Category Archives: shiny

Initial Mini-Review: Yumiko “Max” Tights

For aeons[1], I resisted the siren song of Yumiko. I couldn’t quite bring myself to drop that much cash on tights.

  1. Okay, so like, two years. BUT THAT’S A LONG FREAKING TIME IN BALLET YEARS, OKAY?

Then four things happened:

  •  I realized I’m actually really, really good at looking after my ballet stuff. I still have the tights I bought when I first started dancing again. Hell, I still had the dance belts I bought when I first started dancing again until I realized I was now too small for them.
  • I realized that good tights are worth having (I have three pair of tights that I wear over and over and over: my blue knee-length capris that I found on sale at a freaking Wal-Mart for $1; my black Official Ballet Tights; and my grey Official Ballet Tights).
  • I discovered that I know a Yumiko distributor and that I can get a rather nice break on the price if I order through him. He’s also one of my favorite ballet teachers, and it helps keep him fed, etc., and that doesn’t hurt either.
  • I learned that you can get Yumiko stuff in all kinds of awesome custom colorways without paying ridiculously a lot extra.

So, short story long, I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of Yumiko’s “Max” capri-length tights. I even decided NOT to buy blue, grey, black, or red, since basically that sums up my entire wardrobe. Instead, I went for a kind of eggplant color with a melon-colored stripe. Sounds crazy, maybe, but I really like it!

Anyway, BW brought them to class for me yesterday, and I wore them to rehearsal today.

YOU GUYS, they are SO GOOD.

Pros thus far:

  • OMG, this fabric. Thin (but not, “Ohai, I can read the label on your dance belt” thin, or even “I can see your dance belt” thin, unless you’re wearing the Capezio N5930, which is identifiable from fecking SPACE because of the way it’s pieced together in front). Light. Breathable. Just supportive enough. Ever-so-slightly shiny. Makes my legs look awesome.
  • The colors. They are pretty boss. I mean, yes, this combination screams I AM THE GAYEST DANSEUR IN THE ROOM AND I WILL FIGHT* YOU TO PROVE IT, but that’s pretty much how I roll anyway, sooooo…
  • The fit. Yumiko men’s stuff is pretty much sized by height. Given that and my recent experience performing in a pair of TINY size medium M. Stevens milliskin tights, I went with the medium. The fit, she is very nice.
  • Also, they dry fast, which is nice because I’m a sweaty li’l bastidge.

*revoltades at dawn, mofo

Cons thus far:

  • The fit. Obviously, it works for me, but these are definitely tights sized with typical professional ballet-type people in mind. The size chart does extend to XL (far from universal, where dancewear is concerned), but I think that probably basically means “extra tall” in their lingo.

I don’t have pix of these yet, but I’ll try to snag some tomorrow.

Given that my ballet budget is now tightly constrained for the rest of the year (because GOOD reasons!!!), I’m seriously debating whether my next good tights will be M. Stevens or a custom pair of Yumiko’s Cedrics (which you can get with feet and the traditional-ballet-style super-high waist).

Until I figure that out, it’s back to scouring everyone’s bargain bin. Sometimes you find something amazing that way (like my $1 Avias from Wal*Mart).

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This Week, We’re Doing LINES

…I don’t mean lines, like scheduling has finally made D and me so insane that the only way to keep up is to use cocaine (heck, he’s so chill he’s still drinking decaf). I mean LINES, as in Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet(1).

  1. Which, by the way, runs an Adult Summer Intensive (it’s on the Workshops page; 2017 dates aren’t up yet). Taught (in part) by Alonzo King himself. OMG, you guys. I’ll add that to the list when I next get around to updating the list, which might be this evening?

Also Louisville Ballet’s Choreographers’ Showcase, Suspend’s Winter Showcase, and the dance team competition.

If I actually think about all this, I might really just explode, so I’m basically not thinking about it.

That said, I’m taking tonight off to try to do some cleaning, because the rest of this week is booked solid. I need to check in with Mr. BeastMode about the fact that I’m very probably going to miss our first rehearsal for the Spring Showcase performance because I’ll be at Choreographers’ Showcase. I’ll see him tomorrow, though, so no big deal there.

I think, in the interest of not dying of overscheduling, I’m also going to skip Thursday’s modern class this week. I’ll run that by LT tomorrow.

I will not, of course, be missing BW’s class or Killer Class. That said, I suspect my legs will appreciate having an evening off today.

