2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Last Post of 2011! And what a year it has been…

Wow – what an incredible year 2011 has been for me! Looking back, it’s amazing that so many memories, so many experiences, so much growth has occurred within what seems like an unbelievably short amount of time. Probably my most significant marker to remember this year by is the complete renewal of  enthusiasm and confidence I found in myself. The years 2009 and 2010 had their own moments of joy and success, but they seemed few and far between, and overall it was two years of my life that – for various reasons – I was unable to enjoy to their fullest. As for how that translated into my dancing…let’s just say that I wasn’t at my most glorious, and my dancing suffered, without a doubt.

It’s not until now that I can say without hesitation that the past year has had me seeing a complete turnaround! In actuality, things started getting better in Fall 2010, but it feels really right to say that 2011 was the year of initiative, of second chances; of new beginnings and new goals; and most importantly, it was the year in which I regained the confidence that had slipped through my fingers and away from me two years before. Subsequently, my dedication and determination has soared exponentially – and now, I find myself closer than ever to my dreams, just inches away from the next step that will get me closer to achieving my goals. It’s an incredible feeling.

Believing in myself fully is not the only good development to happen this past year. Other people started believing in me more, most important of which is my ballet teacher. I started sharing my goals with other people, because I no longer felt ashamed of them, like I was shooting for too much (by the way, there is no such thing – do not ever let anyone tell you otherwise!). I lost weight – and I’m still losing weight – and I trust myself that I will get to my required weight, something I had difficulty trusting in before for some irrational reason, and which I now know will happen because I know it is in my power (and no one else’s)  to make it happen! I discovered that my body had changed, regardless of the weight loss (I speak here of my facility changing, which is to say my arches, knees, etc.)  and ever since my teacher pointed it out, I have been ever-more motivated because I know it is possible to change and improve and do more, always. I learned an unforgettable lesson backstage during a concert when I was in tears because I thought I had let my teacher down with a less-than-perfect performance and she told me I had to “stop eating myself up”; while on the topic, I might mention that probably ever performance will feel less-than-perfect – such is the hazard of being a perfectionist, but it has it’s benefits; it is only important to remember that you are your own worst critic. I broke my foot and struggled through the process of recovery but not without gaining incredible inner strength as an outcome (I can easily say I came out stronger for it in the end, cliché as it sounds). I started teaching, which has been a fulfilling and educational experience already. I started this blog!
I made the decision to really go for it, and I took the initiative.

And look where I am now!! I am preparing for YAGP, raising funds to go study ballet in Austria over the summer, getting ready to audition for the best ballet academies in the world later this year. I am surprised by how much I have accomplished in 2011, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for it. Without a doubt, 2011 was a huge year for me.

This past year didn’t change me; I’m still who I am. I’m just an improved version of myself. I’m Noa 2.0!  

But enough talking about this past year! I’m excited for this year, for 2012 and all it has to offer. I can’t explain this feeling I have, but it’s a feeling of trust – for myself and for my future. I just know that 2012 is going to be a momentous year for me, with a lot of significance to the rest of my life. Simply put, I am beaming with enthusiasm and fervent energy, I feel vivacious and ambitious and excited, and I am confidence, dedicated, and determined! How could anyone doubt that I will find success this year with that kind of attitude?! I am just thrilled that I feel so happy! 

By the way, I don’t mean to imply that I don’t have my ups and downs! Far from it, I am not a superhuman, and we all have our bad days. But what is important and what we really end up remembering, as is evidenced by this post,  is the overall trend.

