The Bar (Barré) Method

I realized the other day, in close conjunction to my birthday, that being twenty-eight and frequently having bad back pain, the number of migraine that I do, etc, is not normal for a person of my age and general health levels. I’m not wasting away or anything by any means, but I do work a desk job and without serious attention to what I’m eating, my weight could spiral back out of control. I’m already higher then I was in August, and although I’m not obsessed with a specific look, I have a target weight I’d like to safely get back to -and then maintain.

Once again I’ve been looking at available dance classes, specifically ballet – and the sad fact of the matter is there are just no classes for adults who are not either stay-at-home moms or people who work for themselves (and thus, set their own schedules). Almost all of the classes I’ve looked at start no earlier then 10 am, after all the kids are off to school. Not useful for those of us who work during the day – and forget finding an adult class that is offered at night, that’s when the kids are taking lessons. And I don’t have that kind of stamina anymore.

So I’ve expanded my “search terms” a little, and went back to an idea I’d had before: “The Bar Method.” This is basically an exercise class that was originally built around the first half of a ballet class, when you’re standing at the barré and all the various stretches that go along with it. I took my first class on Wednesday and knew by the time I got home that I’d be ‘in pain’ for the next few days – and I was right. Won’t stop me from going back however, and there’s a pretty decent “new members” deal that I think I’m going to grab, which will hopefully force me to continue to go… Continue reading “The Bar (Barré) Method”

Squee!

One of the most fabulous ladies I take dance with gave me her old white leotard/tulle skirt and it fits pretty well. Just need to get the shoes now, which means another trip to the dance shop. Oh darn.

I’m starting to see a recurring theme with our classes and rehearsals. I’m used to learning steps and character at the same time, just as it is with the theater, you don’t have time to do them sepaeratly and don’t get me wrong, the dance so far isn’t demanding or anything, but there seems to be a little too much gabbing or just standing around instead of participating or practicing. Perhaps it’s beacause most of these women are older than me by at least 20 years, and are almost all mothers/grandmothers – but I’m here to dance, to learn from this incredible teacher I lucked into. Once we get Into the swing of class it gets better…sometimes. Poor Danellia, she will run through an excersise, and very few people mark it out with her. I’ve got the excuse that not only am I trying to remember WTF I’m doing, but I’m occasionally learning entirely new steps, not to mention, I got in 4 classes before I had to take a month off because of traveling and school. So really, I started almost all over again, add breaking in new shoes constantly since nothing fits or is too old, and I’m only on class…5 at this point? And as I’ve said before, there are just enough differenc between RAD and the Russian method (foot placement, how far in front and behind you your foot crosses, etc.

Can’t wait until my body stops working against me and I can really start to move again. Kiri and Joe and I are all going fabric shopping next week, so we can get stuff for both my dress and the mock up of Joe’s outfit for the wedding. SO EXCITED!

Dear Body, behave. Sincerely, Me.

Looks like I probably pushed myself just a little too hard in class on Wednesday. Never mind the fact that hours later my big toes were still aching if I put pressure on the tips (oh hello new point shoes, I’d forgotten what a bitch you are to dance in when brand new…) having woken up to a major calf cramp that morning that was so bad not only did I wake up Eric, I woke up the dog. Even after a minute of trying to not scream in pain, it was still tight and I couldn’t stretch out. Ah potassium deficiencies, my old friend. We need to talk… Even two days later, the calf is still unhappy, and my back has joined it, I almost couldn’t sit up this morning it was spazzing so badly. Remind me why I ever stopped dancing again? This is entirely my fault. Sigh.

We’ll see how much of class I can actually manage today. I’m going to try doing barre, may not make it through center work today, especially since we have rehearsal after class. Still need to get shoes and the skirt for that, seems like I’m going to have to order the skirt online – I’ll probably end up rising it too. Wonder if Amazon carries that stuff. Should look.
But yay for Kiri hopefully being able to help me design and make the skirt topper. Love this chick, so damn happy I’ve met her.

And now for today’s new dance selection.


The above variation is actually a pas de deux, but is most often preformed solo. The ballet was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, the same genius behind such little known classics as Cinderella, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

In a nutshell, Raymonda (the titular character seen here) is a princess, waiting for her betrothed to return to her and is being amused/distracted by her court until his return. All is not well, as a wealthy competitor tries to steal her affection. Thanks to a friendly ghost Raymonda figures out his game, her beloved shows up, has a epic sword battle with the bad guy and they happily get married.

I looked at several variations of both this sequence and as well as a few others, but I specifically chose this one because while this is the one is the oldest variation and so quality isn’t the highest, her timing and musicality are fantastic. Someone in the comments complains that her clapping isn’t noble enough, but I agree with the second commenter that the performance is full of attitude and meant to command the audience’s attention. Certainly caught mine. Gorgeous.