## Saturday, September 12, 2015

### NEWS!!!

So today, I had one of my dance performance classes and learned one of my new roles. I was cast (alongside another person) in the Russian section of (excerpts from) Nutcracker! We learned the HOLYSHITFAST 45 second solo-turned-duet today. Wow. Have you seen men do those really high changements? We do those. Have you done pirouettes from 5th? We've got three fast ones in a row, the last being a double. On my bad side. We'll see. hahaha.

I was also cast as Myrtha in our Giselle piece. It's a good semester already. :)

I also got a job job! A new dance company is opening up here Monday and they had auditions for instructors. I had to interview, teach some barre work and across the floor, then danced myself. Honestly, I bombed the dance I did. haha. My right ankle did a THING the other day and it hurts. The solo was en pointe. It was bad. Take my word for it. Suckage to the max. BUT I GOT IT.

I'll be teaching the senior level ballet, pre-pointe, and pointe classes on Friday nights. Now, mind you, I teach at the other studio on Fridays. I have to switch that around somehow. But I'll make it happen. I can't pass up this opportunity. It's a really good studio. And the building was on Abby's Studio Rescue. The owner that was on the show ended up giving up the studio because it wasn't for her, but then someone else bought it and that person is now my boss. I'm so excited. SO EXCITED.

## Thursday, September 3, 2015

### Ow.

So, classes started up again. If I can sum up how week ONE is going so far, it would be this: OW.

I've already clocked 6 hours of Dance Performance this week and I have about 4 hours of it tomorrow.

Ballet II and Modern II just about killed me yesterday (the first dancing day in those classes). In Ballet II, we had a shorter than normal barre because the college and surrounding community was having power issues. No joke...the first combination was plies and we had to restart them because the power went out again and therefore, no music. I kept humming the song (a piano version of From My First Moment) but the teacher (N) said we were starting over and she just counted it.

Plies: Demi, demi, port de bras (arm in, out, in, out), grand plie, cambre (different depending on which position we were in). 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th.

Tendus: Tendu devant, close in plie. Tendu derriere with inside leg, close in plie. Tendu side, heel down, tendu inside foot, close away from barre, tendu toward barre with inside leg, heel down, tendu outside foot, close in sous-sus, demi detourne.

We also did degage, but I can't remember the combination.

For frappes, we did them with a flexed working foot (grrr) because it was the first day. I hate flexed but okay. We basically did en croix. We also did a barre stretch. I loooove a good barre stretch. My right leg hates me but my left leg and I are friends.

...

And then there was Modern II. I loooove modern, but the modern II barre is hard!! No matter how many times I take it (3 or 4 semesters now?) it's always so difficult.

We start with a choreographed warm up. I can't remember it yet.

Then we did barre, starting with tendus. I know it was one slower tendu and two quick ones. Then repeat. Then tendu devant, heel down in 4th with plie, straighten and close, tendu derriere, heel down with plie, straighten and close, slooow tendu devant, slow pas de cheval.

THAT'S JUST ONE DIRECTION. Repeat en croix. Then reverse it on the other side. Then turn to the barre and do 8 suuuuper fast tendus in 1st on each foot, 8 suuuuper fast tendus closing in 5th on each foot, plie releve with each foot in coupe (2 on each foot).

And that's one combination.

We also did degages, rond de jambes, battements, attitude battements, developpes, and probably something else I'm forgetting. Just at barre and that combination was probably the easiest to remember. lol. Ahhhh! The good thing is the combinations don't change too much over the first half of the semester. She switches certain things maybe once a week, like making something in plie instead of straight kneed or in releve instead of flat. This class is insanely hard but it really helps me and I SWEAT SO MUCH.

Whew. We have a holiday on Monday but will be back in class Wednesday.  *dies*

## Friday, August 28, 2015

### Fall Schedule...I Already Want A Nap

So, fall semester starts back up on Monday. While I'm excited, because hello, dance, I didn't get the break I normally do between semesters. Okay, well, I don't always anyways, because I take class over summer if possible. But this summer, I was teaching more than I ever had, started another job, and had draaaaama to stress me out and leave me feeling the opposite of rested.

But fall! My favorite season, my favorite shows normally (because SOME Christmas music is tolerable), and WINTER IS COMING. I started typing that before realizing what it was. hahaha.

So, here is my schedule. It's actually not bad, because I've taken semesters where I had 8 dance classes, but honestly, with my car situation, my job situation, my aging body, and other reasons I won't name, I am not able to pull that off anymore. I'm not working AT the college and therefore, can't have my job completely schedule around classes. Luckily, my studio allows me to schedule my own taught classes, for the most part, and the other job is weekends. I can always add more once my car is fixed (IT PASSED SMOG! A christmas miracle! lol) and I can take my ass to school.

Okay, I'll shut up. Here it is:

MONDAY
College:
• Dance Performance - 9:35-11:00
• Ballet II - 11:10-12:35
• (I might squeeze another class here if I can find one I want)

Studio (teaching):
• Jazz - 5:00-6:00
• Ballet 1b - 6:00-7:00
• Ballet 3 - 7:00-8:00

TUESDAY
College:
(I have to be there at 8am because the boyfriend has class that early. Waaaaa!)
• Intro To Theatre - 9:35-11:00 (Boyfriend is taking it and it's a theatre class I actually haven't taken!)
• Dance Performance - 3:55-8:45 (Nope, not kidding)

WEDNESDAY
College:
• Dance Performance - 9:35-11:00
• Ballet II - 11:10-12:35
• Modern II - 3:55-5:20 (Can only take once a week since I teach on Mondays)

THURSDAY
College:
• Intro To Theatre - 9:35-11:00
• Dance Performance - 3:55-8:45

FRIDAY
College:
• Dance Performance - 9:35-1:00
Studio (teaching):
• Ballet 5 - 4:00-5:00
• Lyrical - 5:00-6:00

SATURDAY
Job #2 - 3:00-8:00

SUNDAY
Job #2 - 1:00-6:00

Send help.