Yesterday I had a bit of an off-day myself. My friend Remy Lamping, who is training at the Bolshoi and who is totally inspirational, chatted with me and said some things that spoke true and made me feel a whole lot better! It seems like our bad days are the days in which we tend to forget about all this stuff – so maybe what we should be doing is always keeping these thoughts tucked away in our mind. As we go into this new year with passion and an unbreakable will to achieve our goals, let’s keep in mind some of these ideas that came up in mine and Remy’s discussion last night:

  • Don’t let anyone tell you your limits or hold you back. if you want to do something, do it, and if they really believe in you they will support you.
  • You have to keep a good head on your shoulders and think clearly, know your goals. they are actually not that far away, if you take the right path
  • We will all get where we ‘need’ to be, it’s just that on the road to getting there, there are bumps along the way and we can’t necessarily see far enough out into the horizon to know that we will get to the right place…but we just need to trust that we will, because we will
  • There are still girls who have everything handed to them on a silver platter, but they never know how hard it is for people like us, and that makes success for us so much sweeter, knowing that we did all the work to make it happen (note: this is not to suggest that some people don’t have to work to get where they are – everyone has to work hard; but there is no denying that some people must work harder, and I do believe that having to fight battles and break through barriers to get to your goals brings with it a much stronger sense of reward and achievement) 
  • It is no good worrying about things that you can’t change. there’s nothing you can do about it, so worrying is just going to make you unhappy
  • Don’t eat yourself up
  • There is always something greater to strive for
  • Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate 😀
  • You can’t make people love you – you can only stalk them and hope for the best 😀

Obviously, we had quite the deep (and, erm, interesting!) discussion yesterday! But while talking through it, we realized all these things to be incredibly true and applicable to our lives. So as you go through 2012 – the good and the bad – remember the above words of wisdom! And, most importantly, never give up!
Happy New Years! May all your wishes come true and all your goals be achieved (I know mine will)!

Almost a year ago today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read more about Remy, check out her blog

 

 

 

Updates to my Blog!

Those of you who have been following my blog have probably noticed some changes around here lately!

The main changes I made are changing the background to make it ‘cleaner’, and adding several pages. While the home page of my blog is, obviously, a blog, I intend for this website as a whole to act as my entire website. Therefore, Noa Blogs Ballet is my combined blog and professional website – that is what the additional pages are for! Feel free to take a look around, but keep in mind that it’s all still a work in progress. The photo and video pages, for example, are under construction.

I would love to hear your input, and if you have any suggestions then, by all means, leave a comment and share them with me! I am still new to blogging and I am still learning the ropes of WordPress, so if you have any advice to offer, don’t hesitate to share, because it is much appreciated!

Also, if anyone who is familiar with WordPress knows how I can put several photo galleries onto one page, I would be ever-grateful if you could contact me to explain how to do this.

Thank you so much everybody!
Coming up tomorrow: my last post of 2011!

Don’t forget to vote for Noa Blogs Ballet in both the first poll and the orange poll (scroll down), which can both be found here.

NBB is a Top 20 Finalist! The Top Dance Blogs 2011 battle continues…

I am proud, excited, and delighted to announce that Noa Blogs Ballet has made it to the final round of TDB 2011 – and it is all thanks to you! This is most definitely a moment to celebrate – one of many to come, I am sure. Out of 32 blogs (hey, is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? 32 dance blogs…32 fouettes…very cool coincidence!), Noa Blogs Ballet is one of the top 20!

Just as in the first round, my success in the final round is dependent upon you, my inspiring readers! However, unlike the first round, the final round requires that you vote rather than leave a comment. The polls are open until January 4, so get yourself, your friends, and your family to cast their vote by then! But first, a little explanation of how your votes translate into NBB’s standing in the contest.

From the first round of Top Dance Blogs 2011, the 20 blogs with the most comments qualified as finalists. One out of these 20 dance blogs will win as the Top Dance Blog of 2011, based on the vote tallies. As I announced above, Noa Blogs Ballet is one of these top 20!! Hooray!!!

In addition to the overall top 20, TDB 2011 has qualified the top three blogs in each category to win the title of Top Dance Blog in their own categories. As a Top 20 overall, Noa Blogs Ballet has also qualified for the category awards, under the category of “Dancer Musings”. All in all, Noa Blogs Ballet is eligible to win both the single overall Top Dance Blog 2011, as well as the Top Dance Blog under the ‘Dancer Musings’ category.

