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The Reluctant Self Promoter

I must start this post by saying how utterly embarrassed I am about what I am about to write. Not the ballet part and not the crazy-lady-from-the-bush-flies-to-Sydney-to-take-a-ballet-lesson part. No, those all fall within my relative level of normal.

But the self-promotional part? Oh, it’s agony! Why is that? I don’t know. (Well, okay, maybe I know a little bit, but lets not turn all psycho-babble.) I wish I didn’t have such an issue with promoting myself or my work/art/ideas. I see other people being loud and proud about themselves and I’m so darn jealous. It’s something I MUST work through, and apparently there is no time like the present. I’m not sure about that statement, but I’ll have a go anyway.

So there are only two days until… 

“crazy-lady-from-the-bush-flies-to-Sydney-to-take-a-ballet-lesson”

Yep, I will be heading to Sydney for my next Sydney class at Studio Tibor. And honestly, I’m so excited.

I am now having two lessons on the same day. I am having a regular beginner class in the morning and a private with Tibor in the afternoon. Yikes…

“crazy-lady-from-the-bush-crawls-back-onto-plane-to-fly-home-after-Sydney-ballet-lesson”

I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome! I’m going to love every ounce of pain, because it is all completely worth the feeling of having wonderful real-life ballet lessons. 🙂

There is, though, a downside to my Sydney lessons, and that is that they are going to be over before I know it. And I want more! This is my thing. I need it. I love it.

And I am determined to find a way to afford more classes, without taking from our family finances too much. After thinking about this for a while, I decided to launch an online shop. I have started with a fairly small collection of designs on t-shirts, badges, hoodies, drink bottles and mugs, and I have also stocked some items without any designs for those who like wearing unbranded gear.

I will be expanding my design options and item range as I go and I am open to any feedback or suggestions anyone has. And I will be ordering the products myself and will demonstrate the gorgeousness of them one by one! Even the guys’ items. 🙂

All the funds raised from the shop will go to the costs of me getting to more ballet classes. And of course, I will happily let you all know how I go with that effort! So feel free to have a look-see if you wish. No pressure though. It’s just there if people want to shop from there rather than somewhere else! 😀

You can find the shop by clicking on the “My Shop” page at the top of this blog. Or you can also just click on this link —> Bush Shopping!

Below are close up images of the designs on the products. (It is a little hard to see the @bushballerina on the shop website).

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And there are different coloured “Believe & Become” designs for different coloured t-shirts. But they are the same text and layout.

I hope you enjoy the shop — even if you don’t buy anything. I have been having a lot of fun coming up with designs.

It would be so fabulous if gorgeous dancers from dance companies and adult dance classes alike, decided to purchase one, just for the fun of it? Ballerinas, ballerinos and adult dance students, wearing a bush-tee? How incredible. Ah, a girl can dream, right? 😉

Bush xxx

P.S, I’d really appreciate if anyone can share this post via whatever medium you have at hand, be it twitter or facebook or pigeon carrier. That would be awesome!

P.P.S, If you do the pigeon carrier thing, be sure to film it, that’d make a great post! 🙂

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Stupid question, but it has to be asked…

Fifth position. Front leg — is the knee slightly relaxed in front of the back knee?

Obviously you want to hold your back knee as straight as you can, and you can do that. There is nothing getting in the way of you straightening that knee. But what about the front knee? Is it supposed to be completely straight? Or like as straight as you can get it, without breaking contact with your feet?

And if the latter is true, then aren’t you really doing all the pulling up etc. and keeping your back leg completely straight but sort of hugging your front knee to your back knee?

I find that often when I am looking at people standing in fifth position, their front knee looks slightly bent. Now, there are those people who are obviously bending both legs to be able to twist their feet into a closed fifth, and I’m NOT talking about them. I’m also not talking about those painful-to-look-at photos of people rolling their ankles in to stand in faux fifth — these ones often seem to go hand in hand with the both-knees-bent photos. No, I’m taking about beautiful closed fifths where the back leg is straight as can be but the front knee looks a smidge curved around the front knee. Just a smidge. 

SO confused about this! Maybe it is just a body shape thing? Maybe those extra bendy people can keep their legs completely straight and twist their ankles to also be able to keep complete closed contact at their feet as well?

And which is more desirable? Closed feet with slight curve in the front knee? Or completely straight legs but an open fifth at the feet?

