NYC Trip | Lincoln Center | Bloch Store and Downton Abbey Exhibition!

Monday I went to New York City (a nice few hour train ride for us) mainly to see the Downton Abbey Exhibit, but since we were in the neighborhood I decided to make some ballet stops too!

We left from Rhode Island pretty early in the morning, taking a 7:45 train and getting to Penn Station around 10:30. Our Downton Abbey tickets weren’t until 2 so we took the subway to Lincoln Center and I finally got to take some picture in front of the famous fountain!

And of course in front of the theater sign where there was conveniently a “barre”

Next up was the Bloch store right across the street! Let me tell you how I have dreamed of coming to this store and standing in that beautiful window to be fit for shoes! I’ve been wanting to try several of the new stretch shoes, having had pretty good success with the Eurostretch, and they even had some models that aren’t on their website.

After some trial and error, and a very patient and awesome fitter, I decided (it was a tough one between 2) on the Synthesis in a 7XX. I have to get used to the smaller platform of the tapered shoe, but they look sleek and lovely and I can’t wait to finish sewing them and to break them in!

The shoes that came in close second (which I still may order and try!) were the Superelative, which I’m wearing 2 photos up.

My Aunt gifted my my shoes for my upcoming birthday, and bought herself a new sweater for class, so we both got pretty blush bags! She’s taking her first class tonight as we speak, and I can’t wait to hear about it!

Next we were off to a quick lunch before the show, and went to a healthy place next to the exhibition called Fresh&Co, which was delicious! I had a turkey sandwich with cranberries, since I was starting my 28 day cleanse the next day and will be omitting gluten and bread (that’s another blog)!

Now off to Downton! I fangirled almost as much as when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I just love the clothing of this era! I even wore my hat from the time!

I have to say, since going I’ve been shopping on ModCloth and Unique Vintage all day for some modern flapper looks, and have looked at going to a roaring 20s lawn party!

I think I could pull off the look of both Edwardian fashion and 20s!

We started in the “downstairs” area, because the exhibit was set up like the house. This was the kitchen, servants area, and where the staff would dine and do much of their work. My moms favorite was all of the cooking appliances and ways of preparing food, since she’s basically a modern Mrs. Pattmore!

Seriously, that table is like something out of a wedding! A Downton wedding sounds good to me!

Since I already love dressing vintage (more of a 50s look) I think some Deco/ 20’s inspires clothes might be making an appearance in my wardrobe! I mean, those dresses! Plus who doesn’t like a good hat! Time to find a 20’s party to go to!

I think it made me want to re-watch the series again, and hope for a Downton movie!

(Harry Potter fans like myself will get it!)

The day was fun and exhausting. I need to make it a point to get to NYC more often, to shop and take classes. Until next time!

Ballet in 2018 | Goals | Pushing the limits

Starting 2018 my friend and I went up to Cambridge for a open house at the José Mato Ballet Theater. I haven’t danced in 3 weeks due to holiday and my car breaking down and needing to buy a new one. Deciding to take this class at the highest level offered was terrifying since I have a hard time with confidence taking anything but beginner class.

But this year I’m going to push myself. There’s no way I’ll ever get better and understand the steps that confuse me if I don’t do them repeatedly. In he higher level classes I feel vulnerable, scared, like instead of flying, I’m just flailing. There are a lot of steps I don’t know, and that scares me, but if I don’t ever try it, it will be impossible to ever learn it.

So I will keep going to classes, both in and out of my comfort zone. Keep pushing, learning and practicing. Because one day it will pay off and I will fly.

Morning Class | Adult Ballet Blog

My office was closed today in observance of the Veterans Day holiday (thank you Vets!) so there was a rare chance to attend class at 9am and it was taken advantage of! Since it was an advance class (which screams avoid! To me) nerves almost convinced me to not go, I’m that dancer that’s been in beginner/intermediate class for ages because of my issues with remembering combos and psyching myself out. 

