Progress and the Importance of Clothing

There’s a give away going on! Exciting details here! Get up in it, tomorrow’s the last day!

The progress on baby ballet:
This time, instead of crying in the doorway and flinging himself down on the floor (oh dramaaaaaaz) he spent his second ballet class standing right beside the teacher and staring with an expression of total omg/wtf.
Progress!
The importance of clothes:
I really like that the ballet teacher, Miss Posie, wears ballet clothes. She could wear just about any old work-out clothes to teach this mess, but she totally does it up right in leotard, tights, skirt, leg warmers, slippers, and cute sweater.
Her uniform gives a sense that what all these roly-poly little kids are doing is legit. Good for the kids, good for the parents. Good for her too, I’m sure. Legitimacy probably not easy to establish in a class that involves I’m A Little Teapot.

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His first ballet class

Gentle Reader, have you entered the give-away? Jump back here and be in it to win it!

Just to be ridiculous AND AWESOME I am reviewing my baby’s first ballet class in the style of the adult ballet class reviews I’ve been doing with Ronda Jamb, which you can see right here.
Here goes:

Review By Me, Adult Beginner, duh, he’s my baby.
Class Is Called Mommy And Me Ballet
Where Totally not telling because my baby goes there.
How It Is
Right. Before you get all, “Dang AB, vicarious much?” I’ll go ahead and reassure you: I signed him up mainly so he can experience taking direction from someone other than me. Not so he can grow up to be the man-dancer I never was, ok???
Up until now he hasn’t been old enough for any classes at all, but at age two the world opens up and he can now take Two Whole Classes. That is so much more than no classes at all!!! Interestingly, ballet starts at age two, karate not until three. Hmm. Swimming at six months though, we did some of that this summer. He got his guppy certificate. Anyway. I’ve also started taking him to Parent And Me Cooking Fun, which is really more like Parent And Me Food Assembly as they don’t provide live flame or knives. Just A Lot of peanut butter. Did you know that stuff makes delicious glue?
Also interesting: only moms go to ballet class with kids? Hey dance studios of the world, don’tcha wanna maybe change that to Non-Gender-Specific-Parent&Me Ballet class?
I was really curious about how much “Mommy” would be involved in Mommy And Me Ballet, and also how much “ballet”. The answers are: none, and not much.
All mom types sit on a bench at the back while the kids take class. I was surprised! Figured there was a strong possibility we’d all be circling up and pointing our toes or something! But no, moms sit, and I think this is really a good thing because see previous: opportunity for kid to take direction from someone other than Mama.
My involvement was way more involve-y though, as it involved coaxing my crying boy into the scary scary studio, where the scary teacher and all the little scary girls were listening to scary music and playing scary games.
This was mostly hilarious. Teacher was unfazed, little girls barely noticed.
Eventually he sat on my lap, then sat in front of me, then stood, and by the end of class he was actually in the group, following along, which kind of made my heart explode with love. (“He’s so brave! Wahhhhh!”)
Other moms assured me that this is how the boys always are in this class. Ballet So Scary, you guyzzzz.
They did a foot warm-up, and kind of a lets-all-remind-ourselves-about-the-names-and-locations-of-our-body-parts warm-up, and then moved along into a bunch of neat games. My favorite was the Everybody Line Up game, and then the One By One Jump Over That Toy game. The youngest kids in the class (such as mine) would run at the toy and then plow right through it instead of jumping over. Totally hilarious, but also impressive that they ran at the correct time and in the correct direction.
Barre not used at all. Only one ballet term used during the class —chassé— which is cool because I was already impressed about the lining up and the running, no need to add the French.
Class Size six or so
Age Range 2-4
What To Wear I puzzled over this! Ended up wearing something that looked like normal clothes but could keep me covered in the event of a plié. Now that I have been there I know mamas can wear whatever the hell they want, students can wear anything stretchy including leotards with little attached skirts, dresses with shorts, t-shirt and leggings, kinda also whatever the hell, except that all the little girls had slippers and my kid was bare-foot, so I guess we’ll work on that.
Any Dudes? Just mine.
In Conclusion The other moms were delighted when mine started dangling from the barre partway through class. Apparently that’s a boy thing. Girls, why? Doesn’t that look like fun? I totes want to hang from the barre now.
This was totally fun. We will go again, hopefully with less crying.

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Give-Away is here! The Modern Classic Top + Tunic by gwenyth for Two Lucky Winners

I’m extra delighted to present to you:
The chance for two, Two, TWO WINNERS to receive a Modern Classic Top + Tunic from gwenyth, in ballet pink!

