One Fracking Awesome Penché Is Worth It

Mostly good class again today; the kind of class that would have been mind-blowingly good a year ago.

The highlight was the first time of JMG’s usual adage, during which I executed literally the best Penché I’ve ever done, ever.

It was just like, “Down, down ,down, ohai that’s like 5:55[1] penché there, recover like it ain’t no thang…”

  1. Technically, since the supporting leg is the hour hand and stays on the 6 regardless, it would be a 6:55 penché, but that doesn’t read as well.

First run left, though, I lost my rotators and had to put my leg down for a sec. None of the rest of the penchés were anywhere near as good as the first one.

Honestly, though, that one penché—the one that tells me I can penché like a boss if I keep my waterfowls in a linear array—was worth it. It was one of those moments that feel exactly right; the kind when you know even before everyone tells you that you’ve executed a difficult thing[2] beautifully.

  1. Penché is funny. You start learning it really, generally speaking. You then keep working on it foreeeevvvvvarrrrrr, because it’s actually rather hard to do really well.

T and … Crap, I just realized I have two Ts amongst my ballet peeps. Okay, so T1 and T2 clearly benefitted immensely from Curran’s masterclass. Now I really wish I’d taken it. Oh, well: I’ll pick their braingz about it later.

Little by little I’m feeling my progress. I notice new things in my body every single class right now: oh, I’m ever so slightly too far over my hip in piqué arabesque; oh, I’m throwing my head back in soutenu turns (no surprise there); oh, I’m putting waaaaay too much force into adagio turns; oh, I’m losing touch with my pelvis during tours lent.

This all makes me really look forward to Lexington. I have no idea what we’re learning in variations this year, but I feel so much more ready than I did last year.

Anyway, time to go mow the lawn and so forth.

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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 2017/06/25, in balllet, class notes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I suspect I pench really badly. I never snagged those partial handstand things in modern at all well and that’s not far from it.

    • If you ever happen to make it across the pond and then across half the North American continent, I’ll hook you up with BW so he can teach you to pench like a champ.

      For me, it’s one of those stupid ballet things—the kind where they tell you what the technique is, and for the longest time you think you’re doing it right, and then you get exactly the right minuscule correction and suddenly it just clicks.

      So I would say that what has worked for me is:

      • making sure the supporting leg is really, really secure (thanks to Bruce, our AD Emeritus)
      • initiating the penché from the toe of the working leg
      • keeping the angle and the relationship between the working leg and the back unchanged (I thought I was doing this, but I wasn’t)
      • really thinking about the rotators in the supporting leg
      • remembering that the body and the working leg are basically along for the ride; the action happens almost entirely deep in the supporting hip

      WRT that last bit, where penché is concerned, I imagine my working hip as a rocker joint around which the body-and-working-leg assembly pivots. I should draw a picture of that.

      Chances are, though, you’re already thinking about all those things, and it just hasn’t entirely clicked in your body yet or something. That is totally what happened for me, and it still doesn’t come off perfectly every time (usually because I let the rotators in my supporting leg get lazy).

      • I couldn’t resist. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to visualize the mechanics of penché because, weirdly, I generally struggle with it a lot less than most of my classmates.

        Anyway, I found this absolutely lovely picture by Alex Reneff-Olson of Julian Amir Lacey of My Son Can Dance (he’s the son in question) in 1st arabesque and knocked together a little diagram in MSPain(t).

        Julian Amir Lacey, 1st Arabesque, photo by Alex Reneff-Olson, with diagrammatic markings added.

        I don’t know if this visual will work for you, but it helps me to think about it this way.

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