, Don’t Stop Believing, Firework, if you can think of it and it’s inspirational, it was on there. Stopping only once at the Wallgreen’s for Fog Horn Hairspray Glue and snacks we sang and chatted the whole way down; only getting lost once when we missed the immediate turn into the Hyatt, oops.

Parking and check in was a breeze, we found the room and Mrs Purple Shira and I were dining in the Hotel restaurant by 9. I ordered many drinks and ran into everyone I’ve ever encountered in the Ballroom world while dining, and they all were lovely, came over said hello and wishes of good luck were exchanged. Could I feel more loved?

Apparently.

In the morning after falling asleep to Miss Purple Shira’s white noise maker offering of the “Song of the Humpback” (we thought it was going to be inspirational. It was not. It became quite annoying after 20 minutes, luckily we set the timer to turn off after 30 minutes. By the time we were both fed up with it, of course neither of us wanted to “wake” the other.)

The morning came too quickly and I arose to discover that it was now an official crime spree. My hair freshly died hair had slaughtered the pillow case. Oops. I flipped the pillow over and pretended to not notice.

Shira and I slowly rose at around 8. Doctor Who was on BBC America and we had Honey Nut Cheerios’ in a cup. No spoons required (or found in the hotel room). It was awesome. I’ve known Shira since college, we had classes together and then lost touch for about 8 years. We had both multiple times tried to find each other but both of us had the appropriate privacy walls up on our facebook accounts. Then I am not making this up, one fateful day, I went to see Miss Tina do a fund-raiser “Dancing with the Rabi” and while talking with someone I did not expect to see there a woman walked up to the person I was talking to, she turned to me to pardon herself from interrupting and screamed, it was Shira. I, in turn screamed back, we embraced and the rest as they say is history.

Flash forward and there we were in our PJ’s munching Honey Nut Cheerios’ and watching Doctor Who. It was like we were back in college. God we are weird, in an awesome way.

I finally rose to begin the transformation. Makeup, first. Hair next. All the time Shira played the ipod “Getting Ready” mix. There were a lot of show tunes. Shira would sing to me when my anxiety rose and I started incessantly dancing around the room. I invented a bunch of dance moves that really were only enhanced by my “I heart NY” PJ’s and half makeup/hair look. You really can’t Stop The Beat.

Katie was on her way but I couldn’t wait too long so I decided to start the dressing. I dropped my PJ bottoms to put on my fishnets and there was a knock on the door. One leg in and the door flew open AND YOU KNOW THE CLEANING LADY WAS RIGHT BEHIND KATIE. Door closed and the stupid zipper on the dress was ridiculous, the tab pulled off and we had to use pliers to get the zipper up. Once in, I was prepared to live in the dress. Katie finished the hair, I put on the bling, snapped some AWESOME pics and headed to the ballroom.

We made it to the ballroom and I had a text, “I’m here!”. Gail had also taken a day off work to come. My heart was freaking out. We entered the ballroom, immediately spotted Youriy, gathered at the table and then I went for a quick warm up with Youriy.

After that, I didn’t stop moving. I was a ballroom shark. If I stopped moving I’d be consumed with nerves and die. This was it, one the big revelations. How to deal with keeping control, don’t let it get out of control. When I feel the nerves coming, jump, dance, stupidly if need be. Do the steps by yourself, shake it out, side to side, use a banana and tango. WHAT EVER IT TAKES. DON’T STOP MOVING. I think I started moving at around 9am and didn’t stop until right after scholarship, 3pm. (I think I stressed poor Youriy out a little. He had two other students to keep track of that were being good and I was the crazy one going rouge. At a certain point he was just like stay in the on deck area, do not leave. “Ok, Youriy. I’ll jump here. In this area.” )

On one of my walks around the ballroom I ran into ANOTHER one of my friends who was randomly in town from San Francisco that weekend and decided to pop in. Four people there for me. My heart doesn’t keep count, but it swelled enough to burst.

With everyone in my corner and I went out for the first heat. It was fine. And when I say fine. I was confident, I was happy, I was loose, my legs weren’t shaking, they were solid and responded to my commands, my mind was clear, there were no feelings of dread or vomiting. I was fully functional. This is a first.

We got off the floor. I had a break, Youriy did not. And then we went back out again. This time Rick and Tina were the competition and it was again, awesome! It was a bit weird to be on the floor with Tina and not dancing with Tina. But having Rick on the floor was great, it was like I was dancing with friends, only adding to my new found comfort level. But this time I was better than fine. I was actually having fun. I actually danced. I dance flirted with Youriy on the floor. I high five-d Marina when I exited the floor and she was going on! IT WAS ON FOR SCHOLARSHIP.

There was about an hour break before scholarship and I thought that there might be a chance that I would mentally break then, but I didn’t. I kept moving and my friends kept with me in shifts. They never left me alone, each coming over to tell me a story as I jumped and danced. They were awesome. (I keep using that word and it’s only because it’s the only right word.)

Scholarship round was on and well, I’ve never danced better in competition doing Smooth. I got off the floor and was rushed with hugs by three amazing ladies. Gail and Shira had tears in their eyes and Katie just had this look of pride and approval, all of which just felt incredible. This day was a total win.

I came to the second revelation. Yes, it is still a long road to travel down in smooth but, hang on, it is one that isn’t as long as I thought. There were moments that I realized that I wasn’t starting from scratch, where I want to be and where I am and where I think I am, these places aren’t in different universes. I have a map or and a really good GPS. Yes, I’m still going to be better at Lindy, but I danced well in smooth. There are things I need to work on but that is good thing, because that means that I will improve. When I watch the DVD, I’m not horrified. (If I can figure it out I’ll post video of the scholarship round.) There are things that I really do do well and I’m going to get better with the things that I don’t do so well.

I’m taking a break for the long weekend, but I look forward to walking in on Tuesday and asking my amazing Bulgarian, “So, what are we going to do now?” We only danced closed, there is the whole world of open to conquer.

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