About Me

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

So ends Christmas Day.  I went to the gym after getting coffee at Starbuck's, the only place open in my neighborhood.  At the gym, I went through my swim drill and then got home to get ready to meet with my family for Christmas supper.

It was the best supper.  We had cornbread, roast lamb, baked sweet potatoes, mashed shredded potatoes and fruit and cookies for dessert, with fresh coffee.  The lamb was the best and I had mine rare, the way I like my meat.  Then we all went to see a movie, "The Fighter."

The movie is about two brothers and how the oldest brother knocked out Sugar Ray but was too old to continue boxing and had developed a bad back.  He taught his younger brother how to fight and his family, which included his mother and 7 daughters, were his managers.  His mother was a shrewd, manipulating businesswoman who was not afraid of anybody.  In comparison, her husband was kind of wimpy.

So the younger brother was knocked up pretty badly in a fight his mother had arranged and, while recovering, dated a bartender who had gone to college, and his sisters thought she was conceited.  The older brother kept getting into trouble and was a crack user.  When he ran out of money to buy drugs, he swindled other people with the help of his girlfriend and when the police caught up with him, he was beat down and, on the way to getting arrested, his younger brother tried to defend him and the police beat him up and broke his hand.

While his hand healed, he went back to his girlfriend, who convinced him to leave his family and get a new manager.  But his mother knew this manager was using her son and, sure enough, during a fight, the younger brother took his older brother's advice to aim for the body, and consequently won the fight.  After this, and after his brother got out of jail, his family got together again and even accepted his girlfriend, the older brother gave up drugs, and the kid was on a role, becoming the new champion of the world.

During this famous fight, the kid was dragging and about to surrender but his older brother, who was coaching him in the ring, gave him a pep talk that now was his time and to give it everything he had learned and trained for.  The kid came around and beat his opponent.  So, as my sister asked, what is the moral of the story?  Never give up, stay sharp mentally, life is a fight and the best fighter wins?  To me, it meant having the courage to do what is inside of you already.  Use your gut, I guess.

Christmas may be over, but the magic stays, I hope...oh, and I'm sorry I gave away the plot!  But it's a good movie, anyway, with good music and good shots of some rough neighborhoods that remind me of places I have known.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Well, I didn't go dancing today -- going to church for Christmas Eve gave such joy.  To see the children all dressed up.  There was a mother there who came in rather late and couldn't find a seat, so she sat on the floor with her daughter.  The cathedral mass is all music and sung responses; I did okay except during Silent Night, which was so quiet and high and my voice cracked, but I'm out of practice.  There were some familiar faces in the choir from my past.  Even though I went to the afternoon vigil, the church was packed.  The Midnight Mass at Holy Name Cathedral is always telecast on WGN, so I will watch it tonight.  The weather is rather nasty and the church is a distance away.  I remember many times when I was in choir, singing with a camera stuck in my face!

But before church, I dutifully went swimming at the gym -- the gym was deserted.  I guess everybody was Christmas shopping.  I have to go now and wrap the presents I bought for my family, since I am seeing them tomorrow.  The pool was cold but I ran some laps and walked sideways and soon I was warm and swimming with the men, who were doing multiple laps.  Then I went to church and now I'm home, waiting for Santa Claus.  Does he arrive at midnight?  If I see him, I'll take a picture for you...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday at the hospital

So today I had a doctor's appointment after waiting almost a month and I will have another one next month, for a physical.  I'm trying to make the most of my insurance money and, since I'm exercising so much, I am curious as to the state of my health.  As they say, do not exercise unless advised by your physician...

I put on the baby blue hospital gown and stared at myself in the mirror while waiting for the doctor.  There is something nice about looking at yourself clinically like this, seeing all your flaws that you try to hide, and you shouldn't.  You should face your flaws, ugly or not, because they are a part of you.  Well, the doctor said I was fine, no worries.  Good, because there is nothing worse than being sick and helpless.  I am thankful that my health has always been relatively good.

Then I walked home and got on the bus for ballet class.  Everything was so busy today, since Christmas starts tomorrow.  I got to the studio an hour early, not wanting to take the chance to take a later bus and be in the rush hour traffic.  So, once settled, I read my emails and answered some phone calls in the dressing room, since the studio room was full of parents working on their MACs while their children were attending class.  No room for me there, either, I thought.  Besides, it was nice to stretch out on the dressing room floor and be alone with my thoughts.

