Category Archives: class notes

Sissones Again

Given that it’s our friend KH’s 50th birthday this weekend and we (by which I mean “I”) stayed out way too late and drank way too much last night, class was acceptable this morning.

Though keeping body and soul (by which I really mean adductors, rotators, and all that jazz) together was more work than usual, everything went reasonably well, except.

We had a medium allegro with small sissones fermées, and I was so busy being afraid I didn’t have the combination that I kept not really closing them, which made them …weird.

Part of the problem was that I wasn’t sure I had started on the correct foot in the first place. I also made the mistake of going in the second group, so I became engrossed in watching the first group, and wasn’t even any kind of ready when our turn came up. Derp.

But, all things considered, things were less bad than they might have been. I at least did the assemblé en tournant the right way.

Other than that, not much to report. It was one of those decent-ish mornings: passable enough under the circumstances, and enhanced by the fact that for once I didn’t look at myself in the mirror and go, “WTF is that guy doing here?” And for once in my life I was also the tallest person in the room (by, like, a millimeter, because HD is about as tall as I am).

Anyway, time to go buy balloons.

TL;DR: you have to put the fermée in your sissone fermée, or it won’t work very well

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Ballet Goals, 2018: Part 2

After a really quite good class tonight, I asked BW for some input on ballet goals.

After we tossed a few ideas back and forth (yes, the coordination/port de bras/artistry/épaulement idea got the nod), as we were looking for at least one really concrete thing, he said, “Balances—how long can you hold your passé balance?”

And I said, “Heh, erm, well … probably not as long as I should be able to…”

And he said, “Well … how about holding your passé balance with no hands on the barre for 8 seconds by the end of the year?”

And I agreed that that’s a good goal, especially since I can already do exactly that inconsistently. The idea is to be able to do it consistently … which will, in turn, help with, erm, turns (spotspotspotspotspotspot!!!).

This led to BW saying, “You should definitely be able to get there. You have the body for it.”

Which was awfully nice. It is really rather lovely to have the right kind of body for anything in the universe of classical ballet, in particular balances, since they’re so essentially to basically everything else.

In other news, tonight’s class was the first one since I came back that really felt good all the way through … Except maybe the part where I did second arabesque at barre with my supporting foot on an unused facial tissue that had escaped from my reserve … BW was like, “ASHER TURN OUT YOUR SUPPORTING LEG MORE HEEL FORWARD” and I was mentally like I’M TRYING BUT OMG IT’S SO SLIPPERY … but OTOH I actually did manage to turn that leg out, tissue or no tissue.

Everything was working together, coordination was coming along nicely, and I was finally able to detect the existence of those little muscles under my butt that make everything work like “Boom-ba-doomboom-boom-ba-doomboom…” um, sorry, wrong musical thought.

I’m nailing nice floaty doubles on the regular both directions at this point, and surprising triples out of the bush, so triples and quads will be back soon enough.

To be honest, even chaînés felt good tonight, and my piqués felt boss, though I got excited and got ahead of the music and had to reel them in. BW likes to run us through an exercise that’s just four piqués and four counts of chaînés on repeat, which is nice.

It’s simple, but allows you to focus on the most awkward thing in the entire canon of classical ballet, AKA chaînés. There’s a reason that you begin learning chaînés in your very first class and keep working on the for the rest of your dog-forsaken life.

I got the facings right on the tendu-et-turns thing every single time, too, which made me feel amazing, and my assemblés actually assembled, and I mostly managed to keep my chest and shoulders open. It also changed directions with a glissade, which makes me indescribably happy. I love following any kind of turn with a glissade, and this exercise ended with: single en dehors, soutenu turn, glissade.

I realized during today’s simple-but-hard (because only in ballet…) fondu that I’ve been releasing my shoulderblade at certain points in my port de bras. That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s shorthand for saying that I’m disengaging my lats and traps, thus closing off my own lines. Derp. Predictably, I do it because it feels like doing something, when in fact what I should be doing really doesn’t feel like doing anything. Which, because I am flexible, is basically how many things feel.

Lastly, I’ve got my really nice sauté arabesque back. For a while I kept sort of running over myself: then I figured out (thanks to a brief word with BG that was actually about cabriole, but the principle is the same) that I was trying to land my sauté arabesque by bringing my leading leg back under myself instead of letting my body follow its momentum.

