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jocollinsdancer

Delectable Discussions on Dance

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February 2013

Have a Feel Good Moment

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I just found this and I love it! It’s so true, no matter what you are feeling, happy, or sad, if you just put on some music and dance around your room you will instantly feel better!

If something is getting me down, I know the fastest way to make myself feel good isn’t to turn to a glass of wine or look in the pantry (as we so often do!) but it’s to put on some of my favorite bands and sing and dance along. A bit of The Beatles, U2, Beyonce, or Elton John usually do the trick for me!

Don’t forget to grab a ‘microphone’  and imagine yourself performing at Wembley Stadium.

 

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Post Surgery Day #6

Ok, so far I seem to have survived!

Since my surgery on Friday I’ve had 2 days of rest, 2 days of teaching 5 hours each,  1 rehearsal, and tonight 1 Entwine class. It has been a hectic week and it’s not about to slow down. I’m sure if my doctor found out how much I’ve still had to do she wouldn’t be impressed with me.

So far I’ve been getting around ok on my crutches and my foot is all bandaged up and in a moon-boot for the majority of the day. I religiously followed my nurse’s instructions post surgery in regard to keeping on top of my pain medication so that I don’t wait to take them until after I feel pain, and that has made a huge difference. I have been able to manage a lot better than I feared I would.

The biggest challenges of the week for me, have been teaching and rehearsing without being able to demonstrate. I tell you, it is a whole different ball game. There are plenty of dance teachers who are unable to demonstrate and still produce fantastic dancers. May it be due to injury, age, or a number of things, but for me I am finding it very hard because I am a very physical, hands on type of teacher. I guess also because I am still working in the industry, I find it helpful to be able to show the students myself the lines and movements I am after.

Most of my classes faired well, due to the fact that they have had me teach them for a while now and they are used to my style and my vocabulary. Ballet classes were undoubtedly the easiest to teach, because the language is so absolutely detailed. Ballet terminology can describe to the students exactly what arm or leg I want and where, what alignment of the body or where to face on the stage, everything can be described right down to the fingertips if the dancer knows their terminology well.

The best thing about this, is that no matter where you go in the world, you will always know what the Ballet Master wants you to dance even if you don’t know the country’s native tongue. There are only small differences from place to place, for example the Russian Vaganova method using “Eleve” or “Releve” in place of the English “Rise” but the differences are so small it wouldn’t phase anyone.

I think that even if ballet isn’t your forte, if you are familiar with even some of the basic terminology it stands you in good stead for your career. There have been so many times that I have been working on cruise ships, or performing cabaret, or in a new contemporary piece, where the choreographers have used ballet language to communicate what they want to the dancers. It is universal and it really empowers you as a dancer to have this under your belt.

The hardest classes for me this week were my younger students, the pre-school children and my younger tap dancers. They are very visual and haven’t yet got their own regular vocab under their belt, let alone a dance one. Thankfully I had some help from my senior students who demonstrated for me.

What was funny, was that even though I had my assistants demonstrating, the pre-schoolers would pop their foot out flexed as soon as they saw me move my moon-boot. It was very cute, they really hone in on the visual aspect in class.

I tell you what, I may have been a teacher for many years, but I learn something new from my students all the time!

Post Surgery Day #1

This is my under-layer for the next 10 days
This is my under-layer for the next 10 days

Yay, I have made it through the first 24 hours of having surgery on my left ankle and so far it has been manageable.

Yesterday morning I went in to have an anthroscopy where they went into my ankle via two incisions and pumped it up with fluid so they could get a good look around in there with a camera, take out the cartilage that I had chipped off my joint when I did my injury in August last year, and clean up everything else in there, any loose pieces etc. that needed to come out.  They were also looking to see how damaged my ligaments and tendons are to see if I need any more surgery to stabilize my ankle, but I am hoping that I won’t have to go through that as well, as that would mean even longer off dancing, 6 weeks in a cast, and of course longer recovery period. Not to mention I might loose quite a bit of movement in my ankle.

So, what has been done, was apparently a lot of scraping around in there according to one of my nurses, so she warned me I may be quite sore as they were having a real good go in there. One of the surgeons told me that they would actually pull and sort of separate my ankle from my leg a bit so there is space for them to get around! Freaky!

Some twisted part of me would like to have had a video camera just to see that happen….even longer dancing legs! ha ha

Anyway, I came out of it a bit groggy, as you do after having general anesthetic, but thankfully I wasn’t nauseous at all. My wonderful husband picked me up with his laughing monkey toy in tow to cheer me up, and some pillows in the back seat of the car. What a gentleman. I didn’t get to speak to the surgeons afterward but I wish I had. I have a few questions as I wasn’t given much information about how it all went in there. Just my instructions for the next 10 days…..no shower for 2 days (EEeeww so I’m sorting that out another way) then I have to make sure I don’t get my leg wet when I’m in the shower at all. I’m on crutches and in a moon-boot and can only gently touch my leg to the floor when I get up to answer the call of nature. Otherwise my leg is to be kept elevated at all times.

