I want to bring myself, me, Sarah, my face, more to the front of my dance wear business. I started out trying to keep it separate from me, to have it be its own entity or some sort of alternative personality. That has only kind of worked. I have been less motivated to really invest my time and emotions in it and I feel like that is why growth has been so slow. I somehow wanted it to magically bloom on its own.

So starting with this post, I’m going to be making the blog more about ME, and WHY I wanted to start this business, and what my goals are as an adult dancer and as a person.

I started Cheval Dancewear so that it could some day finance my ballet addiction. I want it to eventually pay for dance classes, pointe shoes, trips to go take classes and see performances all over the world, and to have the income and time flexibility to step away from my current work as a ballet teacher and ballet class accompanist in order to do those things.

So this small business would ideally solve one problem for an older person wanting to dance, but I need to solve the other two: looking like a dancer and moving like one. For the second, I need to get myself in to classes and workshops. I’ve been able to do this by planning my work around classes available in my city and saving money for those and for workshops and community performances. I’ve also done a little performing for free, most recently at a small care center in my area. Here is a video of that:

The second thing is what I was focusing on all last month with my 21 day salt water fast.

My family doesn’t have a lot of thin people in it. We’re all average to large sized typical Americans. Even if some of us do get our weight down we don’t really have the long look of the popular ballet build. I personally have been on a long, long fat loss and body composition journey. You can read about it in my Full Pointe Post here:

So this blog will be about me working towards my physical goals as far as fat loss, for which I am using fasting and the keto diet, my dance goals, including classes, performances and workshops, and and my business goals where I’ll share my product ideas and development, and ask you to support me by buying my items. I’ll ask for your feedback on items too.

I also do music, so for my dance teacher friends, I’ll have free music tracks for teaching, and tips for anyone looking to be or train a pianist for ballet classes.

I basically want to simplify and bring together all these parts of my life. I want to dance, and I need everything to come together to support that, instead of pulling me every which way.

This post for the last week of 2018 is to make me accountable for my business, my post fast eating (something I really need to work on) and my goals for becoming a stronger, better dancer.

My Winter Break Ballet Workout goal is to do the following workout and conditioning list every day:

1.50 weighted Big Jumps

2. 50 releve on each leg with featured leg in second.

3. 50 weighted port de bras

4. 20 weighted half moon arches.

5. 30 “V” split kicks and 100 beats in “V” sit.

6. 20 side extension knee lifts

7. Eyes closed balance in fist position releve.

8. Fondu at 90 and envelope and 90

9. Back stretch and hold and 20 back lifts

10. Bridge kicks

11.Head stand balance and press.

12. Split rolls and over splits 

13. Center fondue and Russian Grand Rond

14. Turn en de hores from plie a la second

15. Promenade in Second and Devant en de hors and en de dahns.

16. Attempt the Raymonda Act 3 variation

17. Study the female solo from “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated”

18. Improvise to at least one song.

19. Roll and stretch

I also want to work on foute turns and Italian foutes, and drills to get my back walk over. 

I did each of these items this morning, December 21st, and I will be able, because of my schedule, to do them each morning for the next seven days. I’ll write briefly about it here, my energy levels and successes. 

Right now I can barely do any of that Raymonda variation because I can’t do many of the steps. But I want to improve all of those. 

I’m creating this post to stay accountable. I’ll be making a short video, first to show you the items on the list, then to share my progress on the stuff I can’t do yet, like the turns, walk over, and variation steps. 

I’m hoping to build myself into a better, stronger and more interesting dancer for the new year. 

Day Zero: December 22nd

I went down to take an adult class but it was cancelled, so I used the room to do my workout and all the things on my list. Some of them were not so successful. I’ll make a full video tomorrow and you will see. I hope to improve some of the by the end of these eight days.

My ultimate goal is to make an audition video for a company I want to join. I feel once I have these items solidly in my body I will be ready to take the next step, which will be paying for some professional coaching. 

Day One: December 23rd

Here is the basic workout with all the elements. I hope to improve all these things and to do better filming too! I didn’t realize my head was cut off! Most of the time I’ll be able to find a studio space do dance more full out and film better

Day Two: December 24th

Today, obviously, is Christmas Eve. But that’s not my excuse for not doing my workout today.

