The rent is too damned high!

I miss pointe class so hard.
Had a really rough ballet class the other day.
Like, emotionally rough. Like Smirnoff called me over before class and was all, “Let me see this ankle brace! No, I do not like this ankle brace, my Dear! This brace does nothing. It is a mental brace! You feel it, and it reminds you to go easy, but physically it does nothing!”
Oh.
“And these shoes, they also are not good, I would prefer you wear something with more support. Like a jazz shoe.”
Now, Gentle Reader, you know I am not about to go out and buy jazz shoes for ballet class. Jazz shoes are ugly. And I am cheap.
“And you need to buy three inch wide waterproof athletic tape and tape your ankle. Yes, keep it on in the shower! Yes, sleep in it! Add more tape from time to time! You must immobilize! Or it will be six months from now and still not healed!”
And I was like, fuck, he’s basically telling me to build myself a cast. Immobilize?! Thought I was supposed to be working it gently in class to recover mobility! Why the fuck am I even in class? What if it does take six months to heal? What if it never heals? What if I never get to come back to ballerina class? Why didn’t he tell me this stuff last week?!
So, we start barre and I’m trying to keep immobilization in mind and like, can barely do a damned thing. I mean, like the song sez, the foot-bone’s connected to the shin-bone, and if in-between you’ve got an ankle you are now afraid to move, well, you can’t do anything deeper than a demi-plié and you don’t even go mid-way up in a relevé, all you do is the tiniest raise of the heel, and it just Sucks.
I mean hey, big revelation of the day: every frikin thing in ballet is pliés and relevés! Fondues, pas de bourré, pirouettes, glissades…I modify them all into horrendous looking slack-footed hybrids. Bastardizations of their former, balletical selves!
Every now and then I rally, and say, ‘hey, Self, it’s cool, you can concentrate on your beautiful arms!’ And then I look in the mirror and say, ‘No! Arms are crap! Everything is Crap!’
And then it’s time to sink into a total pit of regret. Previously, I’d been able to resist the total pit. When anyone would kinda shake their head and tsk tsk and tell me I really shouldnt have taken that unfamiliar class with an unfamiliar teacher I’d just be like ‘Whatever! I do what I want!’ Yeah, valid point, but I like trying out new ballet classes! That’s valid too! There’s a wide world of ballet out there! I like to see what a new teacher brings to the table of the feast that is ballet! So there!
But anyway there I was at the barre thinking, ‘I can’t do anything now, I should never have taken that class, how could I be so fucking stupid?!’
Lé Assistant has told me that if I want to take new classes I’d be better off just leaving after barre, but that seems rude! I mean, what do you think, Gentle Reader? Seems like the barre is tailored to the center and leaving after barre is like skipping out on a play at intermission. Which I know is rude! I’ve done it a few times! Bad plays should not have intermissions! It just gives people a way out! So there!
Ok and here’s the thing that really scares me about not being able to take pointe for an unknown period of time. Most of the other girls in pointe class are flakes.
Meaning, I went regularly, Best Girl goes regularly, all those other bitches are Fair-Weather Ballerinas.
I’m worried that the class will fall apart.
Smirnoff needs at minimum three students or the studio space is too expensive to rent.
Ugh.
I really miss pointe class.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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21 Responses to The rent is too damned high!

  1. oooo I really feel for you. I am currently trying to cope with a knee injury which stops me from doing:
    Sautés of any kind, Grand Jetés, grand Pliés, Using more turnout than 85 degrees, straightening my leg during Développés…the list could go on.
    I really wish your ankle a full recovery. Don’t do what I did. Do not aggrevate it. I’m now paying the price of having to sit out chunks of class, and possible not going to class for weeks. But I know the emotional hell that an injury is. Resting is easier said than done! Do what’s right for you, listen to your ankle, don’t listen to rude assistants! lol
    All the best :)

    • So weird isn’t it! How all the fun steps are built out of little, simple movements you don’t even think about until something makes you.
      Best wishes to your aggravated knee!

  2. I disagree with anyone who says you shouldn’t take new ballet classes or should even take them with caution. Sure, if there’s a huge jump you have never ever even seen done before and it’s part of a really gnarly, fast combination, then you should consider sitting that grand allegro out. But my whole entire ballet career has heavily relied on taking class from several very different instructors on a regular basis, and it has made me SUCH a better ballerina as a result.

    Plus, taking different classes has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses as well as my likes and dislikes with so much more breadth. For instance, I might be feeling blah in one class, until I go to another class the other day and feel great, then realize it’s because the blah class had me doing things I’m not as strong at.