Class was taught by a sub, a regular teacher at this studio that I had not seen in a while because of scheduling conflicts, so I was happy to take her class again.  She is trained in the feldenkrais method and makes you aware of relaxing the muscles and not forcing movements.  She told us to stand in a wide second position and we began the class with plies. She walked around the room to see how everyone was standing and walked past me several times during class, as she had not seen me for a while.  She told us to hold our knees back, and to keep our hips square and not do everything with our dominant side.

We did tendus, degages, ronde jambes, with port de bras.  Then we did her dreaded frappe combination, which was doing frappes on flat, and then, letting go of the barre, doing the same frappes on demi-toe.  I cannot master this but, from all my Pilates training, I can see that this is only possible by holding the core, which is what the teacher said also.  Still, I cannot move my working leg while standing on a supporting leg that is in demi-toe.  My feet are just not strong enough, so I tried letting go of the barre and doing the exercise this way, while letting go of the barre.  Then I tried it on demi-toe but while holding the barre lightly, which is how the barre should always be held, and not gripped, because this does nothing to train your muscles.

I noticed my weaknesses.  Also, another exercise this teacher does is, after a barre combination, to face away from the barre and pique into arabesque and balance.  I cannot do this either, because my back is not flexible enough to form the correct arch in my body.  Therefore, I cannot balance well in arabesque.  I watched a young pretty girl stretching her back before class, doing the Pilates chest raises, and noticed how far she could lift her chest off the floor, effortlessly and with suppleness.  The young children can do this so well.

It is sad that we lose our mobility of our bodies as we age, becoming stiff and awkward.  It shouldn't be so, and part of it is that, as adults, we are stressed by the cares of the world.  A cab driver once told me, the children live like princes.  No worries.  It's sad that life can get us down like this, making our bodies twist painfully.  Sometimes I think we think about everything else in the world and ignore the source, ourselves.  Like the fable about the goose that laid the golden egg...it's not being selfish, it's just being kind to the beautiful life God has given us.

Well, I digress...exercise will make me reflect on all sorts of things.  It actually helps me think and even though sometimes I don't feel like it, it always makes me feel better.  So, back to class...after barre, we did tendus with developpes and the teacher remarked that the ecarte position is not to move back but to move our working side forward.  There is a lot to work on in the working side, which is often ignored.  It is the base from which we elongate into the other movements.

We worked on pirouettes from 5th position, or tour de finis.  The teacher said, stop, you are all looking awful!  She said, plie and turn and when you land, go through 5th position sou sou instead of crashing down and eventually your turns will look better because they are under control.  I also experimented with my arms, moving my shoulders more into the turns.  I have been noticing in my classes that the coordination of the arms and legs is really important, and the regular teacher of this class said this to us the last time he taught -- coordination is everything.

Then we did a nice flowing combination:  balance, balance, really moving the body at angles, releve attitude turn to pose; chasse pas de bourre, pirouettes and repeat to the other side.  Then we did another nice combination:  balance, balance, developpe temps leve to chasse pas de bourre grand jete; contretemps pique arabesque to grand fouette to chainnes, ending in chasse pas de bourre grand jete.  The teacher told us to bring our arms more forward; everybody want to hold their arms behind their bodies.  Also, she told us to put our arms behind our back and run toward her as fast as we could, leading with the chest.  This is how you should move across the floor, she said, with your heart.  Without the heart, there is no dance, she said.

We jumped, starting with 15 changements and the teacher said here to rebound off the floor, which is what the regular teacher told me to think of while jumping.  It's called jumping, this teacher said.  Then we did glissade jete, coupe, ballonne, pas de bourre en tournant step jete entrelace to brises.  The grand allegro was chasse pas de bourre, developpe croise en avant, glissade pas de bourre grand jete, pique arabesque, contretemps pique fouette, step tendu, chainnes to pas de bourre grand jete.  We ended class with a reverence:  step, beat ankles, cambre to pointed foot, repeat other side and then the teacher wished us all a Merry Christmas.

