A Prophecy Fulfilled (The Vaelinel Trilogy #3)
by Andi O’Connor
Publication date: December 9th 2018 | Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Regrouping after their escape from the Light Elves, Irewen and her companions fear the worst after black smoke plumes on the horizon. Allowing compassion to rule over reason, they ignore Finnwyn’s warning and return to Lilendvelle, hoping to help some of the survivors stranded in the city’s wake. Instead, they run into a trap.
Completely surrounded by an endless army of Drulaack, they fight for their lives, but their efforts aren’t enough. Irewen is captured and dragged into the heart of the Corrupter’s lair.
Having his prize, the others in the company are granted their freedom, but at a great cost: the one named in the prophecy who is meant to unite the elf forces and stand against the Corrupter is lost to the world – trapped beneath the Corrupter’s talons.
With the aid of his mother’s spirit, Brendell must now find a way to gather an alliance strong enough to march against the Corrupter and his army, but his time is running out. Each day that passes brings Irewen closer to death.
And the world closer to destruction.
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Top 10 List by Andi O’Connor
10 Reasons to Learn Ballet
The thing I most love to do outside of writing, is ballet. I danced growing up, stupidly quit during those awkward college years, and then started up again as an extremely out of shape adult. It’s something that I will continue to do as long as I can crawl out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, and strongly encourage everyone to give ballet a try. Yes, even my gentlemen out there!
So, here are my top 10 reasons to learn ballet. These points are in no particular order. They’re all equally great reasons to step into the ballet studio, and if even only one of these points appeals to you, give ballet a try. It’ll be worth it, I promise!
1. IMPROVED BALANCE
Have you ever fallen over while trying to put on your underwear? I certainly have. During those years I wasn’t dancing, I experienced this difficulty quite often. Well, great news! Ballet can help improve your balance. Even the simplest and most basic steps in ballet require an extraordinary amount of core strength and balance, and when done regularly, it transfers over to your daily life and muscle memory. It’s amazing how during even the slightest check in balance, your ballet muscles kick in, and falling over while putting on your underwear is no longer something you need to worry about in your life.
2 .GREAT EXERCISE
One of the unique things about ballet is that when you watch ballerinas perform, they make it look easy. They fly across the stage and do a gazillion turns with a huge smile plastered on their face. It’s meant to appear effortless. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t find it appealing to watch a ballerina in a gorgeous tutu look as if she was about to die from overexertion and pain. But what many people who have never danced don’t realize, is that ballet is extremely difficult and requires an enormous amount of strength, stamina, and endurance. It requires the use of muscles that many of us don’t even realize we have. Ballet works your core abs, your legs, your back, your glutes, your shoulders, and your arms. Honestly, you need to engage all of those muscles just to properly stand in first position. Attend a beginner ballet class for the first time, and the next morning, you’ll understand what I’m saying. Muscles you didn’t know you had will be screaming at you, begging you to show them some mercy. But it’s absolutely one of the best feelings in the world. I promise.
3. ACTIVE MIND
Ballet is a great way to keep your mind active and sharp, especially as you get older. For those of you who aren’t familiar with a typical class, you start at the barre before going to center. The instructor gives combinations, starting with the easier steps to warm up, then going to the more difficult steps. Usually, the combinations given are different each time you go to class, which keeps it interesting, but also makes your mind work. You don’t have hours to stand there, repeatedly going over a combination until you get it right. You have about 30 seconds to get it into your brain before you need to do it. On top of the combinations, you need to remember everything your body is supposed to do: stomach in, shoulders down, squeeze your glutes, straighten your knees, turn out from your rotators, use your head, engage your shoulder blades, etc. Plus, you need remember all of the corrections the instructor gives you and apply them throughout the class and the next time you walk into the studio.
4. IMPROVED CONFIDENCE
Ballet is one of the best ways to improve your confidence, both in and out of the studio. When you begin dancing, you don’t have time to worry about what others in the class think of you. It’s you, the music, the dance, and nothing else. You begin to stand taller in and out of class, and walk more of a purposeful stride. The more you take class, the better you’ll get at steps that once seemed impossible. There’s nothing like doing a perfectly controlled pirouette and hovering at the end before coming down, or finding that perfect balance that can go on for days. Achieving even the smallest milestones in ballet that you never thought possible can give you confidence outside the studio. Things in your life that you were struggling with or that you thought you’d never accomplish, suddenly don’t seem so unreachable. It’s a truly beautiful thing that we all can benefit from.
