Thursday, 8 June 2017

Skates and Slippers: Additional Lessons #5

Hello once again readers!

I do believe I've found a better working title for these entries. Sort of. "Skating to Ballet" felt a bit awkward to me and the new title kind of popped into my head while I was at work today. Let me know what you think :) So this was another ballet lesson week, as it has been for the last several weeks. Skate time + Summer = A crapshoot, timewise. Luckily as winter hits it'll be a lot better and I'll have significantly more free cash flow as the wedding costs taper off into non-existence. Yay <3

So I've had this instructor for the last couple lessons and I have to admit, I've learned SO much in such a little time. In fact, check this crap out:

Look at that. I never once thought in my life I could look even a semblance of graceful or decent. But I love this picture and what it shows. I've come a long way in a short time from slumpy, lazy and more or less depressed dude to a better all around fitness level, hobbies I love and as the picture doesn't show, happiness. It feels SO amazing to pull off even simple stuff like this and I do hope I can continue throughout the year. (It's looking good so far.)

Now, I guess you came here for the lesson details more than me gushing...huh? I won't go into CRAZY details this time around because as I've learned with dance, it's more repetition, repetition, repetition. So my lesson involved all the stuff we have practiced in the previous lessons with a few minor bits thrown in like foot position and correct weight placement. I had a tendency when in the above pose, to keep all my weight on my back foot and not keep it flat, soon as I made that! What a difference.

The other thing I never thought I'd hear. I have good arches in my feet apparently. That's the first time they've been a good thing because I HATE having to buy special shoes just for them. So there's that. A bit of a silver lining. Maybe I've secretly had dancers feet all along? Dun dun dun!

Moving right along. I do need to find a way to practice different things. I feel I'm not confident enough to do much on my own beyond basic stretching and strengthening. Someone whose video I commented on told me that:

"The biggest advice I can give you is to have fun, enjoy it, dance and don't worry about ballet terms. Listen to the music and dance, the teacher will look after you when you are in the studio. The body will get used to the movements and the repetition of doing them every week will make every step more familiar. Have fun,fun,fun! :)"

I think I'll take this to heart because this is why I got into Skating and Ballet. To find that sense of fun which I think I have. I've enjoyed myself so much every time that I almost can't get enough! When I first decided to give ballet a shot to improve my skating it proved such a tough time finding somewhere that'd give an adult a chance, especially in private lessons. I'll always be eternally thankful for Oxford School of Dance for giving me a shot. Hopefully it continues for many days to come.

So that's it for this weeks lesson entry! Hopefully it gave you a bit of information at least. The problem with repetition is that writing it can be difficult to make interesting every time.

Ciao for now!


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Why write? How I came into writing!

Hello readers!

Recently I got the idea of making an entry on here about why I write these blogs and where my writing began as well as why I enjoy it. It's actually a pretty curious set of circumstances that got me to where I am today. Admittedly, my writing started with both my love of books and WAY back when I first got into story writing/roleplaying online. Roleplaying for those of you that don't know is when two or more people write out individual characters to collaborate a story or series of events into existence. Many times this is done for a specific fandom (Books, Anime, Movies, Etc. etc.) But some places are freeform which allow for creative writing in any direction you want to go.

For me it was back when I got my first computer. At that point in time I'd spent many days scribbling out original stories on hundreds of pages in my school binders. It was who I was as a kid, always with my head in the clouds and a bit rambunctious. The internet however, gave way to a much more streamlined way to get my ideas out in the open. A quick google search of 'places to write' had me land on the doorstep of a site and room I still stay active in to this day. Tyran.

It's a freeform Role-play that has gone through as many owners as I have pairs of underwear. (Not really, but quite a few.) and while the place has changed over the years between locations its still much the same. It was this room that I discovered my passion for writing and through a group of amazing people I developed my writing. I went from simple writing with basic sentences to crafting stories full of lore and curiosity. I owe a lot of my writing and passion to that room and the people that occupy it.

When I think on it, Tyran is what made me truly love writing. How many people can say that they've crafted a world with words? OK...plenty. But there is something still magical about the imagination and the things it can produce. For me that's also the same with writing. Even these blogs. Putting my thoughts, feelings and emotions out there and forging them into something enjoyable is one of the best feelings in the world.

I've never put this in the open, but I also find that I've been able to put more of myself into my characters over the years. Tyran has provided me an outlet to put parts of me out there I may not normally have done so. I've lived, I've loved, I've explored. I've been a thief who found his place in the boughs of a creative goddess. I've been a dragon who discovered his past was that of royalty. I've had colossal battles on the sides of mountains and drawn magic from every inch of the land. I sometimes think I've lived more through my roleplays than I have other places.