## Thursday, August 27, 2015

### Fall Classes

Over summer, I have *only* (pfft) been teaching dance and I'm so excited that classes at the JC start back up Monday. I'm in serious need of technique. I feel that I haven't lost too much, as I usually dance with my students, for the most part, but it's still not as tough as taking class. I'm signed up for Dance Performance, Ballet II, and Modern II.

My birthday is the first day of fall (the season, not the semester), so yay for that too!

I love cold weather. I'm over summer.

Over. It.

## Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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## Wednesday, July 8, 2015

### It's...Tracy!!

Besides being a lover of dance, I am also a lover of musical theatre. I've been in a few musicals (Beauty and the Beast, Brigadoon, and Hairspray). The director of Hairspray messaged me one day last fall and asked if I would be in her company's 10 year anniversary show. She was doing a number from Hairspray and wanted to know if I could be in it. I said yes, because I loved being in the show, and again, I love musical theatre.

I was told that we were doing Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now and Without Love (later was cut because Seaweed couldn't make it). I was thinking about what part I would be doing because in the show, I wasn't in that number. It was just the lead girls and their mamas. Plus some young girls in the scaffolding dressed in jammies. I'm 29 so I was starting to think "There's no way I'm playing a kid, right? I apparently look 18ish but I can't see playing a kid. Could I be Tracy?!" but pushed that aside because NO WAY.

I turned up for the first rehearsal for this number and the only people there were the women playing Penny and Amber, and their stage moms. Inside, I'm dancing because again, NO WAY.

I was Tracy. I was cast as Tracy. Because I was asked specifically to be in this and was a lead, I was treated almost like VIP. I only was expected to be at a few rehearsals and one was the dress rehearsal. Then we had two weekends of performances. Eight shows. It was awesome!

Some photos:

 My costume. I looooved it! Made just for me!
 The 'do.
 It's TRACY!!
 Tracy and her bff Penny

 Tracy and Velma Von Tussle...

 ...who are basically sworn enemies.

 Me (back there) singing "I know that you want what's best(...but mother please, GIVE IT A REST!)"

 hahaha Here I am, singing "Once upon a time, I was a shy, young thing. Could barely walk and talk, so much as dance and sing. (But let me hit that stage, I wanna take my bow, 'cause, Mama, I'm a big girl now!)

 "Mama, I'm a big girl now!" *end pose*

I will never forget this experience. I want to be in 5038275 more shows!

### Life Lately

Okay, I'm terrible. I didn't mean to let this much time go between posting. But it happened and here we are. Oops.

The semester ended at the community college where I take dance classes. We had our big end-of-semester show at the end of May. We do three shows (usually four but the Children's Free Theatre show didn't happen because the kids were already out of school. Cue sadface.); Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday matinee. Honestly, I feel that this was possibly the worst I'd done in a show in a long time. I was in eight numbers, which is normal, but I had a double knee injury and it just really affected my performance. I was in a lyrical number, a waltz, a ballet/pointe, four modern numbers, and a jazz number. My pointe number went okay a couple of the nights, but I failed miserably the final night by wobbling on the pas-de-bourree RIGHT IN FRONT. I was mortified. And because my shoes were definitely not the right fit, I had to do some of the pointe work on demi, which I hated. I have never felt secure doing piques on the left but they really sucked and I ended up doing them on demi. Grrr.

My favorite numbers were Not The Only One, a modern number to the song by Sam Smith, and the waltz, which was So She Dances by Josh Groban. That was my favorite favorite. I loved the lifts I got to do. It was one of the most challenging things I've had to do, especially being plus-sized. But I did it and I'm glad I got the opportunity.

Picture time! I found these on Facebook.
 Our Jazz number, Time Of My Life. I'm in the second row, center.

 Same as above. Plie chaines into an axel turn. WHYYY am I leaning forward?!

 A modern number, Wake Me Up. Why, hello, left leg. Whatcha doin'?

 Me and the boyfriend (also a dancer). I'm in my Not The Only One costume.

 My beautiful flowers I got!
...
The studio I teach ballet and lyrical at also did a show. It was June 9th, a week and a half after the other show. It went mostly well, but there were a few hiccups! My Intermediate Ballet students (two of them) didn't even meet until the show. One is sixteen years old, Kylie, and was in other shows that conflicted with our dress rehearsal times. She only made 1/3 of them. She was taking my class on Friday. The other is twenty-one years old (Jenny) and I taught her on Sundays, in a private lesson. She learned the same dance but reversed from the other girl. So you can see how this would make for an interesting number! Also, the older one made our costumes (love her), but didn't get there until after the show started, so she missed the quick lighting run we did as well.

Speaking of lighting runs, because Jenny (^) is also in my lyrical number (with a 13 year old Lyrical student) and was late, I had to do the number with the 13 year old (Bella) for the lighting run. I wasn't prepared for this and didn't have time to warm up much, and in one part of my dance, there is a split. I'm a lefty for flexibility, but my students are ALL rightys, so I switched the split from left to right. This, coupled with not being warmed up, meant that when I went into the split, I heard a tear. I finished the run of the number, but was crying (around my students and dance moms!!) and limping for much of the show. It was brutal I tell you, brutal! I'm still healing from that. I actually tore my semitendinosus. OUCH. Anything requiring a battement or split or anything like that to the front, but especially the side, on my right hurts like hell. But, hey, now I'm a great bad example for when my little students don't want to stretch in class! lol. "Well, I'm sorry, but you have to, otherwise you can end up hurting like Miss Erika! Trust me, stretching is better than having an ouchie." LEARN FROM THIS.

And now, some photos from THAT show:
 I'm in the back. My studio owner is in the middle, a fellow teacher on the photo's right, and students on the photo's left.

 My Balleville Rendezvous costume. Shirt from Target, tutu made my my student, Jenny. And the flowers I got for being a teacher! Yay!!

 Some screenshots I took from my video of the lyrical number I choreographed (Say Something). On the outside pictures, Jenny is on the left and Bella is on the right. In the middle photo, it's reversed.I love my job. :)

## Saturday, April 4, 2015

### Dance Bag Challenge

I know I'm a little late with this, but it's been crazy busy over here, with taking about 21 hours of dance a week and then teaching 6+ hours a week (my privates run over sometimes and I don't mind at all!).