This, in turn, led to doing this screwy thing in which I feel for the floor with my foot and halfway release my turnout. Blargh.

Needless to say, once I focused on letting the leg go where it was going, instead of trying to reel it back in, things got about a thousand percent better.

I’m trying to retain the lovely feeling of dancing that I caught in Killer Class yesterday. Thus far, I think I’m succeeding. Every time my brain starts to go THIS IS HARD AND MY BUTT HURTS, I go, “But we’re dancing!” (or should it be, “Butt, we’re dancing!”) and it makes me smile and I relax a little, which helps get my shoulders back out of my ears.

So that was class tonight, along with the first of my concrete ballet goaaaaaaaaallllllllls for 2018.

Petit Allegr*oh!*

On the balance (see what I did there? :P), class went well today.

I felt a bit asleep at the wheel for the first half of barre, then found myself able to count with my brain but not with my feet, then finally got it all working at once, so by the time we came to center I was wide awake.

We had a lovely adage that looked like it would begin croisée right but in fact shifted immediately to the left instead—one picked up the back foot and turned the hips, devloppéed to the front, then lifted up and through into first arabesque before closing back and developpéing the front leg to écarté. From there, if I remember correctly, it closed back, shifted the facing again, extended to third arabesquefondu-ed to attitude, came around via tour lent (aka promenade[1]) just to the opposite corner, fondu-ed to allongé, came through pas de bourrée to fourth, turned en dehors, and began again on the opposite side.

  1. Killer B goes by the definitions in which it’s only promenade when partnered, which I also prefer.

I might be missing something, but it was a really nice combination. The constant shifts in facing meant you couldn’t let your body get behind you: on the first run, second side I did, and wondered why everything felt so heavy and awful. I fixed it on the repeat, and it was like magic.

The real magic, though, was our petit allegro—nothing complicated, just:

glissade
jeté
temps levée
petit assemblé
glissade
assemblé
sissone
sissone

…but the first time it felt heavy and disconnected.

Then Killer B said, “Think of each jump as preparation for the next jump,” and a little lightbulb turned on in my head.

We ran it again, and suddenly it felt light, free, and easy. I found myself inhabiting the physical memory of doing petit allegro as a kid. That, you guys, was a profound pleasure.

For what it’s worth, it’s not that I didn’t know that petit allegro should be done this way. There are many things that we, as dancers, may know intellectually without really knowing them. I hadn’t realized that I was executing each step of each petit allegro as A. Separate. Entity. Unrelated. To. The. Next.

But I was. And the times that petit allegro has felt good? Those were the times that I forgot myself, got out of my own way, and did it right anyway. The times that I let myself dance.

So, strangely enough, it seems as if maybe I don’t actually hate petit allegro. I certainly didn’t hate it today. In fact, to be honest, I kind of loved it.

We also learned how to correctly execute temps levée battu from jeté (presumably also battu): assuming that you’re not doing the weird reverse jeté that closes coupé devant, you spring off the leg you’ve just landed on, beat front as if in sous-sus in the air, then bring the working leg back to coupe as you land.

THIS LOOKS REALLY COOL.

Honestly, it’s one of things that always blows my mind when I fire up the YouTurbos and watch the Royal Danish Ballet.

In fact, here:

This clip is supposed to start at 0:55, where two of the boys break out that beautiful Danish petit allegro that always seems, to me, like a visual representation of the song of a canary. It might not start there for you (the preview keeps starting at the very beginning), but if it doesn’t, that’s where the really impressive bit takes off.

In other news, I had this very intense dream in which I smelled smoke and thought the house was on fire, but it turned out that someone was burning a stubbled field just down the road. I wasn’t myself—I was some random blond boy living in a farmhouse with my sisters, and we were all very afraid until we understood what was happening.

I woke to the persistent smell of smoke, but not “the house is on fire” smoke—more like that scent of burning dust that you get when you fire up your forced-air furnace for the first time in any given winter, but much, much stronger than usual, and much more persistent.

It turned out that what I was smelling was the bearings of the furnace fan burning themselves out.

D, fortunately, knows how to fix stuff like that. I continue to be impressed with him. In all honesty, while I sometimes enjoy lifting heavy things (like other human beings or myself), I am Not That Gay Guy. (And, yes, if you’re wondering, that was definitely a consideration when we were courting. He had me at “I can do most plumbing and electrical work myself.”)