But writing here in Tyran has also helped me to come out of my shell. Not just through writing but through the people. They know who they are. Ones who have talked me through some of my rougher days or just been there to chat. I'm thankful for that.

Writing has also seen me through plenty of good and bad times. For me writing has always been a good way to vent my feelings, my frustrations, my fears and my anxiety. An outlet for those of us who would make use of it. There has more than a few times I've spent my time writing these blogs in tears, angry or even just elated and happy. (The latter being easy to see in some of my better entries.) Writing is magical! I realize now that this was similar to my last paragraph. Oh well! I have vowed to never go back and edit an entry. Enjoy the repetition!

I also write to retain information. Especially when it comes to my experience and lesson entries. I have a fairly crummy memory sometimes and it was my previous horseback riding instructor who recommended writing a lesson journal. Or in this case, an experience blog. This is where my curiosity for this format began. It's not like regular writing, here I get to share my thoughts, my feelings and my experiences in hopes that it can inspire someone else to pursue their passions. I don't do this to make money or get views, but if I can inspire just one person. It's worth it.

This entry is a bit all over the place, but I just wanted to share how I came into writing and how it has helped me grow over the years! Hopefully you enjoyed the read.

Ciao for now!


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Skating to Ballet: Additional Lessons #4!

Hello once again Readers!

I must apologize for the slow-coming entries lately. Unfortunately there has not been much of crazy interest to write about until the last week when things have slowly gotten more interesting. I COULD write about my coming wedding (Which I'm so totally nervous about!!) but I feel this isn't really the place for that. But alas, I have had a recent ballet lesson and have plenty to share about it in both regards to the content of the lesson and how I can apply it to skating.

First off, I mentioned previously that there was potential to do private ballet lessons throughout the summer. That opportunity has been a bit more cemented now. I've got lessons rotating every two weeks for a while now up until the end of june I believe. After that it'll be up for discussion. Either way, I'm super excited to continue!

Without further ado, The lesson:

Foot Exercises/Warm up - As with any pursuit that you decide to jump in to. There is almost always a series of warmups and exercises designed to get you ready for your lesson. Well, almost always...pretty sure you don't warm up to make a dress or something. That comes with experience. We spent a bit of time going through proper foot exercises and position to warm up. Its really interesting seeing the different ways you can move your body that you're not used to. (And trust me, I'm not used to it. My muscles are screaming at me "WHYYYYYYY!?!?!".) But it's totally worth it and simple enough. Up and down with each foot at half and then what could be considered en pointe. Although we didn't go THAT far, It definitely helped me to understand these different positions better.

Plies (1st, 2nd and 3rd Postion) - This is obviously a staple in ballet. Or at least I get that impression. A lot of things stem from these positions and pairing them with arm positions. That's what I gather so far. We worked on the first three positions of Plie which is with feet together, shoulder width apart and then making a kind of fancy V with one heel nestled in the arch of your foot. I'm ok with these, although I am quickly discovering how VERY tight my ankles and calves are as I cannot squat without lifting my heels off the floor. I'll need to find a way to stretch out these muscles more.

Port de bras - From what I understand, This is simply a fancy name (As all names in ballet are.) for arm positions. We worked on each of these positions in turn (Five total I believe.) and my instructor actually helped me to finally figure out shoulder/hand position. Before I was hunching a lot but now I know to pull my shoulders back and down which makes for better posture.

Posture - Just a quick bit, but dang! Posture makes me certainly look and feel more comfortable! Just saying! <3

Allegro - Jumps. We worked quite a bit on a few different jumps during this lesson. As I said above, I have a very hard time lowering my heels during this. I tend to jump from my toes which as a skater, is normal. But in ballet it is evidently not the ideal way to do so. So I will have to work on my ankles! Beyond that though I did enjoy these and found that when I jumped in time with the music rather than focusing on my jumps, I did relax into them and lower my feet more. Yet again I've hit a mental roadblock. I need to stop overthinking things!

So those were the main things we worked on! I've got some practice/homework to do over the next week to prep for my next lesson. Gosh dang though! I didn't expect to be nearly as sore as I am now. My initial lessons I wasn't quite as sore. But this is a whole different level. I'm actually with a different instructor now and she tends to push a bit harder which I actually like. The push helps :)

That's about it for now! Hopefully it was a decent read this week. I really do need to keep up with these entries but with so little activity as my wedding approaches it really has been difficult to get any decent entries/ideas going. I've got a whole bunch of unfinished/unpublished entries that I started but couldn't get behind. Perhaps I'll go back and look through them and amalgamate them into an entry?

