Week 7: Shooting for the top

To my own sorrow, this week flew by so darn quickly! In some ways it was good, and in others, too short!

Sat/Sund:

I worked all of last weekend, which in itself is uneventful, except for the fact that I had a photo-shoot! It was on the beautiful Sunday, with a ton of sunshine and warmth (which was a fleeting moment in Chicago), the shoot took place at Millennium Park and its surrounding areas. I really enjoyed this shoot, since it was just plain fun! Here are some of the pictures I took:
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Other than the photo-shoot, I spent my time immersing myself at the Cultural Center, which I consider to be my second home. Literally. If I am not working at LEGO or in dance class, odds are that you will find me somewhere in this magnificently beautiful building. I feel at home here, I have since the summer, for some reason. I love everything it has to offer: art, architecture, peace..

Monday:

Began my day with Beruite’s ballet class, which as usual, is fantastic, except myself!!!! Argggg to myself today for not being better. I’m assuming since I didn’t dance all weekend beforehand, nor did I do any type of conditioning, that my body was pretty wonky today. I felt very weak, tired and in pain throughout this class. I was pretty much out of placement, more than usual at least, the entire class. I tried my best though.

Lizzie gave a fantastic class, with a gorgeous phrase at the end. She touched upon committing to the movement, rather than going through the motions. She said that we should dance everything, even the little movements like roll ups. I was giving everything I had in her class, which wiped me out!!!! I will say that the class has come a long way, as a whole, when it comes to the improv-follow along exercise..its nice because it allows everyone to grow and explore, much much more!

I decided to take Beruite’s ballet class afterwards, but, unfortunately I only made it to the end of barre. 😦 Even during barre I was all over the place. My body was exhausted, completely. I was just everywhere, and she told me not to feel bad to be leaving after the barre. She is right, I need to listen to my body.

**

Tuesday:

Nicole gave an amazing Pilates class this morning. I enjoy Pilates because I focus on the little muscles that I never access during ballet (even though I should be!). Today’s favorite exercise was the side-kick series. Basically, it is an exercise that is done throughout all of Pilates which allows you to engage your rotators, but FORCES your awareness to the hip and leg connection. It is pretty obvious when you are hiking your hip up and when you’ve let go of your power-house. I recommend this exercise to anyone, especially right before a ballet class!

Claire gave an incredibly difficult class: challenging and fun. I was still a bit off, but the Pilates class did help a huge deal! I wont say that I was perfect, or even close to it, but I did try my hardest in this class (well…in every class). I just wish that I had less “off-days” than I do “on-days”. My thought was that the previous week’s progressions would have rolled along to this week, but I didn’t find that to be so. Either way, I still look in the mirror and am so proud of myself everyday. We all should be.

During Victor’s class, we expressed our tiredness and asked for an easy class. He agreed, thankfully!! His class wasn’t “easier” it was just slower with more details, which was perfect! He broke down the Cuban-Contemporary technique to a T.. But I’d say what I learned most from this specific class was what he told us in the beginning, he said, “When you are tired, it is a good time to pull back and focus on the details of your technique, instead of trying to push through and getting bad, sloppy habbits..” he also said, “…I trained in this style for many, many years, and the company didn’t perform works from the technique, it was taught to make us move differently as dancers..” I would say that these two combined where ideal, since I needed to hear that. I focused on the details of this style, which essentially initiates movement from the pelvis through spinal contractions and waves, etc. I love his classes.

Work.

Wednesday:

In Laura’s ballet class, I was showed the spiraling of the back required to do a proper arabesque. I was also taught that I shouldn’t try to keep my hips and pelvis statically square, because then I’ll never go anywhere! I should allow my pelvis to tip, and hips to open up slightly during arabesque. Genius. Also, I completely “ate it” during this class, while going across the floor… It was very embarrassing. At least I can say that I’ve fallen in class now.

Kristina’s class was phenomenal. We explored more of the 3-d dancing, through spacial dimensions. We learned the differences of planar, linear and dimensional dancing through spoking, carving and spiraling. I enjoy how my mind and body must work together through her Laban training, its very interesting and engaging. We also started this class standing, which was different, but very exciting! I was told that in this class, I could splay my ribs and stick my tush out as much as I wanted!!! ha! I love her. 🙂

Work.