So! How can you help NBB win as the Top Dance Blog of 2011?

Head on over to Dance Advantage and cast your vote for Noa Blogs Ballet!

After you have voted for NBB under the Top 20 category, scroll down to vote for NBB in the ‘Dancer Musings’ category. Finally, if you wish to, you may go ahead and vote for your favorite blog under one of the other five category polls.

What a great start to a new blog! Thank you everyone for commenting and helping me get to the final round; I am counting on you to vote enthusiastically in the final round, now! And you can count on me to continue to develop this blog and let it flourish 😉

As a show of my appreciation to both my amazing readers that got me to the final round, as well as Dance Advantage for hosting this wonderful contest in the first place, I have drawn you all a picture!

Top Dance Blogs 2011 Top 20 Finalist!

And the preparations begin!

Today was the first day of our Holiday break at ballet. According to the school calendar, we have time off until January 9th, when we return to class. According to my schedule however, the next couple weeks are going to be filling with anything but relaxation – and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

A week ago, we finalized the decision to do YAGP again this year. Since then, over the last week, I’ve chosen my variations, found my music, and started the process of obtaining a costume; having done that, it is now time to start rehearsing! I actually started rehearsing my variations on Thursday, but it was not a full run-through yet – it was mostly marking, making sure I know the choreography, and familiarizing myself with the respective style of each variation.

The first variation I will be performing is a very rare Paquita variation. It is so rare, in fact, that I cannot find it on YouTube save for one version by Ekatrina Krysanova. This version, however, is from the Bolshoi’s new production of Paquita; seeing as I am dancing the Bolshoi’s older version (and it would probably be more precise to say I am dancing the Kiev version), this video is still not the exact variation I am doing. Soon enough, I will record myself performing it, though, and then YouTube will finally have a copy! This variation showcases my jumps as well as turns; this is a good aspect to a variation which will be taken to a competition, because [as much as I regret this] my standing in the competition is based largely on ‘tricks’. Like I said, I have my reservations about this, but it’s not a topic I would like to get into right now! It is what it is. For this Paquita variation, I will be wearing my old tutu. First, I need to fit into said tutu. But, I am working on that! Here is a picture of the tutu (I used it for a Le Corsaire variation last time I went to YAGP):

The second variation we have chosen is the Talisman variation. It is very nice, very playful, and I love it very much! Each time I watch it, hear the music, or practice it, I love it even more. So it’s a good pick, since I love it so much! When my teacher first suggested it I was hesitant and actually quite surprised she thought it would be a good fit for me, but the idea grew on me the more I familiarized myself with the variation, and after rehearsing it yesterday I see that [naturally] she knows exactly what she is talking about – it is the perfect variation for me! It is also a good variation to play around with my head and arms, which – thanks to my Vaganova training – are well-developed and have a certain quality to their movement. The costume is great, too. It will be a short tunic, probably violet in color, and very light and flowy. As I am getting this one made according to my specifications, and as we have not come up with a definitive design just yet, I don’t have any pictures or ways of showing the costume other than just with words – for now! Once I get my hands on some pictures of the design or on the costume itself, you can be sure I will post pictures for everyone to see!

For this variation, I am using Terekhova’s version as inspiration and slightly increasing the difficulty (ex. hops in arabesque will be en pointe) as well as modifying what must be modified in order to fit today’s standards rather than the ‘old’ way of doing things (ex. not sitting in the hips or sagging to one side as she does in sou-sous and arabesque, and placing my foot in a high passe by my toes rather than by my foot/heal, as she does – understandably so, as this was the old Vaganova method back in her time). Why, then, am I modeling my own dancing on Terekhova’s dancing if her technique is not up to date? Because her artistry, in this variation, is superior to any other dancer’s version that I can find on YouTube. Notice her stylized arms, the way she plays with her head – these artistic sparks are what transforms this variation from a string of steps, transitions, movements, and poses into a complete dance that tells part of a story. And while I know that they are looking for tricks at YAGP – and I will therefore give them tricks – I also know that I want to go into this competition with the mindset of a professional dancer. And that means bringing a quality to my dancing that is far deeper than just technical precision (although I will have that) and tricks to stand out (I’ll have that, too). I want to be remembered as the one who really danced.