I would assume whatever is healthier for the body is correct. So whichever is going to cause less harm and injury — but which is that? Is it harmful to have a slight curve in the front knee, if everything else is in correct alignment? Does it actually allow less twisting of that front knee, which might even be healthier?

Anyone feel like educating this confused wannabe? :/ 

BB

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The Nutcracker, My First Ballet, an Amazing Gift, a Night to Remember and a Big Thankyou

I don’t really even know how to begin writing this post. I never thought I would be writing this post. I am still in shock about what has happened over the last four days. I keep mentally pinching myself…

When I wake up — “Did that really just happen?”

While I’m making tea — “Did that really just happen?”

As I’m writing this blog post — “Did that REALLY just happen?”

Better fill you all in, huh? Okay, so here is what really just happened…

I had written my last blog post about how I had finally, after many failed attempts, managed to get a ticket to see Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker. I had only been able to buy one ticket and it was for two night’s time. This meant my girls and hubby weren’t going to be coming with me, but I decided to try and get over that as at least I was going to get there. I was going to see my first live ballet!

Needless to say, that night and the next day I was a little excited. It was a big shopping and appointment day in town for us, but I hummed along on my ballet buzz.

We busily tried to organise everything, where we would sleep, what time we would leave (as it is a five hour drive for us to get there) and what the hubby would do with the girls while I was seeing the ballet. We knew the girls would have to have a pretty special night out with dad to make up for missing the ballet, so we decided on a Daddy/Daughters date night.

Something that was so beautiful to me was my daughters’ attitude to it all. They heard that I was going to the ballet and they didn’t even ask if they were going as well. Not once. They just got super excited for me. They jumped up and down on our lounges and ran around like crazy creatures squealing that their mum was going to the ballet. They asked me what I was going to wear and suggested that we go ballet clothing shopping for me the next day. They wanted to help me choose the outfit. They took a photo of me holding my ticket up. And they got themselves excited about their daddy/daughter date.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how this amazing thing was happening.

Then, something amazing-er happened….

On Thursday afternoon I got a message from Queensland Ballet. They had heard that I was going to see The Nutcracker, and were excited for me, but they didn’t want me going on my own, they wanted my hubby and girls to come with me, and wanted to offer me the purchase of four tickets that I wouldn’t have been otherwise able to get. Four tickets, all together, so that we could ALL go to the ballet!

I’m going to be honest now. As I read that message from Queensland Ballet, I cried. I became a blubbering mess. It just felt like such a kind gesture from them, and I was blown away that thought of doing that for me. For us.

So, now we were all going to the ballet. My girls were besides themselves with excitement and Dave was thrilled as well.

More planning. More chaos.

The next day we were off. Off to see The Nutcracker five days before Christmas. Our very own Christmas miracle.

We took our camper-bus so we could stay by the beach somewhere on the way back. It was a long drive up but no-one complained. We were all on top of the world.

We got to Brisbane a little later than we would have liked. Quickly got changed into our up-dos and hailed a cab. We arrived at the Playhouse Theatre at 6.30, an hour before the performance started. I popped over to the Box Office and picked up our tickets.

I couldn’t hold back the smile that crept onto my face when I looked down at those tickets in my hand. Four tickets to the ballet. Bliss.

We went for a riverside walk. Grabbed some food. Watched a group of hip hop and break dancers practising their stuff, and as we walked back towards the theatre we were blessed with two amazing buskers, one singing beautiful opera pieces and another playing the cello. Bliss.

We got back to the theatre. The bells rang. The girls looked at me with glistening, hopeful eyes, and I nodded that it was time to take our seats. Their faces filled with Christmas-morning-esq joy.

At this point I still didn’t know exactly where our seats were. I knew we were in the stalls, and in the back row. But I didn’t know which side we were on.

Turns out we weren’t on any side. Our seats were smack bang in the centre of the back row. (We had the lighting/technical control guys in the booth right behind us.)

The Playhouse theatre isn’t huge, so we weren’t a long way back from the stage. It was awesome. An amazing view. And as I sat down in my seat I thought to myself: “Is this really happening?”

That thought was quickly interrupted by my eldest daughter whispering hysterically that Li Cunxin (Mao’s Last Dancer) was sitting six rows in front of us. I looked, and there he was. Someone who’s story often inspires me to believe, despite restrictions, was right there, about to watch the same live ballet as me.

Damn, could this night get any better?

I love the rumble of the audience in a theatre before lights down. There’s an energy to it that just envelops you and makes the silence that follows it all the more tangible.

So the conversational rumble rumbled. The lights dimmed. Silence fell.