Thursday:

Started with Terry’s guest ballet class. This was a phenomenal class since I felt more in tune with my body and was giving it all I had. I felt like I did great! It was also nice to have the second company there taking class with us, to inspire and observe. I’m guessing we weren’t using enough plie because a chunk of the roofing fell onto the studio floor during grand allegro and he attested that it was the “gods fury” by tossing stones, since we did not plie upon landing. He also gave a word on contemporary thought during ballet class, without leaving the essence of ballet behind. Very knowledgeable and inspiring class.

We had Ricky, again, as a guest instructor for contemporary. I enjoyed his class so much, even the phrase at the end was great (although, I was not a fan of the song choice. I think it might have been Justin Timberlake..) I focused more on the expansion of my body, but while trying not to allow my body to become discombobulated.

After classes were done, I was too exhausted to try to take Beruite’s ballet 😦 so I stuck around and spoke with my great friend, Federika. I must say she is such a sweetheart. She has a heart and personality of gold, and she is a FANTASTIC dancer! I enjoy her energy in and out of class.. she just makes you feel as though anything is possible. She is originally from Italy, and is a scholarship student, too. We spoke about auditions and companies and agreed that we will shoot for THE TOP, no matter what!!!! 🙂 If we don’t try then we wont ever find out what could have happened. Also, it was upon speaking to her that I realized that if I didn’t believe in myself, no one else would. I will begin to have more faith in myself and let go of myself and just DO IT. She really is a treasure. I can write novels on her, but I will hold off for the moment. 😉

Friday:

Today, I spoke with someone else who I found to be quite inspiring (ever since I’ve seen him, and more so after speaking with him).. I’m not sure what his name is, but he is a fantastic dancer who takes classes every now and then. He used to be in HS2, a few years ago, but got injured and had to stop. His dancing is phenomenal but what gets me is his personality! Just speaking with him is inspiring. It was such a pleasure, and I hope to speak and learn from him again.

Before Claire’s amazing ballet class began, Federika did something soooooo amazing….She gave me HER superman t-shirt. Oh my god.. I almost cried! It was the most random and amazing gesture. I mean, Superman is my favorite superhero, but it just meant so much more to me than that. He represents someone who can do ANYTHING: strong, bold and fearless. With her help, and drive, I will be just that. WE will be. I really do appreciate having her in my life SO MUCH.. words cannot describe.

Claire’s class was amazing after the morning. I had my friend Chloe go in separate groups as I, so we could analyze each other and give corrections. I will say that this helped me out A LOT. One thing I focused on, which she pointed out, was to dance LOOOOONNNNGGGGEEERRR, since I was starting to look short. When I did this, I felt my Pilates training and I felt different… but GOOOD!!!! It was fantastic! I just felt great in this class. Afterwards, the super awesome nice guy taught me a few foot stretches since my foot has been cramping and painfully, hurting.

Gaga with Ana was just a dream come true. I was able to feel my skin and bones. I felt new areas that were left un[dance]touched, they felt out of place yet familiar. It was such a great feeling to get to them.. I can equate the feeling to a hot night, lying on your pillow and turning it so many times until you find that ONE patch of untouched cold.. then it fades slowly and warms up. It is such beauty to the body to move in such an organic and primal way.

Scholarship Pilates with Claire… Hmm.. I would say that this has been my BEST session, so far!!! I felt an odd feeling (which turned out to be my deepest abdominals) during this class. I also felt a very long length through the body and power through the rotators. It is my belief that if I were to take Pilates more often, then I’d allow my body to remember it and access it during ballet. I must do this from now on. I want to be stronger. I will be.

Work.
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The week began quite challenging, within the body, but progressed very quickly. I feel great at the end of it all. I do need to focus on doing more Pilates, and stretching throughout the week. I should also do these two on the days I can’t make classes (Sat and Sund). I am so lucky to have all the people I have in my life.

I believe in myself, and I just want you all to know that I am shooting for the TOP!!
Like Yoda says, “Do or not do, there is no try.”
I will do.

Ruben

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