    Also, I’ve been a “visitor” (aka a one-time goer) in certain classes before in which the instructor pointed out something that I was astonished– ASTONISHED– that none of my other teachers had! Example: Doing pique turns across the floor. Teacher stopped me dead in my tracks to point out that I am releve-ing with my ankle sickledish (you know what I mean). I quickly realized that this was mostly the way I had been going up on releve always, which is terrible. And none of my other teachers had EVER pointed that out! Ah!

    With an average of 2-4 different instructors each week, this kind of stuff happens all the time to me and I just don’t know what kind of dancer I’d be now if I had stuck with just one.

    Keep doing your thing, girly. You will definitely get better. I had a low point with my injury lately where I found myself sobbing in my car after seeing the podiatrist, and things are looking a lot better now. It’s just a sprain, it’s not your fault, and I’m sure there will be plenty of tippy-toe dancing in your future!

    • I agree with this. I’m so sorry you are bummed, AB! Don’t worry, you’ll be better soon and this will all be a ballerina-earning-her-stripes memory! And don’t worry too too much about all the unsolicited advice on whether to work the ankle or not – above all, listen to you gut on that. (Notice I said gut, not heart. The heart will always say, Dance more! The gut will say, Yes I think I can do this safely, or Nope doesn’t feel safe yet, not gonna risk it.)

    • kaija24 says:

      I agree with this 100% as well! Especially as adult beginners, we *need* to take classes in different places a) to just get enough classes because once or twice a week isn’t enough and b) so that we can get that extra input from a new instructor (I have had the same experience with taking a random class and having a teacher point out something that became a light-bulb moment).

      I’m sorry you’re feeling down and frustrated with the slow recovery…it’s sooooo annoying when you are just wanting so bad to dance, dance, dance and do it full out. But the slow and steady approach will get you back faster in the long run than trying to take shortcuts and pushing it and prolonging the injury (as I have done MANY times in the past with sports!). For what it’s worth, I’m right there with you…having to take some time away from pointe and drastically cutting back my classes because I’m starting to develop the signs of Achilles tendonitis and don’t want to go down that route :( In the meantime, I’m trying to use this time to work on the many other things I see as needing improvement: port de bras, balances, holding turnout on my right side (my left is much stronger for some reason), Pilates mat exercises for the core, marking and stepping through petit allegro combinations (not jumping) to figure out the transitions and finding the places where using the plie to move from one step to another is key…there’s always something else to work on in the meantime to stay motivated and make time do by productively…then when you get back, you’ll be ready to make great leaps forward :) Keep your chin up and take care of yourself with some little indulgences when you can…it helps :) *Hugs*

      • Jen says:

        For the Achilles, try working the short muscle of your calf. Prop up your foot on your knee and use your knee to rub the back of your leg between ankle and the big part of your calf. That’s your soleus, and it’s very prone to tightness and trigger points. Trigger points in the soleus will hurt like crazy but just go easy. They refer pain to the Achilles and heel. If you are having trouble or stiffness walking, be especially sure to do this massage at least once a day. If you are also getting dizzy when you stand up quickly, that’s about 95% certainty you have soleus trigger points. You can look it up online, you’ll see a lot about them. I was having awful trouble last December with this & barely able to walk. A little daily massage and I’m right as rain.

    • Thanks, Chelsey, these low points are awful. Thinking good thoughts toward your toes!
      Wow, two to four different instructors per week! That’s awesome! And totally makes sense that each teacher will have their own bias and their own obsessions, things they’re always going to see and correct and things that are not even on their radar.

  3. Acacia says:

    That stinks sweetie! But you didn’t do anything wrong by trying a different class. We had a substitute in class last week and I learned that my releves were too low because I wasn’t pronating toward my big toe. I’ve been taking classes with three different people until then and it was the 4th that taught me something new.

    Have you seen a real doctor? Say someone specializing in sports medicine? Nothing against Smirnoff but you might get a better idea of how to treat your sprain and get back to dancing.

  4. mladen says:

    hang in there madam beginner, this too shall pass and you’ll show them bitches whos boss

  5. I know how you feel; I’ve injured myself before and had to take it easy, and it is certainly scary to see how quickly we lose what we have gained, but it will all come back. Focus on healing that ankle the right way, or like you said, it might never heal properly and you won’t be able to do anything at all. You shouldn’t just be thinking about the now, you have to look to what will be best for your future in Ballet.

    Also, I do not think it is rude to leave after barre, just be sure to tell the teacher before hand and make eye contact and quietly thank him/her on your way out so as to not disturb the rest of the class.