I was so excited to do this challenge! It was first posted by Wellies and Pears and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to do it! Mine is always completely stuffed and bordering on ridiculous. Not that I'm complaining - I like to be prepared! Be prepared though...it's definitely photo heavy.

...
 I got my bag last semester after my other bag was just not cutting it. I had the other for about ten years though, so it was a trooper, but just not nearly big enough. This one is plenty big and has a pointe shoe pocket, water bottle pocket, little mesh pocket, plus a little front zipped part with a little mesh part inside it. A downside is that the tightening thing for the water bottle pocket broke right away and the bag is ripping above the pointe shoe pocket. I really need to not pack it so much.

 This is the bag I use for my shoes. It's mesh and I've had it for years but because I tend to carry too much, one of the straps is ripping so I'm glad to have finally found a use for it this semester. I really just never got around to getting a mesh pouch for shoes, so I started using this a few weeks ago. It actually works out nicely. In the front zipper, I carry a little sewing kit and tape that I'll admit I never really use, but it's good to have just in case.

 Can you believe I actually use almost all of these? This is the contents of my mesh packpack. The pointe shoes on the top left are the ones I'm currently using and actually live in the pointe shoe pocket but I threw them here for this picture. Everything else lives in this mag inside my dance bag. I've got my beloved gel toe pads, and old pretty dead pair of pointe shoes (both Russian Muse), tan jazz shoes, black jazz shoes, 2 pairs of canvas ballet flats, and three different pairs/styles of footies for modern dance. My dance performance classes have plenty of modern dances, so these are a must for me. I don't really use the footies that have the holes for the toes, but they've come in handy when my boyfriend forgets his own. The leather ones are holey and I'm not sure why I still have them in there. I am loving the canvas pair.

 The contents of the little mesh pouch on the dance bag. I usually have my hair down for Dance Performance 2 and sometimes for 1, but need it up for ballet, so I need these. Also, occasionally I've been asked for one if others forget to bring something to stick their hair up, so I'm glad I have so many. The button is from when I saw the show with my boyfriend and it's a favorite of mine so I leave it in sight!

 This crap was all in the front zipped pocket. A couple granola bars, a 90 calorie cookie thing, and a case with safety pins and buttons. I took this jewelry off the first day back to Dance Performance 1 this semester, and forgot to take it out. I've had the pointe shoe necklace for years, and got the other two from my boyfriend's mom this past Christmas. It's a music note bracelet, and a dancer necklace. I love them all.

 This is the contents of the main part of my dance bag (plus the mesh backpack goes on top of it all before zipping up). Vitamins, pre-workout for Dance Performance 1 when I'm just dead (it's from 4pm-8:45pm twice a week). A water bottle, deodorant, moleskin I never use, two pairs of legwarmers, a sweat towel (green), a stretch band (purple), a wrap skirt for ballet, an extra set of clothes, and various types of tapes (for injuries), and a bandage for when my knee hates me.

...
That's probably a bit much. Haha.

Now on to the questions!

1. What’s in your dance bag and why?
All of the above, because I swear I'll need all of it. I could probably stand to take a few things out though.
2. Where did you get your bag and how long have you been using it?
I got it from a local dance store last semester (Fall 2014) because the one I used for ten years was just too small.
3. Is there anything dance related that you keep in your bag at all times… you know, the essentials?
All o' that! ^

4. Is there anything that you keep in your bag for good luck?
Nope. I'm not superstitious.
Misty! Because it's tough, but pretty. :)
6. How badly does you bag smell right now?
Haaaaaaa...let's not go there. *throws in some dryer sheets*

7. If there is anything you could change about your bag or its contents, what would it be?
I want one of those spiky balls because they sound luxurious after hours of dance. And I have a heel spur and digging things into my arch feels amazing. Also I wouldn't mind if my bag had more color. Like, maybe PURPLE. Or if it were floral (pastel).

8. Anything else you want to mention?
I now would very much love a Vera Bradley bag. Haha. Beauuutiful!

...
Thanks to Wellies and Pears for this challenge! It was fun.

Other blogs I read who have done the challenge:
We Do Ballet
balletandorbust

Click on over and check them out, along with the original!

## Friday, April 3, 2015

### This Week in Dance...New Students!

So, this week has been interesting. My boyfriend, who I waltz with, has a pinched nerve in his neck, making his arm hurt really bad. I hate seeing him in pain. :sadface: He missed our Dance Performance 2 class on Tuesday and then was back, but limited, on Thursday. I really hope it's better soon. Poor thing. Also, we got a new lift added on, so hopefully we'll be back at it next week.

Pointe has been coming along okay. I've been taking ballet for eleven years and pointe for nearly five. But...I could be stronger at pointe. That's why I had decided to take Intermediate Ballet and only wear pointe shoes (at least for barre) this semester. I'm fine with anything with releves on both feet, or two-to-one, but I have a lot of trouble doing releve on just one foot. Like ballones.

In Dance Performance 1 today, we started the pointe dance for the show. It's actually one I did before. It's a Spanish dance and has a lot of coupe bourrees (I think that's what they're called). I like this dance. It's cute.

...
I had my Adult Ballet (17+ anyways) class today. I got two new students!! That brings my total up to a whopping three for that class. Ha. But they seemed to have fun and they'll be coming back.

I also worked with my Friday lyrical student and added on a new section to Say Something. It had a part that actually didn't work like I'd planned. One thing didn't fill up enough counts so I'm going to have to rework it. Bah. But other than that, that class went really well.

Even more good news...I got another little student back AND her sister. They will be taking class Mondays. All of my younger ones are on Mondays. One of the kids, "Linda" was in the Christmas show but hasn't been back since. She's a little firecracker. She's only seven but has sarcasm like a teenager. But...I like her. Haha. She keeps me on my toes. >.> Apparently, (the studio owner told me) that the grandma of the two girls specifically asked that I be their teacher. I can't be mad at that! haha. She didn't want anyone else to teach her granddaughters. Now if only I can get her to stay quiet during classes!