Arriving early and grabbing a coffe at the adorable French café next door, finding a place at the barre (in the back corner) and beginning class with a nice window view was a great start to the morning! The flow of class was enjoyable with emphasis on really using the upper body to dance and express movement. Adage was beautiful and manageable on my dim memory (even remembering it enough to write it down after) and for the first time in my memory of dance, feelings of grace and that my dancing wasn’t akward and floppy filled me instead of terror and nerves. I’m hoping this becomes a permanent change because it felt good! 

Sadly, my current work situation requires 9-4 on Fridays and unlesss I’m a wizard and can start negotiating some remote work, it will be rare that this class can be attended (*cough* I’m sick)! But today was wonderful and productive!

P.S. I’ve had to write the last 2 blogs without using I️ because Apple is special and glitches! I️ am so annoyed!

xx,

Alicia

My Healthy Life | Pre-class power food! | Adult ballet blog 

I’ve been that dancer who has struggled with body image immensely over the past 4 years or so. Growing up in a mostly Italian family, it was encouraged to be a member of the clean plate club and seconds were always offered and encouraged. On top of that, everyone on both sides on my family are amazing cooks! Growing up it was never a problem because being so active in dance and gymnastics weight was never an issue and that call to Burger King after practice (and right across the street conveniently)!

Even when starting dance again as an adult, I’d been going to the gym daily, taught pole and aerial fitness classes 4 times a week,  and had a very active job bartending (chasing drunks around was cardio)! The past few years, age has caught up with me and I’ve gained 20 pounds that scream at me when looking in the mirror, and cause me to hate photos, and love that photoshop is a skill that comes with my photography and graphic design job!

Now that I’ve been consistent with dancing again, and really want to continue to improve, workout consistency and training, as well as conscious healthy meal and snack choices are a must. A few months ago I’d come across The Dancers Best Body Program (www.thewholedancer.com) which includes healthy eating, nutrition, and inspiration which we can all use more of! Recently beginning to go through the lessons has inspired me to get back on track with multiple dance classes a week, a return to aerial, and conscious eating.

I’m going to start keeping quick and easy meals on the blog here because if you’re anything like me you just don’t have time for all the elaborate meal prep that diet plans require. If anyone knows any clean eating resources for quick and easy meals, link me in the comments below!

Tonight’s pre-class dinener took about 10 minutes!


It was easy and a good source of both protein and carbs for energy as well as a good helping of dark leafy greens.

• 1 cup whole wheat ziti

• small chicken breast (palm sized)

• 1 cup steamed spinach

• A few spoonfuls of  organic pasta sauce with herbs

Now it’s off to stretch my calves that are still sore from yesterday’s class!

Alicia

Hope is the Anthem of my Soul | Adult Ballet Blog | National Suicide Awareness Week

Suicide Awareness Week confession: I’ve struggled with depression, hopelessness, and feeling like I am never enough for most of my life. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s that I could admit to myself that I had a mental illness. I’ve felt like most people would be better off if I’m not here, and I know how easy it is to slip into the darkness that is our own minds. I’ve failed so many times at jobs, and felt like I don’t fit in anywhere, even in the industries I love and want to make a career in. As I sit here and write this I am in tears because yet again I have disappointed people that I care abouts opinions and the familiar feeling of hopelessness is taking over. I work full time and am growing a photography business, and basically just made a fool of myself in front of prominent vendors for working full time and not editing fast enough. It makes me feel like I should throw in the towel because I will never be able to edit a full session in 2 weeks. Today I felt guilty for going to class and not staying home to edit. I was told I was unprofessional because I told someone my timeline for editing was because I worked full time as well as growing my business. Now I’m sitting here downing wine and feeling guilty for writing this blog.


The point of this is I want you to know you’re not alone, what you are feeling, others are feeling too. Sure I feel like crap and am crying into my wine, but I know I’m a great photographer and clients who have my timeline expectations and are ok with it are the people for me (shameless self promotion: http://www.aliciaannphoto.com) Hope is the anthem of my soul, and I hope that one day I can accomplish my dreams and be able to be good enough to fit in this industry that seems to take and never give.
National Suicide Awareness Week: https://twloha.com/

xx,

Alicia 

Sick week 

Last week was the last week of summer session, and of corse I came down with a terrible head cold on Tuesday and wasn’t better for my class on Thursday. I was so dissapointed because for the past 4 weeks we’ve been working on a very challenging pirouette combo that has been slowly but surely getting better! I didn’t have class this week because of the holiday and my class is changing to Monday, so I’m excited for next week.