And right in that darkened moment of anticipatory silence, at exactly the same time, the daughter on my right grabbed my hand and the daughter on my left grabbed my shoulder.

They were gripped to what might follow. And what followed didn’t disappoint. Not. One. Bit.

This being my first ballet, I realise that I have no other experiences to draw comparisons from, but I LOVED this ballet! The Nutcracker story is a wonderful one for both adults and children alike. The choreographer, Ben Stevenson, purposely put a lot of humour into this one and I think it paid off. It was very cute, funny and clever.

But it was also very beautiful. My eldest daughter and I both cried during the Snow Queen pas de deux — WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!

The flower dance was beautiful. Amazing costumes! So pretty.

When the Sugar Plum Fairy entered the stage I felt myself take a deep breath. I have heard so much about this role and I have seen it on youtube etc. and the music is always so touching. I heard myself thinking that I was about to finally see this role and hear this music performed live. She started to dance. I started to cry again.

Does it sound like I enjoyed myself, yet? 😉

I loved it all.

If I had to pick a favourite part it would be the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux. The choreography moved me. The music moved me. I held my breath at times watching this one.

It was over before we wanted it to be. I could have sat there all night. (A ballet marathon — someone should get onto that idea!)

It was such an amazing night. We were the last to leave the and I was already thinking about when we could come back.

I was also thinking, as I sat, looking at the lowered curtains, how I could possibly describe how this night — this whole experience — had made me feel. I wondered how I could put that into words.

We left the theatre. Walked down the steps and out onto the street. Back into the real world. And my eldest daughter said, with awe in her voice: “Wow, mum, I feel so transcended after seeing that!”

That’s how you put it into words.

I don’t know who it was, specifically within Queensland Ballet, that thought of and approved the idea of offering us those amazing tickets, but I want to thank you anyway. What you did was more than just thoughtful.

You transcended us. You transcended us from the menial, and from the difficult struggles we have faced this year.

Thank you.

We also realised that we need regular transcending and have noted the opening date of Romeo and Juliet next year. 😉

The whole thing was a beautiful, amazing, memory blazing night. It ended with us parked next to the ocean at 1.30am. The girls were tucked up, sweet-d
reaming in the bus. And hubby and I drinking tea outside, under the stars. Both of us thinking — “Did that really just happen?”

Luckily I have these pics to prove that it did 🙂 …

BB

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Hold the Phone… I'm Going to the Ballet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, I almost can’t breathe! Actually… I’m truly not breathing right. Let me breathe for a sec…

Okay, breath back. So after just publishing my last post on my failed attempts to get tickets to see The Nutcracker at QLD Ballet, I decided (because I am either an eternal optimist or a glutton for punishment) to try again.

There was a ticket. But this time there was only one ticket left and it was for the evening performance in two days time….

AND I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG! I’m going to the ballet! And I’m going to see Teri Crilly dance it, too!

Before making the purchase I was very nervous about going solo to my first ballet, but my darling husband gave me the nudge along. And miraculously our dodgy rural internet connection fired up nicely and got me through the checkout. Which means I’m going to the ballet on Friday night! OMG!

Will be sad that my girls and hubby can’t come but we will take them to see the Christmas windows while we’re in Brisbane and then they will have a Daddy-Daughters date at the movies while I do The Nutcracker. 

Did I mention that I’m going to the ballet? Did I mention I’m going to see The Nutcracker?!? Holy macks! I can’t believe it. I don’t even know if I got a decent seat. It is in the Balcony. I have no idea what that even means. But who cares? I would swing from the ceiling if it meant seeing the ballet live!

Wait… did I just say that out loud? I’m “seeing the ballet live”? Cannot. Believe. It. 

What am I supposed to wear? OMG, OMG!

Dreams are coming true on Friday night. How beautiful is that. Here is a photo of me with my printed-off ticket to The Nutcracker!

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P.S, apologies for the annoying amount of OMG’s in this post but it is kind of an OMG moment, right?

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Me and The Nutcracker Ballet

Some will remember a while back I wrote about my plan to get to the Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the end of the year and my plans to get to the Brisbane Bloch store at the same time.

I was going to get to see my first ever live ballet AND buy a pair of ballet shoes that actually fit, on the same day. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be my end of year treat. It was going to be an insanely amazing experience.

We didn’t get to buy tickets before the show sold out, so we were relying on last minute ticket sales, but I wasn’t too worried because I was told by QLD Ballet that tickets would keep coming up, and they did.

