Hindsight is Always Twenty-Twenty

I am so relieved that my plans to return to Russia in January are becoming more and more finalized! And everything is going in the right direction, things are happening as they should be, and on top of it all I’m actually starting to feel very happy that I ended up coming home back in January because it made things happen that left me off in a much better place now – things that I am pretty sure would not have happened had I not come back when I did.

I don’t believe in fate but it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to deny that everything always works out in the end. Historically – in my own history – that is the way it’s always been. Like I said, I don’t believe in fate; what I do believe in is my ability to make good decisions. I am learning to trust myself and my decisions, now more than ever! And as for the old adage, “everything happens for a reason”? Well, yeah, it does. But not because some mysterious force makes it that way. Because when you’re entirely dedicated to a cause, no matter what that cause may be, you find yourself engaged in working toward that cause not only actively, but passively as well. Add up all of the big and all of the most miniscule decisions you make; throw in a good amount of coincidence; add a pinch of things outside of your control; and sprinkle it all with your unyielding efforts to make what you will of it and work around what ever you cannot work with or work through – and there you are, everything happens for a reason.

It’s time we started giving ourselves credit for all of the awesome things we do. I, for one, have learned to expect the best of myself. Well, why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t anyone?

Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.

-John Wooden

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Dressing Room Writers Interview

A big hello to all my readers!

Those that read my last post will know that I received really wonderful news about being accepted to the Perm State Choreographic School. This last month has been hectic and busy and full of dancing as I’ve been away at my summer intensive in Salzburg, and while I found it challenging to make time to blog (hence my absence), I was at least able to make some progress with my arrangements for Russia. After a lot of thinking and changes of plans, I finally arrived at the decision to go to Russia in September!

Yesterday, I finished up the program here in Salzburg (with an excellent show, I might add!), and tonight I will be flying back to Israel for a short while before heading back home to Atlanta. In all, I will have been away from home for two months, and I will have about one month at home before starting my new life in Perm, Russia. It will be difficult to leave everybody, but it is what I want most! And being away from home in different countries these past couple months has really provided me with some notions of what to expect in Russia, and I can only feel glad that I at least have a month at home to use what I learned here to help me best prepare for what Russia holds for me. I know it will be more challenging than anything else I have ever done in my life, but rather than be intimidated or worried, I am actually more eager than ever to get the ball rolling and start my training there!

One of the other things I’ve been doing in my [limited!] free time here is that I have set up a Go Fund Me account. I did this in order to try to raise at least a portion of the funding that I need to go to Perm. Any assistance I can get is appreciate and very much helpful! If you think you might be able to contribute to the fund, you can find my project here. I am so thankful to everyone who would be able to help me go to Perm!

I have not found a sponsor yet, but I still hope to do so. Having a sponsor would make a world of a difference!

In my quest to find a sponsor, I came across Dressing Room Writers, a newly launched dance website with a lot of promise to develop and grow to be a wonderful resource for dancers all over. I ended up being interviewed by them, and the interview is now live online! I am so thankful and honored to have been interviewed by Dressing Room Writers, and am hopeful that the interview might spread my news and assist me in finding a sponsor!

I hope you enjoy reading my answers to some very interesting [and difficult] questions. It took me a while to answer, but that was only because it was so important to me to really give an honest and thought-out response with my opinions.  Read the interview here! Enjoy 🙂

By the way – I have another interview coming soon! Keep your eyes peeled!

Stepping it Up

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a face-first encounter with the brick wall of reality – and boy did it shake me up!

All this time I keep talking about the future, this summer, next year – and before I know it, it’s no longer the future, it’s now! I guess all I’m saying is that when you get so caught up in planning for the future, it can be easy to forget to recognize the fact that the future will, at some point, become the present. And when you fail to acknowledge that, it tends to come as a bit of a shocker when you look at your calendar and realize that it’s time.

It is at this point that the strong hands of reality grip your shoulders and shake you up like no tomorrow, and you wonder, “where have I been all this time, what have I been doing all this time that the time went by so fast?!”

It’s April, people!! That’s insane.

A year ago, I had planned to do my auditions right around…oh, now! Then I broke my foot, and I tried to figure out when was the absolute latest that I could do my auditions, in case that I wouldn’t be ready by now. By January, I was no longer worried about having to delay my auditions, because my foot was fine, and surely I had enough time to work on everything before April rolled around.

And then, time happened. And it happened so quickly! And now it’s April, and I am not ready for my auditions.

Training for YAGP certainly took a lot of energy and time that, arguably, I could have spent ‘getting ready’ for my auditions, whatever that means. But really, I don’t think that is very true – because YAGP itself, and primarily the preparations involved in it, was probably one of the best things I could do to help me advance and ‘get ready’ [if not specifically for auditions then for my overall future], especially after recovering from such a major injury!