Meanwhile, my cat is draped over my arm, impeding any further progress that doesn’t involve my computer. He will be very disappointed when I have to go to work.

Huzzah

Finally feeling up to Saturday Class, so I figured I’d make it a double. We’re off for the next two weeks (Winter Break, booooooo).

In Advanced Class, barre, adagio, turns, waltz, and terre-a-terre were pretty darned good, petit allegro was acceptable, and grand-ish allegro was a disaster en mènage. I kept alternately effing up tombé-coupé-jeté and leaving out the transitional step that came after. Blargh. Going left, I kept doing my balancé en tournant inside out like a total n00b, which then forced me to do my t-c-j backwards.

At least I haven’t done any backwards turns(1) in a while?

  1. I have no idea when backwards turns stopped happening, but they did, at least for now.

In Nominally-Beginner-But-Actually-Intermediate Class, everything was good except petit allegro, by which time my legs weighed approximately 1,354 kilograms each. I couldn’t get them to do things quickly. In fact, they were not terribly willing to do things at all. 

Nonetheless, the entire day was completely redeemed by the girl who asked me after class, “Are you in the company?” (She was my partner for all all the across-the-floor stuff, and she was also pretty good.) 

I refrained, of course, from asking her to marry me on the spot, since I’m already married, etc. But it was a very welcome thing to hear, especially on a day when I’m not feeling at my best.

Speaking of The Company, tonight we get to see BW and TB Nutcrackering. Yaaaaaay!

I’m a little sad that we didn’t we get to see BW as the Cavalier last night (because A) broke and B) so freaking insanely busy), but we still get to see one of his Partnering Masterclass performances.

My introduction to BW, by the way, followed the first performance in which I saw him dance a pas de deux. The very next class, he showed up and, if I remember correctly, installed himself on my barre (we were on portables, 4 or 6 to a barre,because there were like 30 people in class). 

I proceeded to quietly have a heart attack throughout class. I am marginally ashamed to admit that I felt felt more or less how a teenaged girl in the 1960s would have felt if John Lennon sat next to her in music class. Only, you know, ballet, so both we were both more or less in our underwear.(2)

  1. Ballet: because hero worship isn’t awkward enough.

Yeah, I know. #PatheticFanboy 

But I kept it all inside, because I’m cool like dat. 

B|  <— my cool face 

Anyway, I need to go takeashowerchangeandbuyflowersforBW, so that’s it for now.

And then, two weeks to clean, finish the book-keeping for the year, and get back in shape (because holy cow, soooooooo out of shape right now). 

Belated Notes 

Since Ms B got married and there are no longer two BWs among my ballet teachers, I shall henceforth refer to Company B simply as BW (because I’m lazy and it’s easier). 

Anyway, class with BW was, as always, good. I didn’t dance as well as I usually do, but everyone has those days. Only three of us again, so once again there was much drilling down deep in the technique. There was also more than the usual array of conversation; we were all tired and disorganized (I arrived earliest, only 5 minutes before class time; BW arrived just after, and everyone  else was late). 

My turnout took a while to turn on — back to Trap 3 last night meant back to Single Knee Hangs (with ronds-de-jambe), and those make the turnouts tight. (I’m going to have to contemplate that, as I plan to use SNH w/ RDJ to open a trap performance on Saturday.) Not that it was non-existent; it just wasn’t up to the standard of Wednesday’s class.

On the other hand, my grand rond got its stuff together after a fashion. Coming from behind, I was rotating the turnouts later than necessary and thus losing much of the quality of the movement. BW laid on hands and fixed me: he proved to me that I can rotate my hip much further in arabesque than even I thought possible, which made for one high extension coming  à la seconde. Like, BW even commented on it to B: “See how high that is?”

I appreciate the fact that my teachers aren’t afraid I’m the least to touch me. 

Going terre-à-terre, though, my brain was absolutely determined to leave our the waltz turns. This kept making me end up facing the wrong corner. This may have been fatigue (I’m sleeping better, but still not really well, as you might gather from the fact that I’m posting at 2 AM), or it may have been  a lack of Adderall. I forgot my second dose until it was legitimately too late to take take it. Ironically, I was so busy cleaning… Anyway.

I discovered that I haven’t lost my attitude balance, and that I can pretty reliably élevé into it now. After class, BW worked on my arms, which are slowly becoming graceful. Minor miracle, there, all things considered. 

So that’s about it. 