After changing, I walked around the studio, not wanting to leave for Christmas break, watching the other dancers in class.  I was drawn to some dancers doing Irish dancing and watched them for quite a while.  They were being coached by a woman wearing black leggings and a sweat shirt and all the dancers were young teenagers.  There was only one boy.  I was amazed at their footwork...some wore tap shoes and some wore aerobic shoes.  I watched the boy tapping and the way he was dancing through every piece of his feet with such clarity and articulation.  The girls were all very athletic, wearing shorts with bare legs, dancing forward through a kind of 5th position and doing what would be tours and then continuing forward.  The coach said while doing the tours to keep their feet in a 1st position with their legs tight together.  All the girls had well defined calf muscles and were all lean and muscular and toned.  Later I found out they were from the Irish Trinity Dancers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


So, I slept a little late and got up and magically got to the Joffrey Academy for another class with Alexei Kremnev, Academy Artistic Director.  He will also be teaching class on Sunday at 11:30 am.  I will be eating Subway sandwiches for a while to afford this.  He is a very charming man and great teacher.  He kept saying in class that everyone needed to have more energy and after class he showed some Academy students a drill for this:  run forward for 7 counts, run backwards for 7 counts; run forward for 4 counts, run backward for 4 counts; then forward and back for 2 counts each, then run forward for 7 counts to finish.  The point is to get yourself into the movement and not drag behind.  It is like football, he said, you must get the ball and run with it.

So, after class, while some girls were trying this, I started to do fast glissades in the back of the studio, back and forth.  It is harder turned out, I commented.  But, as for class, Alexei walked in with a shocked look on his face because the room was packed.  I found my old spot by the door again.  I could not see myself during barre but maybe that was a good thing, because I focused more on the work at hand and not my appearance.  This is the whole point of his class, I thought; he concentrates on the physicality of the movements and not necessarily on how you look, because while you are learning you cannot aspire to looking perfect.  More important to learn the movements and they will look better once practiced.

We started class facing the barre, doing tendu front, rotate leg in and out; tendu side, turn leg in and out; ronde jambe to back, demi-plie into first position.  Also, cambre sideways and back.  Then we started class with tendus and demi-plies, with port de bras.  The barre was much like the one on Monday, with epaulment and moving the head.  For grand plies, we were to move our working arm into elonge position, something which really made me feel the depth of the plie.  Also, we did battements en cloche, with elonge arms.   We practiced developpes efface, croise back, to passe with ronde jambes en l'air.  We did beats and then tried balancing in a la seconde.  We also extended our inside leg to attitude and tried arabesque elonge letting go of the barre.  I always feel I cannot control my left arm and so when I let go to balance in passe, my left shoulder and side cave in -- it is part of my scoliosis problem.

Barre is something I do well, probably because I hold the barre for support.  Without the barre, in center, I feel naked and listless; but this teacher corrected many other students for the same thing when their middles swayed while moving through steps.  Holding the middle is not easy; it requires strength and discipline.  At center we did the same opening combination:  fondu tendu croise front, swing body around to croise derrierre; from 5th position developpe to 4th arabesque, developpe a la seconde, flic back, attitude promenade to passe, plie attitude turn, chasse forward, glissade to other side -- a slight variation on the Monday adagio, with a turn thrown in.  The movement patterns of this teacher are strange to me, almost jazzy, how they switch sides as in epaulment.

After this, we did the other combination:  tendus 2x front croise, changing ecarte, 3x degages to arabesque, swing leg forward to soutenu turn; detourne to 4th position, pirouettes.  I like the change of directions of this combination and the different angles of this teacher's combinations.  They make you feel very centered and help you learn the different directions of the body.  Then we proceeded to another short, tricky allegro dance which flowed across the room.  It began with pique arabesque, chasse forward, glissade grand jete, pique arabesque, fouette, chasse, fouette, point tendu croise, glissade grand jete, contretemps chasse step grand jete.  Before this, we also did pique arabesque with glissade jete en tournant to pique croise to chainnes to posse elonge arms.

Jumps were big also.  We started with jumps in 1st, 2nd, 5th with glissades jete en tournant, sissonne back to point tendu to chasse pas de bourre glissade assemble.  We did assemble soubresaut to both sides  with the same types of jetes.  Then we did echappe to second position, sissonne attitude on both sides, jump with double ronde jambe chasse coupe back to assemble into 5th position.  A lot to remember and a lot to do well in a short time.  I will have to return to this page and do some editing.  If only it were that easy to correct my dancing...

