Back to the Barre! | Adult Ballerina Blog

Well I finally have some good news, I got a job! Back to my previous company but in another department and still doing design, and the same pay rate so I can afford ballet again!!!! I can’t wait to be back!

At the same time of feeling success, I can’t help but feeling sad. I’ve wanted my job back for so long, mainly because it’s semi secure income and a good pay rate, plus I’m getting the coveted industry experience needed for even better jobs. The first few days I was excited and very happy, but today I feel sad. Having to go back to waking up early, spending hours commuting with angry rush hour drivers, and sitting at a desk all day instead of working out, making art and trying to figure out how to gain clients in my photography business. I guess the last one is the worst, I feel like I’ve failed in getting by business off the ground while I had time off. With all the time off I should be a marketing wizard and be getting inquiries daily and booking clients! But I’m not and I don’t understand why. I know it’s not my quality of work, but getting in front of people who are looking for photography services. I feel like I failed myself and my true calling to go back to slaving to “the man” that is corporate business that is only another temp contract.

On the plus side, I have my ballet schedule all laid out and am about to go to some barre and pointe strength exercises so I don’t go back to class weak and terrible! It will be so good to go back to the studio again, even if I do make a fool of myself forgetting combos most of the time, maybe some day I’ll fit in!

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World Ballet Day Fun!!!

World Ballet Day is one of the best day’s of the year for dancers! What is better than getting a look into the most famous ballet companies for a whole entire day! I just wanted to lay in bed all day and watch it, but was also motivated to get out and dance. It’s hard to keep up with all the fun all day, fortunately no work for me, but I did get into the studio for a little bit and worked on a lyrical dance that has been in my head and to work on some pointe work and dancing without having to worry about doing a routine or having a time limit. I might post it later if I get the nerve up, or maybe just a little preview on Instagram (@aliciaaerial) 😉

In case you also need to catch up on anything missed yesterday, here are the links!:

 

Oh and some barre exercises! Can’t get enough of those!

I’ll add more as I find them, or feel free to add what you find in the comments!

Happy Dancing!

Alicia

New Shoes and Ballet Blues

I’ve been off the radar for a while because I haven’t had anything happy or positive to write about over here. I haven’t been able to take classes because of loosing my job, I feel insecure and far from confident in my dancing, and haven’t made any progress. I’ve been doing a lot of running and going back to aerial (www.polerinaaerialdance.com for that blog!) and otherwise doing some foot strength exercises. I started doing barre again at home, and simple pointe work because I have an idea for an aerial routine for the spring competition season, and just miss dancing in general.

I think as dancers we all struggle with the search for the perfect shoe! It’s even worse for us big footed dancers because it seems no one has our size in stock so trying on is the devil! I’ve had to purchase numerous pairs of shoes I didn’t really like because of just lack of anything else. When I was living in Boston I fell in love with the Suffolk Stellar (light) and haven’t been able to find them anywhere since. I’m afraid to order them online that they won’t be the same but I’m probably going to have to get over that! I have been eating great things about the Bloch Eurostretch so today I was on a mission to give them a go thinking they would be easier to find, and well I succeeded! First off, I loved how they felt, they were soft and stretchy and molded to my foot perfect. The inside was cushy and no big toe pain on pointe! And omg the box is PRETTY! The only thing I didn’t like was the box didn’t feel good for balancing and that was the only reason I didn’t get them. Maybe I’ll give them a go and see what happens next time (while I have backups that aren’t dead!) and see if I’m able to balance like in my other shoes. 

On a whim I asked if they had the Stellars and they did, and in my size! They weren’t the light shank but the standard, and they felt a little bit hard but I think once they’re broken in maybe they will last a little longer. So I ended up with another pair of my old favorites and a super cute H tutu O water bottle.

So what feels like starting from scratch (I looked good at the store and not like an idiot or amateur at least haha) and getting strong agin so when I can return to classes I’ll be ready and able to keep up!

I’ll just be Right Here at MY Barre!