Trap performance on Saturday should be interesting. I’m resetting some existing choreography to Billy Joel’s “You’re The Only One Who Knows.” Here’s hoping I get through without bursting into tears. Seriously, that’s why I’m not even thinking about using “Leningrad.”

Also, a picture from Burning Man, below the fold since it’s mildly NSFW:

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Pilobolus Master Class All Up In My Drawers

 

…Wait, what?

Kids, this is why punctuation is important. That should read:

Pilobolus Master Class; All Up In My Drawers

First: Pilobolus Master Class!

You guys, it was so great.

I feel like I learned a great deal about the process of creating dances through improv, and it was cool to dance in an environment where technique wasn’t even a thing. The guys from Pilobolus basically said, “We love dancers and we love dance technique, but if you’re someone who spends hours every day in class, please check your technique at the door.” As someone who loves technique but can get a bit too invested in it, that idea was very freeing.

I am a horrible person, and have forgotten the names of our ambassadors of Pilobolus, but they were both very cool guys and very good teachers — though this process was as much one of bringing out what’s already there as one of teaching. The teaching part was more about figuring out how to use what’s already there.

I must admit that I went into it a bit worried that I’d be all stiff and horrible because…

OMG STRANGERZ!!!11!!!1one1oneomgwtfbbq

…But apparently I overlooked the part where, like, you know, dancing? …When I was worrying about that.

If dance is involved, I seem to do relatively okay in groups of new people.

At the end of class, we broke into three groups and created three short (about 4 minutes) dances in the span of about five minutes, performed them, critiqued them, refined them over another two (two!) minutes, then performed them again.

All three dances were completely different, and all three of them were cool, but one (not my group’s; ours was silly) was really stirring and moving. I hope some of the dancers will take it and run with it, because it was really, really good.

I feel like I want to let this whole experience percolate a bit more, then write about it at greater length. It was, in short, just an amazing two-ish hours (happily, we ran over the original 1.5-hour class time).

It turns out that Pilobolus holds a 3-week summer workshop series (in Connecticut, yay!). I’m going to have to seriously consider whether I can figure out how to afford at least one week this year. Curiously, the name of the third workshop, Vision & Revision, was also the name of my favorite writing class when I was in high school.

Serendipity, much?

 

And Now: All Up In My Drawers!

I did manage to make it to IKEA afterwards.

My one real goal was to acquire a second Big Blue Bag, which will greatly improve my laundry system. Heretofore, I’ve been using one Big Blue Bag and any of my various not-quite-as-ginormous shopping bags.

The second Big Blue Bag wasn’t essential, but it will make the system run more smoothly, since now I’ll have two dedicated laundry bags of the same size.

While cruising through the store (you guys, it is so nice to walk through an IKEA all alone), however, I found something even better: specifically, Drawerganizers(TM).

Since keeping tights and so forth corralled is a fairly regular topic of conversation among dancers and aerialists in my life, I thought I’d share the current iteration of my system, which mostly comprises hair elastics, a plastic crate, and IKEA’s set of 6 Skubb boxes. (Sadly, the Cincy IKEA didn’t have the aqua ones in stock.)

I’ve been meaning to implement a boxes-in-the-drawers system for a while, but hadn’t found Drawerganizers that worked for me (shoeboxes would have been fine, probably, but we didn’t have any). The Skubb series works really nicely, and I couldn’t argue with the price — something like $8 for the set — or the portability factor. The boxes fold up rather ingeniously; when you set them up, little zippers in the floor panels add tension that keeps them in shape.

So, here’s how things are organized now:

image

First Floor: Cycling Apparel, Men’s Shirts, and The Occasional Sarong

Bottom Drawer (technically the second drawer from the bottom; the real bottom drawer houses bed linens): this one’s full of bike kit, a few pairs of shorts, and a bunch of t-shirts that I should probably donate, since I don’t wear them enough.

Bike kit used to share the dance clothes drawer (which was the Bike Kit Drawer until I had too much bike kit to keep it all in one drawer), but then the dance kit kind of took over. Anyway, I’ve used the two medium-sized Skubb boxes to contain bike kit.

Overflow bike kit lives in a vertical organizer in the guest room closet, because I am apparently unusually sentimental about my Cabal jerseys, even the ones I don’t wear very often.

And, yes, there’s even a sarong in there, though I don’t think you can see it in this shot.