## Friday, March 27, 2015

### Exciting!!

I was featured in Adult Ballerina Project! Click on over and read my profile. :)

### Lifts: NAILED IT

Ever had a problem with a particular move and then just changed one thing and then suddenly, everything was better, the clouds opened up, and the sun was your personal spotlight?

Well, that may be a tad bit exaggerated, but you feel me.

My boyfriend/waltz partner and I were struggling with the lifts we have to do in our waltz dance we're performing in June. The first is basically a turn that I get into by doing a chaines to him and then grabbing my right arm around his waist and the left just hangs open/back while my legs are in double attitude. He grabs his right arm around the left side of my waist. This was the hardest for us. I'm not one of the little size 0 girls...far from it. I'm a plus-size woman and have a good 80lbs on most of the others that are doing lifts. (Ugh, I hate that number...I need that to go down!). This makes things difficult with a lift where he has to lift around the waist.

So, anyways, we have been actually doing it with my right hand clutching his right shoulder as well, for now, until we've got it down, and then I'll do it with my arm free and hanging gracefully. But what's been happening is that we haven't been able to get around two times (he does two turns with me like that). We have been lucky to make t around once and usually, I was slipping out of it, and we have tried everything. But...not really. I was previously wearing a leotard that was a more slippery material (lycra?) and as I'm a bigger size, I was not about to go without one. NO. Not happening.

This Thursday, I wore a cotton leotard and guess what? We nailed that lift AND the third lift. (Facing away from him, I grab him around the neck with my right arm (behind me) and he puts his right arm around the left side of my waist. I end up kind of at an angle with toes pointed in second and he takes me around once.

It was SUCH a relief to get them both and almost effortless. My teacher was commenting across the room, cheering for us, because, dammit, we finally got it! YES!!

The second lift is the only one we've got to get now. It's more complicated and has me doing a fankick overhead IN THE AIR, but I have no doubt we'll get it. Our one practice with it went well. I just have to get the end. The only reason we didn't get that one yesterday was that he always ended up facing me instead of the same direction so I could get into it.

Let me paint you a picture. But um...with words. So, never mind. haha. I do a chaines away from him as he pivots to be facing the same direction (upstage). I then take a step with my left foot and battement my right leg and he gets his left arm under my butt (and right around my waist, where I grab his wrist with my right hand, and put my left arm around his shoulder/neck). Then when he's pushing me way up, I fankick the right, then left leg. and then arch my back as my legs warm around his back and he lets go under my butt and grabs my left thigh with his left hand and I'm literally wrapped around his back.

Yeah.

So, that's...happening. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure what happens with his and my right arms. We've only gotten as far as the fankick. (WHEEEEE!) By the way, the fankick is basically parallel with the ceiling. Like a helicopter over his head. It's fun.

Stay tuned for more news on THAT. lol.

...

In other news, I've been nailing a double pique on both sides just about every time (single, single, double is a regular for my ballet teacher).

Things are good.

## Wednesday, March 18, 2015

### The Name (Pic Heavy) and My Bedroom

So, back when I was a little one, I was OBSESSED with teddy bears. Seriously, my childhood bedroom looked like a teddy bear museum. And/or a Boyd's Bears museum. I'm not even kidding. This led to my childhood nickname. When I was around five years old, my uncle started greeting me with "Erika Bearika of America!" Over time, this shortened to "Erika Bearika" and then, finally, "Bearika." I'm 29 years old and this nickname is still used by a few family members. (I usually use another nickname, Hysterika, for some social media, but Bearika is near and dear to me.)

So, now, as a 29 year old, I live with my boyfriend about half the time, and live with my best friend half the time. My fur babies live with my best friend because my boyfriend and I haven't gotten a place of our own yet and my babies can't live where we currently are. So I share a bedroom with my boyfriend Monday night through Thursday night and stay in my own bedroom at my best friend's house Friday night through Sunday night. I miss my babies too much to be away from them the whole time. The wonderful thing about having a room of my own is being able to decorate it how I want. It's like 50% teddybears and teenage decor from when I was a teen and about 50% "Oh-a-dancer-lives-here." So, it probably looks like a 12 year old's room. hahaha.

I also recently got some of my things back from my parents from when I was a kid so I'm surrounding myself with these things of comfort.

This was one of the teddy bears I cuddled up with when I slept as a kid. I loved Precious Moments.

*

Some super heavy bookends I had as a kid. Boyd's Bears, I'm pretty sure. (Sorry the second one is blurry.)

*

An adorable bear I love because of the color.

*

A bear my best friend got me years ago. Skelanimals are pretty great. Fits me so well. :)

*

The top one here went above my bed as a teen. A Boyd's Bear, as is the one with the hat. I think the Winnie came from The Disney Store.

*

This was a thrift store find (a few years ago). How perfect is it that it mixes two things I adore!?
Bears and ballet. Yassss. (This should have been the picture I used at the top but I'm too lazy to do it now.)

*
And now, just because, a few pictures of my bedroom. Needs improvement, obviously.

I should have turned the light off. I threw and old dance ("Step In Time") performance hat over my fan. Old school calendar turned to the Phantom of the Opera photo. This calendar is from the 60's, I believe. Above my closet, BAD WOLF is spray painted in stencil. Points if you get the reference.

*

My paternal grandfather traveled the globe and brought back those two dolls near the corner. Yes, I do still have my old Treasure Troll collection. *smirk*

*
I need to find a way to make this prettier, and wash my actual comforter (not pictured), but I love my room. I have so many more dead pointe shoes I could add to that but I'm not sure if I want to. I kind of want to hang some of that fake snow above them so it's more like the "pointe shoe cemetary" I envisioned it to be. This was just a quickie thing.
***
Anyways, feel free to link up your bedroom in the comments, or tell me the story of your blog name! I'd love to hear it.

### Flu...Porqueeeeeeee

Sorry I have not been blogging as much. I have been hit with the stomach flu and haven't been to a single class since last Thursday. (I dance Monday through Friday, and teach Monday, Friday, and Saturday.) This thing has really messed everything up. I can't keep much of anything down and have zero energy. I am not 100% yet (maybe 40%) but I'm returning to classes tomorrow. I don't really have a choice. I have to work on lifts (aerials) in Dance Performance tomorrow, so we shall see how it goes! I plan on writing a blog about last week today sometime. Stay tuned!