    Also, I know I’ve said this before, but go see a Physio. They are far more specialized for this type of thing than a general MD…believe me, I know; I’ve been dating one for six years!

    • candice says:

      Seconded; not at all rude to leave after barre.

      The Cecchetti and RAD format classes I’ve taken all do a stretch in the middle which functions as a short break; those that need to tend to leave then. There are a couple of people in my regular classes that just come for barre; and some others that come for barre and have to leave for rehearsal. No big deal.

  6. bookballerina says:

    I agree with the others that it is not wrong to take class elsewhere, it is not rude to leave after barre, and the sprain is not your fault! Remember that last part. Having an injury that temporarily prevents you from dancing is bad enough without people making you feel guilty about it. Seeing a professional is great advice. Not only will it be good for your ankle but it will give you peace of mind knowing how to best take care of it.

  7. kaija24 says:

    Oh, and yeah, barre only is an option for all the classes I regularly take…they are often a little cheaper as well. I know sometimes I’ve intended to do the whole class but something wasn’t feeling right that day and I’ve made the decision to leave after barre. We’re adults…we get to make out own decisions. :) Most teachers understand completely, but as others have said, it does help to say thank you at the break so that they know you are done and not just getting lost in the washroom before centre ;)

    • Funny thing is, I really like barre the best. Having permission to only do the barre feels a little bit like having cake for dinner or something, getting to do to fun thing and skip the thing I need to work on most.

  8. Anonymouse says:

    Dude….HEAL
    i thought i was super girl and twisted my ankle wake boarding. children laughed. i hobbled over to the not-impressed-brand-new-boyfriend. my ankle ballooned and shined green and purple. somehow, somewhere 2 minutes later i got a bug bite or something on my eyelid. fab. since i’m such a dedicated worker, i showed up to work the next day. mistake. lots of walking. i still had pain 4 months later. you need to take a ballet break. check yourself before you wreck yourself… again.

  9. Jen says:

    Hey AB. Always remember there is a difference between weak and injured. Injured is swollen, stabbing pain, red, can’t bear weight, gets worse when you use it. Weak is not as strong as it was, tires easily, feels loose and clicky and wobbly, and just can’t go as far as it could. Braces are not for injury; immobilization is for injury. Braces are for weakness. Tape is for weakness. You need to feel the tape supporting your ankle. Get the strong stuff, line it up with your ligaments, put the brace on, and work it. Gently. He’s right, leave it on all the time. Stop if you have real pain. Massage the side of your leg just under your knee. Massage your calf muscles. Flex and point your feet while you watch TV. Ice after class if necessary. Your ankle will be loose and weak for a while. But it won’t get tighter and stronger from resting it. I would also stand at your kitchen or bathroom counter, both hands on, and do 8 slow releves every morning on both feet, then 8 on each foot. It doesn’t matter if you can’t go high. When you can work up to it, stand sideways to the counter and stretch your non-working leg in front of you to load up your ankle more (don’t increase your reps till you can do that just fine). Just reintroduce yourself to the feeling of pushing down to go up. Don’t do more than 8. Do toe sit-ups. Whip those birdies back into shape. Go back to class. But stop if anything hurts. And for goodness sake don’t do anything that feels iffy. Mark it, and if you feel too weak, don’t do it. Following along by marking is better than doing it when you might hurt yourself.

    • Thank you for saying this in just this way:

      “There is a difference between weak and injured”

      Yes! This really helped! Somehow I’d totally lost sight of that. Stupid pit of despair.

  10. Gentle Reader, thank you so much for your advice and encouragement.
    Just this past week-and it feels really out of the blue- I’ve seen some improvement. Ankle is less stiff, the ability to straighten into a point seems to be coming back…
    I have two theories on why it’s feeling a bit better, and why now.
    Theory 1. All I needed to do was Publicly Call Out/Humiliate the ankle, and it was like embarrassed into getting better. Tough love, Baby!
    Theory 2. The Adult Beginner is really good at finding the positive in bad situations. Maybe a little too good? And sometimes maybe it’s a good thing to do like my friend’s three-year-old and just announce to myself and anyone else around, “Everybody! I. Am. Not. Happy!” you know, not be so dang positive all the time, just let it go.
    Ok an I guess there is Theory 3. It’s been about a month now, and I’ve been caring for it, so it’s just plain on schedule.
    But don’t worry. I understand it’s got a ways to go and I’m going to keep up the vigilance.

    • Jen says:

      If it’s not too pricey for you, an Indo Board with the FLO cushion is GREAT for rehabbing a sprained ankle, and great for working on foot/leg strength.

      Pulling for you!
      Jen

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