Now, in order to avoid the spreading of my buttocks  that is encouraged by sitting on one’s derriere for hours a day, I am going to keep a very close eye on my diet and make sure I don’t put tonnes of pizza in my mouth (although it is very tempting while watching movies and not being able to do much else!) Does anyone have tips for a diet for someone in my position?

I do start teaching my students for 2013 on Monday and Tuesday, have rehearsal for a show I’m choreographing on Wednesday, and my new Entwine dance class for adults on Thursday. So I will be keeping myself busy even though I’ve just been through something quite serious. I am grateful that I have some helpful students who are going to demonstrate for some of my classes, and wonderful supportive people around me, such as my family, my Husband, my wonderful Aunt who has even baked for me, and the lovely caring messages from my family and friends.

After going through all of this the best advice I can give to anyone, is definitely get second and third opinions from other doctors and surgeons. The first specialist I went to see wasn’t very positive at all that I would be able to continue dancing, and I left the building in tears. After having more x-rays and seeing more people, I was able to have more and more information and more options presented to me.

I may not be through the woods yet, but I have found a surgeon who I feel comfortable with, she understands what I need out of my body and has worked not to put my ankle through more than is neccessary.  I’m keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that I heal well and am back to dancing in no time. Until then, I can amuse myself with balancing on my crutches in precarious positions!

2013 Off to a flying start…

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

I don’t know about you, but my year has begun with a bang and I hope it continues this way.

For New Year’s Eve I was fortunate enough to be chosen to perform as one of three Marylin Monroe’s at Auckland’s Sky City, Viva Las Vegas themed night. It was so much fun, one of the best N.Y.E’s I can remember. The three of us worked so well together, we were professional but easy to work with and got along like a house on fire, and our Choreographer was amazing. She captured the style of Marylin and her era really well, and everything was choreographed beautifully to the music. We had four routines that we performed on different stages throughout the Casino and on an outside stage underneath the Sky Tower.  The evening was scheduled to the minute, with performances, and photo opportunities for the guests. We were even allocated a “Minder” who had a walkie-talkie and would escort us through the crowds to each position so we were there exactly on time. It felt a bit like being a celebrity making an appearance at a big event!

We all felt gorgeous in our costumes, Shanelle and I wore the classic white halterneck dresses and Natalie had the pink “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend” costume. All of us had our make-up and hair professionaly done which was organized by our Choreographer Tracy, and it was great to go into our own dressing room and be pampered for the night.

Yes we worked hard, and we had a lot of dancing, smiling, staying in character, and performing to do, but it was the most fun I’ve had at a N.Y.E dancing gig in a while. Everyone was so excited when they saw us and wanted picture after picture which was very sweet, although my cheeks were going numb by the end of all the photos.

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There were some amazing acts that were also moving from stage to stage, an Elvis impersonator who was brilliant, a Katy Perry singer, and the some of my dancing friends who were mezmerizing arielists performing meters above the crowds in gorgeous silver Esther Williams inspired costumes. The Diamond Showgirls were there as well, in deep red sequins and feathers, and the whole night was put together brilliantly.

Our final performance was just after Midnight – I got to give my Husband a Midnight kiss as he and his friends came in to watch us, so it was perfect timing. Then we were back to the dressing rooms for a quick change into our party dresses, and we hit the champers and the dance floor at TwentyOne – the nightclub within the casino.

It was the perfect way to bring in the new year, and celebrate a great night of performing. We were all on cloud nine, everything had gone so well and we had such a great response from guests and staff, we couldn’t have been happier.

Since that night the year has been very busy and exciting so far. I’ve filmed a t.v commerical for Encore Cabaret,  been in and out of surgeons offices trying to get the best for my injured foot, had a lovely but far too short week in Melbourne to celebrate my Mum’s 50th birthday – where I performed a barefoot dance and my Showgirls performed a comedy routine from “The Producers”. Now back in Auckland, I have some exciting choreography coming up, the start of my Entwine Dance Classes, and my surgery on my left foot.  It’s only one month in and so much has happened already, I hope the rest of the year is this jam-packed….

Viva Las Vegas, New Year's Eve at Sky City

Myself dancing with Natalie and Shanelle, as the “Marylins” on New Year’s Eve. It was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve had, the atmosphere was fantastic.

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