So as I write, D is replacing the fan in the furnace that blows the hot air around so I can get out of bed with only two shirts and a hoodie on instead of with three shirts, a hoodie, and a parka (because we both refuse to turn the temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit but I’m a dancer so I get cold).

Speaking of dancers, back to the Royal Danish. There are some lovely moments in the coupled petit allegro that immediately follows the boys’ little variation wherein they’re folding and unfolding their legs in this way that is, for some reason, one of the things I love most about ballet. I love ballonés, ballottés, and temps de cuisse in part because they employ these folding-and-unfolding sequences, and so often when I catch sight of myself in class and thing, “Ah, I look like a dancer right now,” it’s in the midst of some developpé or balloné or ballotté.

If, by the way, you could use a little guidance on the difference between balloné and ballotté, Ballet Webb has a good, short article on exactly that.

Needless to say, the technicalities of ballotté are high on BW’s nitpick list. It drives him crazy when he catches us doing ballonés instead.

~

PS: I used the heck out of the “Look! A Foot!” cheat during the sissones. It worked like a charm, though then I got excited and kept sissone-ing to like 90 degrees. Mental note: CALM DOWN, IT’S PETIT ALLEGRO!!!

En DeDon’t

I went back to advanced class today.

All things considered, it went reasonably well. Our AD Emeritus came just to watch, and—to my great amazement—this did not cause me to completely forget how to dance. I’m hoping that this means that this particular hex has worn off, or at least only takes effect when the current AD is present (I should specify: I mean the ballet’s AD, not Cirque’s AD, who doesn’t appear to have this effect on me).

Rather, it caused me to remember a correction he gave me ages ago and in an incredibly memorable way: specifically, to make sure the supporting leg is stable before you start waving the working leg around in the air.

675px-Flamingo_at_SeaWorld_San_Diego

Like this. (Image credit: Howcheng, via Wikimedia Commons.)

This isn’t to say, however, that I didn’t make any really stupid mistakes. I did, in fact, make one.

And, in fact, I made it twice.

We had a lovely adagio that ended with what should have been an en dedans turn. As you probably know, I am in favor of en dedans turns: they’re easier for me because I err on the side of falling backwards, so the physics of the en dedans turn overcome that tendency.

However, immediately prior to executing said en dedans turn, we executed what you might call an en dehors tendu: opening from fifth front to a la seconde closing to fifth back. A balance at passé derrière followed, then the pirouette en dedans. The trick was to prepare the arms accordingly on completing the tendu. Sadly, I figured this out too late to save myself.

The first time, I managed to do it right by sheer main force on the first side, but didn’t correct in time on the second side, and the turn wound up being en dehors instead of en dedans.

The second time, I made an even worse mistake: I told myself:

It’s not en dehors!

This meant, of course, that my brain was full of en dedans, and accordingly I did the final turn the wrong way on both sides the second time.

Argh.

Anyway, in short, this demonstrates one of the basic principles of learning: the human mind (and indeed, almost any kind of mind) works better if you give it a positive input than a negative one.

In other words, it’s more effective to say, “Do this!” than it is to say, “Don’t do that!”

And, as such, I completely screwed myself, and probably would have been fine if I’d just told myself, “Prepare arms for en dedans … Turn is en dedans.”

Given that my mind is very visual, it goes a step further: it’s stupid hard to execute the right thing while visualizing the wrong thing. That’s just not how we work.

Anyway, everything else—including petit allegro!—went fairly well. There were no moments of full-on Baby Giraffe Mode, and I was able to easily recover from picking up the first petit allegro combination incorrectly (thought started fifth with left foot front instead of right, which made the whole freaking thing not work right).

The combination, by the way, was simple but a little bit of a mind-bender, since it begins with échappé. It went:

Version 1:
échappé
jump to 5th*
glissade
assemblé
changement
changement
changement
soubresaut
(other side)

 

Version 2:
echappé
jump to 5th*
glissade
jeté
jeté
jeté
petit assemblé
(other side)

*This could be accomplished via petit assemblé or petit assemblé battu changé.