Next time I’m at IKEA, I’ll pick up a couple more Skubb boxes to corral the things that are still roaming free.

image

Second Floor: Dance Apparel, Fuzzy Socks, and Thermal Tights*

Top Drawer: Dance kit and almost nothing else.

Until recently, I’ve alternated between folding and rolling my tights, and found that neither really prevents everything from coming undone when I’m digging for that one pair with the pictures of mountains on it or whatevs.

The other day, I hit on the solution of buying a package of brightly-colored hair ties to keep them contained. It works brilliantly.

In combination with the hair ties, the Skubb boxes keep things corralled and controlled. No more tights rolling into the base-layer section; no more dance belts hiding under legwarmers (right now, for decency’s sake, they’re hiding under a pair of socks instead).

Things that didn’t really fit anywhere else take up the extra space in the drawer in front of the Skubbs.

image

Rooftop Terrace: Aerial Apparel, Clutter, and Mayhem

On Top Of Ol’ Dresser: Denis’ tights live here, along with our white-noise machine (which is really an air purifier), a photo from our wedding, and a terrifying doll that predates my tenure in this establishment. There are also some foam panels that insulate our air-con when it’s installed, but right now it’s still on vacation.

I found the plastic basket at a place called Five Below, but you can find similar ones just about anywhere.

The fact that Denis has his own tights-basket means he no longer asks me where his tights are (when they’re right freaking there!) or roots through my dance-kit drawer, leaving chaos in his wake. Seriously, the man is like a water buffalo sloshing around in a pond when he gets in there.

My married peeps (and anyone with kids or particularly egregious housemates; similar things can happen in kitchen drawers) will understand how this helps keep me out of prison.

image

La Pièce de Resistance

A cheap keychain-grade carabiner slipped through a convenient opening in the “weave” of the basket holds the hair elastics that aren’t currently in use. I’ve oriented it so the gate can be operated without removing the whole carabiner: you just slide a band up to the top, open the gate, and the band comes right out. The process for replacing one is similarly painless.

I had to think long and hard about how to implement this bit, because my husband is a lazy slob (and will happily tell you so himself). The idea is to make it so freaking easy to put the bands back that it’s basically easier than not bothering.

You guys, I seriously believe in the power of harnessing the path of least resistance. Remember, when (ahem) shaping (ahem) the behavior of spouses, appealing to the natural laziness of the human animal will save you many headaches.

So, there you have it. A tour of how things are staying organized all up in my drawers (dancers be like, “Wait, isn’t that what dance belts are for?” :V).

…And, now, on to the rest of the house.

*gulp*

 

 

 

*So organize. Very boxes. Wow.

Things

For my birthday, I got a new pair of Sansha Pro1cs. Our local dancewear store doesn’t carry Capezio’s Romeo shoes, so I got fitted, and I’m going to try these and then maybe order some Romeos down the line if the fit is right, since the ballet-shoe experts at the shop can figure out the size equivalents.

I also got a new dance belt — a second copy of the black one I already had, but I think Capezio has updated the design with different elastic, and as a result it’s about 1,000 times more comfortable than the old one was on Day 1. I wore it to Trapeze and Conditioning classes tonight.

My Mom sent me a copy of Shunryu Suzuki’s Branching Streams Flow In The Darkness. I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

It’s nice to get useful things (okay, so I totally picked them out myself [update: not the book; that was all Mom], but still), and getting to visit the dance-stuff store with B. and Denis was a great deal of fun. Especially since the lady at the dance-stuff store said of B. and me (while chatting about having to warn younger kids about not toppling the portable barre), “…but you guys are seasoned professionals.”

Between that and the million times I heard the word “Beautiful!” during Trapeze 1, I am amazed that my ego actually fit through the door tonight 🙂

Peacock Tights

People keep asking where I (or, rather, Denis, technically) found my excellent peacock tights, and I finally remembered to ask him for a link, so I’m going to post it here:

Peacock Tights on eBay

If your browser or WP app is being screwy, here’s a verysion you can copy-and-paste:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221766259117

I’m having a random tough week. The fact that I slept for fourteen hours last night and keep wheezing makes me think I’m coming down with something. That said, it’s been quite a while (by my standards, anyway) since I’ve been sick enough to be more than a nuisance, so I guess that’s something positive.

Anyway, I may drop off the radar for a bit while I’m trying to get over whatever this thing is, for which I apologize. I hope to be back soon with the first installment in my my much-promised and much-procrastinated-over Cooking With ADHD series.

That’s it for now.

Enjoy the tights!

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