And please, send happy thoughts for tomorrow!

I hope none of you caught this! I've had it about a week now. *grumble*
Hashtagbahhumbug

## Sunday, March 8, 2015

### Friday Lyrical Matchy Matchy

So, this past Friday, I taught my third Lyrical class of the season (ever). So far, I've had one student, but I'm gaining two more next week, so I'm excited about that! The one student I've had is thirteen and so cute! She is focused, driven, excited, and asks questions and I just love that. She really wants to work.

She got her first pair of Lyrical shoes (similar to these)

I've got them in a nude color and she wanted to get some like I had so she got some, but in pink. So cute. So, again, we started with ab work and then I showed her the foot positions and arm positions and after, we moved on to barre. We worked on plies in first, second, and third (new), tendus and degages, which I slowed down, rond de jambes, and battements. My battement combination includes doing it all over again, but in attitude, so after showing her what attitudes are and how they look and feel, she did them. I love her natural turnout and winged feet. She does them second nature. Wonderful!

After barre, I introduced her to the barre stretch. I want to put splits into the Lyrical dance, so I really want to work on doing them at the barre. I love a good barre stretch.
When we were there, I noticed that she had leggings and sliding a bare leg on wood feels good for nobody, so I tossed one of my pink legwarmers to her. She loved the stretch. Who doesn't!

We went on to a brief across the floor and center, and then on to the dance. Her attitude on adage has improved. I think to further improve it, I need to work on having her balance it in center and then slooooowly turn. The turn in the dance is four counts, but I'll slow it down for her further in center.

I took out the pencil turn and just had a slower roll to the floor and up into a skater turn (is there a real term for that?) and into an arabesque. I then added on the next part, which is actually around 30 seconds after the first section I taught. I will fill in the blanks later.

I realized Bella had a black leotard on, and black leggings (along with my one pink legwarmer), and that's what I had on underneath, so I whipped off my tshirt, and threw on my second pink legwarmer so we could be twinning.

I stuck a cute bunny sticker over her face but trust me, she's cute as a button.

