My First Real Class after the Hiatus

First-Ballet-Class-2016

Yesterday was the first time I went back to the ballet studio after half a year’s hiatus. I was so thrilled and nervous at the same time! Also, as I just recovered from the flu, I was a tad worried and didn’t know if I could make it through the class or not. On top of that, I was too careless not to have checked the ballet studio’s Facebook updates to see if there was actually a class today. So I messaged the teacher but I didn’t hear from her even though it was only 15 minutes before the class would start. The door to the studio was locked and I started to wonder if I had wasted the almost two hours’ trip from home. Well, turned out that the teacher was stuck in cross-border traffic and the class would start half an hour later and so my journey was not wasted after all. But I had to cancel a tutoring appointment, which I scheduled right after the class… and lost HK$500 :'(.

In any case, I was determined to rekindle my ballet training this year. So off I go against all odds! This just happened to be first day of former New York City Ballet dancer Kathryn Morgan’s ‪”12-Week Challenge.” I mentioned this challenge a couple of days ago, and was super excited about starting it. I am really not sure if I can follow through even the light version of the challenge, but to get started would be to have won half the battle, at least in my case, as I had so many reasons to put off resuming class last year. But I finally made it!

The class was conducted by a young substitute teacher, whom I have been an acquaintance for quite a few years. It was slow-paced but she really made sure we got the alignment and movements right. We had only two center exercises, starting with a tendu+temps lié and ending with sauté. The last set of sauté was long-ish and I almost felt like collapsing, but I persisted till the end and am really proud of having completed the exercise.

To my surprise, my technique is still there, despite not having much strength and flexibility. But I know these will come back in time. To me, at this point, being able to move my arms and upper body in a graceful way means more than being able to have high leg extensions or super flexibility, as the important thing is to be able to do what I can still do to get back the feeling of dancing again. So, I’m just taking things in baby steps now.

After class, I could feel the endorphin rush… I wanted to sing James Brown’s song out loud: “I FEEL GOOD!!!”

Looking forward to more ballet this year.

Advertisements

Kathryn Morgan’s 12-Week Challenge

Have you made New Year resolutions? Studies show that goals are more realistic and people tend to achieve more with them than with “resolutions.” And in ballet, a disciplined approach with mini goals would be easier to implement than big lofty goals or wishes such as “I want to have higher extension, more flexibility and stronger core.”

Here is Kathryn Morgan’s 12-week challenge to help us get started. There is a regular version for those of you who are already training regularly, and a light version for those of you who are getting into ballet or restarting it like me. The timing can’t be more perfect, as going back into ballet is my goal for this year. Although my busy schedule may not allow me to follow the schedule strictly, having this guideline will surely motivate me to get back into the dance groove and the fitness routine. Who wants to join?

http://kathrynmorganonline.com/12-week-challenge

A Christmas Gift to Myself: Back to First Position

First Position - Balletomanehk.com

This Christmas, I gave the best gift to myself… No, it’s not those Christmas slippers (I bought them for Christmas two years ago). It was a home ballet class.

For various reasons, I’ve taken a six-month hiatus. But yesterday, which happened to be a full-moon day, I finally got an impulse to start picking up ballet again. I took to the roof, placed a couple of children’s thick play mats (which are placed together like a jig-saw puzzle), covered them with a sheet of Marley, and made a “sprung floor” out of it. It actually felt pretty darn good! Then I just used the edge of the roof as the barre (though a little low). Voilà!

Ballet on the Roof - www.balletomanehk.com

Kathryn Morgan was my instructor, and here are her easy ballet lessons on YouTube:

Barre:

Center:

It feels so good to have worked up a good sweat after the barre and center. Kathryn Morgan’s videos for beginners as well as dancers returning after an injury are really wonderful. They are slow-paced and do not demand high extensions. Yet they are beautifully choreographed. They made me feel like I was totally ready to get back to class yet was not forced to do anything uncomfortable. All the exercises were manageable and Morgan’s tone was so encouraging throughout the tutorials. 

I had so much fun doing the center exercises, especially the port de bras 😉 To my surprise, my balance is still quite good and my ankles didn’t wobble very much during rises! 

A neighbor peeked out from his roof and was wondering what the heck I was doing. Obviously he could not understand the English instructions coming out of my laptop, but the beautiful piano music and my movements got him curious, ha ha! I bet no one in my village does adult ballet. Perhaps this will get people interested.

In the new year, I hope to be able to do class more regularly. My the force be with me!