I over ate yesterday. That made me food hung over. I woke up very late this morning and was sluggish and dull. And what did I do? I ate some more. I felt my guts moving slowly, probably because I wasn’t careful enough yesterday with a system that had been resting for almost three weeks. So I ate a cucumber and an apple to try to get things moving. The day some how got away from me in a way I haven’t experienced for a while. While fasting my brain was on fire; I was constantly accomplishing tasks big and small with so little effort, because my brain was humming along on ketones. It was so exciting!

But not today. suddenly I was at a family dinner needlessly stuffing my face again. I need to do another short fast to let my body catch up. But I’m tired from over working my digestive system, so besides sleeping, I just want to eat more… its a disgusting cycle I’ve found myself in many times. I’m a recovering sugar and food addict, and i want to put it all out there so I can get over it.

Here is is nearly eleven pm. All this month I have been doing my updates before 10 am most days.

Tomorrow will be better. I will sleep as long as I feel like in the morning, then I’m going for a long walk in the hills over my house. Then I’m going to an open dance studio and I’m going to move. Dance, improvise, practice hard steps, do my workout, stretch, just MOVE. It will be the best Christmas gift I can give myself. I’ll have my husband at home all to myself for the evening and we have some special things planned, just us as a couple.

Here is my video of today, just me talking about how I have so far done a poor job with my refeed. I WILL fast tomorrow, hold me to it!

Day Three, December 25th

Merry Christmas! Today was a perfect Christmas for me. I walked all over, I played the piano, I did some reading, I spent time with my favorite man in the world, I spoke to my family, and I even squeezed in some dancing. Not a bunch, but enough that I feel good about how much I moved today.

I fasted MOST of the day. I want to do another two or three days in a row, my guts are telling me they need it, but the Christmas indulgence spirit broke in on my plans, and I had cheese and apples. But I have been SOOOO much better about avoiding sweets this Christmas. Normally I would be hating myself over a fourth piece of pie right now. I still wish I’d had the discipline to fast, but I HAVE had the discipline to not eat sugar.

But i need a game plan for tomorrow. I need to get out of the house early and stay out. I’ll go for a nice long walk again, and maybe go back to the studio and just stay there all day. I can practice the piano too while I’m there, not just dance. And I could do some reading too. Being home around all that food when I’m not in a strong fasting groove is just tough.

Here is today’s video, showing my lovely walk on a rainy Christmas day, our tiny gift exchange (because we don’t have kids yet) and some of the dancing I got in. And I love my new ankle weights!

Day Four, December 26th

I was so lazy today. Until 6:00 I lay on the couch reading and sleeping. I don’t know if it was getting over the whole holiday thing (I really didn’t work too hard for the holidays) or just a general catch up fro a busy year.
But at 6 I sprang into action. I practiced the piano, I did my daily reading, and I biked down to the studio and did two hours of dance workout and practice.
So today wasn’t totally wasted, and I really enjoyed the book I have nearly finished in a single day.
You can get so much done with just a small amount of dedicated time. I wish I could learn this lesson better.

Along with this laziness though, is my lack of fasting focus. I ate today. I ate great stuff, apples and carrots and raw salmon and beef and eggs. Besides the fruit and veggies I’m on my way to practicing pretty good carnivore habits. I’m getting more comfortable with raw meats and remembering to drink my broth.

Here is the Penelope Trunk article I talk about in my video:

I have had conscious morning routines for the last five years or so, and I always seem to over complicate them. Sometimes I do great for weeks at a time, with piano and vibraphone practice, reading, and a mild to body wrecking workout. Then something will happen (a long winter break maybe?) and it all breaks down and I fnd myself rushing out of the house nearly late for work day after day, having got none of my little rituals done, no matter if work starts at 9 am or 4 pm.

My 21 day fast made me feel SO focused. It was incredible. I have already talked about this in my other post on that fast, but I didn’t miss a single morning of music practice, reading, meditating, posting, and doing my workout, even if I had to squeeze it all into 45 minutes some days. Fasting itself was also easy once I got going. I had a clear vision of how long I wanted to go, 14 days at first, and that momentum carried me all the way to my 21 days, with some nice stretches of dry fasting included.

I really want that back.

But I need to get up and out of the house tomorrow. I can’t sit around reading and dozing all morning, as good as that felt. It felt good in my body, but not in my head, in that ambitious place where I can see that I can be better than I am right now.

Here is the Day Four video. I do apologize for the darkness. It will get lighter in the evenings soon.

Day Five, December 27th

Today started out really well. I popped up despite still feeling a little groggy and attached my day. Carpe was too mild of a word. I cleaned house, did laundry, practiced the piano, and got in a great work out.