So, Mondays have been a frustration for me at the studio I teach at. Before the December show, I had more students in my Monday class (I only had one Monday class and one Friday class at the time). A problem with the area I live in is that it's a spread out desert area and jobs are harder to come by than in many other areas. This leads to people not being able to afford to put their kids in dance (or adults not being able to easily afford hobbies that cost nearly $50 a month). This, paired with the fact that the only time I could get to the studio was three hours early, led to me getting in some much needed pointe practice. I just got back into technique classes again and though I have been en pointe for nearly five years, I have craptastic feet and I'm not where I could be. So, though I'd taken Intermediate Ballet at the junior college en pointe that day, I decided to get in some extra practice. My feet were hurting. Especially my big toe on my right foot. I decided to try to get some photos of me failing dancing en pointe. Most are stills but I took screen grabs of a video for some chaines that definitely need work. I had thought they were okay, but seeing the pictures...no. haha. Anyways... Purple tights I forgot I owned. I need better turnout. . . What photo dump wouldn't be complete without a smudgy mirror pic? I need to work on turning out my back foot. . . I'm over my box...but my feet suck. It's an issue I need to work on. Perhaps some love for my elastic band is needed. Okay, ALL the love. . . And strettttchhhhh. I'd possibly love this if my knees were over my toes. . . I actually really like this one (shitty turnout aside). . . Now, some motion! At first, I was not aware that my feet were so far apart. . . Better...ish. (took off the top because I need to face being able to see myself like this. Ick.) . . At the front desk after. Where are the students?! . . ALL THE CHEESINESS. Though I'm not exactly proud of these photos, it gives me something (everything) to work on. But I'm sure I'll have this next Monday to work on things too. *sigh* ## Saturday, February 28, 2015 ### Back To Technique, Partner Dances, Teaching, tldr I can't believe I was away from technique classes for so long (about a year, maybe a little more), except for tap, which I took last semester. I have a crazy schedule this semester. Mondays, I have Dance Production 1, Ballet II/III/IV (we just call it Ballet II), and Modern II. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dance Production II (it's from 4pm-8:45pm so that's enough, lol). Wednesdays, Dance Production 1 It's 9:30am-11am, but 9:30-1 on Fridays...yeesh), Jazz II, and Women's Choir. Fridays, after Dance Production 1, I have a few hours before I teach my two Friday classes. It's insane and I must be insane for doing this voluntarily. But would I give it up? Not a chance. On Monday, in ballet, class was relatively easy, as it's the start of the semester and N slows it down a bit for those transitioning from Ballet I. We had a few things facing the barre, for instance. Because I jacked up my knee in December, I am having trouble with doing things involving plies on JUST the right knee. I'm fine with the plie sequences, but when it comes to things such as piques or jumps, I have some sharp pain and that's not fun. Wednesday, I had Jazz II. I haven't had an advanced Jazz class since the teacher that used to be there teaching it retired around maybe 2007/2008. My technique is muuuuch better than it was back then so everything's easier and I understand combinations/terminology much better. I was not, however, prepared for like 45 minutes of stretching. Holy balls. I was so sore the next day. There is also an entire song of ab work, which I loved. I've never before held my foot to second (while my back is on the floor) and rolled INTO the splits from there. That's going to take some work! After stretching and ab work and MORE stretching, we did plies, tendus, and degages at center, which wasn't too bad. Then we did across the floor. After doing jazz walks on both sides, we then did a combination where we did four jazz walks, prepped and then did a pirouette en dehors. These went mostly well, but I need to work on speed for my doubles. K was asking for whatever we could do and I can do a double on one side, but they're so. slow. The last thing we did across the floor was piques. The combo was single, single, single, double. I got doubles every other time or so but again...so.slow. So far in Dance Production 1, N has us learning a modern dance I did before so I'm in the front (yay), a Lyrical number (front again...double yay), and a ballet number (second row so far). In Dance Production 2, we've got a modern number where there are couples doing the tango in between. I'm doing the modern part and I did this dance before so will probably be in front...I hope. Then, another modern number that I'm not in love with and has lots of jumps that hurt my right knee (when landing). Then we are learning an advanced modern piece that I absolutely love and will be an auditioned piece so I'm crossing my fingers I can nail it (it's got a 11/2 revolution attitude turn into a layout...technique, please be with me!). Then a waltz I'm dancing with Boyfriend. There is a lift we are trying to get but it's his bad shoulder and so far, it's rough. Thursday, we began learning a salsa. I'm hoping I get to stay dancing with Boyfriend. I'm a plus-size dancer so I feel like I have to fight for any chance I get to do partner work, as L loves lifts. ..... Friday is one of my teaching days and the only day I currently have students, it seems. Go figure, the little ones have flaky parents, so Mondays, I'm never sure if I'll have anyone to teach! Fridays start with Adult Ballet. My student in there right now is Jenny and she is wonderful. We met when in Hairspray together in 2011, when she was a teenager. We always have so much fun together. We still don't have center barres and the only one is on the wall, and you can only see the mirror when the right hand is on the barre, and then we're facing it. Not ideal, but we are working with what we've got. This week was "Bring a Friend to Class Week" so she brought her fourteen year old sister. We started with abs (I did an entire ab sequence to Uptown Funk...my current obsession) and then floor stretches. Then we moved on to the barre. I showed JS (Jenny's sister) how to do each move/step (the word is failing me) and then combo before we did them. I stood away from the barre in JS's sight so she could watch and copy. We then did chasses, bourrees, degage walks, and chaines across the floor before moving on to the dance. I didn't give new choreography this week since we had JS, so we got up to the part where we do the emboites, and then JS sat down so me and Jenny could finish to where I stopped choreographing last week. Jenny is coming so far so fast. I could not be more proud. She is so dedicated and her sister seemed to really enjoy class, and that made me happy! This was the second week for my Lyrical class. I finally got a student last week. She is thirteen and so adorable! I didn't know they were so little at that age. lol. Bella has never danced before and just naturally turns out and wings her feet without me ever having to say anything. It's great. We did plies, tendus (turned out and then parallel), degages, and then battements at the barre. During the plie refresher (reminding her of what they were) before barre, I noticed her leaning forward to I had us go to the mirror and showed her how you can pretend you're sliding down a wall, so to keep correct posture. At the barre a few minutes later, I saw her correcting herself. This was only her second class. This is going to be a great season. She's such a treat to teach, just like Jenny. I won't bore you with details of the rest of the class, but her mom is just as sweet, and we were all laughing quite a bit, because I tend to joke a lot. I like to be funny, lol. Randomly draw a bat scribble on the mirror after Bella says "Batman" after I say Battements were next? Yep. 2015 is shaping up to be pretty awesome. ## Wednesday, February 18, 2015 ### Back To Production 2 Today was the first day of the new semester at ye olde community college. I mostly take dance classes, essentially using it as a dance studio, since it's so much cheaper than a regular studio. But guys, the productions are phenomenal, as are the instructors. The Dance Production classes are basically classes where you just learn dances to perform in the dance concert. No breaking down technique...just learning the numbers. It's expected that you have or are simultaneously taken/taking technique classes. I always try to take technique as well. I am in two Dance Production classes, as usual, so what I'm going to do is call the more ballet class Dance Production 1, and then call the more difficult more modern/ballroom one Dance Production 2. It's just easier. So, today was the first day back. After taking roll, giving out new codes for those still needing to add, and going over the syllabus, the instructor, L.G., took a few minutes to go to the faculty locker room to change, and then we were off! We start dancing the first day in that class, so it's good for those of us returning because we know to be dressed for dance already. We started off with a modern number I've done twice before. It's to a Leonard Cohen song, and I just love it. So I'm standing in front, because I learn best that way, ...and love being in front. We learned like...a minute of it? Yeah. Intense, but I love it. She had actually broken the class up into two groups: partners and non-partners. I'm not really thin and there are a ton of lifts/aerials, so I get put in the non-partner group but stuff like that. Sometimes it upsets me, but there's not much I can do, except continue to work on losing weight. I've already lost about 80lbs and have another 80 or so to go. This particular piece has a lot of contractions, non-ballet attitudes (on forced-arch foot, or side) and some floor movement, for example. I really love modern. The next dance we started working on was a modern 1 (less advanced) dance I started learning in Modern 1 class last Spring. It's to an Avicii song I'm not crazy about, but the dance is alright, I suppose. Not my favorite, but not bad. Just kind of resides somewhere in the middle for me. Honestly, Modern 1 dances are usually like that for me. I like Modern 2 dances. Tougher, faster, more ...stuff. Which brings me to... Modern 2 dance. It's to an apparent popular song, which I wouldn't really know because I mainly listen to musical theatre music. lol. I didn't take