The Best Five Words Any Dancer Can Hear
…Besides, of course, “You’re hired, here’s your contract.”
Modern went well today. It was just me, and we worked a lot on release and … hm, what I’ll call the redistribution of tension.
My ability as concerns modern in general and release technique in particular varies drastically depending on various things.
I am, after all, Central Casting Troubled Ballet Boy, which means I am also Uptight Ballet Boy.
When I haven’t been doing modern class regularly in a while, I have to completely re-learn how to relax and release and let my head have weight and stuff like that. My first few classes usually leave me convinced that I dance like a poorly-maintained robot. It takes a little while to learn to feel my body again.
Once I figure all that out, though, things start to get considerably better.
Today was one of those revelatory classes. Parts of my body remembered how to modern, and I continued working on applying the general lessons I’m working on right now.
Anyway, at the end of class, LT said The Five Greatest Words to me:
You’re such a hard worker.
If there’s one thing dancers seem universally to respect, it’s a solid work ethic.
It makes sense: dance is work.
We go to class and we work. We go to rehearsal and we work. We get out there on stage and we work. We stand in our kitchens working on our balances and our turns. Even if our sleep, we dream about dancing, and our brains work overtime.
As dancers, everything we do is work, and no matter how talented you are, your talent will get you nowhere if you don’t show up and put in the work.
So when someone tells me I’m a hard worker, it means a lot to me—especially since, as a kid, I was The Talented One That Doesn’t Realize He Has To Work, and part of me feels like the rest of my life is basically a chance to atone for being that jerk.
In other news, I’m starting to “get” the choreography for the showcase piece. LT explained the concept today, and that actually really helped—a light went on in my mind. I’d been thinking of it as sort of a jungle cat kind of feeling, but that wasn’t working. In fact, it’s more like searching for something in a swirling fog.
Thus far, this has been a good week for me, dance-wise, except for the part where I hit myself in the face with a girl (yeah, that happened) but I didn’t drop her, so it’s all good?
Besides, she’s solid Cirque stock and not the kind of person to be phased by such things. We were doing that one lift that literally nobody I know can think of what it’s called right now where you scoop your partner up as if in a basket and toss her (or him) up onto one shoulder in a front balance. Every time everyone tries to think of what the feck it’s called, we just wind up going, “Well, it’s not fish dive…”
Essentially, it’s this:
…Only, in this instance, with fewer tutus and sleevy things and more grunting and sweat.
I didn’t give it enough oomph on the first go, so the second time I way overdid it and basically flipped my partner into my own face instead of rolling her up to my shoulder. Heh.
On the upside, our partner acro instructor said, “On the upside, that means you can definitely do this!”
Lastly, in other, other news, there’s a four-day Easter ballet intensive (for adults) at Holistic Ballet in London. I’ll add it to my 2017 intensives list. It’s all about La Bayadere, and it looks like there’s two levels; the beginner group will be learning the entrance from “the Kingdom of the Shades,” and the other group will be learning Gamzatti’s Act II variation.
It doesn’t look like there’s a variation planned for guys (though I wouldn’t object to learning either of the above, to be honest).
Honestly, I think the entrance from “Kingdom of the Shades” is one of the best possible pieces of choreography to learn as a beginner, since it can be learned and executed well and then continually refined. The ladies at Lexington Ballet’s intensive did it last year, and it was so lovely, even without the ramps.
Anyway, I must now run away and go dig through AS’s costume closet, then go collect BB for class tonight.