Sunday, June 24, 2007

Richmond - the end of theweek.

Friday was mostly spent concentrating on getting ready for the performance. The Variation from Giselle was going to be performed in groups of three, the Rep. piece from Bayadere was a corps piece.
I had intended to do the Giselle en pointe,and right up to Friday morning's rehearsal I still hadn't decided what I was going to do. I felt that I was totally capable of it, and having watched the video of ABT doing it (of course en pointe ) I really wanted to do it right, but my ankle was feeling a bit tweaked, and the cumulative tiredness of a week's dancing was making me wonder if it was the wisest choice. After doing a run through both on and off pointe I decided to ditch the pink satin shoes and take it easy.
The Bayadere I totally loved. As a corps piece there was not the same anxiety level as in being one of only 3 people on stage, and for me there is a real buzz I get from being in a group of people who are taking time and using all their concentration to be on the same count doing the same move at the same time in the same way. It is like creating a whole new energy. Our teacher for this piece, Kathy Sawyer, was a delight to work with; very calm and gentle and very precise about what she wanted. I felt as though we were totally prepared and ready to do it.
We left for the theatre at lunch time on Friday, after a gentle technique class and a studio run through of each of the pieces.
The plan was for something more like a recording or tv production than a theatre production. Each group blocked their moves on stage, did a run through or two and then did it once more 'for real' when it was filmed. It seemed strange at first because I had expected to run through the whole thing in order more like a show; but it made absolute sense as the end goal was to produce a dvd for us to take home.
Both of our pieces seemed to go pretty well, I think I messed up the turning emboites in the Giselle, and I definitely wobbled in a major way on the pique attitudes, even without the pointe shoes. Bayadere went smoothly.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday and Thursday in Richmond.

I am trying to remember what we did yesterday, it is all becoming a bit of a blur!
We finished the choreography for both our performance pieces. I am having serious doubts about doing the coppelia one en pointe, but the Bayadere one is still goiong well.
We had a partnering class in the afternoon, where they brought in some semi pro young men, and with some of the men in ouur program we worked on balances, simple turns, promenades and lifts. I was suprisingly difficult, although I was doing it on pointe, which did make it easier thanjust releve, I think. It was a two houe lesson and most fo the second hour was spent learning choreography for the show tomorrow. I suddenly decided it was too much, too fast and decided that I didn't need to have any more new choreography to worry about coupled with a partner who was completely new to it as well as me! today they had the second two hour session and I just whimped out. The first lesson I have skipped all week! It was interesting to learn the techniques but I don't think I need to perform it just yet.
Today, apart from pilates, we switched all the teachers around, so although we had technique and pointe in the morning it was different to have someone else teaching. We also did another Turning class, again different teacher, and different ideas; somehow I will have to weed through all this information overload and pick out the bits that are actually helpful to me. It is cool to have these amazing resources though.
This afternoon we did some more rep. work and then had a character class which was fun, fun, fun.
I had no idea that there is a character barre, with different port de bras, different plie combinations, tendus, battements etc. Very cool . We also did some center work and learned a few different character 'steps' that we put together in a combination. It was light hearted and fun. Just what I needed on Thursday afternoon when I was feeling bad about my decision to duck out of the partnering piece.
The performance is tomorrow afternoon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More From Richmond

It was a more relaxing day today, stating with a pilates class where I got to be the demonstation assistant. We then had technique, which had some cool grande allegro, then it was Turning Workshop, and I picked up some useful tips, and did some pique turns without getting the slightest bit dizzy! I hope I can remember all this when I get home.
In the afternoon we had foot class where we learned all about how to stretch, massage and take care of our feet, followed by rep - more Bayadere, and finally a stretch class followed by a mini consult from a physical therapist who works with the Richmond Ballet.
La Bayadere is going to be so cool, I love the music. We have nearly finished the choreography for the show on Friday, and at the moment the '2 waltz turns followed by two pique turns while travelling in a circle' are causing me some orientation issues, but it is getting better!
The physical therapist was really helpful, she checked my alignment and told me that all my hip issues are muscular, not skeletal, and that my pulled hamstring is probably related to the fact that my pelvis is out of alignment. She recommended I get some kind of serious manipulative therapy and that I spend more time stretching my pereformus (sp?). Which I know how to do, but it hurts, so I don't...
Maybe now I have taken the first step I will actually do something about it when I get home!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dance Camp Update