Modern 2 last semester so the whole thing is new to me but guys...I LOVE IT. It's sad sounding (I love sad shit, ha), lots of turns, and technique. Perfect. I can't wait to continue with that one. As it's more advanced, it's going to be auditioned, but I'm hoping it will be alright. I usually do well with these, but quite a few people in there knew it already from last semester's class. L.G. was going to let everyone go home after that but she changed her mind. She decided that since it was so early, we would start the waltz. We don't often do waltzes, it's usually more tango or chacha/salsa, so I was a bit excited. And...NO LIFTS. I was sooo hoping to be partnered...especially since my boyfriend is in the class (though he was partnered for someone else for the first modern one...sigh). We did a cha-cha together last Spring and took Latin Ballroom together that semester, so I was crossing my fingers. But then, L.G. said she would keep the same partners that were paired in the first number. *cue saddest face ever from me* BUT THEN, L.G. said "...except for...Erika, why don't you go partner [Boyfriend]?" His other partner went and sat down and L.G. said it was due to the fact that we've taken Ballroom together and dance well together. YAY!! I'm so excited...you have NO IDEA. So, we started rehearing the waltz. The song is beautiful and so far, I'm loving the choreography. It's seriously lovely. This semester is shaping up to be completely awesome. Until next time! (Hopefully tomorrow) ## Saturday, February 14, 2015 ### Why Are The Barres Always Gone? Today my Intermediate Ballet class finally started back up. My student Jenny (name changed) is back and when she walked in, I was so happy to see her! She is 20 and an adult beginner. She took my class for about 2 months before we had our studio's first annual winter show. Because she came in so late, but determined and passionate, we had quite a few long rehearsals, going as long as three hours! Today started like most have, with floor stretches. Ouch, that hurt, as I haven't been stretching nearly as much as I should have been. I do floor stretches and barre with her, so that she can follow the combination. I introduced an ab routine. I have yet to smooth it out, as today I basically jumped into it, but I am going to make a regular routine to some faster, catchy song. Since we were just back after a month and a half, I went easy on her, but the ab routine will be more difficult next week. I was just doing it on the spot today. After that, I went to start our regular barre session, but looked around and discovered the barres have been, once again, removed from the room by the owners of the studio next door (the two rooms were one studio before but has been split, literally down the middle since new ownership took over our side). This barre thing is really becoming a problem. I mean, it's BALLET. Barres to ballet are like bananas to a banana split. We could do it in center, and we did, but as she's still relatively new, I didn't want to do that to her already. She's still building the foundation and it's much harder to get used to everything with also having to worry about balancing everything in center. We went through plies, tendus, degages, battements (for all of these these, the arms were altered for center), and rond de jambes. After that, I skipped our developpe/enveloppe combination because of time and also, I wanted to teach a few new things. I showed her frappes, with the working foot flexed in between. We spent some time going over singles, and then I showed her how for any even numbers (when to the side/in second), you put the working foot to the original direction and then the opposite vs odd numbers, where you put the working foot to the opposite from where you came first...and so on. This took some time. We did singles, doubles, and triples. I also taught a new (to her) combination with fondues and glissades. It's fondue en croix and then the second time to the side, leave the foot out, glissade away, glissade back, returning the outer foot to the back to reverse the whole thing. The second set of glissades returns the outside foot to the front to sous-sus to turn and do the other side. In this case, we had no barre, so I had her skip the sous-sous turn and we instead just did the other side. Because this all took so long, and we only had an hour, we then skipped across-the-floor and I instead worked it into learning the first section of the dance. I explained degage walks, as we do them to start the dance. I added some funky arms (basically, flexed hands, with eppaule), as the music is a funky French song. Then, we did a few degage walks with more fluid arms and prepped to go into two side pique arabesque steps. We did all of this basically across-the-floor to practice/learn then worked it in with the music, traveling forward. I then showed her emboites. I gave her a quick tutorial, but as time was running slightly over, we will work on them in more detail next week. I am so thrilled that she loved my choreography so far. She actually smiled so huge and said "Oh my god, I LOVE it!" This is a great start to this season. I'm so excited! ## Saturday, February 7, 2015 ### Lighting for the Spring Dance Concert (Post from 2012...not sure why it reposted) So today we had our lighting tech rehearsal for our dance concert. For Nancy's class, rehearsal was from 9am to 1pm. For Lynn's, it was 1:15 to 5. I'm in both classes so I'm required to be there for the whole day. Although it could have gone better it seemed to go by fairly quickly. Nancy started off going through the dances from her Monday and Wednesday classes. She basically wanted to get the beginners out of the way first so they could go home as soon as she was done with them. Fine by me. Any time to warm up is awesome. I know it's lighting and having done this so any times, I know we probably won't actually dance, but shuffle from spot to spot, but I want to be warm just in case. She went through Mischief Makers, Too Darn Hot and The Wedding Celebration. I was in Mischief Makers years ago and the Wedding Celebration music is from Brigadoon, which I was in in 2009. I thought it would be the same choreo but only part of it is, I believe. It was hard to tell as they weren't running the dance but just the spacing. The first number we ran that I'm in was the pointe piece, which is titled Pas De Quatre ("Step of Four"). This one, we went through fairly quickly, just stopping a few times for light queues. The music has a Spanish feel, with castanets throughout. Our costumes are black and red and frilly and definitely Spanish looking. We were originally supposed to wear pink tights but we changed Nancy's mind. She sometimes has an awful idea of which tights should go with costumes. She will almost ALWAYS select pink tights, but they don't always look right. We also helped her to see that pink tights would look awful with our black and white dresses for the ballet piece and those are now nude tights. Anyways, we were just doing lighting so we started in different shoes. Kat in her jazz shoes, Sierra barefoot, Lauren in ballet shoes and me in my white wannabe Ked's (my Hairspray/Grease shoes). When Nancy was running Sierra's and Lauren's solos (made so Kat and I have more change time), I took my shoes off because I thought I would look prettier barefoot. So we ran the number kind of (no music) and then we moved on to Raymonda Ballet. In this number, Kat is the soloist and does it beautifully. She's so darn adorable and she knows it. lol. This is the number with the black and white costumes. They're so beautiful! I wore one of them when I danced to Listen To Your Heart, which I loved! This number is not too exciting but it's cute. I'm in the core but I have a demi-solo with Sierra. Well, the other girls are doing some cabriolles back and then they do a port-de-bra in a way to present me. I run out, slide my right foot forward and do a port-de-bras, mostly to fill time. Then I do 3 chasse en tournants. I hate those but when Nancy asked who knew how to do them, I was the only one who did. lol. So anyways, I do three of them then do a pique arabesque in center and a bouree turn. Then I do three chasse en tournants to the right as Sierra comes out doing three to the left. So we cross each other. Then we do a pique arabesque and bouree turn all facing away from each other, then coming toward each other, we pique arabesque, recover, pique arabesque, recover, pique arabesque and do a I-forgot-what-it's-called with our backs to each other. Then we develope, pique arabesque past each other and run into another formation with toi, pas de bourees and so on. That dance went pretty smoothly. The next dance we did was Danse Macabre. I need to start out by saying that I have no idea what Nancy's problem is with me lately, but she's driving me insane. I have a lead in this number as the devil and she's stressing me the fuck out. I had to get my own devil costume, which I expected. The only one I could find that was anything close to what she wanted was like$70. I liked it but I was afraid just in case Nancy didn't like it. In the end, I couldn't really afford to get it because RENT, but I found a red dress at a thrift store and cut it up to look just like the devil costumes I saw online. All of my friends loved it and it looked pretty good on me, which was awesome, but then Nancy was doing lighting and from the sound booth, she asked me to come forward so she could see the costume. She had mentioned in weeks prior that I could take one of the poofy black and red tutus that she had gotten the demons and I could use it to spruce up my costume. I had no intention of wearing the tutu though because how in the hell do you wear a tutu with a dress? So she's in the sound booth and I stepped forward and everyone starts clapping and whistling, which embarrassed the hell out of me. haha. I'm sure my face matched the red dress. So Nancy says "Didn't I give you one of the tutus?" And I'm like "Yeah..." and my tone said "Yeah, and what the fuck's wrong with what I've got on?!" So she says that it looks like a Flinstone costume and I turned around and walked back upstage, totally pissed. My friends said Nancy's on crack or something because my costume looks good. So Nancy could probably tell that she upset me because she said something like "Well, with the fishnet gloves and " blah blah blah... and then she says asks that I will be wearing black jazz shoes, right? Um, no Nancy. I've only worn black jazz shoes every day but today by pure coincidence. Grr. So we ran the number and it went well and I'm still pissed but dammit, I did awesome.