Alicia

It’s Been a While…

Over the last few months a lot has happened causing change in my life, but also leaving me exhausted and unsure. I was dancing three times a week a few months ago. Progress was coming, though I was still behind most of my class and struggling with weight, but I looked forward to going to the studio after work and working hard. Then I got laid off. I was a contracted graphic designer with a one year contract that was cut in half. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was instant anxiety. Not only did it mean I had to give up my ballet classes, but how was I supposed to pay for well….life. I have a crushing amount of student debt racked up on credit cards that I had started to pay off and was actually making good progress on with my job. I was hoping that my position would go permanent, that someone would actually want me, that I’d finally be good enough to be a part of a team that meant something, and again I was wrong. I started to think about my life as a series of failures strung together with glimmers of hope in between that always become extinguished by failing. I know that negative thinking is not going to solve anything, but when nothing good or successful ever happens to you no matter how hard you work, how else are you supposed to think? Right know I feel broken, useless, untalented and like I will never be able to support myself because I’m only good enough to be a greeter at Wall Mart or something. I’ve been on a few great interviews since, one I even had 3 for, but it always ends the same: “We want to thank you for your time and interest in this position. At this time we have narrowed down our selected candidates to those that more closely fit our culture, and the experience and skills we were searching for. I am sorry to say we will not be progressing further with you as a candidate for this role.” Now what? I was sure I had it! Even though it would be a three month trial period (that I was sure I’d be fired from after) it gave me hope that I could finally fit somewhere and be valued. I’ve paid my dues, I’ve worked for years for free which cost me more credit card debt and a ton of mils on my car, I just crave that moment of success where someone sees me as talented enough to be paid a livable wage, have a secure job, and start my life. It just doesn’t seem like it will happen for me.

On a positive note, it does give me plenty of time to work on my photography business and hopefully be able to learn marketing and get noticed in that field, which is where my passion really lies besides dance. I’ve also had time to go to the gym daily, practice yoga, and even was available to sub some aerial classes (another job I wasn’t talented enough to keep and make a career out of, and that crushed my soul when I was replaced). And since I’m competing in pole fitness again I’ve been setting time aside to practice at home daily and get to the closest studio a few times a week to work on endurance and choreography.

Ballet got pushed to the side for a few months because I resented it for not being able to do it. I stopped working on my feet, I stopped doing arabesques at my kitchen counter, and my pointe shoes practically had cobwebs on them. When I went to the studio yesterday to work on my pole routine, I grabbed my dance bag and my camera thinking maybe I would be inspired. And I was right. After practicing pole for a couple hours I definitely needed a break. The lighting is always beautiful here, so I dug in my dance bag and found a leo, tutu, pointe shoes, and made a messy bun atop my head. Then a song came on, I danced for the first time in months (ok so wearing a tutu makes everything better anyway), and felt magnificent. This is what I love. This is what I crave. Maybe this is where I belong. I might need to do a re-shoot this week, since when I changed positions I forgot to take the focus lock off and so my depth of field is off  (oops!), but that just gives me another reason to go back. To create. To fly.

Last night I started re-watching Dance Academy, which opens with Tara, a simple farm girl who dreams of being a ballerina, wanting to fly. She says:

“I always knew in another life I could fly. That’s why in this life I dance”

Fly!

Alicia-1

At The Ballet: Boston Ballet Swan lake!

If I could sum up the Boston Ballets production of Sean Lake in one word (and that’s hard!) it would be mesmerizing. I have never had my eyes glued to the stage so hard, on the verge of tears. My aunt and mom came with me this time, my aunt had done ballet and pointe as a kid/teen and was excited to see her first production. My moms been hooked since Onegin and wants to go to all of them now (except I have to buy next time haha)! 

The ballet started out just as you would expect, with a girl being dragged into the lake and bewitched into a swan. The Prince is celebrating his birthday and receives a shiny new bow, in which he wants to use in a hunt, where he meets the Swan Queen, Odette. She is scared and timid, but they fall in love. The Principal dancers were Ashley Ellis as Odette/Odile, Eris Nezha as Prince Siegfried and Bo Busby as Rothbart the evil sorcerer.

Ellis drew you in to the beauty and desire of the swan as the story unfolded. When the prince promised to love her and break the curse, and then faltered, her emotion was powerful, raw and real. It brought tears to all of our eyes. 

When the third act opened, the swans rose from the fog in the most unforgettable display of beauty that I will remember forever. As a photographer, I would seriously love a print of that moment with the swans rising from the fog, it was breathtaking! Boston Ballet has a photo of it on their page that I borrowed for sake of this blog to show you!


Photo by Gene Schiavone, who is one of my photography idols!

The third act was a stunning array of deception, scandal and passion. When the Prince realizes he has made a tragic mistake and trapped Odette forever, they dance until the sorcerer is killed, unlike most versions of the production. The lovers then have nothing to live for and acend into the lake to die. 

I have to say, the ending was changed drastically from all the Swan Lakes I’ve seen online. There was no dying swan solo, which I was looking foreward to. But in some ways, it wasn’t needed. I liked the story change, where they are together no matter what and the sorcerer is defeated.

Another marvelous production! 

Here are some photos from the day and some swan photography from my week!

