Category: The Education

Précipité

The midterm surprise was “précipité” which is not in the ballet dictionary (Gail Grant) but means “to precipitate.” It looks kind of like a mini glissade and it’s a step that prepares you for another, like a grande jeté. 

I figured it was time to talk about dance class, specifically Ballet! I’ve survived the first eight weeks of college and taking Ballet five days a week with the addition of some other styles.

The other word that got me caught up was “shortened”…I totally blanked! Of course, once I saw the answer I thought, “good one dummy!” The french term for “shortened” is Raccourci and technically not of the Cecchetti Method but of the French School of Ballet; yes there’s a difference.

My Ballet II professor is right, my pedagogy book is going to be huge. I can’t help but be wordy. I figure the more I write the higher chance of either getting partial credit if I’m wrong or extra credit if I’m right. There is a method to my madness.

I think my answer for précipité might get me full credit and not partial, although I didn’t write “to precipitate” I said that it was a step that precipitated another which is exactly what it is. Who knows, I’ll find out next week. Next week I’ll know my grades in all my classes, I’m not going to lie, I’m a little anxious!

The eight Cecchetti Body Positions

Croisé Devant
Quatrieme Devant
Ecarté
Effacé
A la Seconde
Epaulé
Quatrieme Derriere
Croisé Derriere

I need to message my friend that knows the proper key strokes to get the accents on my letters correctly. I know them I just don’t know what key strokes are required. I’ve looked it up a few times and not found the proper way of doing it. Seems like a simple thing to do, but I guess not.

A combo across the floor I use to teach…From the corner, B+ (upstage foot,) balancé x 2, tombé, pas de bourrée, glissade, grande jeté. I was wrong, it’s not a glissade, it’s a précipité!

Overachiever

At some point I have to figure out how to find some time and relax. School is stressful, of course, but the constant worry that I’m going to forget something is taking its toll. I have nine classes totaling 17 credit hours. Yes, you read that right…NINE classes!

  • Ballet I (1 credit)
  • Ballet II (2 credits)
  • Biology (4 credits)
  • English (3 credits)
  • Ensemble I (1 credit)
  • Fundamentals of Theater (3 credits)
  • Improvisation I (1 credit)
  • Jazz I (1 credit)
  • Modern I (1 credit)

I keep telling myself, “just one week at a time,” and so far that has gotten me through the first six weeks of school. But midterms are literally less than two weeks away and I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out. To say I’m a classic overachiever would be a huge understatement. Who I’m trying to impress is beyond me because I’m an adult and I don’t have to do this. I had a career I could go back to if I wanted to so I don’t need to torture myself. Dancing is my joy though, I have to have it in my life in some meaningful way and this is the healthiest way for me to get it back into my life.

There’s a plan, something in the future, a goal for me to attain. NO! I’m not telling you what it is; it’s a secret…Shhhhh!

School is enjoyable, for the most part. Of course, we never like all of our professors, and that’s fine. I’ll only have to have this professor for ten more weeks then we can part ways and I’ll know not to take one of their classes again. This pace is testing my body and what it’s capable of and in classic overachiever style, I get frustrated when it doesn’t want to cooperate with me. I have to remind myself regularly that I’m still healing; it hasn’t been a full year since the heart transplant. The thought of slowing down does enter my mind, weekly, but I can’t. Time is ticking away and I’d like to make the most of it.

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything here, however; I’ve been doing plenty of writing elsewhere, in college!

After my last trip to Salt Lake City for a scheduled biopsy to check for rejection, I started school, again, almost 30 years after I started college the first time. The first time I majored in something much more practical than I am now; my major is Dance Performance. I don’t have any plans to run off to New York to become a professional dancer at my age, but I do intent to teach. I’ve been teaching ballet for a long time, but I felt that now would be the perfect time to go back to school and actually get a degree in it.

It’s been stressful and my body hurts, but I’m enjoying it; all the dancing is amazing! Thankfully I’m a little ahead of the game right now in that I know a lot of the ballet vocabulary already, but as I move to the more advanced classes that will change, I’m sure. Regardless, I’m making my flashcards like my professor has advised and I run thru them every night just to make sure I have them down and I know the movement (even if I can’t actually do it!) I have to keep notes on the combination for each class or I’m sure to forget, but I am surprised that I’ve been able to retain them by memory pretty well so far. I’m sure that will get more difficult as well.

I feel a little bit strange being one of the oldest students (there is one student in the department older than me,) and basically being old enough to be most of my classmates mother. I’m hoping that will change over time. Who am I kidding though? When have I ever really fit in anywhere?

It’s Official…

…I’ve had ENOUGH!

Holding it together these days hasn’t been easy, and I’ve cracked a few times, maybe a few too many.