Well, then I went to the gym and swam and then took a yoga class followed by a Pilates class.  The Pilates teacher was a sub and I really liked some of her move.  We started the session by lying on our backs with our knees turned over to either side, arms in a "T" -- then we took either arm and crossed it over to our legs (spinal twist) and then brought our arm back.  Simple but effective.  We did the abdominal series and the side series and, using the magic circle and rising up into a bridge, we squeezed the magic circle, which was between our inner thighs.  We did pushups and I could almost do them, since we had done so many planks and downward dogs in yoga.  We ended Pilates by rising to our toes and stretching our arms over our shoulders.  I remarked to the teacher after class that, while I could rise up, it was difficult to control coming down.  I told her I was a ballet student and asked her about this and it is, really, because you need to maintain the vertical alignment throughout and not bend in the torso and give in to gravity.  Another nice thing about this class was how it was stressed to use the core when making leg circles.  Another new move was sitting in yoga position and doing twists to the side with our arms in "T" formation.

The yoga class, which was taught by the Pilates sub from the Halsted gym who is really a yoga teacher, ha, was very Pilates-like.  We did the locust pose, where you lie on your stomach with your arms clasped behind your back and then pick up your chest and legs, stretching your arms up at the same time.  The teacher said to press the shoulder blades together and pull up the sacral area and with these corrections I was able to rise into a higher position.  We also did one-legged planks, where you raise one leg back high and then go down into plank position.  We also did the triangle pose and the teacher corrected my stance, telling me not to let my left derrierre hang out.  Also, sitting on yoga blocks, we put our feet together, letting our knees go out and down.  I was trying hard to touch the floor but the secret is to rotate the inner thighs.  The teacher said one reason why people can't sit on their feet with knees bent is because the thigh muscles are weak.  I discovered this myself when I tried bringing my foot to parallel passe underwater and noticing how much I had to contract my thigh.  The same would apply to passe position in dance.

Underwater, I tried the ballet runs from morning class.  I ran forward for 7 counts, back, etc., and thought, this is a great exercise for stamina.  Also, the ballet teacher showed us how he jumped from side to side; I didn't try this in the pool but I always walk sideways across the lanes, something I learned from physical therapy when I hurt my leg last year.  I had been attacked by a large dog who bit my thigh and decided to see the doctor, who prescribed physical therapy, which I love.  There were all sorts of leg exercises, leg lifts up, sidways, and back, and pushing my legs against a board on a fitness machine.  Hardest was walking sideways with elastic wrapped around my ankles.  After a while, my outer thighs were burning.

I really enjoy working out at the gym.  I never thought I would, but it is a great way to feel better about yourself and get strong.  Also, the atmosphere is good, with other people working out.  I especially like the attitude of the men in the weight room.  They are all very serious about working with weights and will often watch me to make sure that I stand up straight.  Being a tomboy, I always enjoy working out with men and it is truly beautiful to see a man who is physically fit; also, to see a man who can dance with control and sensitivity.  Fitness is really not just for girls who want to keep their figures.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday at the Ballet

Today I took a break from my routine to see a Nutcracker performance.  I went to the matinee and there were lots of children everywhere.  All the dancers were beautiful and the children danced so well!  I love the Nutcracker Ballet, the Tchaikovsky music, the divertissements, the pas de deux of the Snow King and Nutcracker Prince.  The Snow King looked regal as he supported his partner, stage snow falling like confetti everywhere.  The Sugarplum Princess was so sweet, and I was impressed by her dainty footwork.  Also impressive in this production was the party scene, with all the social dances so beautifully recreated.

Afterwards I was able to get backstage to see some of the dancers.  I met a girl I knew from class, talking with her friends, still in her stage makeup.  I always love to see the backstage activity of dancers and how they prepare for their art.  They all looked so calm; I was more nervous being backstage and they had just danced an entire ballet!

So, not wanting to go home because this would be the last day my favorite pool would be open, I took the bus straight to the gym.  The pool will be closed for two weeks for maintenance so I had one last swim and then, hair still damp, headed for a Pilates class.  The Pilates class was just what I needed today, since I missed my ballet class.  But, as a dancer told me, it's good to cross train.

As I walked in a few minutes late, the teacher said to inhale and exhale...then we did the 100 with arms and then we used the magic circle to stretch our hamstrings and later drew circles in the air with our legs and did all the other customary movements, including the side series.  Now I am home, thinking of the ballet and how much fun it was to go out and see the performance on a dreary winter day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar Monday

Sitting at Belmont Subway listening to Christmas music -- there was also Christmas piano music in ballet class, taught by Alexei -- advanced class.  Hard but good.  I really admired his stance as he showed the combinations.  He looked so refined and dignified, as did the Academy students in the class, mostly teens.  Compared to them, I looked like a peasant, although when I left the studio, the receptionist said I looked fine.  I told her I want a video of myself dancing someday, because I always worry what I look like -- everybody says I don't look all that bad, but, compared to these young dancers, I feel ungraceful.  Still, I think, it's what you are used to, and if I went to this class regularly, my mannerisms would change.  If only it wasn't the money and all the cares of the world, I would just keep doing all these things I like and being with people I like.