Thanks for reading.

Ciao for now!


Friday, 26 May 2017

New blog entries incoming!

Been busy wedding planning and so I will be getting some blog entries together as of tomorrow! <3

Ciao for now readers!


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Plot twist! Great news!

Hello once again Readers!

So this has been a rather interesting week this past week. A lot of different things have kind of landed in my lap and admittedly, all of it's exciting to say the least! At least I find it exciting. You might not, I don't know. I don't know you now do I? Alas, it's a fair bit of interesting news and it's funny how things seem to keep lining up back to back for me. I've noticed that since I met my coach and started skating, opportunities seem to be popping up and tossing things at me as I buckle down and work actively towards my goals.

I won't lie. It's great. Few things have presented themselves to me in the last few years beyond the obvious 'getting married' thing. Which is just as exciting as all of this. I'm so nervous. Seriously. Skating, Ballet and Riding keep me fairly calm though. Sometimes I doubt myself. But then I remember, I've been in love with her every day for the last 8+ years and I know it's the right thing. Still makes me nervous being in front of all those people though!

Moving on from my lovey-doveyness (Love you Sarah.), I'm happy to say that my skating time and career is likely to improve aggressively. The only downside being is that I will likely have a longer drive to get to my club once things change. My coach has chosen to move to another club (About a 25 minute drive from where I am.) and since I'd prefer not to lose her as a coach, I contacted the club she is moving to....and now I'm not sure why I didn't before. Not only do they provide skating year-round, they also have an adult program as well as private lessons. Seriously, it's awesome.

They also are looking to have an adult Synchro team this year and through a bunch of inquiring emails I may be trying out for it! I do actually love synchro but it's really not often you see men doing it. Not that I mind. It makes me the rarity. After careful consideration I think I'm going to try out for it. The skills they're looking for fall under what I've learned with my coach and while I'm no expert, I'm confident at them more or less.

So yay! <3

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before. But before I met my fiancée and delved into these hidden dreams of mine. All I ever did was play video games. I was a completely different person 5+ years ago. Not only am I happier these days, but I'm healthier and have a generally more positive outlook. Heck, I find most video games boring these days. I barely have anything in the way of a console these days. They just don't hold my interest or attention like they used to and I'm happy for that.

I wish everyone could rediscover themselves like I have. When you forget the world and people looking down on you for a little while and manage to take that plunge into your dreams. Everything changes for the better. I spent too long looking down that big, scary tunnel before deciding to go down it.

So a bit of a random blog today but hopefully it gives some insight into how things are going and how I feel about things lately!

Ciao for now!


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Skating to Ballet: Fondu and Sticky Chocolate! Additional Lessons #3!

Hello once again readers!

I do hope that this blog gets read and inspires some people to follow their dreams. I received feedback previously on a forum I post to that said they hope my blog inspires others to follow their dreams. I don't think I could have gotten a nicer compliment and it made me smile to think that this blog is helping to inspire others or even provide a bit of an entertaining read. I haven't said it yet, but thank you everyone who does take the time to read this! It's been a pleasure writing it.

But alas! I came here for a reason. To write about todays lesson (Yup! I'm actually managing to write it the day after the lesson rather than half a week late haha. No more procrastinating.) We did all sorts of interesting stuff during this lesson with a few new pieces as well as practicing the basics/foundations of ballet as a whole. Also, is it weird that every time I listen to music now, I see skating routines that I could do to the music?


Rhythm/Bar Exercises/Pointe-Demi Pointe - So we worked plenty on these. This made up a fair chunk of our lesson and now that I'm getting the rhythm and movements down a bit more, it goes a bit smoother. It's quite interesting and fun learning to move your body in ways you don't normally do so. Smooth and easy. Though I find it hard to squeeze too crazy much into our lessons with the time limitation.

Plie - We are still working mostly on the first three positions here. My rhythm is getting a tiny bit better though I just learned about how I'm supposed to turn my foot when pointing so that's new! It looks so fancy <3 The main part I still struggle with is going into a full plie and not bringing my heels off the ground before I actually get to the grand plie. (Hopefully that's the right term? Correct me if it's not!) Hopefully in time I can get this down.

Weight Transfer - We once again touched down on weight transfer. My coach has reassured me that figuring out the quick 'turns' when transferring weight and where to put my feet will come in time and eventually just be muscle memory. Thank the gods for that because at this point I tend to confuse myself over and over. By the end I did get better however.

