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Ballet-Physio Update

A few supine leg stretches. Feels great to be moving again.

Hope everyone is treating themselves fairly, cause you know, unfair treatment of yourself will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to visit.

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When the Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’

I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well.

‘Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’

So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.

There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…

If you take a genie and you put it in a bottle and leave it there for 2 weeks, then let it out, it’s going to be relieved to be out of the bottle, it’s going to be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. It may even thank you for letting it out.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let it out, it’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have its freedom, but it’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing it into the bottle in the first place and leaving it there for so long.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, it’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving it in there so long. It’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to it.

If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, it’s gonna come out mad as hell. It just lost 10 years of its life. A decade of feeling like no one gives a shit about it. A decade of feeling like it isn’t important and of not being heard.

At this 10 year mark, before the genie decks you, it’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made it feel.

It will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it.

Then it will never talk to you again. And it will only ever remember you as the arsehole who locked it in a bottle for ten years.

——–

Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left it in the bottle for thousands of years.

Thousands, of years.

The genie is not going to be mad as hell, it’s going to be explosive.

It’s going to be outraged.

It isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because it’s out of the bottle. It’s going to want justice. It’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.

I can see, then, why some people might think it’d be easier not to let the genie out of the bottle now, after those thousands of years.

If you’ve left it in there for so long, and you know how outraged they may be if you let them out, then you know they may be so disruptive once let out.

Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it, right?

Well, for some, sure.

But when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then it’s no longer just a story about a genie.

Now we are talking about humanity. And we should see it as a humanity — because we ARE talking about humans.

You cannot repress people for just being who they were born as — for just not being born, a man, or a heterosexual, or white. You can’t repress people for that, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement at some point.

At some point they’re going to rise. Come out of their metaphorical bottles.

And you can’t expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.

So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is ironic and nonsensical.

I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed rise, become seen, heard and accepted.

I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is taken.

With understanding and compassion to others, no matter how different they look from us, then we can change.

If we all do this, maybe anything is possible?

Zoe xxx

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Don’t House Sit Someone Else’s Life

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Sydney. In the city. Glebe to be precise. We were all pretty independent kids, catching buses and trains from a pretty early age. Walking through city streets to get to corner shops, parks or friends houses. By the time we were leaving the city, I was a city person through and through.

I knew the sights, smells and sounds of the city like the back of my hand. I still do!We moved out of the city and since then I have lived in a few different places but have never been far from the hustle and bustle and always made time to come and get my city fix. When we had children, I wanted them to experience the city too. So we spent many weekends coming into the city soaking up its culture, sounds, sights, knowledge, people and vibrance. 

I know people who were raised in the city, who just loved getting away from it. But that wasn’t the case for me.

For me, those first 12 years imprinted city life onto my soul. My love for the city was hardwired. It was done. 

And there has never been an undoing.

The only reason I never moved back to the city was that living there permanently wasn’t good for my health — my asthma and allergies. 

Sooo life goes on. Things change. Decisions are made. People move. We move.

Our hearts are pulled toward the polar opposite of our previous city life. 

We have the epiphany. We want a country life!

We make a plan. A fabulous plan to make our tree change. 

We find a property. Consider employment. Think about the children. Plan, plan, plan.

And it all seems so perfect. The kids will get a country life, they’ll have treehouses and tree swings and animals to frolick with and they’ll run wild through the meadows in floral handsewn dresses and pick flowers and be merrier than we ever could have imagined.

We will have animals that are so full of personality that it makes it simply agonising to say goodbye. We will build our new earthhouse with spectacular views and live a peaceful, stress free, hippie-farming sort of life.

That’s how the story was supposed to be written.

But the story didn’t go exactly as planned. Our story is of us being blind sided by our tree change.

It has taken me a little longer to adjust to country living than I had hoped. 11-ish years, actually. 11-ish years to realise that I was never going to become a farm girl. I still try to learn the country ropes but I still see things through VERY city-girl eyes.

I suppose that’s part of why, during those desperate times a few years ago, I chose ballet as my relief. I was seeking something to find happiness in, as everything was so bleak at that time, but looking around me then, I couldn’t find anything that felt like home. It all still felt so foreign to me then, like I was house sitting someone else’s life.

Things have definitely changed since then and now, ballet is slipping its way back into my life.

The house sitting thing from above really got me. I realised how scary that is, the possibility that I was just house sitting in someone else’s life’s? Holy crap, how terrifying is that?!

Well it’s terrifying for me. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back only to realise that I didn’t own my life, that I just house sat someone else’s.

With this in mind I moved forward, and continue to move forward, always reminding myself that I own my life and asking “What do I want to do with it?”

