Category Archives: aerials

A Brief Hello

I’m apparently in a bit of a rut right now, of the irritating kind defined by the feeling of being sufficiently depressed to find socializing exhausting but not so depressed that you can’t see that A) you’re depressed and B) you’re kind of a jerk right now.  

On the other hand, good things are happening regardless, to wit:

  • I can finally jump reliably again! (And I am So. Out. Of. Shape. But I can jump, so that’ll be sorted soon enough.)
  • Ballet Detroit’s master class was superlative! Literally one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and also one of the hardest. Rayevsky gives a heckin brutal barre, but in a good way. Meanwhile, our final exercise across the floor involved (for the boys) sixteen grand pirouettes. On each side. I managed eight on the right; I literally can’t remember what happened on the left =:O I will be working on these with BW.
  • Got my triples back going right. Going left, turns still feel a little weird on my healing foot, so I’m working on getting clean ones and not focusing on counts—so it’s singles and doubles, which I mostly don’t do like a crack-addled wildebeest. Mostly.
  • Did a … We’ll call it a “quarduple.” Not quite a real quad, but a proper triple that ended with I … AM … GOING AROUND …  AGAIN … DAMMIT!!! It wasn’t pretty, but it happened.
  • Did turns at the barre without panicking because there was no time to panic, because the in question was like “8 counts AND TURN! 8 more counts AND TURN! Now repeat (AND TURN!) and reverse (AND TURN!)”   
  • Also landed a double tour out of sheer terror. Apparently, I perform best when I’m basically terrified of disappointing my instructor. Sadly, I didn’t even really clock the fact that THAT HAPPENED at the time because, you know, sheer terror. 
  • Got a scholarship for Pilobolus’ intensive 😀
  • Picked up my first Official Dance Paycheck. YASSSSSSS. 
  • Learned that D can Bluebird Lift me.

So those are all good things that happened. I’m hoping that now that I can jump again and have survived a double tour once, I’ll stop psyching myself out of double tours. 

PS: I can only Bluebird Lift D if he climbs into it, partly because he’s harder to balance than I am because he’s not as good at engaging all the things, but also partly because my arms are short. 

PPS: I realized that even though I know how to lift people bluebird-stylie, trying to be lifted us confusing as hell when you’re trying to remember where your hands go when you’re doing the lifting and translate it to placing your bodyparts appropriately. 
😁

Break and Reset

Our run of Orpheus went well—it wasn’t 100% perfect, but it was close enough. Our audiences didn’t know it wasn’t perfect, and that’s all that matters. We got another really nice review, as well.

Surprisingly, Mom loved it! I wasn’t sure what she’d think, to be honest. She’s been an avid fan of the performing arts for far longer than I’ve even been alive. I wasn’t sure that the combination of silent theater, aerials, and modern dance would appeal to her. In fact, she thought it was great (and not just the parts I in :D). I don’t think I would have predicted that!

For me, there was definitely a trial-by-fire element. I’ve never had so much choreography to learn for one show, and we had such an oddly compressed rehearsal schedule. On Wednesday, we were still pretty shaky about some things; full of challenging doubts. On Thursday, though, everything seemed to suddenly gel. I guess that dancers, like beans, cook faster in a pressure cooker!

Anyway, it was a learning experience in all regards, and a good one. Nobody ever did call or email to tell me they’d cast me by mistake, so that was cool. Our playwright said that my portrayal of Eurydice’s strict, mean father (we nicknamed the role “Papa Eurydice”) was one of his very favorite parts 😀 (That was one heck of a fun role, too.) I discovered that I like the acting bits almost as much as the dancing bits, and the I love the acting-via-dance element like crazy.

I learned that two shows in one day is very doable.

I learned that I look rather good in a slick 1920’s coiffure 😉

Sleek, eh?