But I’m still sleep deprived. So after my workout, my body began demanding a nap. Hard.

Unfortunately I had family and social obligations. I sort of got a nap during an LDS temple session, which I hate because I invest time in going to those services, and I feel like I wasted the experience. That was frustrating. Then I met a friend to help me shop at WinCo because she knows where everything is.

Instead of a nap, like it needed, my body got a bunch of food, which it definitely did not need. I DID NOT need to eat today. I need to fast and to sleep.

I’M SO ANGRY ABOUT THIS!! I knew I was tired. But I didn’t make the right choice. Which is sickening because I always make poor choices when I’m short on sleep. So I came home and ate. It doesn’t matter what (all good keto stuff) and it doesn’t matter how much (too much, I know I’ve messed myself up for restorative sleep because instead my body will spend all night digesting) because I DIDN’T FAST.

I maybe did about 18 hours today, and for me, where I’m supposed to be keeping my eating window under two hours, that is pathetic.

Whew, ok. I have a game plan for tomorrow. Catch up on sleep, nap when I need to, and also do my workout, clean more of my house, and take a long walk and FAST (stay out of the kitchen) so I can sleep hard and restorative tomorrow night.

This is the kind of mistake I KNEW i would be making once I went back to eating regularly. I don’t need another long fast, I need to develop the discipline to eat correctly and listen when sleep calls.

As I post this at 11:15 pm.

But there is a plan. That should help me sleep better tonight.

Here is the video:

Day Six, December 28th

Another lazy day. And I don’t feel particularly more rested, but I have had time to think. I love planning and I have been planning hard for the last few hours.

There is a workshop in Russia this June. I received information on it because it was held in Utah this year. I would LOVE to do the workshop again, especially since it is taking place in Russia and I could travel to the ballet center of the world to participate. But I’m not sure I can come up with $4,000. That is a plane ticket, workshop fee, visiting Visa, and extras that come up on trips like that.

And I’d have to pass the audition again. Which I feel I did well with last time, but seeing the kinds of lovely dancers who showed up at the actual workshop, well, I was once gain the fat girl in the room. and I had ten years on everyone. I DID get to perform my variation despite some politics, but it was a rough fight.

Any how, I’m both dying and dreading trying again, both because of my stupid little dancer ego and the money.

I’m getting ahead though. I have three other auditions, and I also have a plan. My plan includes, diet, fasting, daily class, my personal workout and practice, and getting some private coaching.

Diet: Carnivore. See why I think it could work in the video at the top of this post by What I’ve Learned. Specifically, I’m going to focus on having the same thing on each eating day: a half pound of raw salmon, a pounish of raw ground beef, four to six eggs, how ever much broth I need to feel full, and peppermint tea to shut my palate down. I’ll diversify with organ meats and more sea food duck/chicken meat, but I want to start out keeping it very simple.

Fasting: I will eat on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and maybe Saturday. I want to start eating on Sundays because I go to in law family dinner and my mother in law has expressed frustration at my fasting through her dinners. I’ll now be eating at her house, but only the meat served and I’ll be bringing some of my own food. I teach Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so eating those days will be helpful energy wise. I’d rather just sleep Saturday afternoon. Usually I don’t need to eat that day, I need a catch up nap.

Daily Class: This is no possible because of a studio and schedule change with a local company, Municipal Ballet Co., that I’ve been taking and teaching classes with. I’ll also have mornings with other open adult classes. After these classes I am planning on finding space to work on my turns and variations. I have done this off and on, but I really need to stick to it this month. My husband’s earlier work schedule should help me get up on time to do my personal work out before each class as well. So class can be work, not warm up.

I have a few favorite teachers in the area and I’ve been reaching out to book a few private lessons and get help with video auditions. I plan to film our lessons and take copious notes.

I talk about some of this in my video, but I also ramble and talk about the book I got for Christmas.

My biggest weakness right now I feel is hop strength. It might just be that I haven’t had proper class for a while between fasting and this winter break, but I can’t hold my leg at 90 to the front or side. This makes my turns to and from these positions weak too. My leg weights should help with this a lot. See the video for some of the exercises plan to do.

I need to tell you more about my business goals for Cheval Dancewar too. I am considering dropping leotards for a bit. They cause me the most trouble as far as suppliers and sewing. Most of the items on the site I can make myself and ge them shipped to my awesome customers in less than three weeks. A week if I am able to get ahead on my inventory cycle. I LOVE being able to do that. But I can’t sew leotards. I’ve tried and it was a disaster too many times. At one point last year I have three different orders for leotards I’d tried to fill myself, and three very unhappy customers. My strength is not in that kind of sewing.