And so, because I hold myself to such high expectations and standards (it is, as any ballet dancer knows, an enormous challenge to really perform, showing artistic expression without sacrificing technique and vise-versa; let alone having to do it all and leave a good impression to judges in under 2.5 minutes), I am spending the ‘break’ rehearsing, perfecting, adjusting, fixing, bettering…and this is only the beginning of the training! YAGP is all the way in March. But it doesn’t matter that it’s only the beginning – each rehearsal must be thorough and approached with the same enthusiasm as I would show at my actual stage performance.

I will admit, today was Day 1, and it did not go as planned. It could not go as planned, because I went forward without a plan. I have been so swamped this weekend with planning for other stuff, going out for my birthday, teaching my private lessons (I teach ballet/training to 3 little girls that are Irish dancers once a week for some extra source income – not much! – and not like I have a main source of income, but that’s besides the point), that I couldn’t find a single moment in the midst of it all to actually sit down and plan. I knew all along these last few days that it would bite me in the rear when it came time to put my non-existent plans to action, but there was nothing I could do about it. Until now!

So I missed a day – sort of. I still went ahead and kind of went with the flow of things for today, because I didn’t want to not do anything at all just because I wasn’t prepared and armed with a plan of action. I ended up going to the gym and then to the studio, where I did my usual warm ups and some floor barre. I had it in my head that I wanted to do a full barre as well, but I could not find it in me to do it after all. Instead I ran through my variations half-heartedly, really only marking them, and then I took a few minutes to take some pictures. After that, I headed home for the day. Besides being discouraged that I didn’t have a plan, I was tired today; it was a struggle to finish up my floor barre after I let myself take a few minutes rest by putting my head down on my soft, cozy, warm blanket. I had lost track of time, too, and only once I got home I realized why I was so hungry and lacking in energy – I was so preoccupied with errands in the morning, gym at noon, and ballet in the early afternoon, that when I got home after 4 pm I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat since 9 am! It really is no wonder I was sluggish and tired at the studio, then.

Still, it’s no excuse, blah blah blah…well, it’s not! I should have been more well-prepared. But at least now I have a moment to plan for the remainder of the break, and so that is exactly what I will do right now.

From tomorrow until December 29, I have exactly a week to myself to go rehearse and do whatever I need to do privately in the studio. After the 29, I will have some private rehearsals with my coach in addition to my own private practice. That will be about a week and a half long, until we start normal classes again on January 9. For that period of time – in which I will be working with my coach – all I know so far is that I am expected to come to the studio early on my own to warm up and give myself a barre, by which time my coach will arrive and we will both be ready for some intense rehearsal. I don’t know anything else yet – how often we’ll be rehearsing over this week and a half, what time, and so on. I will call her to find out in about a week. But until then, I still have this one week on my own. So since I cannot plan exactly my schedule/routine for the coaching period, I can plan this first week now.

The difficulty arises in the matter of what actually I need to do to put this time to good use. Originally I had intended to use this week similarly to how I used Thanksgiving week (which, by the way, my teacher said helped me immensely). That means going in to the studio and working mostly on flexibility and strengthening, and on my body shape and positions. I still feel like this would be the most beneficial, since that way I could come back with a better facility with which to work when I have regular classes. But my teacher told me yesterday, before we left for the holiday, that there are some things she wants me to work on. She would like me to spend this time in a different way – on her orders, I am to go to the studio every day, twice a day, to give myself a barre, practice the variations in full (so that I am ready to work on them in greater detail when she comes to coach me), and work on some technical details that have been holding me back in class (for example, one such thing is learning not to let my left upper arm sag or be weak – so I am supposed to practice chaines toward the mirror with the barre right next to me, in such a way that if I let my left side droop, I will run into the barre). She told me that when she comes back, she expects me to have these technical details down perfectly so that she does not need to correct me on them anymore, as well as for me to be able to dance my variations properly before she does the tweaking.