Belonging

I literally just deleated the most depressing post I would probably ever write. It was last week I started it and never got around to finishing because I felt so sad. We all have those days right? When we feel like we art life’s third wheel and don’t fit in anywhere? Well, needless to say, if I had posted it I probably would have gone back and got rid of it anyway, because those are not the kind of vibes I’m trying to bring into my life!! 👍🏻

The end of last week I had a massive migraine for 3 days, and it was awful! I’m training for a 10 miler and half marathon and missed 2 run days on my schedule due to the headache 😖. The worst! Anyway, I’m back on track with that and have a 5 mile run today after work. My body has been in so much pain from working out lately, that I haven’t been dancing, and started again last Thurdsday. I felt stiff and sore, but otherwise I don’t think it was too tragic (maybe from everyone else in the class’s point of view haha). But I’m glad to start working ballet back into my schedule, I think I’ll stick to once or twice a week until the 10 miler, because I have to stay flexible and definitely noticed my turn out suffering. After tonight’s run I’m going to do a great long stretch and maybe a very basic barre.

Speaking of body pain, I have not been able to sleep a wink because of my old, hard mattress! I woke up in such agony this morning, tossing and turning all week, that on my lunch break I went to Cardi’s and laid on all the plush mattresses in the store. Kind of pathetically desperate to get a good nights sleep, I bought one and it’s being delivered tomorrow! Horay!! Now I have to clean my house, because between my ballet barre, photography equipment, painting supplies, and clothes and other random stuff piling up, they probably can’t even get to my room with it! 

Oh and painting! I’ve been finding a little time to get back into that as well! I went to see Boston Ballet do Swan Lake this weekend (look out for my next At The Ballet! Post) and was so inspired I painted a white swan vs black swan theme on an old pair of pointe shoes. I think I finally figured out what to do with them when they die! Maybe they will go on my Etsy shop???

See you at the barre!


Self-doubt and Why You Shouldn’t!

Bad things I say about myself is the topic of the day in a dance forum I belong to.  Well this is a good one for me because I’ve been self-doubting and talking bad about myself for years. Mostly because when I used to be confident, people who didn’t know me judged me on how I looked and called me a conceited stuck up bitch. Once they actually got to talking to me they’d tell me how nice I was and how everyone says I’m stuck up because of how I look. (Believe me I don’t think I look that great but I would do my hair and makeup and felt pretty, I guess thats being conceited). So I started talking down on myself before other people had the chance too because it hurt me so much. In college once we had a show where we had to do 5 pieces, and I did a series of self portraits in photography of me doing ballet in random outdoor places. One girl in my class tore me apart and said I was the most conceited person she ever met because the whole thing was a “shrine to me” and that I “must think I’m so great” when most of them you couldn’t even see my face, I didn’t have any models, and I was so new to photography I really didn’t know what I was doing. I remember going to Starbucks after and crying to the barista. I was bullied in college a few years later again, by a girl who was threatened by me and tried to get me kicked out. (What the heck is wrong with people!!!??)  After that whenever I would present work or meet people I would instantly bash myself before they could, and sadly it worked. I haven’t been called conceited or stuck up or a bitch since I started putting myself down. I’m trying to break the habit now, because I’m trying to love myself and not care what people do or say about me. It’s their choice to be judgmental instead of getting to know someone, and if that’s how they want to be then its their issues with themselves and shouldn’t be mine. I think really immersing myself in yoga has helped me a lot with this, and about looking within myself and seeing my worth regardless to other peoples opinions. I started calling myself fat, useless, an awful amateur photographer, I suck at art, I suck at dance, I suck at life, and everything in between. It was so much easier to devalue myself before someone else could make me feel useless. I felt sad and depressed all the time. I threw out multiple pieces of art because I thought if I showed anyone they would just say it was terrible and I couldn’t take any more negativity. If I felt it already, it couldn’t get worse right? I’ve been constantly bullied and put down by people everywhere I go, and at every stage of my life. I even had an older woman say some rude judgmental stuff to me here at work last week which upset me. I’m not going to let their problems be my problems though. I see the beauty in everyone, and I hope someday the people that hurt other people to make themselves feel good can learn to see that too.

Starting a blog and vlog were really difficult for me because of how I’ve been judged before. I thought, if I start this the comments are going to come again “oh look a blog all about you you you you conceited bitch”. That fear stopped me from writing and photographing for years. I just recently started creating self portraits through photography as artistic expressions of my fears, hopes and dreams inspired by my favorite self portrait photographer, Brooke Shaden. I took her workshop back in November, and she is such a beautiful and positive soul!

I’m going to keep creating, regardless of judgmental people. If they want to leave mean comments, thats marks on their character, not mine. My soul is going to be free to create and live the life I want, not trying to hide in the shadows because of other people and their insecurities. Why shouldn’t you be proud of the amazing things you can do?!! I find uplifting people so much better than tearing them down to get ahead or because someone is different. Follow your passion, and don’t let anyone stop you!

If you want to see my fine art photography work, visit https://www.facebook.com/AliciaHeaneyPhotography/

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