Danseur Ignoble: A Good Bad Day

I’m not sure how else to describe today’s class.

It wasn’t always an awesome class in terms of accuracy (on my part), but the problems I ran into didn’t stem from lack of technique (mostly; for reasons unknown, there was one terrible soutenu moment in our fondu-et-rond-de-jamb combo… o_o) so much as from my brain butting up against increasingly-complex combinations, and there were some really quite nice moments.

Somehow, I left class floating on a cloud of confidence even though I’d completely hosed up the final traveling combination*.

My brain was like,”That’s saute arabesque faille glissade assemble and what now?” and my legs were like, “Saute arab– HAAAAAY, WAAAAAAATE FOR UZZZZZZZ!!!!1!!1oneone”

Brienne definitely leveled us up today. We were packed with company dancers and teachers as well we few, we happy few, we band of danseurs et danseuses ignobles. After lulling us into a false sense of security with some nice, gentle pliés, our much-loved task-mistress moved on to a series of increasingly longer and more demanding combinations at the barre. We tried our hardest to execute them, because we all love her and would follow her into battle against the forces of Mordor and all that.

I also once again failed to eat (not on purpose — just poor planning and worse execution), so my brain was decidedly not firing on all 3.5 cylinders.

In case you’re wondering, that did not help me remember the combos.

That said, when I was doing things right today, they were apparently pretty right indeed — I got a, “Good, Asher!” twice; once after responding to a small correction and once straight out of the blue.

Ballet peeps, you already know: there is no accolade in the world better than “Good!” (or its equivalent, “Yes!”) in class.

Even better, I had an awesome conversation with Brienne after class. I laughingly lamented my total failure to get the last combo right, and she said she’s noticed that I’m using my feet against the floor better (thanks in largely to the combinations she and Ms. T have been giving us) and my speed is improving.

Then she said, “You have beautiful feet” and went on to explain that the range of motion in my feet and ankles means it takes me longer to “get there” (that is, to reach full point and extension) than it does for people with less flexible feet, which paradoxically makes quick jumps harder.

On the other hand, apparently it means my feet look great when they finally do “get there,” so I’ll take that. Speed, I can build.

Later, Ms. T. said I had beautiful legs for ballet o.O

This floored me. While my relationship with my legs has improved, I still think of them as disproportionately stocky (that is, disproportionately stocky relative to the rest of my body, which has always bothered me aesthetically). While I now definitely respect their functionality, I’m not really used to thinking of my legs as beautiful (to be fair, Denis also seems to think my legs are pretty fine, so it’s possible that I’m just wildly delusional).

My hypermobile knees are part of that, but at the same time, learning to actually get them straight without locking them has been surprisingly challenging, especially since dancing makes them more, rather than less, hyperextendy.

Sometimes in class I feel like a baby giraffe trying to learn to walk, scissoring around the Sahara, or maybe like a drunken ostrich**. It is nice to know that this is a function of having beautiful legs for ballet. Some problems are good problems to have.

**In its earliest iterations, the classic ballet Swan Lake was in fact called Ostrich Field. Unfortunately, test audiences were shocked and scandalized by scenes in which mobs of furious female ostriches attacked Siegfried, Benno, all of the party guests, Von Rothbart, and everyone else just, like, because that’s how ostriches roll. So they had to scrap that one and came up with Swan Lake instead.
The 32 fouettes, meanwhile, are all that’s left of the big, climactic fight scene between Ostrette (The Empress of the Ostriches, of course) and, well, basically the rest of the non-ostrich cast, after which the flagging Ostrich squadron, inspired by their leader’s display of puissance, rallies to win the day.
Or, well, maybe I’m just making that up. But I would totally go see that ballet, which could totally be a double-header with Zombie Giselle.

Suddenly, though, I feel like I have a lot to live up to. Beautiful feet and beautiful legs?

So, yeah. It was a good kind of bad day — the kind that you have when you’re working on challenging stuff and your technique is improving; the kind you run into when the dimensions of your comfort zone are starting to expand.

In short, I could live with a lot more good bad days just like this one.

In other news, both of my Capezio Romeos have swallowed their laces (in case you’re wondering, it’s really quite hard to promenade when your shoes are slowly peeling off ._.). So I’m going to have to take some time to fix them. I really should’ve applied something to the knots to make sure they’d stick after I gave the laces a trim.

Um, lesson learned?

So that’s it for now. Robert and I are kicking around the idea of doing a Cooking with ADHD video post in the next few days. I’m also trying to make him take Ms. M’s class on Friday. He’s here ’til Sunday, so he might as well.

I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Getting along pretty well with bipolar disorder. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2015/08/05, in balllet and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. “there is no accolade in the world better than “Good!” (or its equivalent, “Yes!”) in class.”

    so very true. I was just amazed how quickly that kind of teacher-student relationship kicked in (took about five classes). such a cliché, but evidently the kind that’s a cliché because it contains an enduring truth. I got a correction on a tour jété (get lower at the entry so you get a higher jump, and a bigger kick, and hence a better landing into turnout), did it again…and…”Yes!”

    and then to go through the rest of the week alternating between a giant shit-eating grin and a GET OUT OF MY WAY face. I’d have turned down a knighthood.

    • Ha! I know that feeling!

      I’ll keep the tour-jeté correction you mention here in mind — it codifies in language what I feel in tour-jetés that go really well! I shall try using it consciously this week!

    • PS: tried this adjustment to tour-jeté today while futzing around after class. Mr. B was chatting with someone but saw it — and I got a “Good!” and a miniature private lesson of of it 😀

      The only thing better than, “Good!” (or, indeed, “Yes!”) is:

      “Good! … Adjust this detail. Again! … Good! … Again! … Good!”

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