The most important thing that I learned, though,  is that I can recover from mistakes without telegraphing them. I only made a few (basically, one biggie per show), but they felt enormous—like, at one point, I wound up way off my mark before a sequence en manège, basically standing at 5:00 instead of 7:00. I still have no idea how that happened, but it did.

In a way, it was funny: I rose from a floorwork passage and thought, “Something feels wrong, here.” By the time I realized that I was way off my mark, though, it was too late to move. Instead, I jumped into the manège sequence where I was, then adjusted by pivoting around another dancer at the end so I would wind up in the right spot. She also tried to adjust, and we bumped into each-other, but we made it. The audience didn’t even notice.
This week, I think I’m going to take it easy a bit. I’m taking a day off-ish today, though I think I’ll be back in class tomorrow. Friday, we’re heading out of town to celebrate our 5th anniversary.

Speaking of which, D gave me a mind-blowing anniversary gift:

I was stunned, but not so stunned that I couldn’t break out the single knee-hangs.

The portable rig is by Ludwig; Patti at Aerial Animals made the trapeze. I didn’t think to ask D where sourced the silks. When I asked about the mats, he said, “We’re making China great again,” heh.

The amount planning and subterfuge that went into this is incomprehensible! On the other hand, if I ever need a team of aerialist secret agents who can keep a secret, I know who call! More or less everyone was in on this, and planning phase dates back to January; maybe earlier.

Meanwhile, I had literally no idea this in the works!

Three From Acro

PlayThink 2017!!!

I just got notification that we’re in for PlayThink’s performance showcase this year! 

It’s official!

I have a couple of months to teach D our choreography and work any kinks, which should be plenty of time.  

My inspiration! 😀

For this act, I’m putting together an acro/ballet/physical theater piece to Charles Trenet’s classic, “La Mer.” I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The piece is built around a couple of bumbling tourists at the seashore. Since its 100% mine, I’ll post rehearsal clips once we start working on it.
You guys, I’m so excited! This will be our second year teaching, but our first year performing at PlayThink.

I can’t wait!

Review Update: WearMoi Dance Belt

You can find my initial review here.

I purchased my WearMoi belt on 5 August, 2016, and it quickly became one of my two favorites.

In terms of keeping everything contained, thus far it has been surpassed only by the BodyWrappers’ M007 in my experience (though I haven’t tried every single dance belt in the history of ever: I have a Dance Jox one on order, and I’ve never tried M. Stevens, for example).

In terms of comfort over the course of a ridiculously long day, it outclasses everything else, though this is definitely an area in which your mileage will vary.

In terms of durability, it’s been pretty freaking good, though I think it’s starting to feel the effects of being worn almost every single day (and washed just as frequently) since I lost my BW M007(1).

  1. Yes, I’m also wondering how exactly one loses a dance belt. Did I leave it in Florida last October? Who knows?

It’s still perfectly sound for dance purposes, including grand allegro, but I don’t think it’s optimal for use on the lyra at this point. Definitely better than nothing, but not perfect.

I think that’s a function of the trade-off between the power of the elastic in the waistband and the gentleness of the waistband in question: BodyWrappers’ waistbands, for example, are stronger, and as such will probably retain maximum grip longer. WM’s is softer, which makes it hella comfy right out of the box, but potentially not as durable(2).

  1. I say “potentially” because I lost my M007 too soon after purchasing it really know, but BodyWrappers’ dance belts have a reputation for durability, and goodness knows my M006 is still strong enough to double as a slingshot suitable for fighting off a rampaging triceratops. If, you know, you have problems with rampaging triceratops…es in your neck of the woods.

The thing that really sets this particular dance belt apart during a long day of dancing, sitting on your butt while not dancing, and then dancing again is that the thong never starts to feel invasive. It somehow manages to be flat, soft, and strong in exactly the right proportions.

BodyWrappers’ M007 is comparable, but doesn’t quite equal it. On the other hand, BodyWrappers’ M007 is essentially maximum-security lockdown for your naughty bits and also slightly more reliably guards one’s tender modesty, if you feel what I’m saying, both of which are advantages.