5. BOREDOM? WHAT'S THAT?
The first thing to realize about ballet, is that no one is perfect. The principles that you see, despite how incredible they are, aren’t perfect. They still learn and improve, finding ways to do something slightly better than before. The result, is that it’s impossible to become bored in ballet. There truly is always something new to learn and always something to improve upon. You will never take a class where you didn’t feel challenged.
Have you ever watched dancers or ice skaters and thought how free they look? Well, take a ballet class and you’ll get to experience that exact freedom. Once you get to move across the floor, whether in waltzes or in jumps, you don’t think as much as when you’re at the barre. You just do. Allow yourself to let go and move. Picture yourself as one of the principles on stage with the all the lights and eyes on you, and savor every second. There’s no accurate way to describe how incredible it feels. You have to experience it for yourself.
7. STRUCTURE AND DISCIPLINE
If you’re someone who suffers from procrastination, or you can’t seem to organize tasks properly and get so overwhelmed you don’t do any of them, then ballet is for you. One of the side-effects of learning ballet is that you also learn structure and discipline. Let’s face it, to be able to think and do everything required of you in class, it takes a great degree of discipline to make it through that hour and a half. And just like other benefits I’ve mentioned, this follows you outside the studio. You learn to organize more efficiently and make better use of your time. You also begin to focus more while working on your tasks, helping you get them done quicker and leaving you more time to head back to the ballet studio. Or do something else…you know…if it’s 9pm and your studio is closed for the day.
The ballet community quickly becomes like a second family. Even as an adult, there are camps and workshops (check out sunkingdance.com for example) that you can go to outside of your regular classes. I’ve taken workshops and classes at Sun King, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, and others, and I’ve made long-lasting and supportive friendships with people from around the world. My ballet buddies are always the first to buy my books and offer support and encouragement when I need it most. They’re like a psychic bubble that instinctively crowd around me and help lift me up when I need it most. Even if you don’t have the ability to travel to different places for classes and workshops, the people you’ll meet in your regular classes will become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. With all the places I’ve traveled and taken class, and all the hundreds of people I’ve met, I’ve never encountered anyone in the adult ballet world who wasn’t genuinely supportive and drawn together by the shared love of dance.
Do you ever have days where you just want to be someone else, even for just a couple of hours? I certainly do. Well, give ballet a try! Once you’ve taken for a little while, many teachers will let you begin learning variations from some of your favorite ballets, and let me tell you, that is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. Learning about the character, and stepping into his or her shoes is a great form of escapism, and it’s so refreshing. For that time in the studio, you’re no longer you. You’re Paquita, or Esmerelda, or Don Quixote, or Kitri, or Apollo, or any other of the amazing roles from the many great Classical Ballets. You immerse yourself into that character’s world, becoming him or her, and letting them come out through your style of movement and expressions.
10. MENTAL HEALTH AND HAPPINESS
Every single class I attend, I have a blast, and I walk out of the studio feeling more uplifted and happier than I was before I went in. There have been many days when I’ve suffered with depression and didn’t want to crawl out of bed, much less get dressed and drive my ass to the ballet studio. But I’ve forced myself to go to class, and I have always come out feeling like a completely different person. Even just stepping foot inside the ballet studio makes me feel calm and uplifted. I can’t be upset or angry in class. I can’t allow my depression or anxiety to control me. I instantly become focused on the technique and being the best that I can be, and I forget anything that was bothering or hindering me. When class is done, I’m always refreshed, both mentally and physically. Ballet is truly the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health, and I encourage you to give it a try.
Andi O'Connor is the award-winning author of The Dragonath Chronicles, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and The Legacy of Ilvania. The Speaker is the 2018 Independent Press Award Winner for Fantasy and a Finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards. Andi's novel, Awakening, is a 2018 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite for Fantasy. Her critically acclaimed novel, Silevethiel, is the 2015 Best Indie Book Award winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy and the 2015 New Apple Official Selection for Young Adult. Silevethiel was also named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013.
You can frequently find Andi as an exhibitor and guest panelist at Comic Cons throughout the country including the Rhode Island Comic Con, Awesome Con, Philcon, Conclave, and Chessiecon. For more information, visit Andi's website at www.andioconnor.net
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