Monday, January 5, 2015

Dance Update

We have been working hard at dance class this year, and both Elliott and I have really made some strides in the fall. At our school, technique is the primary focus in the fall. In the spring, technique is still emphasized, but we choreograph and learn the pieces for the spring recital. I love learning new dances and preparing them for performances. I'm definitely nervous to perform again, since it's been almost 4 years since I last danced on a stage, and 11 years since my last recital! I'm just hoping I get the right shoes on my feet and remember the dances.

Elliott has developed a lot as a person through dance. He's learning to follow instructions and take direction from someone who isn't Mommy, Daddy, or a family member. His teacher is wonderful and his classmates are just the cutest. Because of the class size, and because I'm already there at the school, I've become something of a permanent assistant in his class. He puts on his own shoes in class, which always makes me proud. He wouldn't put on his tap shoes for the first few months, but one day, he just asked his teacher if he could wear them. He loves making noise with his feet (what kid wouldn't!?). He is also working on his musicality and memory skills. He works hard and even if he doesn't stick with this for long, the lessons he has learned will help him in any sport or hobby he takes up. We are very proud.

I'm making different strides. In November, I was given a class to be the primary teacher of, which means I pick their costumes, choreograph their dances, and direct class each week. My class is a "level 2" class, which is pre-Company, but they are about 8 to 11 years old. For some reason, most of our our level 3 and level 2 dancers are the same age. Many of them also just "moved up," so we are still working on a lot of technique, and I will continue to do that throughout the recital preparations. It's been great to have my own class again. In my other classes, I find that my turns are improving. I'm definitely stronger than I was in high school. Somehow, being about 50 pounds heavier than I was then is helping. Leaps are a struggle, partly because I get shin splints easily. Since all but one of the classes that I take are almost all adults, my teachers are aware of everyones limitations and are understanding. The skill I'm most behind on is an "illusion," which looks like a cartwheel, but one leg never leaves the ground. I have the ability, but I'm sort of scared of them. I think its the action of swinging my head down to my feet.  I'm hoping that my ability to learn and remember the recital dances hasn't deteriorated. I am in 9 pieces, choreographing three others, and assisting with 4 others. That's a lot to keep track of!

I'm curious what my readers want to know about dance! Questions about sending little ones for the first time (especially boys) or about returning after years away or really anything!

- M.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: The Year of the Yingers.

2014 was really a mixed bag. I went back and looked at my goals for 2014, and I did achieve about half of them (and they were all that's good). However, I definitely hope to have a more stable 2015.

In that spirit, I have declared this "The Year of the Yingers." I turn 30 at the end of the year, and that is sort of looming over my head. I'm not concerned with aging (it is inevitable), but more with making the most of 29.

I have a list of goals, but I'm primarily focusing on three buzzwords for the year.

1. Focus - Be present; one thing at a time. This is far more effective than the insane multitasking I had to do in order to finish coursework.
2. Balance - No one thing should overtake my life for long. I want a fulfilling job, but I don't want it to prevent me from family time or dancing (which has allowed me to maintain sanity and physical health).
3. Security - Financial security is a major goal this year. I'm not being ambitious with this. I just want to be able to pay off loans, save appropriately, and prevent life from unraveling because of one major expense.

My goals all tie into these, but they will help me focus when the specific goals need to take a back seat.

Goals for 2015:

1. Defend my dissertation, or at least be ready to defend for spring 2016: Once I finish, no more tuition, no more stalling. I'll have the degree in hand and can look for jobs that require the Ph.D. I'm in a good place with this, so as long as I keep working at the same pace.

2. Get a full time job with benefits.

3. Finish potty training Elliott: There will be no diapers in 2016.

4. Build an emergency savings account.

5. Pay off my car.

6. Complete the 40 Days, 40 Bags challenge (even if it takes more than 40 days).

7. Get Elliott and I through our first dance recital together: I haven't danced in about 11 years regularly, and Elliott started dance classes in the fall. I am responsible for choreographing 3 dances, remembering 4 others as an assistant, and performing in 9 others. Our recital is actually split into three separate shows to keep things manageable, so Elliott only performs in the 11 am "preschool" show, while I perform in all three. It's going to be a chaotic spring at dance, but really fun.

8. Be a kick-ass MOH at my sister's wedding: See also, being a kick-ass guest at 4 other weddings (at least).

9. Become a more confident chef: Jason is definitely the cook in our family, but I want to learn more dishes and techniques.

10. Finish my crochet projects currently in progress, get rid of yarn, and complete some bigger projects.

I have made lists in other years too: 2013, 2012

- M.