The rundown:

WearMoi’s dance belts are really very nice for dance and trapeze work and good on the lyra when new, but less so over the course of a several months of constant wear. Interestingly, I would count acro with lyra, in part because there’s a possibility of someone displacing the waistband of your dance belt while tumbling you around on their feet. Just saying. M007 for acro, y’allz.

In terms of comfort, WM’s belt is absolutely perfect, and I intend to keep at least one of them around for the foreseeable future.

Seriously, if I think I’m going to be nervous because ZOMG Auditions or OMG Hard Class With A New Teacher! or ZOMG The AD is Coming to Look At Us!! or ZOMGWTFBBQ I Have A Crush On My Teacher!!!(3) I generally opt to wear the WM belt because at least that’s, like, one part of me that won’t be uncomfortable.

  1. WHICH NEVER HAPPENS TO ME OKAY I CAN HANDLE IT LEAVE ME ALONE YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE!!! *door slam*

That said, I’m rather hard on my dance belts, and I have yet to discover an option that works better on the lyra than BodyWrappers’ M007.

Update: I forgot to cover sizing.

I’m hard-ish to fit because I have a small waist and stupidly huge glutei medii. On size charts(4) that include both waist and hip measurements, my waist is usually small or medium, and my hip is medium or large. Couple that with the irreducibly complex dark magic by which dancewear manufacturers generate their size charts, and you have a recipe for WTF.

  1. …By which I mean dancewear size charts. In normal street clothes, I’m always a small, unless we’re talking about Asian sizes, in which case I’m usually a medium.

Anyway, here’s what I mean:

01-Size-Comparison

Top: Capezio, L. Centre: WearMoi, L. Bottom: BW M006, L.

The waistband of my M007, by the way, was actually closer to the size of the WM dance belt than it was to that of my M006.

According to Capezio’s size chart, I should be a small; per BodyWrappers’ I’m a large. WearMoi splits the difference.

When I’m really on form, the WearMoi dance belt fits with a wee gap at the top and a perfect fit through the bottom half of the waistband. I could probably rectify that by ordering one with a narrower waistband, but it hasn’t caused any problems.

In short:

  • Overall Scores:
    • Comfort: 10/10
    • Security: 8/10 when new
    • Modesty: 7/10
    • Durability: 5/10
  • For Ballet: Highly Recommended
  • For Modern: Highly Recommended
  • For Acro-Balancing: Recommended
  • For Trapeze: Recommended
  • For Lyra: Recommended, with Caveat: may not be suitable after several months
  • For Averting Triceratops Attacks: Not Recommended; try BW M007 and call your local Humane Society or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Including Those Presumed Extinct to ask about implementing a Trap-Neuter-Return program to reduce the local population of feral triceratops…i?

I don’t do tap, so I can’t really speak to that. I’m guessing the percussive nature of tap might be an important consideration, so I don’t want to make any guesses, here.

I don’t do hip-hop, either, but I think the demands it places on the body (explosive movement, rapid tempo changes, possibly floorwork?) are close enough to those placed by Modern that this dance belt should be fine.

Good News 

I got cast! (And not the broken-bone kind 😁)

Next audition on my radar is ballet-related, but I’m not sure when it is. Dates haven’t been posted yet. 

Just A Quickie Before Rep

Two things: first, I’ve had plentiful occasion this week to reflect upon how radically dancing has altered my life.

Three years ago, I had a tiny handful of local friends and didn’t really really feel connected to anything or have any overarching vision guiding me. 

Now I’m increasingly knitted into this strange, tiny, amazing world of dance and aerials people as my life furiously churns (ohai, unintentional modern dance pun) towards some kind of future in which dance and aerials are central.

I am stunned and awed and grateful every time I think it. 