But, allow me to clarify; yes, it is somewhat alarming that we’re already well into spring! At least in the sense that it took me by surprise just how fast the months seem to have gone by (and continue to go by). However, I’m not freaking out. Well…maybe a little. But not like a complete psycho…haha.

So, in light of this recent insight as to what month it is already, I’ve decided to revamp my training routine so that I can be ready as soon as possible. Oh, and as far as when I will do my auditions? I don’t know! When I am ready, I suppose? A few paragraphs up I mentioned that, when I broke my foot, I tried to see how long I could actually go before it would be too late to audition – well, I figured that August is generally the absolute latest I can push it. I REALLY wanted to do them now. But, honestly, I don’t want to do them before being ready, and ruining my chances altogether.

Right now, I’m thinking to just go with the flow. I won’t throw my plans in the trash just because they didn’t work out perfectly – and I won’t forgo giving myself the credit I absolutely deserve! I might not be ‘ready’ now, as far as ‘ready’ pertains to how I envisioned ‘readiness’ a year ago – but I am so much closer to being ready than I was then! I mean, I even surprise myself when I think about it! So I am far form unhappy; if anything, I have just gained an increased awareness of the high expectations I set for myself (which, by the way, I consider to be a wonderful thing).

Maybe I will do the auditions this summer, while away in Europe. I could do that, although I wouldn’t have my teacher with me and I really feel that I need her direct help with this one. So then, I could do them when I come back in August. My only issue with this is that I won’t know what my plans are for the year until the very last minute! Maybe it’s all the better, though, to challenge my slightly overbearing tendencies to over plan and my probably-too-enthusiastic need to know exactly what I will be doing, when, where, with whom…! And so on. It’s a bit intimidating! But it can be done.

I guess, if I had to guess now, that what will end up happening is that I’ll do some auditions in May, some in the middle of summer, and some when I get back form my summer program. Hopefully that will leave me in a good place with several options to choose from. And, of course, I can’t forget that my summer program itself has a couple opportunities for advancement of training into the school year.

Regardless of when I do the auditions, right now my priority has to be doing everything I possibly can do to be ready – whenever that may be! I just have to be ready at some point. 

So, I’ve decided on a few key things that I should be doing in order to be ready!

  1. Sleep. I am making this my priority now! It influences my ability (or lack of) to do everything else well, how efficient I am in doing all of it, my moods – it’s just so important! Definitely more important than staying up to watch Game of Thrones with my family, no matter what the impulsive part of my brain tells me when I’m ‘in the moment’. I have Tivo, and my family will still be here on the weekend, so I can sleep comfortable, knowing that I will have a chance to watch it with them on a day I don’t come home so late.
  2. Pilates. I don’t know what sparked me to want to start this, but I know it’s supposed to be good for ballet dancers. I will admit I am a little intimidated by it. But I’m going to be a big girl and get over that, and start pilates! I will be satisfied and proud of myself if I do it even just once a week. My reasoning as to why I am ok with only doing it once a week? I am trying to make lasting habits, not temporary efforts to change my routine, so I need to make it manageable and enjoyable! That, as well as the fact that my schedule does not offer me the flexibility to fit in more than one class a week – even that one class is a real stretch!
  3. A better warm-up routine that I am comfortable with. I have a problem: I always try to do too much. I want to improve my arabesque, and my turnout, and my arches, and my pirouettes; and, like a good little girl, I turn to my ever-knowledgeable friend The Internet, determined to find exercises that will help me do all that and more! The determination fades a little – ok, a lot – when I print out the list of the aforementioned exercises and it is two pages long. At this point, I am usually scratching my head trying to figure out when I can fit all those exercises in; five minutes later I will give an exasperated sigh and abandon all hope of ever being able to do my exercises reap the glorious benefits. Or, I do find a way to fit it all in, but it is so impractical that   the frequency with which I do the routine declines rapidly! It’s awful, because I need my warm up before class. I used to have a solid routine down, but – and I realize this sounds stupid – I lost the paper it was written on, and I can’t find the file on my computer where I saved it! I did have it memorized, as anyone would after doing it every single day for years, but after the recent chain of injuries, time-offs, schedule changes, getting a job, starting college, yadda yadda yadda…the routine got abbreviated and shifted and messed around with and now it’s just not the same. So I made a new one. One that I think will last and serve its purpose well. But this time, I am going at it with a more reasonable approach – one of embracing an attitude of ‘go-with-the-flow’-ness. I won’t fret if I see that I need to adjust it. I will do what works for me. But at least now I will have a warm up routine I can count on!
  4. Lose weight. Well, this is the biggest one, really. But I put it last because I don’t have anything to say about it, because I don’t need to change anything I’m doing. I’m doing everything correctly because I’m not doing anything special at all, which is just the way it should be. The reality is that my body will only lose weight as quickly as it wants to lose weight, and it didn’t want to be at my goal weight by the date I had hoped it would. So I’ll just keep going and working toward being ready – and my body will be ready…when it is ready!