There is such a hilarious range of possibility of color when we say “ballet pink”, so let’s get specific:

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Here for color reference, on the left we have the Benjamin Moore Classic Colors paint swatch book, with somewhere between 1261 Paisley Pink and 1262 Paris Romance as a sweet match.
Don’t you love the names paint companies give colors? I do.
And on the right we have my vintage 1963 Pantone color book. So just, like, whip out your own vintage ’63 Pantone book and see that chip 510 is pretty close. As you can see from the color breakdown, there is quite a bit of white in this pink, and it’s blue based. Aw yeah, Pantone Matching System.

gwenyth describes ballet pink as,

Precisely the shade of that leotard you wore to your first ballet class, Ballet Pink is the stylish, grown-up version of a casual daily uniform for that prima ballerina in all of us.

Fired up? Great, let’s win this.
To win: please leave a brief comment below describing a color that has a special meaning for you.
Some examples:
Grey, like her eyes.
Or, Chartreuse, the first color I ever hated and then loved.
Or, keeping in the world of pink: Sweet&Low Pink, for the little white bowl full of little pink packets on my grandma’s kitchen table. Always thought it was so glamorous that she had those, just like restaurants do.
Dude, we are gonna get some poetry outta this thing, I’m excited!
Also, Man-dudes, don’t be afraid to enter, I bet you know a lady who could rock this.
Comments open starting now until Midnight on Friday October 24, after which I will select two(!) winners at random.
That’s midnight my time here in Los Angeles, Pacific Time Zone.
One entry per email.
This give-away open to entries from anywhere in the world.
The two winners will be announced in a post Monday October 27.
Share with your friends, maybe they’ll win and give you a high-five. Or maybe you’ll win and they’ll be excited for you.

Here is a link to the gwenyth website, where you can check out the Modern Classic and all its special details, plus admire how luscious the ballet pink looks on a pretty redhead, and here is a link to a post of mine where you can check out how luscious the ballet pink looks on a cockatiel-head.

Big thank you to gwenyth for the generous give-away, I’m so pleased to be hosting Ballet Pink!

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Speaking of pink things,

Why do I have so much hem lace? Need to come up with a project involving hems. Maybe some kind of street-art project, something like yarn-bombing but more intrusive.

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All of this hem lace was pink before I turned the color up to eleven, just trust.
We were taking about pink things though, weren’t we? Oh right, Mysterious Upcoming Give-Away! Stay Tuned…

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We are a-mused.

A give-away will be coming soon to a blogpost near you.
Stay tuned for exciting updates, involving details such as what mysterious prize is yours for the winning, and how one might go about winning this mysterious mystery.
So mysterious.
In the meantime, oh, la la la, let’s just, Hey! Look what’s this? Adult Beginner is a gwenyth muse, whut?
Proud to be the only bird-headed one.
SO FAR.

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On focus and the wiggle-bottoms

When I started ballet,
You know, way back four years ago,
I thought A Lot about whether I could have been a dancer if I’d gotten in as a kid. You know, Was I Robbed, Was The World Robbed Of MEeeeEEEEEeeee????, that kind of thing.
Friend asked me once, “Could you have been a dancer?” And I answered, “No, my torso is too long.”
Which is such an answer, I can’t even find the right word, it’s like not exactly a humble-brag but it’s got that same tone of back-handed self-flattery while at the same time being, like, so self-delusional, I mean, of all my physical flaws, my torso length is pretty much the very last thing that would have kept me from making it.
Also my torso is totally average. I don’t even.
Anyway, every now and then since that question and my wtf answer, things have popped up in my reading or listening and I’ve been like Oh, That! That is the real reason! Or at least a better reason. Or at least a more interesting reason to a question that doesn’t even need an answer anymore because NO REGRETZ!!!!!!!!
Here are a couple of the more interesting reasons.
1. Focus.
I’ve been meaning to write a review of The True Memoirs of Little K, by Adrienne Sharp, for like a year now.
Someday I will get around to it, in the meantime, short review: It’s really good. Seven thumbs up.
After reading I looked up Adrienne Sharp and found this interview (here) with Raiford Rogers on the Macmillan Publishers website. There’s this one part where she describes being back home at age seventeen, completely directionless after making it to New York on full scholarship but then not making it into a company and having no idea what to do next. No other interests. No experience other than dance. No hobbies. Almost no education, she says she was lucky to even get accepted into college at that point.
I mean, do you remember seventeen, Gentle Reader? Do you remember all the stuff you were into? Can you even imagine if all that wide world of interest were narrowed down to one thing? And it was you who did the narrowing? Not life circumstances or whatever?
It kind of horrifies me. I mean, I’m sure it’s not like that for everyone who studies intensely, and I’m glad it worked out for Ms. Sharp because that book kicks ass and I’m glad I got to read it and I’m glad there are people out there with that kind of focus, so I can watch them perform, but…yikes, man, can you even imagine?
2. The Wiggle-bottoms.
Was listening to a TED talk on the radio the other day, the one with Sir Ken Robinson where he talks with Gillian Lynne about how she got started in dance. The actual theme of the talk is nurturing creativity, here’s a link to a written transcript, which unless I’m mistaken is not complete, because I swear I heard on the broadcast version some audio of Ms. Lynne saying that as a child her teachers described her as having the wiggle-bottoms, but I don’t see it in the transcript.
These same teachers advised her mom to take her to a specialist, because she was doing badly in school and disrupting the class and always wiggling, but instead of prescribing medicating or labeling her as sick, the specialist told her mom to put her in dance classes. And you can read or listen to the TED talk to see how that turned out.
But anyway, it hadn’t really occurred to me that some people have the wiggle-bottoms and they need to move, or as Ms. Lynne puts it, must move in order to think, and I don’t have that. In my spare time, when I’m not doing things on purpose, like not out for a run on purpose or taking ballet or spin or yoga on purpose, I don’t wiggle. In my spare time the things I’m drawn to are non-wiggling things. Reading, drawing, playing with fabric.
So, I guess next time anyone asks me if I could have made it I’ll just say “No, my focus has never been laser-like and I don’t have the wiggle-bottoms.”
Or maybe I’ll just say, “Nope. Hey, let’s go sit still and eat chocolate!”

