Wednesday Class: Still Feeling It

Back to Brienne’s class today: not the hardest barre she’s ever given us, but still pretty demanding; center work felt fairly easy physically right up to the end, but technically there were a few demanding elements.

Specifically, today’s adagio (which, interestingly, included one of the same transitions I’m using in the audition video choreography) was built on extensions wherein the working leg travels slowly across the center of balance — from croisé, développé avant, hold, though passé, extend first arabesque…

That sort of thing, only with pivots and little promenades happening at the same time. The second half did a similar thing with ecarté extensions (and then we did the other side, and then reverse of both sides, including “backwards” pas we bourré).

Développé no longer vexes me, but I had trouble finding the calm, still place from which adagio works best for me: I was nervous today, which is unusual.

I was also feeling critical of my body, which isn’t unusual, especially given that I’m having that weird response wherein you get dehydrated while exercising (Monday) and then your body retains water line crazy for three to five days. Oy vey.

By the time we got to turns, I was, however, able to make good use of the note Brienne gave us about pausing and breathing before the turn in our devilishly simple combination (devilishly simple as in it’s really simple, so you have to do it right! :P).

She also did that thing that ballet instructors do — you know, when they offer a general note, but make really direct eye contact with the people who need it most? …And gently reminded us (and especially me) to rise to relève for turns, rather than jumping to it.

It helps immensely, by the way, if you’re wondering … which I know, if only I can remember to do it :/

I replayed my mental footage of Baryshnikov doing turns and tried to channel him (is it acceptable to channel living people?).  This led to some pretty dancing and one reasonably acceptable double.

I really need to get my turns back together, though. There isn’t much excuse for not having a reliable double, at least, at this juncture: I’m just not putting enough time into turns, even in my kitchen (in which turns from second, which I’m working on via Brian, are also iffy).

Ironically, the better I get at dancing, the harder it is to dance in my house. I can still work turns en place in my kitchen (that’s one way to mix the batter, am I right?) as long as they don’t require extension.

Big jumps, on the other hand, are generally impossible (small, restrained versions can be done, but you perform as you rehearse, so I don’t do them often — the occasional entrelacé might slip out now and then…).

A little petit ou moyenne allegro fits into the living room, as do a pas de chat or two, as does adagio if its travel is limited and I’m careful about where I put my extensions and I remember to move our giant ottomans and my exercise ball (don’t judge) first.

I practice balancé a lot because it can be done back and forth, back and forth and thus fits into various places; consequently, my balancé is a lot prettier now 🙂

I need to think about how I want to respond to this. I feel confident enough to actually practice stuff, now, and  practice could improve my technique. I am considering regularly reserving a room at church on Thursday prior to bells, maybe.

… More practice could also improve my condition. I definitely felt Monday’s excesses at the end of class today.

Such is life.

My trapezii have rarely been this sore (except back when I had just started dancing again and my arms and back had done basically nothing through all those years of long-distance cycling), and I felt it in my port de bras and épaulement. They still looked okay, but I was more aware than usual of those muscles.

Needless to say, I am not planning on riding the bike all the way home. I had an appointment with my therapist this afternoon, and now I’m drinking tea and thinking about which bus to take.

In other news, I am once again considering the addition of Friday morning class to the rotation as soon as I’m really feeling on top of my three-days-a-week schedule (it’s definitely getting there). I might have to pick up some part-time work to cover the additional expense, but I don’t really mind that idea, provided that it doesn’t entail a long commute.

So that’s today. Don’t jump into your turns (except, of course, when appropriate!) and find your happy quiet place.

À bientôt, mes amis!

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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 2015/12/02, in balllet, class notes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Your beautifully detailed writing about your class has me yearning to dance again. I feel I am “too fat” to do it but that is just a construction of my mind. I think I could do it again and I think it would make me feel amazing. You have inspired me and I thank you ❤️

    • Many thanks, and also, you’re very welcome! It means a lot to know my ramblings have meaning for others who are wrestling with some of the same stuff.

      Speaking of which, I wrestled with the feeling of being too fast as well, coming back to the studio (and, as you can see, I still do sometimes). I will say that even before my body randomly decided to start tending towards a more typically-balletic build, just learning to work with it again did so much for my sense of myself. I think that’s really healing for bipolar, which can steal so much of that, between to illness itself and the medications we use to treat it.

      Keep me posted! I hope if you get to start dancing again, it will be as healing for you as it has been for me!

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