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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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How-To — Stretching For Adult Ballerinas

OMG! My first how-to post! I’m so excited!

Firstly, remind yourself while you attempt these stretches that you’re only human.

Some people say there is a right and wrong way of doing stretches.

I tend to think it’s all a bit open to interpretation.

Okay, so here are the stretches I want to show you today. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

1) The Floorย Has Never Felt So Fucking Far Away

This stretch is to release the hamstrings. You want to gently reach down to the floor.

It helps if you stretch your fingers out really wide and express all your pain with your face.

Visualization has been proven to be a powerful tool. Being able to see yourself reaching further may help your progress. So hallucinogenic fungi might be helpful for this one.

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2) The Crotch Crampย 

In this stretch you want to place your foot on the barre and gently reach for it. If you feel your crotch starting to cramp up, you’re probably on the right track.

It’s important to aim for straight legs and back in this stretch. But most important is that you fully express how badly you want to reach your foot.

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3) The Crotch Cramp — With Port De Bras and Happy Face.ย 

When you are feeling confident with your execution of The Crotch Cramp stretch, it is probably time to add some delicate ballet arms and ballet face to the pose.

When doing this, you simply want to do the same as the previous stretch, but add some lovely fifth position arms and turn toward the camera/audience/teacher and express your best, delicate, in control, poised ballet smile.

Again, it’s important to hold straight legs and back. But more importantly, your smile should hide the pain you and your crotch are in.

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4) The Barre Hang

This stretch is important for developing your front splits. It’s mainly just important that you look really proud of yourself and that you hold on really tight so that you don’t fall onto the floor and break your vagina.

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5) The Barre Hang — With Port De Bras

This stretch is fairly self explanatory. You are simply adding some lovely port-de-bras to the previous stretch. We do this because adding another level of complexity to our exercises always helps us progress so much more (as you can see in the photo demonstration.)

It’s really important to relax into this stretch.

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I hope you have found this how-to tutorial helpful. If you would like to see any other how-to tutorials from me, let me know in the comments or on one of the social media gatherings.

Zoe xxx

****DISCLAIMER****

This is a joke.

This is not real instruction.

Don’t do these stretches like this.

Don’t stretch without being really warm first, and I don’t mean warm in front of a fire, I mean having warm muscles.

Don’t stretch without instruction from someone.

Don’t pull those faces.

Don’t be stupid.

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The 2014 Wrap — A Pretty Amazing Year, Really!

2014, what a hurricane of a year! Feels like I have swirled from pillar to post in one of the most tumultuous years of my life.

I remember feeling, on several occasions, that I wouldn’t be able to continue ballet. Either for health reasons or just because of my isolation.

But I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere. And I have gained some clarity around my ballet journey and health issues that I know will help me continue to follow my heart.

After all, following my heart is what this whole journey has been about. Following my heart is the thing that interests me the most. It’s such a mind-blowingly powerful thing when you feel it.

I remember on one of my trips to Studio Tibor in Sydney this year, I had a moment where I looked around and felt my heart radiating with joy. And I thought about how I had followed my heart here, to this moment, and how perfectly alive, in-sync, and at home I felt.

It staggered me to think that my heart knew exactly what I wanted, before my mind or body did — and they were just catching up.

In preparation for this 2014 wrap post I have collected photos from my year, and I have to say, it has been a most uplifting experience.

This year was really scary sometimes. Like REALLY scary. And those scary times kind of linger in the background and can make it difficult to move on.

But move on we must.

And moving on I am.

So, let’s have a little looksee back at 2014 (or at least some of it) …

The first thing I did in 2014, like within the first week of 2014, was to meet Tibor Horvath in person for the first time — AND have my first lesson from him.

It was a private lesson in his big beautiful studio, chandeliers and all. It was incredible!

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It was a great start to the year.

There’s a line in the movie Annie about it being a bitter sweet thing to get a taste of something you can’t get any more of. And I felt exactly that bitter sweetness after that first lesson.

As we hit the road for home, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest more and more as every kilometer passed. I had now had a taste of Studio Tibor life — and I didn’t want to leave it.

As we drove, I cried silently, and nursed my aching heart with the promise that I would return to that glorious studio again.

And I did. ๐Ÿ™‚

The following month I jumped on a plane…

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… and flew to Sydney for a class and a private with Tibor. It was glorious again.

A few months of health issues made my ballet journey a bit up and down.

Then in August I flew back down again. This time I had a private with Tibor and took my first class with Vadym. I loved, loved, loved that day! Amazing!

10613034_289293094591349_8669965332334805771_nAnd I was determined enough to get my derriere back down again in September. I did the same private with Tibor and class with Vadym. This combination was proving to be absolutely amazing for me and my ballet. It’s the most heavenly combo ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

The beautiful Tibor. Ballet, in every manifest, flows through this guy’s veins. He walks into the room and you go, “Oh, ballet just arrived.”

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The beautiful Tricia. This lady is one of my adult ballet inspirations. She’s so beautiful to watch that sometimes when we’re in a class together I want to stop what I’m doing and just watch her dance. She has the attitude that Tibor wants me to have. And I can see why.

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Snapshot 1 (28-12-2014 11-25 AM)

Snapshot 2 (28-12-2014 11-29 AM)

I was weaker during this trip. I wasn’t fully aware at the time, but in hindsight we know that my body was going down a little, and it affected my physical ability during this session and Vadym’s class afterwards. I was shakier, and my leg muscles were just collapsing.