I have realized I must come to a compromise with myself. I want to do what my teacher asks – actually, I must do what she has assigned for me to do, there is no question about that. But I also really feel that this is the opportunity to work on my body so that it’s facility and ability is better developed and therefore will benefit me more in the long run when I come back. I guess, then, that I must do both! Add to that my sessions at the gym as well as my swim and sauna sessions, and I’ve got quite a busy ‘break’ ahead of me!

The main issue lies in motivation. I actually have plenty of motivation, surely enough to go around and still leave me with more than enough. But I just tend to get tired and sloppy when I am all alone in the studio. But really – I must do this. And that’s that!

So what I plan to do is to go do my floor barre, stretching, and body stuff first. Then, no matter how tired I am, I must give myself a full barre. And finally, I will work on my variations full-out. Every day. This entire break.

If I do this – I can only imagine how big a help it will be once all is said and done and we’re back in class! I will keep this thought in mind if I ever find myself slacking off and in need of a good push to get through! I know that once I start a good, difficult barre I will not want to stop. It’s the tiredness at the beginning and at the thought of being all alone with no one to yell at me that gets me! But this is the discipline I guess I must be lacking!

One thing I will also do as a goal is to make sure I get enough sleep. Quite honestly, I have not been sleeping well lately. I have no doubt that this is affecting my ability to perform well. I am putting my body through a lot, and am already denying it food because I am in a deficit (as I should be), but denying myself sleep is really the last thing I should be doing. In fact, sleep should be my priority now. if I want to get through all this, I need to sleep! So, definitely, I will make sure to get 9 hours of good sleep every night. Not only will I not have an excuse to be tired then, but I also will not need one, because I know well enough that getting enough sleep makes all the difference in the world for this kind of stuff.

Well, that’s enough of my talking for now! I still need to write up a routine for the training I want to do to get my body in perfect shape (well…on it’s way to being in perfect shape…hahaha), but I already have the beginnings of it from my floor barre routine, so I will just add to it later tonight and finish it up so it’s all ready before tomorrow.

Here are the pictures I took at the studio today!

Top Dance Blogs 2011 – 5 more days!

Dear readers, followers, first-time visitors, coincidental stumblers…

The time is ripe for a reminder about the impending deadline to leave a comment on my blog post! On December 20 (my birthday!), the wonderful people over at Dance Advantage will be tallying up all of the comments that each blog entered in the contest received. Those with the most comments will move on to the final round of the contest, which is the voting round.

So! We have 5 more days to help my blog become a finalist. If you have not yet left a comment, please do! And if you have, you can continue to help my ranking in this contest by sharing my original TDB 2011 blog post with your family, friends; by forwarding an email or by word of mouth; and on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Formspring, StumbleUpon, YouTube…you get the idea! The more comments I get, the closer I am to the final round, and the more opportunity this blog has to develop into something great. But I need your help to do it! So, post away! And remember, you must leave the comment on my original TDB 2011 blog post in order for it to count!

Finally, once again, a big thank you to all 67 of you who have already commented on my post!! Already, this contest has brought my blog to the attention of new readers and followers, and I could not be more happy with the response I have had so far. It means so much to me to write material that is good, informative, and relevant, and it is very exciting to read each comment that confirms that I am doing just that! In all honesty, it is much more important for me to use this as an opportunity to get my blog more exposure than it is to actually win. Of course that would be nice, but the greatest ‘prize’ of all is having the satisfaction that I am writing this to some audience, and not just to myself. So, thanks!