Anyway, most dancers I have met have the same problems and it is not an easy life, but dancers are the most real people I know, most of them, anyway.  There will always be those who will be your rivals for whatever reason, but I was never the jealous type and, in fact, love it when someone does something well, because it advances things for everyone.  So, I marked the barre since I had the misfortune of standing at the front of the barre.  I am always good at barre, except this teacher demanded more clarity and nuance.  It is nice to dance like this, I thought.  He also stopped several girls and told them to engage their middles and not be so gangly.  Also, to move the head and arms.  Epaulment.

Center was faster than most I have had.  That is, you were expected to learn the combination and perform it, kind of like the classes I had attended in London at Pineapple Studio in Covent Garden.  There were a couple of allegro movements that eluded me, such as chasse forward, chasse back, chasse sideways pas de bourre; alternating to, finally, rotation to arabesque temps leve -- to fast music!  Also, we did echappe in second to attitude assemble alternating to coupe double ronde jambe en l'air.  I think the other students were used to this teacher's style, because everyone caught on.  Really simple movements are the hardest to do well, I thought.

But there were lots of other movements where I look quite good, such as the adagio.  I like adagios and slow movements.  Also, there was a jump combination that I did quite well...lunch over, time to move on to the gym.  More later...

It was crowded at the gym...lots of people working off the Christmas food, a girl commented.  So, I shared a lane in the pool but the other woman left after a few minutes and then I did my regular routine and went home.  I had missed the bus because I didn't want to trip in the falling snow, so I just waited for the next bus, watching the snow fall and thinking...

So, I must write down my steps in class today so I can practice on my own tomorrow.  I don't think I will be taking class because I am going to see the Nutcracker.  Besides, I would like to try this teacher's class again on Wednesday, even though he is the director of the school and I don't know what he thinks of me; still, I liked the class:

1. Face barre, tendu front, plie, side, plie, ronde jambe side to back, plie; repeat with ronde jambe to front, etc.  Cambres back to right, then to left.
2. Plies at barre same way, with arms.  Tendu to seconde, to first, roll through feet.  Roll through coupe front, coupe back, using epaulment.
3. Ronde jambes -- plie fondu devant around to back, ronde jambe fondu through 1st position; developpes through passe, passe to attitude, balance and extend leg to arabesque.
4. Fondu front, extend to attitude; en croix; extend from attitude to full extension.
5. Frappes front, side, double front, double back, frappes in seconde; beats.
6. Developpe front, grand ronde jambe to back, passe to ronde jambes en l'air.
7. Grand battements 2 front, 2 side, 2 back, swing legs en cloche.

1. Adagio: developpe croise front, developpe croise back, developpe seconde, ronde jambes to 4th position, pirouettes.
2. Tendu 2x croise front; tendu 2x ecarte, tendu 2x derrierre, fondu efface, soutenu, plie croise 4th, pirouettes.
3. Fondu croise front, ronde jambe leg to back, saute basque to pirouettes, balance, balance, pique arabesque, grapevine step, temps lie away.
4. Jumps, jumps in 1st, 2nd, changements, quatres.
5. Grand allegro: Balance, balance, detourne, chasse pas de bourre, grand jete, coupe, step around to pose in arabesque, arms elonge.

I loved this class because it was so classical, with all the ballet steps one reads about in books and dreams of executing perfectly, while dancing sweepingly across the floor.  When I see the ballet tomorrow, I will be watching for these sweeping classical movements and imagining what it would be like to be doing this on stage, the audience applauding madly at my grace, charm, and expertise...in my dreams, I am a ballerina.  Good night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday - my slava day

Today I will go to church and remember my father, but this morning I went to dance class -- "this is church," a teacher said once.  My teacher has been so busy performing and I was so happy that he would be teaching because he is the best classical teacher -- so true to form, always.  He has corrected my form many times and I hope will continue to do so, since I am really the same way, I want to be true to form.  But it is difficult to be as sincere and giving as he is.  He is such a good model, I even learn just watching him.