So that’s my message today….

Don’t house sit someone else’s life. 

Your life. Your canvas. Paint it however you like.

P.S: The first animals we got on our property were six chickens. We adored those girls. Until we found out they were guys. 

We had six roosters. 

They weren’t peaceful or stress free. And we weren’t sad to see them go.

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This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂

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End The Comparison

I want to say a little something that I keep thinking about.

Ballet, being such a visual-perfection artform, is bound to have a lot of focus on body shapes.

And for ballerinas, at the moment, those qualities are necessary (I hope that changes one day.)

But our beautiful adult ballet community doesn’t need that kind of perception.

Yes, we will all still be wanting to hit the best positions we can, and we want to achieve beautiful ‘ballet lines.’

A lot of people talk about my lovely ballet feet, or my lines. And don’t get me wrong, I will never tire of hearing that my ballet poses look nice (so feel free to keep those coming 😉), but I want to be sure everyone is seeijg this through a healthy perspective.

Let’s also be honest about how those positions and lines come about.

I hit the genetic jackpot regarding those lines and those feet. I lucked out. I then take what I was born with and apply over the top of that what my wonderful teachers teach me, and I end up with the images and lines that you see.

I did NOT always know how to strike a proper fifth in releve, for instance. My teachers could (and still do) place my feet or other body parts in the right positions to show me how it ‘should’ look. Then I practice it over and over.

So being born with my shape, doesn’t mean I easily knew how to create the shapes properly. My teachers will be testament to that. 😉 I’ve had lots of ‘why is your arm doing that weird thing, Zoe?’comments. 

I don’t like placing a lot of focus on striking the perfect pose. And although I thoroughly enjoy Instagram pics, both my own and other dancers’ pics, I worry when I see so much focus being put on getting the perfect positions and flexibility.

I feel it’s helpful to own up to things we were naturally born with and things we have worked really hard to get to. Otherwise I think we set each other up to feel like we’re failing when we see some people doing things, seemingly easily, whilst we struggle immensely with them.

My pointed foot, whilst I work really hard at it, is like 80% just genetics. 

Flexibility, in the other hand is not a strong point for me, mostly. Well, not in the ballet related ways at least.

In the same way, I see women who dance with amazing grace and musicality, that I can only dream about, and I get totally jealous of them. In the past I felt inadequate and as if I would never attain their level of actual dance ability. I’m still not a very good dancer, I still crave being able to move like those dancers, but I don’t think it’s something wrong with me any more. 

Now, I just know that I admire that about those dancers. That I long to be able to do that. That I will work hard to be able to get there.

But I grant myself the permission to acknowledge that I was not born just naturally being able to move gracefully like that. That part takes huge effort for me.

We’re all different. I think it’s best if we love what we do and appreciate how hard we are working to achieve our goals. And stop looking at other people’s photos and belittling ourselves because we don’t match up to it perfectly, or even at all!

You’re all beautiful. Feel it. Be it.

Zoe xxx

  

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New Video of Bush Ballerina for Your Amusement :)

Seriously raw dance moves happening in this video, lol, but I am proud of just getting up and doing it. Had such a fun time. I even attempted to learn the centre work I was learning in my last Sydney class. The backward attitude turn thingo is a very hard one, especially for peeps like me who don’t like to lift one foot off the ground, let alone lift one leg up and then spin around BACKWARDS, while somehow making it look smooth. 

So I’m chuffed that I’m lifting that little footy off the ground at all! 🙂 But yeah, raw as buggery. So please, don’t be looking for perfection! 

Happy living and dancing 🙂

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Sweat and Sydney Take Two

This is how I look after pretty much every ballet class. Very sweaty!

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But I love it. It is a sign that I have worked hard. If I’m not literally dripping sweat to the floor, then I need to do some more until I am. 😀

A couple of pics from today’s class. I have been mainly practicing what I learned in my Tibor class, in each of my own ballet classes. Then recently I have started adding a little something that I would like to experiment with at the end of the class. Today I was thinking about arabesques. I wanted to try some but I didn’t want to overdo anything and hurt my hips. So I had a go, with extreme caution and focus on my core, not twisting, not overextending. I had fun. 🙂

Feeling my core to make sure I am not twisting in this arabesque…

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Arabesque…

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Practicing elonge and twisting head off shoulders…

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On Sydney, well, pictures speak louder than words, so here you go…

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I will be flying to Sydney for a lesson in February. Can’t wait! Just a quick fly down, fly back journey. Should be a beautiful day.

Hope everyone is having a great start to their ballet 2014 year!

BB