On an unrelated note, I am planning a Holiday Giveaway for my blog – this will be my first ever giveaway! Keep your eyes peeled for details, which I will post once the December 20 deadline for TDB 2011 comments has passed. Trust me, you will want to participate!

All the best,
Noa

(Don’t forget to leave a comment on my original TDB 2011 post!) 

The Problem Cabinet

I take comfort in the thought that happiness would have no value if we had no frustration to compare it to. Still, I am welcoming this good feeling knowing I’m back to normal and happy again with arms wide open!

I should probably clarify what I am talking about. You know those days where you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and the whole world seems bleak and gray? Those days when the most mundane tasks seem to require every ounce of effort you can muster? When the thought of all of the things that are to come, all the things you must do, all of the things standing in your way – is terribly daunting and you are so stressed you fear you may pull your hair out? And then one more little problem comes along to sit atop the pile of frustrations you are already feeling, but it’s that one final little problem that throws the pile off balance and it all comes crashing down and buries you underneath it all. You stay stuck under the rubble, unable to get out, for a good few days.

Then finally, seemingly out of the blue, you wake up to find that the pile of rubble you are buried under is not all that heavy, and if you only calmly stood back up you would be able to get out of there and continue with your life. You push off the ground and get back on your feet, dust yourself off, and look down to see your frustrations littered around you, lifeless and unable to do much harm to you.

After taking a few minutes to pick up the frustrations and order them neatly on that shelf in the cabinet in the back of your mind…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…you strut off to continue on the path you were walking down before, your chin up in the air, your head clear, and your confidence emanating through your proud smile and that glow on your face.


That was, in a dramatic analogy, what my weekend was like. Thank goodness for the happy ending! Now if only I could find a way to skip the part where I feel stuck under the pile in the future…but I suppose it’s all part of the dynamic nature of, well, being a human. And really, that of being a ballet dancer. I mean, I might not be as far gone and crazy as Nina Sayers, but even that over-the-top, insane story (which I love, by the way – I am a Black Swan fan!) is based in truth. We ballerinas are crazy, in some sense of the world, for our art. And I don’t think we could make it to the top any other way!emanating through your smile and that glow on your face – you know you can handle anything, one little problem at a time, storing them in the cabinet to wait their turn to be dealt with, on your schedule.

I once heard a quote – unfortunately I cannot remember where, and a Google search has proved unhelpful – about how in order to be a ballerina, you must be a little bit of a masochist. I must say, that rings true in so many ways! And I must disagree with Tamara Rojo, who said, in an interview last summer, that “ballet dancers don’t enjoy the pain. We’re not masochists.” I beg to differ! For a prime example, just try to explain the giddy expression on a young girl’s face after she is bestowed the honor of her first blood blister!

Of course, this is all in good humor, and I am only [half] joking!

 

Enjoy my posts? Don’t forget to comment on my Top Dance Blogs 2011 post to help me get to the final round!

 

Strength training – for emotions?

In the ‘real world’ – the world outside of ballet – most people would consider me to be a strong person. In the ballet world, however, I have always been told I need to be stronger. I am not talking about physical strength; that, I have no problem with. I am talking about emotional strength, which is apparently an area that I am lacking in.

It’s interesting, how much stronger emotionally one must be in order to live in the ballet world. It’s not a bad thing – it’s just something not everyone is cut out for. It’s easy enough to gain physical strength; all you have to do is exercise often and before you know it you will be stronger. But I really struggle with knowing how in the world I am supposed to build emotional strength! Is it just something you develop as you gain more experience and wisdom? Is it something I will always have to work on? Is it even possible?

Don’t get me wrong – I am not a weak person! I just know that I could learn to better handle my frustrations when I’m in a position where I cannot let them get to me (such as, of course, in ballet.)