i've been so busy dancing that I have not had time to do this before now, so appologies to those waiting for news!
I made it to Richmond despite a very near miss on the flight connection, which resulted in me running full out down the airport concorse scattering the elderly and young children as I went . But I made the flight mere seconds before they closed the gate; I was just worried that my bag wouldn't have managed to make the connection too.
On arriving at Richmond airport my bag showed up and I got to the hotel in time for the meet and greet dinner, and fireworks on the river. I don't think the fireworks were to welcome the dance campers but it was really nice to see them!
The first day (Sunday) we were interviewed by the camp director (Heidi) and then classes for placement. I was the middle level of three for technique, the higher level of two for Modern (thanks, Jenny) and the lowest level of three for pointe.
I was not moved around after the placement class although some people were.
The levels seem great to me, and I was glad that they had put me in the lowest level of pointe, because that was a hard class - not a beginner class as far as I could tell.
So, we did technique followed by pointe then modern yesterday, and today we had technique followed by variation (we are doing the second peasant variation from Giselle), and after lunch there was rep. in which we are learning a dance from La Bayadere. Then there was a jazz class to finish up the day. All the classes are an hour and a half.
I stumbled back to my room and into a hot bath!
I am having fun! I am amazed to find out how much I can do, how much I have learned in the last year and a half that I am getting to put to such good use now.
Everyone here is amazingly friendly and supportive, and I think the only major injury I have sustained is shin splints from running through the airport!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Palm Test

Testing Mobile Blogging via wireless connection and my Palm tx

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sara's Fluffies?

Inspired by a post over on Stephanie's Blog and the impending Surprise Party for the amazing Miss. Sar I made a quick shopping trip on Saturday afternoon; and armed with 3 skeins of Cascade 220 and some really big needles, set to work on these slippers.

In 24 hours I had these!
IMG_1505.JPG
(That is my foot in there, for scale.)
Mr. T thought they might be a bit big, but that just meant the start of the felting adventure!

All the felting info. tells you that it does not work in a front loader washing machine, not enough agitation... But it's what I had, so I tried.
After two washes there was almost no discernible shrinkage, they were still positively floppy, and huge.
I took them out and tried a little rubbing in the sink, by hand. It seemed to work a bit, but it hurt. I decided to wait for Monday and take them to a laundromat and a top loading machine, as advised.
Monday afternoon at 4pm I tried my first Laundromat. There were a couple of rows of shiny upright machines, but they were all in use. I waited 15 minutes for a machine to be done, patiently, until she came to take her clothes out.... Tragedy. The machine opened at the front!
I peered inside, it looked like a traditional front loader with no agitator! Rats. Off to Laundromat number two.
Front loading machines all in a row, all empty. I dumped the slippers in and started the machine, then settled down to wait. My instructions said it would take as long as half an hour, but the surprise party wasn't until 6.30pm, so I still had plenty of time.
I checked them after 10 minutes. Not smaller.
After 20 minutes, well, perhaps a little smaller, but no where near a size 8. I put them back in.
The machine started a rinse cycle! Oh no, I needed more washing, but I reasoned that they would still get the agitation in a rinse so I left them in.
When the spin started I took them out. Yes! It was working, they had started to felt!
Nowhere near enough though, so I dug through my purse found another bunch of quarters and started the whole process again.
This time I didn't bother to check them after 10 mins., or 20. I fished them out when the rinse cycle started, there was some progress, so I left them in until it started to spin.
Hmmmm, still not small enough. I checked my watch. It was nearly 5pm. Just one more wash might do it!
I headed for the change machine, loaded up the machine and ignored the whole precess until the end. They were much closer to the right size, but not right. I had no more time.

Home, changed, threw an appetiser together (not the one I had planned, it would have taken too long), bunged the slippers into the dryer for 10 minutes, stuffed them into a gift bag and off to the party I went.
The Amazing Miss. Sar.
They were too big, I had some explaining to do. The amazing Miss. Sar was very gracious, but would like them to be a little smaller.
The Fluffies
The party was fabulous. We had delightful appetisers, wine, and the Golden Globes to critique.
It was a great evening.

I brought the slippers home with me, and they have been through the front loader cycle twice now. I think they might be the right size.
scale fluffies I hope!

Monday, January 15, 2007

That's My Toast!

In the spirit of noviolent conflict resolution, and MLK; my children are fighting over who has rights to a piece of toast.
I am pleased though, that despite having raised them solely in the U.S. so far, they have managed to develop a healthy appetite for the British culinary staple Toast and Marmite.


Mr. T has now gone off to do his piano practice.IMG_1508.JPG

While Ms. E has eaten her way through a whole box of cherry tomatoes!IMG_1507.JPG