rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I took Nicholas to see the Northern Ballet production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears at DanceEast in Ipswich. Partly because the tour wasn't coming to Cambridge, and partly to see how feasible the journey is if I want to see other things on at DanceEast.  It's an 80 minute train journey each way, but the train wasn't crowded and I enjoyed looking at a landscape I haven't travelled through in years.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk from the station to DanceEast, but that was at a four-year-old's pace.  We took a path alongside the river which was a bit scruffy but quiet and very pleasant in today's sunny spring weather.   It's not very wide, so I spoke quite firmly to my fearless four-year-old about walking sensibly next to me, and the undesirability of falling in.  We made it both ways without incident.   Overall, it was probably a bit longer than going to a theatre in London, but considerably less crowded, noisy, polluted or stressful.

The production was excellent and Nicholas was very focused on it.  An adaptation of it will be on CBeebies next weekend, and I shall try to get a recording, as last year's is still among Nico's favourite things to watch.  I did notice that the audience was very noticeably gender-skewed, both children and adults, which made me a bit sad. 

Back in Cambridge, I took advantage of having to change buses in the centre anyway to take Nico for passport photos.  As we weren't in any hurry, I indulged his desire to ride all the escalators in the Grand Arcade and John Lewis.  We just missed a bus home and I opted to spend the twenty minutes before the next one on a gentle walk across the park to the next stop on the way home, which did the trick of keeping the child of infinite energy entertained. It did not noticeably tire him out.

I, however, am very tired out and have done almost nothing since we got back, but I think I will be ok tomorrow.  Go me, matching my exertion to my available stamina.
rmc28: (happy2)
Today the ballet teacher taught me to do something I thought I wouldn't manage for ages if at all - a beaten jump - by changing my perception of how it worked. A pure learning lightbulb wow moment.

I thought of a beaten jump as a jump from second to fifth, with a feet change in the middle. She had us practice second-to-fifth in the air and then land. And then when that seemed easy "just change feet on your way down". So instead of thinking of the beat as something extra I had to cram in the middle of a jump, I learned to think of it as two stages. and suddenly I was able to do it. I still tripped over my own feet a lot and was much less reliable away from the barre, but I actually did it at the barre several times over. I can feel how to do it now and will get better with practice.


She is such a good teacher.
rmc28: (bat-worry)
I bought a leotard and dance tights from the USA when I first started ballet (I just checked LJ and it was around February). At the time they arrived, I tried them on and they fitted, but the waistband of the tights was so tight it made an ugly pinch with bulges either side. So I continued to go in leggings and t-shirt, but these really are a bit scruffy compared to the rest of the class.

For various reasons we are being asked to look extra well-groomed in tomorrow's class, so I thought I'd try the "proper" dance clothes on again. I have lost a small amount of weight since then (about 2kg), but a check in front of the full-length mirror shows that it's just enough that the ugly bulges are no longer there. Yes, you can see all my curves and fat, but you can also see my leg muscles move as I do barre exercises, and the garments actually fit. So although I feel a bit more 'exposed' than in leggings and tshirt, I also feel that I look better overall.

(I had to do an emergency knicker-shop at M&S today to get knickers that won't show under the leotard.)

I'm now thinking of getting a second set, at least of the tights, so I can have one in the wash and one to wear, especially for the turnaround between Saturday and Monday classes.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Exercise has not been going very well in the last month, although in general my organisation has been improved and my Inbox occasionally reaches Zero. Hard to get too many habits established at once.

Today was the first day of the new ballet term. I don't think I've been to ballet since the Great Norovirus Plague, because the habit got thoroughly disrupted then and hadn't been sufficiently bedded in beforehand. There have been classes all summer, run on a "we'll set the level when we see who comes" which was just a bit worrying for me in case I turned up to a class full of really good people apart from me. Just enough to make it easy to find an excuse every day not to go.

Recently I've been updating the big family wall calendar I bought for the house and started by writing in all the Saturday and Monday ballet classes that were not already ruled out by existing commitments, and today I got Tony up in time to look after Charles so I could make it to class.

Ballet makes me happy. Also tired and slightly achy but I generally feel happier when exercised, and ballet works brain and body together. It probably helped that there were two genuine real beginners there so a) I didn't feel completely rubbish and b) there was more explanation for their benefit. There were also four very good people taking the class as extra practice. I realised today that apart from the extra money they bring, they are also useful extra models of How To Do It, so they benefit the class and the teacher as well as themselves.

I will be going again on Monday and the following Monday, but not next Saturday as we're committed elsewhere. I don't think I'll ever be able to make it every Saturday or every Monday, but hopefully a good percentage of each is possible. This is what I hoped to do last term and never quite had the commitment to do so. Having it written on the wall planner makes it that bit harder to wimp out.

Now to work out a weekly family-swim schedule, as it was so much fun at DWCon.
rmc28: (happy)
I loved it. I am already stiff and tomorrow I'm going to ache horribly but I really loved it. I'm so glad Hilarity suggested it and that I didn't let size-angst stop me.

The atmosphere was good - focused and gently friendly. As promised, there were all shapes, sizes and ages in attendance (but only one sex). My co-ordination is rubbish, I can remember legs OR arms and sometimes neither, and I'm very unfit - but I'm confident I can learn it and get better with practice. It's exactly the sort of activity/exercise I like and I've been feeling cheerfully tired since the end of the class.

I need to get a sports bra for all the jumping - the nursing bra only barely coped.
rmc28: (glowy)
I have been inspired by [livejournal.com profile] hilarityallen to go to adult ballet classes. I did ballet (and tap) classes when young, but haven't done either for approximately 2 decades. And yet, when the idea was there in front of me, I thought "wow, I want to do that". I'm doing plenty of walking but nothing to really work muscles. [livejournal.com profile] jdc39 agreed to babysit, so there were no barriers. I think part of the pull is that ballet shares a lot with climbing - strength, flexibility, balance, precision. Between pregnancy, unfitness and childcare worries, I haven't climbed for two years; ballet at least will only take me away for a couple of hours, unlike the entire evening required to reach a half-decent climbing wall from Cambridge.

I then had some angst about the listed uniform (leotards and tights) as UK dancewear suppliers don't believe in sizes above 16. However, there are plentiful plus-size suppliers in the USA, and once I got over being scared by the "Liturgical Dancewear", I found quite a few options.

I emailed the teacher this morning, asking which of the sessions she would recommend, and also suggesting an alternative 'uniform' of leggings and snug tshirt due the size issue, to which she replied very promptly, said I could start on Monday, my suggested outfit would be fine and "Don't worry about your size. I have all shapes and sizes and ages." That helped a lot.

I admit to having to fight off a certain amount of body-image angst about doing ballet in figure-hugging clothes. Some of it I think is old chubby-schoolgirl, biggest-in-the-class feelings coming back from 20 years ago, and that will pass with time in the dancing context with the self-confidence I have now. I traipsed around town this afternoon to find and buy leggings and tshirt while Charles napped in the buggy, and flinched a little from well-lit shop mirrors highlighting all my pregnancy damage (skin as well as flab). But under clothes it's not so bad, and ballet can only help. And I'm old enough and tough enough and downright stubborn enough to Not Care what other people might think and focus on the dancing.

Hilarity and I start on Monday. I'm excited and a bit nervous.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

July 2017

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