BUT it was still a beautiful day. One of the best actually. Funny how that happens.

I got meself my first pair of point shoes!

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And then I got my second pair…

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I kicked up my toes with some celebratory ballet at the river…

10685592_299268130260512_3872335899897530088_nFell in love with these…

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Built a mini studio in the bedroom.

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Made up some new moves…

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Started getting my strength back…

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And became Giselle…

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Wowsers! Turns out I did a whole bunch of awesome stuff this year! I really made stuff happen.

I achieved things I never would have thought possible before.

I challenged my self-beliefs.

I followed my heart, in spite of the fear.

And I felt the magic moment of arrival.ย The moment you arrive at your heart’s destination. Bathing in it. Soaking it up.

Following my heart was my favourite part of this year. I really just went for it.

This coming 2015 I hope to continue going for it, but I will be aiming for more consistency.

I will be following my heart, but remaining aware of what my body and mind need in order to keep following my heart.

2015 will be full of heart-following, loving, dancing, Studio Tibor, QLD Ballet, my beautiful little family, travelling, writing, dreaming, studio building, laughing with friends and body maintenance.

I wish everyone a wonderful end to 2014 and happy, glowing dreams of contentment and good moments for 2015.

Thanks for being part of my 2014 ride!

Bush xxx

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Second Trip to Studio Tibor — Part 2

So, back to my Sydney trip…

After the beginner class I watched a pointe class, which was mesmerising. It looked both beautiful and like a LOT of bloody hard work. Pointe shoes look lovely on and all, but oh my golly, don’t know that I’ll ever be wearing them. I find it hard to imagine that my feet will ever be strong enough for that.

By this point I had recovered from the beginner class and I felt like I could have danced around with the pointe class. Not en pointe! Just doing the same things but on flat and demi. But I was really surprised by this, that I felt I could go again! Awesome!

After the pointe class, I joined Tricia, Kim, and another lovely lady (who’s name I have forgotten (sorry)) for lunch at a lovely cafe across the road.

And before I knew it it was time for my private.

The private was great. We worked on my weakest areas, core strength, centre work and confidence.

Yes, Tibor brought up my low self-confidence again. This seems to be a huge barrier, and one that I HAVE to get over or else I will not be able to progress as far as is possible.

I’m really very stuck on that one. I can feel it, tangibly. It feels like being locked in chains. And I’m terrified of what might happen if the chains come off.

Despite being stuck, I am determined to overcome it.

So I have heaps of work cut out for me with just that. Just letting go, cutting the chains, pushing down the barrier. Because I know what I want and I can’t let this stupid stuff get in the way. I know I have already started working on this but I need a huge shift now.

On a practical note, we did a lot of fondus, some centre work and we talked through everything that you should do at the barre, before heading to centre work. I would love it if I could remember more of what we talked about with the barre exercises.

I am totally jealous of anyone who gets to go to classes regularly. I would get heaps more from these classes if I could go each week. Then you are relearning the same exercises each week, which enables you to make more progress. But that’s enough whining. I really can’t complain as I feel incredibly blessed to be able to take classes at all.

Can’t wait to get to more and more lessons down there. Which brings me to my plan for the future: I have decided that I need to change the way I take lessons. While I absolutely loved this last experience, I think I need to have a longer private lesson and if I have a class while I am there it needs to after the private — if I can still stand! Otherwise, if I do the class first, my head is kind of full of trying to remember what I learnt there and I’m a bit of a funnel-brain in the private afterwards. But the private is the one I get most progress out of.

I will also try to change the flight times so that I leave later and get back earlier. Current flight times, leaving from my closest airport, mean I have to wake up at 4am and leave at 4.30am, which isn’t great if I can’t fall asleep until 1am the night before (which is normal for me). And then if the flight back is late, you are looking at a seriously long day. The only thing I really hate about this is that I was so tired from the non-ballet related stuff like flight times etc. that I was too tired to even write notes on the way back. And I HATE not writing my notes.

I will also be eagerly picking up the pace on the studio build. Desperately need space to practise moving around the floor in. I have a feeling that this will play a vital role in me breaking through that confidence barrier.

Regarding the rest of the trip, my body was sore and tired for a few days after, but most of the tiredness came from the majorly delayed flight, which didn’t end up leaving until about 10.30pm … PM!!! Was supposed to leave at 6.45pm. So we didn’t get home until 2am. That meant it was a 22 hr day. Yikes!

My sore muscles, on the other hand, can only be claimed by the ballet itself. Tibor sees my true ability far more easily than I do, actually, his ability to see how far someone can go seems almost magical to me. He takes you right to your full potential, but not a millimetre further. This means he makes me use my full proper turnout, which is a lot more than we have ever seen in photos (or I have ever seen), and the full extension of my feet, which is more bendy than I could ever see myself doing. So yep, sore sore sore. But it’s okay. It’s a good sore. I’m heaps better today, actually walking like normal now, and today I pointed my foot — as you will see in the pic below. This was a great moment! LOL

That wraps up my second trip to Studio Tibor. Again, they are an amazing bunch of people, training absolutely stunning dancers. And they are all inspired by their wonderful artistic director, Tibor.

I encourage anyone in Sydney who might like to try ballet, to go to this studio. Such a joy.

Looking so forward to locking in my next date! Keep an eye on that calendar again!

I can point my foot again!!! Yay!!!…

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BB