Lonely shoes last Thursday…

I’m also excited for more Fall dance opportunities because one of my favorite retired principals from the company where I take class will be teaching on Wednesday nights at a different location and doing an adult pointe class as well. 

I also started being much more aware of what I am eating. I’ve cut alcohol and excess sugar such as desserts and my daily trip to the snack machine at work. Besides the extreme need to lose 25-30 pounds, I’ve also had an ovarian cyst for 2 years that is becoming more and more painful. Since I have no insurance and would have to quit my career as a graphic designer and take some crummy retail job to get insurance, I can’t get any care whatsoever. I need an ultrasound to see if there are more cysts or it’s become larger, and possibly surgery to remove it since it’s been much more painful and pushing on nerves in my back. Hoping my job will make me permanent so that I can get proper insurance and finally get it looked at again. If anyone has any natural remedies I’d much rather go that route!!

I better to do some strength work and stretch!!

xx,

Alicia

Pointe Shoe Chronicals | Adult Ballet Blog

To a dancer, the tools of the trade are especially focused on the feet and legs. Finding the perfect fitting shoe can be an endless struggle! I’ve had a hard time finding flat shoes that fit well and don’t cause a bump under the ball of the foot, and just when I think I’ve found the perfect pointe shoe, my feet seem to change and my shoe stops working for me. I’ve literally spend HOURS in the dance stores trying on shoe after shoe from every name out there. Having larger feet also doesn’t help because many shoes aren’t stocked in my size. So far my favorites have been Suffolk Solo and Stellar, Gaynor Minden, Bloch Balance European Strong and Bloch Eurostretch, which I just stared wearing. The Balance European was my go to shoe for years, but my last pair just didn’t seem supportive anymore in the regular shank, the strong shank seems to be doing ok. I went to the dance store a while back in hopes of trying the Bloch Eurostretch, and after trying them I ended up buying a Grishko Miracle, which ended up not working for my wide feet and desire for a large platform. As soon as my feet would swell, they would become obviously too small and narrow. Otherwise they were extremely comefortable and flat so I was sad that they couldn’t work for me. I’ve been dancing in a mix of a Suffolk Stellar and Bloch Balance euro for the past few years. My latest pair of the Bloch seemed so unsupportive by the 3rd class wearing them, and I felt they were allowing me to sickle and have to work extra hard not to. The strong shank worked much better so if I buy them again, strong will be the way to go! 


Thinking of how comefortable the Bloch Eurostretch was (that I didn’t buy 🙄) I ordered them online since our local stores lot their contract with Bloch and don’t carry them anymore, and sewed them last week. At first try I had a hard time getting over the box and felt held back on them, but determined to break them in and give it a go I sewed them and did some basic barre at home. After a few of these sessions (the instructions say just do barre to break them in, no de-shanking or beating them up) I think I am hooked. They felt to so good I even wore them to class tonight, and I’m always scared to wear a new shoe to class, because if it doesn’t work out there’s people to watch me fail. I’m the only person on pointe in my class so I always feel a little pressure to not be the one to make an ass of themselves! Since starting class on pointe again regularly, I feel a lot of strength (and maybe a little confidence) returning! Now if only I could get those one foot relevés up a little better I would be happy!

Anyway, right now I feel these could be my current shoe. I still have my Stellars in my bag, but I love the support and stretch of these Bloch Eurostretch! What are your favorite pointe shoes?

XX

Alicia

Here are a few photos from class tonight!

Summer Stretching | Adult Ballet Blog

I always find I get super tight and inflexible in the winter and loosen up in the summer when it’s easy to stretch because it’s warm. Well this year in general I’ve been slacking on my stretching and flexibility and boy does it show. I haven’t been running the past couple weeks because it’s been oppressively humid, but I ran twice this week and am dying on my floor right now after running in 80 degrees of gross heat. I’m slower, making sure I have water and taking walk breaks but I think it’s still better than doing nothing. I’m only doing about 2-3 miles as well because I think I’d die if I did anything longer. I still want to prepare for all the Fall races (3 half marathons!) but also stay injury free so it helps my dancing and doesn’t hurt it. 