Fondu - So we did practice a new movement this lesson called a 'Fondu'. So many strange French words I will have to get used to! It's essentially a plie with the exception of bringing on foot off the floor up along your leg as you go into your squat/plie. The key here is that you're to show 'resistance' as you drag your foot off the ground and up your leg. The way it was explained to me is that you're trying to pull your foot out of sticky toffee or chocolate. It made sense ^_^

Jumping Focus - We tried to make it to jumping this lesson but we ran out of time unfortunately so it's been decided the next lessons focus will be on jumping and some of the more acrobatic moves that come with ballet. Hopefully I'm not doing splits mid-air or anything because I can't even do them on the ground yet! All in good time. I'm looking forward to this lesson!

That's really it for the content of my lesson. A question as posed to me whether or not I'd like to focus on ONLY the skills transferable to skating or if I'd liked to be trained as any other dancer. It's a good question but as much as this is the improve my skating I've found I've really enjoyed learning it. So I opted to learn as any other dancer would and I'll apply the skills to my skating as I see the ability to do so.

That's about it for this entry. Keep following your dreams and fulfilling those passions!

Ciao for now!


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Skating to Ballet: Additional Lessons #2!

Hello once more readers!

While this blog is a touch late, I've been struggling to find how to best format it and describe my recent experiences. It seems I always post about being late don't I? I'll stop that now. My bad.

So then! This is entry #2 regarding my Ballet Lessons that I've recently taken on. Lesson number two was this past Saturday and while I generally dislike getting up early on weekends, I was genuinely excited to for once. Actually...the more I get out and actively do things the more I find myself wanting to get out and do more things and enjoy as much of the day as I can. Funny how a few small changes can make such a big difference! Especially for someone as introverted as me.

My lesson this week was great. While they are unfortunately, shorter lessons. We do manage to squeeze a fair amount of things into them and I am able to practice throughout the week where I can find time/space. Though I've discovered my local gym has a room I can use when it's not occupied AND it's a private space. Bonus! Thanks for that snippet of Info Lindsay!

I guess I should explain what my lesson contained? Shouldn't I? That IS what this blog is for. But before I do, I've been asked a few times why I write these. While it's a fun hobby and a way to share my experiences. It's also to help retain information and make my lessons sink in more. While I am a 'learn by doing' sort of person, I find that writing about each lesson I do helps kind of 'ingrain' the lesson in my head. It was an idea that originally came from a horseback riding coach I used to ride with and one I've kind of stuck with since. I've found for me, as I am quite forgetful. It helps loads and I would recommend the idea to just about anyone!


Rhythm/Bar Exercises/Pointe-Demi Pointe - This is generally what we start each lesson with after a good stretch on the yoga mats. (Which I've been doing all week! I've discovered muscles I didn't even know I had!) These consist of music playing while we practice the different positions. (So far we have only worked on positions 1, 2 and 3.). This also involves working on moving the feet and pointing the toes in Pointe/Demi-Pointe. Which as I understand it Demi means half with most things in ballet. These are fun, although I don't fully get the rhythm yet so I find I rush to catch up to my instructor.

Plie - As comes with Ballet, we did focus on doing Plies in this lesson both in the first position and second position which are basically identical except in one your feet are together in a V and the other they are the same except shoulder width apart. It's one of the few places where my heels coming off the floor in a squat comes in handy! Though I still have to work on stretching out those heels any way I can. Plies are interesting and combing with proper posture and arm placement I definitely find they make me a touch more aware of my body.

Weight Transfer - Next we did do some focus on was weight transfer. Pointing and stepping into different positions while properly transferring weight from leg to leg. Once I get the pattern down and how to do this properly I'm sure I'll be more successful/able to practice. It was a lot of fun though and it's certainly interesting feeling how to move as a dancer.

Jumping - So we touched base on this at the veeeery end of the lesson. Not too much, just basic stuff in first position jumping up and landing with knees bent. I did ok, but I have to work on keeping stable and proper posture while doing these!

So that was more or less the basis for my lesson. My homework was to work on training up my back muscles as best I can by using the 'cobra' yoga pose and finding the muscles in my back that I'm supposed to use when moving my arms. And here I naively thought I was supposed to use my shoulders! It's been good so far and I'm seeing tiny bits of improvement the more I do it. Though I wish the week had allowed me more time at the gym.

With this entry coming to a close, I just wanted to say I am genuinely surprised. While I've always loved skating and what it entails, I didn't expect that t and ballet would be my 'calling' per-se. The things that I am driven to do and enjoy doing more than anything. Not that I'm complaining, as the old commercial says, 'Nobody is good at everything, but everybody is good at something!' *insert T-rex noises here* Heh. Loved that commercial.

Alas! Our time draws to a close. Happy trails!

Ciao for now,