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.
This week I took my first pointe class in 2 years! The availability of adult pointe classes in my area is non-existent unless you want to travel to Boston, but that’s way to far for me to make on any kind of weekly basis, so the past few years I have just been doing my own work at home and in the aerial studio when I go practice by myself. The last time I took a full class on pointe was when I was working at the ballroom studio my mom goes to as a graphic designer and got to take free classes. There was an adult beginner class mid way through one of my shifts so I used it as my break and took the class with my pointe shoes on instead of on flat like everyone else. Otherwise all of my classes have been on flat and too advance for me to do on pointe anyway, which is fine, I would go home many times and do some strength exercises at my home barre. Someday I’ll be able to do those pirouettes on pointe!
I was a little nervous to go to this class because it was at a new studio that I had never been to and I was afraid I would be the worst one. On top of it the teacher is a former ABT dancer! But boy was I surprised when I walked in to one of the most positive and welcoming atmospheres I’ve ever experienced in ballet! Stephanie was warm and welcoming, assuring me that we were going to start with strength work and build our feet and then do a basic pointe barre after.
We started with a floor barre (which now I want to do every day!) and warmed up our feet with theraband exercises and some plie’s and tendu’s. The last half of class we put on our shoes and worked through demi pointe and pointe at the barre. This was the first class where I didn’t feel uncomfortable due to my size and lack of turnout. I don’t know why, but for some reason I felt completely content, which is rare. I felt joyful the entire class and still had a spring in my step when I went to work the next day (despite the fact that we’re all getting laid off after I’ve only been there a week) and felt confident. Sure I was a little rusty, but I definitely will find a way to keep coming to class and return to my other classes as well since that’s when I see progress. For today I’m off to do a photoshoot with my friend and make her into a fairy princess, but first, to the barre for plie’s!
See you at the barre!
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/