My plantar fasciitis in my right foot has been doing well and jumps haven’t been causing sharp pain. There’s one more summer session left that is three weeks so I have been taking ballet class all summer, doing barre on pointe and center in flats (definitely not ready for pirrouettes on pointe)! 

The last two weeks after class I’ve been staying in the hallway and making sure I take a good 20 minutes to stretch. It’s the perfect time since I’m warm from class and my flexibility game is lacking lately. I’m also making sure I spend as much time as possible after running to sit in all of my splits and hit my back and shoulders as well. I’m taking a flexibility workshop tomorrow with one of my favorite dancers so I’m excited to see what I learn and implent it into my regular stretching routine.

I had been going to yoga after work for a few weeks but didn’t make it this week or last because of a migraine and helping my friend with her business cards. I love yoga I just wish there was a little more holding of stretches in class. I also have been regularly doing barre fitness and yoga classes on Cody App that are geared toward flexibility. The classes with Megan Currie that are about backbending are amazing! I also just got the Yogance class which is yoga but with dance inspired flow and movement so I can stick with things at home. 

So here’s where I am now, now time to start stacking some yoga blocks! I will post my scorpion tomorrow after class because that’s going to be one of the big focuses and I’m so excited! 

​​​

 

Adult Ballet Masterclass at Boston Ballet with Kathleen Breen Combs!

As soon as I got the email saying there was going to be a special masterclass from Boston Ballet Principal Kathleen Breen Combs, I signed up immediately! Having missed the last 2 masterclasses for adults, I was determined to go to this one! 

I danced at the BB Newton studio all through college so it was wonderful to be back. Dancing to live accompanyment is wonderful and I forgot how simply amazing it is. I heard they are moving down the street to a brand new state of the art studio so I think a monthly Saturday or Sunday trip will be in order especially since they have classes every day now (yes, every day for adults! Good thing they only had 2x a week when I was in college or I’d have much more college debt haha)!

I recently got a few new leotards so I was excited to wear my new purple floral mesh leotard to class as well. Also I’m loving my Grishko Mod 6 ballet flats, and am not having that akward bunching fabric issue with them.

I was kind of nervous going to class, especially since I had no idea how hard it would be and have been out of class on vacation the past month. After today I’m definitely inspired to try to take 3 classes a week again, because I did feel I kept up very well (except petit allegro, I loathe petit allegro and it’s something I need to work on daily)! 

The whole class was wonderful! She was such a sweetheart and completely down to earth. Her combos both at the barre and in center were based a lot on musicality and her tips and corrections were a lot about using the music and dancing the combos. She said barre isn’t about just standing there doing the foot movements, but to really use the opportunity to use the port de bras and head to dance. We did some great hip opening warm ups at the barre that I think I will definitely incorporate into my practice and warm up before class even. I’ll put up a video of my favorite one at some point this week. We did a lot of turning the working leg in and out to really wake up the hips and turn out muscles. 

I always struggle in petit allegro so we won’t talk about that, but the adage was beautiful and included my favorite promenade to attitude as well as pirrouettes. Grande Allegro is were it got interesting….There was a full house in class today, probably about 40 dancers, some of which I recognized from when I danced there in college. I prefer to be in the last group because I’m terrible at remembering combos, and like to watch it a few times, so I was in the last group (groups of 3)…or so I thought. End of the line, it was just me. My inner “you can’t do this” was screaming noooooo! Turn around! Pretend you already went! No one will know, but the last groups music ended and I found myself in the corner, prepared for the last combo.

I can’t do this. Turn around. 

No. Go. This is a once and a lifetime.

Tombé, pas de bourre, glissasde, saut de chat. 

Simple, you’ve done this combo a thousand times.

I went.

Probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done but at the same time the most exhilarating and brace. I’m that dancer that hides in the back afraid to mess up. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but my saut de chat is far from pathetic, it’s actually one of my favorite jumps. Miss Breen Combs helped me through! Cheering encouragement and giving me tips…think of your shape in the air! Up! And arabesque to finish! And after everyone clapped. I’m sure it wasn’t because I was any good, but because I finally had the courage to step out of the back row and dance. I’m glad I did it, because even though I was embarrassed, now that it’s over I would totally have regretted not doing one of my favorite steps because of fear of messing up and being laughed at.


I really hope Boston Ballet continues these adult masterclasses and I’m so glad there are more options on the schedule! I also think I’m going to sign up for the Brookline Ballets adult summer intensive this June. I was scared to tell my boyfriend about it since we don’t see each other much, but as usual he totally supported me and said I should do it and the weekend classes because I love it. I couldn’t be luckier to finally have someone who supports me in Ballet (sometimes literally) and encourages me to go follow my dreams.

After the workshop I went over to my favorite dance store that I missed going to so much (they literally have everything in stock in like every size) to get a new pair of pointe shoes because nothing I was ordering seemed to be the same as when I got them there. The owner is super nice to talk to and will give you the cold hard truth if need be. The fitting experience is very thorough and she works hard to find you the right shoe. I got my last awesome pair of Suffolk Stellars there that were no less than Stellar! I was lucky there were no appointments so she took me in and we got started with the same shoes I had before. We also tried a few other combinations of size and width since the shoes are handmade And my feet may have changed since last time. She also inspired me to peruse dance photography and gave me some great tips on how to get started. I couldn’t decide between my Stellars that I loved before and the Solo which I had years ago and were my first Suffolks. It was great to actually get to compare them and get feedback. Since I don’t get to come to the store often and couldn’t decide I just got both (💁🏻) and will let taking class in each help me decide which I like more. So if you are in New England I highly recommend seeing Paula at Dancers Image in Newton.


So I leave my day at a complete place of happiness and no doubt that I can continue to chase my dreams of improving the best I can in Ballet and specializing in dance photography. I have one of my regular classes tomorrow night and am super excited to get back to work!

Happy Dancing!

Alicia

To the Dance Store! | Adult Ballet Blog

My class had a 3 week break but tonight we are back! I couldn’t be more excited, especially since I can get dressed at home now instead of having to go straight from work. I’ll be starting a new job next week at a wonderful new company (for design, not dance company haha!) and the commute is longer but prettier and it’s in my favorite part of the state which in turn is giving me some new dance opportunities. I’ve never taken class down in Newport, but there is a modern ballet company down there called Island Moving Company and they are amazing and also have adult class three times a week! So I’ll stick to my Wednesday pointe class and maybe throw in some extras down there. 

Anyways, today I had one of those “I haven’t tried on every shoe in existence” panic attacks today and decided to go to the dance store to try on some of the only shoes I haven’t worn yet, Grishko and Capezio. I needed new flat shoes as well and they weren’t busy so I figured it was a good time. Since I have wide and large feet, sometimes it’s really hard to get shoes in my size to actually try, but LaBrie Dance in Smithfield, RI had a lot to choose from and alas had shoes in my size! I had been going to a store in the Boston area during college and they hardly had anything in my size which I found annoying. So after trying a few different models of both shoes I settled on the Grishko Miracle. I tried the Capezio Airess as well but they were much too hard and caused pain in my big toe. The Miracles have a much smaller platform then the shoes I normally wear (Suffolk Stellar or Bloch Balance European) so it might take some getting used to. The last pair of Stellars I got were in a harder shank which either aren’t for me or just need to be beaten to hell to make the semi pointe area not feel like it’s pushing me back. I loved the light shank I got in Boston, but I think they modified them, so I’ll have to either go up there again and get them or try ordering the light shank online. I think after tonight they will unfortunately not have any life left in them and will have to be retired to outdoor Photoshoot use only.


So for today I have Grishko Miracles and Capezio Cobra flats, and am looking foreward to pointe class tonight and sucking the last bit of life out of my Stellars!

See you at the barre!

Alicia