Well, there were a lot of girls in class today for a Sunday and we proceeded to barre, warming up with tendu devant, demi-plie, tendu seconde, turn leg in and out, tendu slide leg derrierre, stretch.  Then we did tendu front, demi-plie, tendu side releve, tendu derrierre, releve, tendu side, balance in releve.  Next was two tendus front with demi-plie passes balance, two tendus side with demi-plie passe balance, etc.  I like the way this teacher makes us test our balance suddenly, because it really tells you if you are holding your body, from the beginning.

We did tendu plie, pas de chevals, tendu plie back, pas de chevals, tendus to the side, plie, passe balance.  We did degages en croix, 4x each direction; then, ronde jambes:  passe tendu fondu to back, passe, plie 5th position, ronde jambes, reverse.  I liked the batterie combination today, to Bach's Fugue No. 1 in C, I think it was.  I was trying to match Bach's rhythm to do beats, plie, beats, plie, beats on releve with balance a la second.  We did developpe to the side, ronde jambes en l'air, extend leg to arabesque, penche in arabesque on other side, come up with torso leading (very important).  We also did fondu passe to attitude balance, extend to arabesque -- I think this was after the ronde jambe combination.  I wish I could remember everything more precisely, but I am not that technically skilled and focused yet and still struggle to do what is required of me...

We paused and then resumed in center with pas de basque, head looking under arm, to pique balance in arabesque, promenade to third arabesque, pas de bourre en tournant, pique attitude, move attitude leg to seconde to devant and then swing back to arabesque, pas de bourre en tournant, sou sou passe leg; repeat to other side.  Lots of balances again, on demi-toe, which is the true test if you are holding your body.  Fabrice often stopped the combinations to tell us to hold our torsos and keep our shoulders and hips aligned and always came by me to tell me to straighten my leg.

Then we did some pirouettes:  glissades changing to tendu side to 5th, pirouette from 5th position to lunge, pique arabesque, fondu pas de bourre, pirouette en dehors, swing leg to croise to pirouettes en dedans, detourne, pique turn en dehors.  We also did two tendus front, two back, four to the side to pirouettes.  Also, later we did developpe seconde, 3 little jetes to developpe other leg to passe to attitude turns.  The two teen girls next to me were movers and I have to always remember to position myself well in class, out of courtesy as safety.

Later, dancing with a little girl as we did chasse chainnes, chasse, chainnes, chasse, chainnes to inside pique turn, I found myself too close to her and the teacher said to move it.  Sometimes I wish I didn't do these careless types of things but I find myself so preoccupied with myself sometimes I forget I am in a class with others and, to be a great dancer as this teacher is, I need to learn this, to think about where I am.  Before this, we jumped with assembles, echappes, sissonnes to changements and quatre beats.  I tried to point my feet and it is getting better, but my left foot, the foot I injured, still hangs.  Use it or lose it, a teacher used to say.  In order to get stronger and prevent injury, I must engage myself better.

After class was over, the teacher told everybody to stay and stretch, and then he proceeded to give a private class to a little girl.  Lucky girl, I thought, she's in good hands.  I watched for a while, hoping to wave good-bye to the teacher to wish him happy hoidays, but he is always very focused in his teaching, which is how dancing should be, I thought.

Now, after eating a peanut butter sandwich on some very good bread which always tastes best after class, I am off to the gym for a swim, thinking of sugarplums but eating bread instead...

I don't want to leave the gym but I must get home and rest for class tomorrow at Joffrey Academy.  There are so few places to take class over the holidays.  I felt so aligned in the water today.  Maybe it was because I was so happy in ballet class today.  I don't know why, I just felt happy for some reason, which is unusual for me because I'm always so moody.  In the pool, I always warm up by walking forwaard and backward on my toes, then sideways, then I run back and forth and sideways.  Then I use the kickboard and just kick and next I lie on the kickboard and swim on my back, doing "swan arms."

Then I do some more kicks and then I walk foward doing developpes in parallel and then turned out.  Then I try "walking" by doing a developpe forward to passe to arabesque.  Arabesques underwater are really freaky because the water bends you way up high and you really feel it in your back where it should be.  That's what I like about the water.  A teacher said that it pushes on you in all directions.  There is no other feeling like it.  Oh, and after I do all this, I float on my back and swim with swan arms, without the kick board and sometimes I use the pool noodle the same way.  Then I lie on the paddle board once more and do the breast stroke.  Then I put the paddle board away and do the breast stroke, followed by the crawl, and then the back stroke.  Then I go in the whirlpool and then I wash my hair and stretch.  So relaxing...zzzz