Today is the last day of Spring Break and so I thought it was the perfect and most appropriate opportunity to post this. I like the idea of finishing this break off knowing that I am going back into my training much more well-prepared and with goals and ways to achieve these goals. I’m excited!!

3 Weeks and a Reflection

Yesterday evening I performed as a guest artist with Susan Chambers Dance Company in their concert. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to test out my variations on stage prior to performing them at YAGP!

Backstage with my coach in between variations

Stage make up!

For the most part, it went well – I made no major errors in my dancing, and I did thoroughly enjoy it, which was very important for me (and I therefore feel it was a success in at least one way!) Technically, my performance was not where it should have been – or, not where it needs to be for YAGP! While of course I could – and should – have done better, I think it was far from a failed performance! In fact, I feel that it was successful in another way, too. If you look back through some of my other posts, you will come across several mentions of the mentality I must have behind my dancing; one area of big focus recently has been learning not to be nervous [and then everything that goes along with, and is related to, this skill]. I am really happy to announce that I’m starting to really develop this skill! Yesterday I was not nervous, I was no excited – no, I was very calm, cool, and collected, and this is exactly as it should be! After all, this is my life! Just an ordinary day, an ordinary performance, no big deal at all 🙂

Still, there is no denying that I have a lot of work yet to be done!

I have 3 weeks now to really push myself to my limits, and I assure you I intend to do nothing less than my best! And when I have the intentions of doing something, I DO IT, no matter what!

In thinking about what exactly went wrong that made my performance anything less than perfect yesterday, and in an effort to do all I can to fix my faults and do it perfectly at YAGP (and from here on forward), I was able to gather a few ‘key points’ which I can now use to make some plans for how I will best put these next 3 weeks to good use. 3 weeks is a lot of time – if I use my time wisely and efficientlly!

Problem 1: I have been treating rehearsals and stage performances differently, taking a different approach to them and going in with a different frame of mind – and it should not be so! To further expand, I have been doing this in two ways: the first is that when I am dancing during rehearsal, the thought running through my head is, “It’s only rehearsal – if I mess up I can do it again – so I will take this ‘risk’ and push myself to do a triple pirouette and go above and beyond each time,” which is not a bad way to think in and of itself; however, the problem presents itself when this frame of mind is contrasted with the one running through my head while on stage, in which I find myself thinking, “Oh! It’s the real thing now, I’m on stage, and so I must do it well, I must not mess up, or else!” This translates into self-doubt, which results in me being cautious and careful – and I end up not doing nearly as well, both because I am doing, for example, less rotations in my turns, and also because any self-doubt peaks out under all that makeup and shows itself in my performance (and that’s very bad indeed)!

The second way in which Problem 1 comes about is my laziness. Wait, what?! Yep, I said it – laziness. Now, ‘lazy’ is the last adjective anyone, including myself, would use to describe me, but I feel that there is no better word to explain what is going on here. You see, I get tired – exhausted, actually! – during rehearsals…understandably so, considering I usually have rehearsals after classes and it’s late at night. But  understandable is not excusable! I tend to let any fatigue get the best of me, and I submit to [incredibly false] self-reassurances that, “Oh, it’s alright – I’ll do it better on stage, I’ll have enough energy and adrenaline then to  really do it full out!” Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! In fact, it’s completely the opposite – I need to KILL myself in rehearsal so that when I get to the stage I don’t need to give a second thought to have enough energy and adrenaline to get through the variation full out. Common sense – but it seems to escape me when I am aching and tired! Not anymore, though.

Solution 1:

  1. Treat rehearsals and performance the same exact way. They are the same exact anyway! Each rehearsal must be done as if I am on stage, and each performance will in turn be done the same as if I were in rehearsal. Not only will that result in a better performance (and overall better strength and stamina), but emotionally I will also be much improved. Technically and energy-wise, I will be stronger because of having practiced it  completely full out each and every time at rehearsal; and artistically, and emotionally, I will be stronger because of me going in with the same attitude on stage as I take with me into rehearsals – so there is no need to fear the stage any more than there is a need to fear rehearsals. Makes sense, don’t you think?
  2. Record myself during rehearsals. This will allow me to see my mistakes – and the good aspects of my dancing!! – for myself, and to better develop my performance. Seeing it for myself will also teach me more about self-correction and applying any corrections, as well as giving myself a better idea of how I actually dance [it’s funny, but now I think about it, I only have a vague “intrinsic” idea of what my dancing is like!] In addition to this, another benefit that goes along with recording myself is that it makes it more ‘equal’ to performances, which just goes back to helping me succeed in treating rehearsals and performances the same exact way, as I wrote about above.
Problem 2: One of my biggest corrections during my variations is my knees – I have trouble controlling them. They are hyperextended, but I tend not to straighten them all the way like they should be in some movements while I’m dancing. So I always need to focus on pulling my knees up and straightening them hard. I would like to do what I can to make this come more easily to me, so that I have to think about it less and that it’s just something that involves more muscle memory than…memory memory 😛 Luckily, there is an easy solution to this!
Solution 2:
  1. Do specific exercises to help strengthen and gain control of my knees.
  2. Be more mindful of my knees during class, and learn to use them properly then so that I can better apply it during rehearsal.
And honestly, I can [and should, and will] apply this same thing to my upper body and my arches, as well.
In these 3 weeks, I also will continue with my weight loss and body goals.
What else am I going to accomplish in these 3 weeks?
I’m going to focus like I have never focused before. This is the real thing, and it’s a very serious thing. There is no room for games, and no room for half-hearted attempts or any hint of hesitation. I’m taking a new approach to my dancing and it does not involve any childish behaviors or jokes.
I’m going to be calm and playful and artistic with my variations, and do them well each time. And I will look like a professional ballerina, not like a shy girl who wants to be a ballerina but is unsure of herself. NO, I am sure of myself and I will show it.
And I have a plan for how I will accomplish all of that! I intend to use every ounce of strength in me and every second of time I have to dedicate myself to this mission of sorts. I am going to try to get access to the studio some mornings so that I can go in by myself and work on everything from my exercises to my variations.
I have 4 days off now from ballet, which for once I am actually happy about and am very grateful to have. I am glad I have this time off because I hope that by resting for four days my body will heal all its injuries, namely my right hamstring. Perhaps my toe will feel better, too. I’m going to do everything I can to rest my body and help it heal – epsom salt baths, sauna, Finalgon…anything and everything to promote healing so that when I come back I can get down to things and work to my bare bones!

And so, the next three weeks are bound to be busy, but also incredibly growth-promoting and I am very much looking forward to perfecting my variations for YAGP!! I know I can do it because I HAVE done it!

I will finish this post with one last snippet of my recent epiphanies: my thought process during the actual variation is skewed from what it should be. I realized this yesterday. I realized that I was thinking about any mistakes I had made when really I needed to be thinking ahead instead! For example, instead of lingering on something that already happened [“my foot was supposed to be higher up in passe in that jump”], I need to forget about everything that I already did and go on to focus on whatever is coming next [“now I’m about to go into the hops in attitude turning around myself, so I have to remember to cross over”]. It’s something that seems like a little detail, but it will make all the difference in the world when I learn how to think ahead correctly instead of leaving my thoughts behind with things that really don’t matter any more! 

With that, I end my post-performance reflections, and I end it feeling much more clear about where I am, what I have to work on, and how I’m going to go about working on it. And I know now that I will be able to give as excellent of a performance as I wish to give by working harder, smarter, and better. Here’s to progress and success! I feel, metaphorically, like I’m plunging head-first into an unfamiliar side of the pool, much deeper. But its deepness only means that there is THAT much more to explore, that much more opportunity, that much more distance I can go further. I DO have the chance now to push myself further than ever and I am taking that chance with more enthusiasm than I’ve ever done anything else with before! And that feels great 🙂

The Time Has Come

Early morning rehearsals - working hard even on 'break'! Still, it's nice to be back to full schedule now!

All throughout these past three weeks I have been waiting eagerly for the Holiday break to be over – and, as of yesterday, it’s officially over! It’s true that I did have rehearsals all last week, but it’s just not the same as being back to my full schedule.

My first class yesterday went well. Very well. Before class my teacher quickly reminded me that I know what I need to work on, and that I know that I need to start working in a different way. Once I had gotten home, I felt like I really did accomplish just that – I payed a lot of attention to those details that I have not properly developed yet, and I definitely feel a different in my approach to class; that is, I’m working more efficiently, more professionally – like a ballerina, not like a student.

Right now, I’m pretty much busy with ballet 24/7. Not just in training, but with all kinds of items that together make up a somewhat intimidating to-do list! Getting my music and costumes for YAGP; making and selling SAB skirts to try and raise some funds for my summer programs; writing up a resume so that I can get  a part-time job, again to help fund my ballet-related ventures; working on choreography for the recital piece the little girls I teach will dance; planning out my timeline for auditions and everything else, really; and that’s just the begging of all the things going on right now! Obviously, I couldn’t be happier – even my mom has told me to keep it up, because the last week or so, when I’ve really started getting busy with this stuff, I’ve just been so happy, so satisfied with myself and with my life 🙂

To top off the ‘feel-good’ atmosphere in my life lately, yesterday I received an email from Nichelle at Dance Advantage rewarding me with my badge for the Top Dance Blogs 2011 contest! How fun!!

Thanks Nichelle!

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!