But having other people sew for me takes the product out of my hands. I can’t guarantee they’ll understand dancer’s bodies, that they’ll cut the custom images the way my customer told me to cut it, and that something won’t happen to their studio or business. I currently have three wonderful seamstresses working for me, but one had a large holiday back up so one customer didn’t get her Christmas leotards, and another had her studio place flooded, so an order already backed up from the summer wasn’t delivered until December! This is not a good way for me to be treating my customers, even if it is out of my control.

Let me know what you think. I don’t want to stop doing leotards completely, but they don’t seem to be worth the hassle right now.

Saying that, if you order one this moment, I would love to fill that order for you. I have added a patter, added SLEEVES!! and switched to a much more flattering and long lasting fabric. I’m still excited about my leotards, but I’ve had trouble making the production system work. If you own a small business or want to sew for me, let me know!

I want Cheval DW to be a bigger part of my life, and I want it to support my dancing. I also want it to support dancers and smaller companies in the area. I want to be able to give more and bigger scholarships to kids attending Summer Intensives in Salt Lake, I want to give money to companies like Municipal Ballet and Salt Dance Company. If you’ll help me by purchasing an item (even a leotard!) and by telling your dance friends about Cheval, we can make all that wonderful giving happen.

Thank you so much for reading. Watch for the last two up dates this weekend!

Day 7 December 29th

Fasting was easier today! I’m glad because today was another lazy day. Lots of reading.

I worked on turns today for my workout. They are terrible. It may be my shoes in parts, but I’ve really never been a great turner and pointe shoes show off everything I can some times hide in flat shoes. I feel really bad about what I see on the camera though.

As for fasting, as I type I have been fighting my late night hunger. I am countering it with some broth. It has calories, but its mostly fat and I want to feel a little something. I have a hard time loving that big empty feeling till the third day of a fast.

Maybe that is just something I tell myself. Maybe I need to stop saying and thinking that the first few days of a fast are SO HARD. They are, but it is still fasting, and every day of a fast can have different feelings. Food temptations come and go, the crazy energy and drive comes in waves, emotions are near the top or completely buried. The first 72 hours, no matter if you are going for a week or just want a good 36 hour digestive rest, have their own special cycles that tend to get ignored, at least by me. Or I just make a martyr out of myself. I need to learn to embrace these smaller fasts. They are ultimately what will get me to my goals and help me stay there. I can’t dance as much and work out on a long fast. I have tried that three times now.

I need to learn discipline around my food. This will be one of the main focal points for my January Carnivore and Training journey.

Here is today’s video:

Day Eight, December 30th

I have a surprise for you in my video today! Well, sort of. Well, its just me trying to be funny. And I get some cold exposure. I’ll admit I’ve been lazy about my ice baths since its got cold. I’d like to think I get cold exposure on my bike commutes and long walks. But my core doesn’t get very cold.

Today’s workout is mild. Just trying to heat the hips up and work on coordination. One thing that is hard to understand about ballet, even for me, is you rarely want to work a muscle group to exhaustion. You want to be able to practice the movement every day, so you can’t destroy it with one workout. Saying that, I probably could do more than I did today. That will be something I experiment with this spring.

Some thoughts on dry fasting. It IS more efficient. I have dry fasted all day today. I can probably dry fast tomorrow too, and it will essentially be as if I’d fasted almost another week. But my muscles won’t be as depleted and I’ll recover and be able to work out hard all week, instead of doing milder workouts like I had to at the end of my three week fast.

It has taken me time to come around to this. I know dry fasting is awesome, but I felt like loner was always better. But I know I lost some strength from that long fast. Not much, but some. And I haven’t had the will to keep fasting as much after breaking the 21 days. But I can start dry fasting usually pretty easily. I’m supposed at how easy today was, and it helped me with my sleep with even a few hours dry last night. So along with Carnivore, I’ll be experimenting with 24, 48, and 60 hour soft dry fasts through January. Soft means I can shower and do dishes. Hard would mean no water contact at all, including through skin.

Thank you all for following me on this little journey this week. This was in part practice for being accountable for my Carnivore Month. It has also been great to really dig into the goals and systems that will help me in the New Year.

Happy feasting, happy fasting, and happy dancing.