Medically speaking I’m doing OK. I’m almost 10 months post heart transplant and the doctors still haven’t been able to fine tune my medication so that I’m not always adding or removing something I take daily. Some of it makes me sick, some of it makes me feel weak, and the big one makes me feel exhausted for no reason at all. I know my body is strong; how could it not be? I have Primary Amyloidosis (AL), which by the way, has a 6 to 12 month mortality rate, I’ve survived over four years. I had a heart transplant because the AL put me in acute congestive heart failure and caused a lovely case of restrictive cardiomyopathy. Now I’m told I have Osteoporosis in my lumbar 1 – 4 and am close to having it in my hips as well. All that is a result of the chemo therapy I received for the AL and the anti-rejection drugs I take for my heart.  I’ve been hitting the gym for several weeks now. Not knowing at the time I started about the Osteoporosis, it was a good thing I did. The most effective treatment for it is weight training, which is what I’ve been focusing on to build up the strength I lost while I was sick. But my back and hips hurt and although weight training is ideal, not necessarily at the pace I’m going at. I can’t win with this body of mine.

Then there’s the food. The trainer at the gym wants me to eat a certain way, which I’m totally willing to do within the parameters of what I can and can’t eat being a transplant patient. In reality it’s not that different than how I was eating before the transplant. However, my stress level is so high I can’t eat, and not eating is just as bad as eating too much. How do I get the calories I need in a day without throwing it all up because I’m so stressed out my stomach is in knots? I’m trying, but there isn’t a week that goes by that more stress isn’t placed on my shoulders by someone.

There’s also a family component to all this. Issues far too complex for me to even begin to figure out, and I’m not 100% sure I want to. I have two married sons, one of which doesn’t have much to do with us and his wife even less. The other and his wife live with us, which creates it’s own set of issues that I can’t address because it’s causes me even more stress than I can handle. I have a mother who I’m afraid of and I couldn’t tell you why, other than I hate the sound of disappointment in her voice when I can’t do what she wants me to. I still have no idea who my biological father is, which causes me more hurt than my mother can imagine. But I keep the peace because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do? I don’t know?

I left the church I’ve been a member of for over 10 years. That’s been a gut punch to say the least. I think what hurts more than anything is they either haven’t noticed or don’t care; either one isn’t great. I’ve tried to get past it and attend church, but I can’t get out of my mind how little they did when I needed them the most. I’ve gotten a handful of phone calls in the last five years, but no significant support for my “church family.” Now I’m torn about finding a new church because I don’t want to be hurt like that again. I surrendered myself to God in that church and the keepers of the church were not very good stewards of my vulnerability. How could I go back to that, and how do I try a new church not knowing if they will do the same thing?

School is starting in about two weeks and I go back and forth over whether or not I can handle it. Some days I feel confident that I can do it and others I think it could be a huge waste of time and money. I’m 47 years old getting a degree in dance! What was I thinking? I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but I’ll never know unless I try. The fear in me wants to stop before I get started, but then I’ll always wonder if I could have made it.

Every way you slice it I have stress coming from all directions. Some of it I may have control over but some of it I never asked for, but have to deal with it none the less. I lose sleep at night thinking about all of the things I should have done or didn’t, or should do, but don’t feel confident enough to stand my ground. On the surface I may appear strong, and my body may be, but my emotional state is not. I wish I had the emotional confidence to tell the people in my life what I need to tell them and not have their reactions affect me so deeply. And, of course, the ultimate fear is that they will all stop coming around all together and I’ll be physically alone and emotionally alone at the same time.

Write Something Today

I started using  a Full Focus Planner, and I put on my daily list to “write something” the last three days in a row. Monday and Tuesday I deferred it to the next day, but today I was determined to get thru my list. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote something.

I had my 22nd heart cath and my biopsy came back with no rejection! All of my labs came back fine and my heart is doing well. The hematologist is still mystified by the bruising I’ve been experiencing for several months. It started before I moved back home and has only gotten worse. They are now looking for genetic forms of anemia. So far I have genetic markers for two, but why would their symptoms show up now and not earlier in my life. For now I’ll just deal with the bruises. They aren’t life threatening in any way, just an annoyance really. Especially when one shows up in an inconvenient place, like my face.

I’m still dancing, only one day a week but it’s a start. I’ve been loving it! Loving it so much that I took the leap and registered for school to get my degree in dance. To get prepared for a heavy schedule of dance classes starting in the fall I hired a personal trainer to get me into shape. So far I’ve been getting my rear end handed to me. I’m taking a Buff Camp five days a week and following a strict meal plan. It’s taken some getting use to, but it’s totally workable. If anything it’s a lot more food than I’m use to eating, but with my increase in activity I need the calories. The next thing I need to start working on is my flexibility and balance. Bother were affected by the lack of mobility while I was sick.

I’ve been trying to get to yoga twice a week. I can’t express how relaxing it’s been and healing. It seems like such a simple thing but it’s been working for me. The challenge is going to be to figure out how to fit weekly yoga with my school schedule, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.