For example, yesterday I came into the studio only to find out that we were getting measured. It was not a pleasant surprise! And I found it difficult to focus in class after that because all I was thinking about was how much bigger my numbers were than everyone else’s, and it took a lot of effort on my part to just block that out of my mind and concentrate on my combinations rather than on my weight. I have gotten better, though – at least I didn’t cry! It used to be that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from getting so upset at myself that I would completely break down and be useless for the rest of class.

Once, during a summer program, we had evaluations that included a meeting at the end, in which myself, the artistic director, the executive director, and both of my parents were in attendance (each student had such an evaluation). In this meeting, we went over my strength and weaknesses, my progress, their impression of what the future holds for me, what I need to work on, etc. My biggest correction? I needed to learn how to manage my emotions better and not let them show during class. Leave the emotions at the door, they told me, and I could get back to dealing with them after class. In class, I am to think of nothing other than my dancing. Ironically enough, I almost started crying when he told me that. I don’t know why! I suppose I felt guilty, and obviously he was right that I did not yet have a grasp on how to handle my emotions.

In next year’s meeting, I was much better. My mom told me that I had learned to deal with my emotions better when we left the room.

And yet, here I am, still trying to learn how to check everything at the door and leave it out of my mind while I am in class. Most days I have no problem with it, but it’s those occasional days here and there that I seem to need more work on it.

I had better get used to it if I want to continue my life living in the ballet world! Surprise measurements are something I need to learn to expect, because it’s not at all unusual! So maybe it’s all just a matter of sucking it up and getting over myself.

All of that aside, I’d like to say thank you once again to all those who have commented on my TDB 2011 post! I am unable to respond to each and every comment because that would skew my results, but some of you wrote some incredibly nice things about me, my dancing, and my blog, and I just wanted to say that it means so much to me! I really am flattered 🙂

Don’t forget to keep commenting if you haven’t already, and share the link to the post with others who can help comment, too! Click here  to comment on the TDB 2011 blog post!

Top Dance Blogs 2011

A few days ago I read about Dance Advantage’s 2nd annual Top Dance Blogs Competition, and I got so excited about it when I realized I would be able to participate now that I have my own blog! 

Ok, so I know I’ve only had this blog up and running for less than two weeks, but I figure — hey, all the more reason to enter! Besides being something fun to occupy myself with (not that I am lacking items on my to-do list…), it’s a great way for me to get more exposure and new readers. After all, everyone’s got to start somewhere, right?

My ranking in the contest depends on you! That’s right, it is up to you, my dear readers, to help me win this contest. How can you help me win? All you have to do is comment on this blog post (the one you’re reading now) to show your support for my blog! The 20 blogs with the most comments qualify to compete in the final [voting] round. However, even if this post does not get enough comments to qualify for the top 20 overall, I can still potentially win in my category. There are 8 categories – the blogs that receive the most comments within each category are eligible to compete for their classification (for the record, my blog category is “Dancer Musings.”)

I have until Tuesday, December 20 to get as many comments as humanly possible on this blog post! I’ll go ahead and also take this opportunity to mention that December 20 happens to be my birthday! What a nice birthday surprise it would be to find that I’ve qualified as a finalist…hehehe…

Anyway — comment away!! Not sure what to say in your comment? Feel free to share why you read my blog, what you like about my blog, any suggestions you have for future posts, any input about what you would like to see, which of my posts you have enjoyed most so far — or simply say “hi!” if that’s all you’re feeling up to! Bottom line – you can say whatever you wish in your comment – just please leave a comment! 🙂

Please share the link to this post [https://noablogsballet.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/top-dance-blogs-2011-2/] with all of your friends, both online and in real life; tell your dance friends, your school friends, your family; ask your Twitter, Formspring, and Facebook followers and friends to comment!  It would mean so much to me if I could get more exposure and start to really build this blog and help it grow in the dance community.

For the complete contest rules, see Dance Advantage’s own blog post outlining the contest: http://danceadvantage.net/2011/11/29/top-blog-2011/

And one final note — a HUGE thank you in advance!! Starting this blog has proved to be so enriching thus far and I think it would not be as much fun if it weren’t for the overwhelming response I’ve had already from my readers, especially considering this blog is so new! So really, thank you all so much for the support!

