Practice Makes….Better

So I’ve (proudly!) been back to consistent ballet classes for 8 months straight! This has to be a personal record, and since no financially devastating events have happened to make classes unaffordable like has happened in the past, I’ve definitely seen progress. While I have been dancing since I was 22 (9 years) as an adult, until the past 4 years ago I was very inconsistent so progress, especially on pointe, would leave me back at square one frequently. My first year of college I was able to take multiple classes a week at the Boston Ballet which was a few minutes away from school and ballet/ contemporary and pointe at The Studio: A Dance Center for adults whenever I could.

I’ve always been that person to forget combos, and have to follow someone, which is probably still true if I took more intermediate classes (which I will do once I’m out of busy photography season) but right now I’m happy in my awesome beginner class where I’m feeling like I am progressing and re-learning the basics I never learned when I started because the studio I attended was more focused on performance. I still fear I will never be good at petit allegro, but it’s getting better!

I’ve always been told practice makes perfect. With being an artist, dancer, gymnast and learning an instrument, it is always practice! But I’ve come to determine that practice will NEVER make perfect. Why? Because perfection, and striving for perceived perfection, is unrealistic and will drive you completely mad reaching for something that is unlikely to be achieved!

Instead, I aim for better. Even if it is just one little thing I do better than at my previous class….a longer balance, better turn, remembering the combo…BETTER is better than driving myself mad over unrealistic goals. I still have that dream of being on stage someday, but for now I’ll just be over here working hard on my strength and getting back to 3 classes a week to improve!

AliciaAlicia_wm-27Alicia_wm-33Alicia_wm-67(thankfully I’m also a better photographer than when I did these as well!)

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At the Ballet! | Le Corsaire 

This past weekend I went to see the Boston Ballet perform Le Corsaire! My mom got us a subscription to see 3 ballets this season this being the first, Nutcracker is next, then Sleeping Beauty in the Spring. Needless to say it’s always an exciting trip and this was no different (except that I had a devastating week which ended up in a raging migraine for the entire weekend which was nonstop)! We were running a little late and barely made it to our seats for curtain thanks to Boston traffic. But I was ecstatic to see the cast list that my two favorite female principals were leads, Ashely Ellis as Medora and Dusty Button at Gulnare.

I knew the storyline was about pirates, but didn’t get a chance to read the synopsis but my first impression was that the costumes and set were just GORGEOUS! Probably the most beautiful I have ever seen! The set transported me right to Ancient Greece, and when Medora was first seen oh my did she glitter! What I would do for a costume like that!

The storyline flowed effortlessly. The short version is Medora is in love with the pirate Conrad, who comes to take her away. Meanwhile a wealthy slave trader is presenting his women, including Gulnare to the Pasha and he is in awe by her, agreeing to buy her. He then sees Medora, who is the slave traders foster daughter and wants her too, offering to pay theee times as much for her as well. The deal is made and Medora, who doesn’t want to be sold, is kidnapped by Conrad and his pirates along with treasures and the other slave maidens (except Gulnare) and wicked away to a seaside cavern.

The Coda of the ballet was the most amazing and by far my favorite part. The dancing performed was exquisite and if you haven’t seen the technical difficulty presented in the Coda, I would recommend watching it here:

Medora requests the slaves be freed, which turns the other pirates against Conrad who grants her wish. His brother turns on him and conspires with the slave trader to kidnap Medora back, after putting Conrad into a deathlike sleep, and take her to the Pasha, heartbroken.

The Pasha is angry that she is miserable and refuses to pay the promised amount and the trader runs for his life. Gulnare befriends Medora and tries to show her that the cushy palace life isn’t bad and she could be happy. But Conrad and his faithful men come to her rescue, and save the day, whisking her away on their ship and happiness.

I’d love to learn a classical variation one day, even if I never get to perform, it would be so much fun to dive into a character. Which variation would you like to learn?

See you at the barre!

Alicia