Unfortunately most times the tickets came up, I either wasn’t home to access the internet and purchase them (or able to call and purchase) or I was sick and not online at the time.

I wouldn’t mind any of this too much. I mean, I am devastated that my perfect end to the year isn’t going to happen, but that’s okay. That is seriously a first world problem.

But something I do mind, something that I am very peeved about is that twice during this period of frenzied online ticket purchase, I have lost tickets because of our slow rural internet connection. I mean that I have jumped online, seen the available last minute tickets, chosen the time, selected the seats, had said tickets in my QPAC website shopping cart and been trying to get through the checkout, but failed to do so within the allocated timeframe because of our slow rural internet connection — and lost the tickets.

The second time this happened was today. There are only a few days left of the performance and I thought for sure there would be no more tickets becoming available, but I checked anyway — and there were tickets! AMAZING! There were only two tickets, which wasn’t ideal as I wanted my hubby and girls to come with me, but I was desperate by this stage. I was just going to buy the tickets and then deal with logistics later. Turns out, this wasn’t going to be an issue, as I lost the tickets in my cart, again, due to our internet not loading fast enough through the checkout. Can you believe that? Argh!

I’m very disappointed. It feels unfair — yes, I can hear the tiny violin playing too 😉

In any case, this trip won’t be happening. I’m sure we’ll get there next year. And I’m sure it will be an insanely amazing experience when we do.

I do want to thank QLD Ballet for helping to clarify the whole last minute tickets thing for me. And company dancer in The Nutcracker, Teri Crilly, for notifying me, via twitter, on some occasions when tickets became available. That was amazingly generous. (Not that they read this blog, but you know, putting it out there anyway.)

I look forward to getting up to see a QLD Ballet performance, and hopefully something Teri is in, too. And I will be sure to tell everyone ALL about it when it happens!

For now, as long as my end of year treat is with my family, all is well. 🙂

BB

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The Nutcracker and a Bloch Store

Something odd struck me yesterday. Despite my current immersion in ballet, I haven’t actually stepped inside a dancewear shop in 26 years, and I have never been to the ballet. How very un-ballet-ish, of me. Something must change. And something is going to change…

This December I will be doing both, on the same day! I will be seeing The Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker AND I will be visiting the Brisbane Bloch store to stock up on ballet stuffs. That is going to be an AMAZING day, I feel as though I literally cannot wait, although I know I have to. 

Has anyone else seen The Nutcracker? What company did you see it performed by? What did you think? Any favourite moments?

As a child my dancewear was always bought from Bloch (I know, I know, poor me), and living in the inner city of Sydney, our closest Bloch shop was in the Queen Victoria Building. Visiting that Bloch store was like visiting some magic place, full of inspiration. Everyone who entered was already hoping and dreaming, but after a visit to Bloch, as they were leaving, they were hoping and dreaming a little harder. Well, at least, that’s how it always felt to me. 

When I started my journey into beginner ballet, I danced in socks, a tee-shirt and some winter tights I had, for the first few weeks. I wanted my focus to remain on what my body was doing correctly or incorrectly, not how pretty I looked.

About three weeks ago I decided to upgrade my ballet gear. I bought a pair of ballet shoes, a leotard and some tights online (not from Bloch). Wasn’t a great experience and I will wait until I can shop in person before buying more gear. 

I have checked out the Bloch ballet flats and I’m so excited to see which pair ends up feeling perfect for my feet. Will it be the stretchy Zenith, the leather Prolite II, the Pump canvas, or the Pro Elastic canvas? I like the outer feel of leather, but I am enticed by the idea of a canvas shoe that wraps snugly onto my foot, so I may go with canvas if that feels a lot better. I’m interested in anything that enables a lot of foot motion and I want a split sole. Picky much? lol.

These are the Bloch ballet flats I have been looking at: http://www.bloch.com.au/72-womens-ballet-flats

THIS IS THE BALLET I WILL BE SEEING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t worry, I promise to be more cool, calm and collected on the night. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I promise to TRY to be more calm and collected. I expect I will probably be shaking in my boots from excitement and nervousness. OMG I hope I don’t get NPS (nervous peeing syndrome)? Where you get so nervous that you suddenly need to pee as soon as something begins! Um … awkward. Just kidding! Sort of. 

The Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker, here: http://ballet2013.com.au/shows/the-nutcracker/

So, Bloch Brisbane and Queensland Ballet — see you in December! 

Gotta go pee now….