Ballerina Hacks: Blood Blisters

For the first installment in my ‘Ballerina Hacks’ category of blog posts, I decided to share a tip for blood blisters. Why? I had the honor of acquiring one myself last night during class! To be honest, even though I hate blisters as much as the next dancer, I was so excited to see that I got one! I know it sounds strange, but blisters have always been a sign of hard work for me, of not giving up…I can feel when I am getting a blister, because as any ballet dancer would know, it hurts; but there is some sense of satisfaction that I get when I pull off my pointe shoes after a hard class and see the blood-soaked tights (and shoes) that confirm my suspicions of a blister I had while dancing, and knowing that I pushed through the entire class without complaining, without compromising my technique, without giving up. But yesterday’s blister was welcomed even more graciously than normal. You see, I did the math, and I realized that I have not been en pointe for a little under 6 months total time (thanks to recovery from the sprain in May and then from the Fracture in August!) – that’s an incredibly long time! Of course, pain, cramping, blisters…that is to be expected when returning to point after such a long break from an injury. As strange as it sounds, actually seeing the blister made me so happy, because I would rather be dancing with blisters every day rather than have to take so long off for a major injury! I guess the blister just emphasized that I really am back dancing like my old self again 🙂

This kind of injury is SO much better and more rewarding than a fracture! 🙂

Cheerfulness aside, there’s no denying the difficulty in dancing with a blister. Ballet dancers are notorious for having a high pain tolerance (or maybe just having the discipline to ignore the pain and keep going). Still, blisters stink, and they hurt! I don’t care how high a pain tolerance you have, there has to be some discomfort when dancing on an open blister.

On my way out from ballet yesterday, I turned to my teacher and told her truthfully that it has been so long since I’ve been on pointe that I don’t even remember what to do with it when I get home! And thus, she reminded me about the old trick they used to do over in Kiev when she was a student. And this, my dear readers, is the Ballerina Hack I will share with you today!

So – you worked extremely hard in class today, and you had the pleasure of taking of your shoes only to find that your tights are no longer pink, but red instead! Congratulations, you have a blood blister! Now what?

First things first: Take a shower — a fair warning, the blister will hurt and sting in the hot water, but just close your eyes and let it burn for a bit and before you know it, the burning sensation will have lessened or ceased completely.

After taking a shower and making sure the blister is clean, apply a thin layer of neosporin. After all, this is an open wound; besides actually lessening the discomfort associated with the blister and trying to aid the healing process, our priority is also preventing infection. An open wound such as a blood blister is most definitely susceptible to infection. So don’t skip the cleaning, and don’t skip the neosporin!

This is the cool part: You know the thin membranous layer right on the underside of an eggshell? You’re going to put that right over your blister, to act as a second skin. Crack an egg, and carefully remove as much of the ‘skin’ as you can. It can be difficult to get a large enough piece with one go, so you might opt to take the papier-mâché route and just layer several pieces of the ‘skin’ until you’ve covered the entire blister area and have used all the ‘skin’ you can get from inside of the egg.

Once your blister is entirely covered in egg ‘skin’, measure and cut a piece of pointe shoe ribbon to fit around the affected toe. Shiny-side-down, wrap the ribbon around the ‘skin’-covered blister, and sew the ends together tightly; the egg will dry and the ribbon will hold it in place, provided you have sewn it nice and snug (Tip: don’t sew it too tight, otherwise you will cut off your circulation and wake up with a numb toe! You want it just tight enough to hold everything in place). 

This is what the finished product looks like

And that’s it! You’re done! You can keep it on throughout your dance classes the next day. The membranous layer of the egg that we placed on top of the blister will act as just that — a membrane. Your skin is a membrane layer. So, this is a way to make a pseudo-skin to substitute for the skin that chaffed off when you got that blood blister. Happy dancing!