Like Dancing While Drunk

Today, barre was fine, though I was tired and a little sore when I started and wasn’t super on top of getting all the combinations exactly right.

I wasn’t quite in, “Meh, close enough,” mode, but I was a little more forgiving of myself than usual. I still managed a few decent balances (yay attitude derrière!) and responded appropriately to corrections and so forth. This has been the first week in a long time that I’ve had a demanding physical thing every single day, and I’m using a lot of muscles that haven’t really been doing much, so I expected to be tired.

Still, I acquitted myself acceptably at barre.

Then, the wheels came off (it’s been a while since I had occasion to use that phrase, though).

I think I’ve probably mentioned the recurring weirdness with my left ear. It now occurs every class, but usually it’s at the very end, and it’s not too bad.

Today, however, my ear freaked out right as we transitioned to center — right in the middle of a nice little tendu-et-pirouette combination — and never let up.

Suddenly, I was more or less deaf on the left side, and the sound of my own breathing was impossibly loud. I largely pick up combinations by the time-honored “monkey see-monkey do” method.

In Advanced class, though, significant steps don’t always get clearly demonstrated. If you can’t hear the instructor, it can be hard to tell if something is supposed to be some species of jete en tournant sketched out on the ground or maybe a pique turn (also sketched out on the ground) or even a balance turn, or what have you.

Really, almost anything can be demonstrated as just a sketchy little turn turn (including, apparently coupé jeté en tournant).

So suddenly I found myself desperately playing catch-up, trying to follow the combinations in the mirror while also doing them (which worked reasonably well, under the circumstances — certainly better than it used to). Worse, my entire nasopharyngeal region decided to join in the fun, so when I tried to ask a question, I sounded like I had barshballows stupped up by doze.

I was like:

“Sguze be. Duz dat zeggund pique gum bright auddove de baladzé durn, or ab I bizzig a zteb in dare?”

You might want to read that aloud for the full comedic effect. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

…And we’re back.

So, the ear weirdness also made me dizzy (and slightly nauseated, which seriously didn’t help) — or, really, more like off-kilter. I generally experience a sensation that’s not unlike trying to stand on a boat that’s listing to starboard (which makes you lean towards port).

You guys, it is hard to promenade when it feels like the promenade deck is sliding into the trough of a wave.

The ear wasn’t as bad as it has ever been — when it’s at its worst, I can’t walk in a straight line, let alone dance; I stagger merrily sideways unless someone grabs hold of my shoulders. That said, this is the worst it has been in class.

So my turns were, um, interesting.

One of the combinations had double turns from fourth (which I have, of late, been able to do somewhat reliably), and I tried them, and … ehhhh.

Apparently, when your middle and/or inner ear are throwing a tantrum, you can totally make two rotations*, but there is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll have any idea where your axis really is, and your landings will be interesting. I actually stepped over myself somehow, at one point — as if I was trying to follow the pirouette with some kind of bizarre, inside-out coupé jeté en tournant.

*Presumably because you can still spot twice, and amazingly, that makes your body go around again, since it doesn’t want to snap its own neck.

This is what happens when your vestibular system says, “Wait, the floor is that way!” and your visual system replies, “Jeez, vestibular system, you need to lay off the sauce!”

After which, of course, your foot says, “Hey you guys, I found the floor; it’s right here where we left it!” and, if you’re lucky, it has done so without spraining anything in the process.

Likewise, trying to ballotté was just … ummmmm … yeah. It turns out that if you’re used to using epaulement in ballotté, it’s hard to make yourself stop even if it makes the whole world lurch violently*. (Seriously, have you ever tried to ballotté without epaulement? Has anyone? I have trouble even picturing that.)

*If there was an earthquake in your region around 10:10 AM Eastern Standard Time/GMT-5, my bad.

Who knew?

I thought about bailing, but stuck it out through class (The Show Must Go On, n’est ce pas?), including a lovely réverence which I performed almost decently, but with the blackest of scowls writ large upon my beetling brow because I was Concentrating. So. Hard.

Afterwards, I felt compelled to explain myself and apologize to Ms. T for being a complete disaster. She said something like, “No worries, we all have those days,” which made me feel a whole heck of a lot better.

Then I pedaled my bike slowly, miserably, and carefully (for fear of tipping over) over to Suspend to meet Denis for juggling class.

I would like to take a moment to thank G-d that Suspend is only like three blocks from advanced class! (And that advanced class takes place at the main studio downtown, and not at the school studios 8 miles or so from downtown).

Anyway, juggling started out a little tippy, then got progressively better as my ear settled down a little (when it’s doing its thing, being hot and sweaty and breathing hard makes it really go crazy).

By the end, I was able to keep three balls going for up to six throws at a time, which is much better than I expected to do. I also didn’t nail any aerialists (though I almost did, once, at the very beginning).


Oh, here it is. I look like the dog that goes, “You … you mean the maple kind?” in that one voice-over video. Also, these are the best socks.

Denis snapped one great shot of me that looks like … well, basically, me standing there and waving my hands around with a look of rapt concentration on my face — or at least, that’s how it looked on the tiny screen of his phone. I’ll have to gank a copy from facebag to post here.

For some reason, I assumed I’d be terrible at juggling, but it turns out I’m not. Who knew?

After, during open fly, I just foam-rollered myself into oblivion for a while. At moments, this just involved me lying there on the floor, doing nothing, with a foam roller under some part of my body.

Then I spotted Denis through his first two headstands ever and got him to spot me in a couple of handstands just to see if I can still do them. Seems as if I can, even while still slightly tippy, though the tippiness makes correcting really hard if I get out of alignment.

At this point, things have calmed down enough that the listing sensation is mostly gone. I think I’m going to duck out of conditioning class tomorrow, as I feel like a rest day is in order (not so much because of the ear, but because I am just freaking tired).

Then I’m going to try to get an appointment to see my doc about this, because it is driving me crazy. I have reached a point at which I can cope quite well in class if it doesn’t get too bad, but today was just terrible.

Oh, one last bit: turns out the application I thought was due on the 15th isn’t due ’til March 15th, so that makes my life a hair easier, anyway (which is good, because I’d really like to see if I can get my ear sorted before I shoot any more audition video).

So that’s that. I still have some evaluation stuff to do, because procrastination and other such balderdash. Second interview is Tuesday afternoon.


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 2016/01/09, in balllet, health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I have a similar problem when I wear my new varifocals (yes, I am old). When I do turns, the floor seems to move. But I am told I will get used to the new glasses, so I probably should just give myself more time.

  2. Oops, hit “send” too soon. I hope you’ll acclimate soon!

  3. Have you been at a doctor with this? You should really check it up, since there can be really nasty things (a friend of mine hat a bin operation because of such a thing) or a really harmless one.

    • I haven’t yet — I am hoping to be able to see mine this week. I’m hoping it’ll just be something simple, like a patulous eustachian tube, but it definitely seems like a “better safe than sorry” kind of thing.

      Besides, anything that interferes with ballet needs to be fixed 😀

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