Well it’s official… I suck at blogging. But it’s not my fault! Honestly it’s not!
This week, last week, next week – they all are, have been and are going to be an absolute blur of cabrioles, ballonnes, ice-baths and Tchaikovsky. Did I forget to mention ballet pantomime? Yes. Sleeping Beauty has arrived.
And I hurt.
You would think that since I am a professional ballerina, having trained since I was five years old to do this it would be a cinch – you know, piece of cake, right? Not to mention the fact that I just came off a grueling Nutcracker season… I mean what else are 43 shows of “holiday magic” good for than to get my butt in shape? Well it would appear that Nutcracker just didn’t cut it.
The Sleeping Beauty is an entirely different kind of monster.
This ballet brings a whole new meaning to the word “production.” Complete with wigs and heels in all four – yes, I did say four – acts, the costumes alone are works of art. And I haven’t even mentioned the sets and scenery. It’s quite a sight to behold! And I must admit this lavish extravagance was never more necessary as this enduring classic endures for two and a quarter hours – three if you include intermissions…
So 135 minutes – and I’m onstage and in character for probably 120 of those. To be fair, I’m not dancing full-out that entire time, but generally speaking I don’t stop for very long before I start again. Off-stage isn’t much different either. Intermission’s consumed by changing costumes, hair, hair pieces, shoes… you get the picture.
In other words it’s a marathon.
The question is will I make it to the starting line?
Classical ballet is really hard on the body, and The Sleeping Beauty is really as classical as it gets. The movements and steps are technical, precise and utterly unforgiving. It utilizes every muscle in your body – muscles you didn’t even know existed, until the next morning they make their cranky, tight and pulsing presence known.
This week my best friend has been the ice bath. The ice bath and I, we have a love-hate relationship.
Imagine submerging your leg in a bucket of slushy ice-water, heavy on the ice. Painful? Well let’s just say it’s not all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. But after a couple minutes when your leg goes completely numb, it’s actually quite nice, in a sick masochistic sort of way… This week I have done this every day, multiple times a day in order to make it to that starting line. Not only have my feet been suffering the wrath of Sleeping Beauty – they look like they went through a belt sander – but my left calf muscle has as well. Like a stubborn cranky child it decided it had had enough. I believe the technical diagnosis is “strained.” At any rate, I’ve managed to coax it out of it’s tantrum through rest, prayer and of course, ice baths. Praise the Lord for that!
Wow… I sound pretty insane to put myself through all of this. And I probably am. But even with all the pain, oh man is there ever gain!
And just in case you’d like to come and see me not only make it to the starting line, but victoriously run this marathon, you can buy tickets here.
Top photo: PNB Company dancers in The Sleeping Beauty. ©Angela Sterling.