Weak Week

The first week of work is over. I didn’t have much work at all to make me tired. In spite of this, I had bad ballet classes all week. I really can’t explain why… It began on Sunday with a Mandy class. Samantha and another pretty advanced student were there. It was much better than the last Sunday class with Samantha, where I experienced a complete ‘shutdown’ and couldn’t enjoy it at all. But I was still nervous, I still had trouble concentrating on the technique or feeling my body. In centre, we had to do a difficult adagio with renversé. Renversé is an advanced movement! I panic every time, because I KNOW I can’t do it correctly yet. I KNOW it looks ugly when not done correctly. I hate doing it, even though it is actually very beautiful. That is where things began falling apart. In the end, I couldn’t face doing piqués on the diagonal. The music was too fast for me, and we had to do them one by one… No, I just couldn’t. Mandy asked me afterwards why I was so bad. She seemed impatient when I told her the reason. I also told her that I was working on it and that it was better than last time. She still didn’t like it. She wants me to be inspired by better dancers. I KNOW that this lack of confidence is holding me back, I know it would be much better if I could just let myself be inspired by good dancers. And I am, when I watch them. I love watching Samantha, looking for the details that make her dancing so full of quality and loveliness. I do learn from her. But it doesn’t work (yet) when I have to dance with her.

On Monday, there was no class because Franca is still on a reduced summer schedule. I could have gone to AS, but after nine days of ballet I needed a rest day. So I had a good healthy dinner and went to bed early. I hoped this would mean all my strength and confidence would come back by Tuesday, but it didn’t. Tuesdays is Mandy’s comparatively easy class, but because none of the beginners showed up, she made it harder for us. I once again felt stiff and weak and completely murdered my piqués. My back just wouldn’t feel relaxed and flexible, no matter how much I foam rollered, bent and stretched it. Turnout felt like a war against my hips. In fact, I felt like last March before I took a ballet break for two months. No enjoyment, only fighting and discouragement. I stayed behind to do the front splits program after class, but it didn’t help much.

Exhausted.  (Olesya Novikova. Photo by Nikolai Krusser.)

(Olesya Novikova. Photo by Nikolai Krusser)

On Wednesday, there was Franca’s class. Franca does a lot of Vaganova, so the whole barre is on demi-pointe. At the moment, we have a slow rond de jambe à terre combination with ports de bras, relevé lent and grand rond de jambe. After that come the ‘killer fondus’, as I have named them: fondus on demi-pointe, battement soutenu followed by relevé lent and grand rond de jambe on demi-pointe and in the end more fondus with half-fouettés, also on demi-pointe. I still struggle with this, even though we have been doing this combination for weeks. You need so much control and strength, and I always hang on the barre like a shipwrecked person pulled out of the water afterwards. Then come the frappés (on demi-pointe, of course, and with plié-relevé) and the petits battements (with pirouettes, and of course I always end up next to a pillar and the fear of hitting it totally blocks me) and then a very slow adagio (more demi-pointe). Franca’s barre is always hard, but this particular one regularly kills me, and it certainly killed me this Wednesday. Also, when she sees that we are tired, she won’t give an easier exercise or a stretch, but just chats with us. This wastes so much time! I have begun to discreetly practice relevés and pirouettes when she starts chatting in centre. I’m not there to chat, I’m there to learn ballet!

On Thursday, I still felt stiff. But I had a nice surprise on the scale: 199.95 pounds! ONEderland! There was a Yoga class on the roof of our office during lunch, a new offer, and I took it to try. It was a mistake. We had to do horrible things like trying to stand on our heads (ouch!), on our hands (too heavy/weak) and on the back of our necks (how???). Then we had to hold several poses where our arms and legs were twisted around our bodies and it was just absolutely uncomfortable. My arms are short and my body is fat, so I had to use a belt to even try, and it kept slipping out of my hands. Horrible. I never felt relaxed and didn’t feel a nice stretch anywhere, and I was sore in weird places like the front of my hips and my ribcage afterwards. Maybe Yoga isn’t always like that, but I’m not going back there! I also couldn’t decide whether to take Mandy’s ‘advanced’ class and get pushed, or Franca’s more basic class. Franca won. I just couldn’t face making a fool of myself attempting more piqués and renversés that day. My ego needed a little boost, and I wanted to work on the basics. This meant that I could go to a Weight Watchers meeting before class, which was nice for my ego, too. They always praise me. Our new coach asks everybody how much they have lost, and when I say ‘47 kg’ there are always oohs and aahs and applause, which is embarrassing, and there are always looks all over my body, which is horrible. But natural. I do it, too. But I don’t like it. As I said before, I don’t feel as if I struggled enough during my weight loss to deserve that much praise. Someone who only has 10 kg to lose may struggle much harder, and then assume I struggled four times more than them and be impressed, when it may be the other way around. I like the coach’s assistant, however, and her praise means a lot to me.

I took a hot bath that night and had a good night’s sleep, but on Friday I still felt stiff and weak. There was the AS class or a Pilates class I could take that evening, but I consciously left my practice clothes at home. I would rest that night and hope to feel better on the weekend. It was good, I went shopping on the way home, did all my laundry, telephoned home and cleaned half the flat. Then I ordered a pizza for the first time in my life. And I enjoyed it and hardly felt guilty. Maybe I’ll do this every few weeks. I am allowing myself more treats now, so I don’t binge. It’s working so far.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
This entry was posted in Ballet, Health and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Weak Week

  1. RO says:

    We all have these kinds of weeks!! Ups and downs, ups and downs… Just keep it up and you’ll do fine again 🙂 And it’s no biggie to treat yourself to something good when you’ve been working like this!

  2. Congratulations on ONEderland!!!! That is fantastic!!

  3. The Dancing Rider says:

    Congratulations on ONEderland. Good for you!

    As for the yoga class, nah, I wouldn’t go back there either! It sounds like the were doing more advanced things – and those which are both dangerous, uncomfortable, and just plain hard.

    I know you had a trying week of classes, but it sounds like you worked really hard. I really get, inside, the mention of your teacher wanting you to be inspired by better dancers. I had this in figure skating too, even though it was at a lowly recrecational level. We still performed, and this thing about seeing others as motivation, inspiration, etc., was always present. Sometimes one just has to feel oneself, find that inner spot where you love the dance, and go there inside. Sometimes outward focus is not helpful.

    Great thought on the pizza. While I wish I didn’t have a 61 year old midsection, I don’t withhold any type of food. Deprivation never works for me. I just have a little bit, which satisfies the desire, and get back on the wagon.

    Hang in there. Next classes will most likely be better!

    Oh, and ha ha, I love your mini-practices during chatting! 🙂

    • annalienor says:

      Thanks, ONEderland feels ONEderful!
      And I’m definitely not going back to that Yoga teacher.
      It’s clear what you and Mandy mean about being inspired by better skaters or dancers, but it’s hard to do. I’m working on it…
      About the pizza: Sometimes, having a little bit is worse than nothing at all for me, and I just have to have A LOT. Thankfully, it’s possible to still lose weight if it doesn’t happen too often. After that pizza, I felt perfectly satisfied and was able to eat really well the next day. Then this morning, there was almost another pound gone 🙂

      • The Dancing Rider says:

        Yay! And I think that’s the way to do it.

        Btw, I almost always found it disheartening to try to be inspired by better skaters. My coach wanted me to be inspired by them. I rarely was. It had to come from inside me…….

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