Next we did the modern piece, Don't Give Up. The music is by Josh Groban with a song of the same name. It's an anti-suicide piece and one of the better things Nancy has choreographed. The performers split up in two. Half of us are depressed and half are rescuers. I'm a rescuer. Jadie is my depressed beauty. We all start out as a group but then the rescuers run forward and we do something different from the depressed. Then we join our partners and it's partner work for the rest of it, basically. At the end, everyone goes off and Becka, who plays the Jumper, comes up the stairs onto the stage and is about to "jump" but Manny comes onstage, looking like he's trying to talk her off the ledge. She walks back, past him, looking like she's stressed and then runs past him to jump off but he catches her in a lift and it's...beautiful. She runs and jumps again, they do another lift, both lower to the ground and it ends...it's beautiful. It really is.

...and that was only half of my dance day. But I'm out of time. lol

### Subbing Foundations

Today I got to sub for a Foundations class. I was asked to about a week ago because the instructor for the class (the studio's owner) was having surgery today. I got there after that class started because I was told more than likely, nobody was coming. One of the seven year olds that takes that class was sitting in the parking lot with her mother in their car. Whoops. I opened the studio (we normally open at 4pm and it was well after 3. After being asked if the class was going on, I said I could teach in my 4pm slot as I was not expecting students until next week. I teach my 17+ ballet at 4 (and then 12+ Lyrical at 5). The mother said that would be fine and I called the manager so the mother could pay over the phone and then the mother went to wait in the car. I actually prefer the parents to not be in the room as I find it to be distracting for the kids. We don't have a hallway or anything, just some beautiful handmade wooden benches that are right on the sideline of the dance floor and sometimes the parents/grands are a little bit...loud. I love them but yeah, it's sometimes difficult working with them right there, sometimes saying things to the kids.

Anyways, I had "A" color for a bit until 4pm hit and then I had her sit on the floor so that we could start with some stretches. I have subbed a class that had her once before, months ago, so it was nice to be able to work with her again (though it was just half of a modern class before, as the instructor was running behind, and this was ballet technique, basically). After some stretching, I had her do some ab work. She is only 7 so it was fairly easy. After around a minute and a half of that,it was time to do some barre so we dragged it to center and got to it! One of the things stressed that I do was to work on getting her to remember some vocab. That was good since I try to do that with my Littles class that her age falls into (my class is 5-8 year olds). I have noticed that no matter how many times I've had my Littles repeat terms after me and no matter how much I say the terms as we're at barre (a lot), it never seems to stick, so I thought I'd try something new today. I wrote out everything we would be working on at barre and center/across-the-floor on the mirror with a dry-erase marker. After I felt she knew that term, I had her find it and cross it off. We were pretty much going top-to-bottom, left-to-right so that was easy enough but I wanted her to see what the words looked like as well.

We started with just foot positions, which she mostly knew. She did get stuck at 4th and did 5th in it's place but I told her we could go 1,2,3,5,4 because to get to 4th, I do find it easier to slide forward from 5th. After she got the feet, I showed her the arms for each, which she hadn't done before. After I felt she had them all down, I crossed that one off because it was too high for her to reach. Then I moved on to plies. We, again, went through all five positions (both hands on the barre...the young ones do that here). Then to help with tendus, I told her to imagine drawing a line in the sand , but had her going ball THEN point the toe. We did these en croix. Then we did degages en croix. Then after both were done, I showed a tendu and asked what it was called and she said "Degage?" so I gently reminded her that degages pop up off the ground. Then I mixed them up, doing a degage back, tendu side, degage side, tendu front (for example) until I was certain she could remember the term to the move. She was excited to cross two things off of the mirror. She was so adorable!

Next was rond de jambes. She said the first two parts right and then was having trouble with "jambe" so I asked what she thought "rond" meant, and I held my arms overhead in 5th. She said "Round!" so I said "Very good! And 'Jambe' means 'leg,' so 'rond de jambe' means 'round of leg'." Then she caught on to what I was talking about and showed me a rond de jambe, so I told her she had it and we did them en croix a terre. Then I went over the difference between a terre and en lair. Once she had those, she crossed them off. We then did battements. I had her say "Batman" and then "Bahtmahn" and she recognized it and we were golden for that one too!

She was really bright, enthusiastic, and had an excellent memory. We were almost finished with barre at that point, and across-the-floor was just as fun. I swear it was! Once we were done with everything I had for class, we had under ten minutes left, so I went over the whole list with her, but this time, I'd point (must resist spelling it "POINTE"!) to a word and have her say it aloud and then demonstrate it for me. Would you believe this seven year old girl got all but one right? I was so happy! I rewarded "A" with a handful of marshmallows once we were done and sent her on her happy little way. I seriously had a blast and I'm certain she did too. I will definitely be using this method in my Littles class.

P.S. This kid's feet were incredible, by the way! When seated on the floor with her legs extended, her toes were nearly on the floor. Flexible feet and strong ankles already. I'm jealous.