Second … Well, crap, I’ve forgotten what the second thing was. Honestly, it was probably about class this morning and still feeling like a space cadet whilst struggling against allergies. 

So that’s me: an allergic spaceman. 

If I was Matthew Bourne, I’d almost certainly write a ballet about it. 

Remember That Audition Where I Fell Off The Trapeze? 

The most interesting man in the world doesn’t always fall off the trapeze, but when he does, it’s during an audition … and lands him a callback!(1)

  1. Okay, so falling off the trapeze may have had exactly nothing to do with it. But still! I got a callback!!! YASSSSSSS!

Pretty much a perfect depiction of how I’m feeling right now 😀

Very Funny, Universe

Before tonight, I had managed never to really fall off the trapeze before. I’ve dumped myself off handstand-style once, but that doesn’t really count.

Tonight, I managed to take a legit fall—during my audition.

In retrospect, I made the wrong call abotu my music: instead of just going for the piece I’d intended, “La Mer,” which was a little too long, and letting them cut it off, I opted for “Beyond the Sea” (Bobby Darin’s version).

It turns out that the tempo of Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” is actually quite a bit faster than the recording I have of “La Mer.” I was tired and attempting to adapt, and somewhere along the line my brain decided halfway into an egg-to-pike inversion that I was actually doing the arabesque roll to sit that comes at the end.

20161004_085517.jpg

Uh-oh. Here comes the Failboat.

Since one wraps one’s arms for the inversion in question, it’s not possible to do the roll in question without breaking said arms. I’m more afraid of breaking bones than of falling, so I basically just let go.

Failboat

Allll Aboooooaaaaard!

 

Apparently it was a pretty spectacular fall—and a technically-correct one 🙂 I tucked and rolled, and as a result the only parts of me that hurt are my forearms, which is what happens when you wrap your arms and then do crazy shizzle.

I popped back up and was ready to hop back on the trap before they even had a chance to cut the music (though they did, in order to make sure I was okay). I sorted my way through the rest of the trap routine, though I didn’t do the arabesque roll at the end; my arms weren’t digging that.

Ironically, the rest of the audition went pretty well, and apparently my trapeze improv looked pretty great (the fall was evidently quite exciting as well :D).

So, that’s my life for you. When I do finally manage to fall off the trap, it’s in the middle of an audition.

the-most-interesting-cat-in-the-world

At least I didn’t fall down during the dance portion? I did fall down during the acting part, but that was on purpose.

So there.

~

Oh, also, ballet was good today, petit allegro was far less bad than usual, and we discussed rehearsals for showcase, etc.

We also had a Physical Theater workshop, and afterwards I was chatting with the teacher, and she said something like, “So, you dance ballet?”

And I said something like, “Yeah, a little modern, but ballet is really my first language and my first love.”

Then she said, “I could tell—the legs!”

😀

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Eat All The Food.

The Morning … Erm, Evening After

Yesterday, BW said something like, “Just wait, you’ll hate me tomorrow,” when we were all gushing about how much we love his class.

Happy to report that my legs (and arms—even he said, at one point, “Wow, all this port de bras is really tiring!”) are doing fine today. Backs of the calves are a little tight, but that’s what I get for neither properly stretching nor thoroughly foam-rolling them.

Tonight we begin integrating the partner work in Knockin’ (which, you guys, really needs a better working title). We’ll see how things feel after that 😛

Last night, as I was attempting to fall asleep, my brain conveniently remembered that we have an audition coming up for which we need to whack together 3 minutes of trapeze or lyra work. It proceeded to keep me awake for two hours choreographing :/

Have I mentioned that I really wish my Muse would at very least move to this time zone? I don’t mind if she chooses not to live in KY, but FFS, could she maybe try living in New York instead of San Francisco or Seoul?

OTOH, feeling better about the audition now. More worried about the dance part thanks to the fact that I’m sometimes memory-challenged when it comes to remembering modern dance combinations.

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