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The Adult Beginner review of Beginner Ballet at Debbie Reynolds Studio

Review by: Adult Beginner
Class is called: Beginner Ballet
Where: Debbie Reynolds Studio, North Hollywood
Website: drdancestudio.com
How It Is:
I’m in love with this place. Completely.
To paraphrase the website, it was established in 1979 by Debbie Reynolds with the idea of providing, in addition to excellent dance space, some of the small luxuries that most studios lack. Simple things like easy free parking, showers, a place to sit that’s not the floor, a water fountain, a kitchen counter, a place to change clothes. It’s amazing how many dance studios in LA still, in 2014, do not offer these rather modest comforts.
That said, this place was luxurious thirty five years ago and it is now kind of a luxuriously run-down time-capsule. The sinks in the ladies room are FABulous 1970’s avocado green. The hallways are carpeted to comfort and quiet your tired feet, but the carpet has seen better days. The parking lot is huge and free, but there are signs all over the place saying Park At Your Own Risk, because, oh yeah, the studio is, like, deep in the heart of North Hollywood, like, Noho Arts District this ain’t. But who cares because the studio room that holds Beginner Ballet is huge, wooden floored, with two ancient pianos, nice sturdy portable barres, and an entire back corner partitioned off, hiding —I’m not even kidding— a golden chariot, a bunch of scenery flats, and a whole bunch of mannequins. I’m seriously in love with this place.
The teacher is charming and British and is the only teacher I’ve met while doing these reviews who is aware of how hard it is to find an actual beginner class in LA, and who makes an effort to keep her class accessible to the beginners, no matter how many professionals show up. Her approach is to emphasize strength rather than going for crazy complexity, so most of the barre exercises are given on flat and then again on demi pointe, and I’ll just say here, as a person accustomed to death-gripping a wall barre, ronde de jambes en le air on demi on a portable barre: I was sore for the next two days. Also I’ll just say here the girl on the other side of my barre was very kind about not making a big thing about it while she pulled the barre back into place after every single exercise. (Gosh I don’t know why it’s traveling like that ha ha face-palm)
If you are a true beginner or TB (see key here), the teacher will modify some barre exercises and center stuff for you, which is awesome, if you are an IB or AB you will fit right in, if you are a TI or TA, you’ll get a nice work out.
Class size: ten or so
Age range: 20something and up, mostly twenties, I think? But a good amount over thirty?
Any dudes? yes
What to wear: black
In Conclusion: I think I mentioned that I’m in love with this place?
If you want to have the best day ever, drive south on Lankershim after class and get a shake at the In&Out and then drive over to Circus Liquor at Vineland and Burbank Boulevard and re-enact that scene from Clueless. Best day ever.

See below: Is that a toy piano or IS ANN MILLER A GIANT???

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See this Ibis-headed Sphinx? A pair of them guard the entrance. Also, note Debbie’s parking space. Aw yeah.

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