I also didn’t die—not even a little. In terms of physical intensity, I would actually place this class third for this week–Killer B’s was the hardest, BW’s the second hardest, then this one, then JMH’s Monday class.

HD spent a lot of time working on me today, which is always reassuring. She also mentioned that she’s been following my adventures on Instagram, which I think is pretty cool 😀

Beyond that, for the first time in a while, all through class I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t hate what I saw. I’m assuming that’s more mental than physical, though I am starting to feel like I’m making it around the bend reconditioning-wise (especially given that I’m actually, like, enjoying petit allegro).

Next week, we may or may not have class, depending on how things roll for HD. She’s working on getting over a nasty cough and also Nutcrackering in addition to teaching our class. She’s currently the only person available to teach advanced class (everyone else is also Nutcrackering, some here and some elsewhere), and we would rather that she didn’t kill herself trying to do everything at once.

Work Work Work Work

It turns out that I’m working tomorrow and the 16th. It’s handy to have useful performing skills that you can do and people will give you a money. On the other hand I could’ve had several more dates in this run if I’d spoken up quicker, which tells me that I need to be more confident.

I’m working on it. This is less actual Impostor Syndrome than simple Newest Person In The Company Syndrome. I’m still figuring out the company culture, and though my inclination is to step up for everything, I don’t want to be obnoxious about it.

Anyway, I”m beginning to get the impression that stepping up for everything is totally okay in this company. Sweet!

ICHC-ice-cream-man

Ah, an ICHC classic.

Anyway, on to ballet.

Tonight we had a new girl in BW’s class. She’s actually someone I know from JMH’s Sunday class—she was, fortunately, wearing ballet clothes when I saw her, so she actually looked familiar 😀

Tonight’s was a good class. Less hard than BW drives me when it’s just me, but a good chance to focus on refining things.

Lately I’ve been working really hard on keeping my chest open and forward, which makes a huge difference at center. I feel like it gets me out of my own way when it comes to balances, turns, and weight changes.

I’m also working on synchronizing my épaulement. The lesson the week before last, with its deep port-de-bras drills, has been occupying a great deal of space in my brain for the past couple of weeks.

I also seem to have finally got my chaînés back in working order, more or less. I do them in 5th rather than 1st (this is a handy trick if you have crazy-huge thighs and gigantic, hyperextended knees) and kept, for some reason, squeezing and braking like you do when you do a soutenu turn that has to finish in relevé.

I don’t even know what that was, all I know is that it’s super awkward when your chaînés grind to a halt in the middle of the combination and you have to do a sort of half-baked glissade so you don’t cause a traffic accident.

Anyway, it didn’t happen tonight, which is good, because ain’t nobody got time for that. And also because we had this lovely combination that went:

piqué 1st arabesque
chassé
piqué 3rd arabesque
chassé
piqué 1st arabesque
chassé
piqué 3rd arabesque
failli tombé (coupé the back leg)
chaînés (4 counts)
sweeping rond de jambe
posé arabesque à terre (effacé, arms in 5th opposing direction of the hips)

I really liked that one. It was one of those simple/tricky combinations: simple enough choreography, but the counts were interesting and the facings were very explicit—the chaînés had to be executed towards the back corner, etc.

I think we acquitted ourselves rather nicely, in the end.

We also did a fun combination for warm-up jumps—just your ordinary 8 in 1st, 8 in 2nd, 8 changements in 5th, 4 echappés (2 counts each), but we alternated. It created the immediate impression of a nice little choreographed piece, which is exactly what BW said when we finished: “That was like a little show!”

I think the fact that each of us tended to watch the-other while waiting added to that effect.

I’m finally feeling reasonably friendly with petit allegro again, though it still sometimes leaves me feeling like I need to drill another hole in my head for breathing … jeez. My congestion has been worse than usual of late. But, at any rate, I keep making myself smile during petit allegro exercises.

I am forced to admit that sometimes it’s actually fun. And now that I’ve told you, I’ll have to kill you. Nothing personal, just, you know.

Trade secrets and stuff.

The Good with the Bad

First, the bad:

I felt like crap all the way through barre. Tired, which I expected (three hours of circus classes on Tuesday night will do that to you), but also like I was fighting against my own body, which I didn’t expect.

Halfway through I realized that I was fighting against my own body: that I’d managed to turn my quads on and couldn’t turn them off, and they were constantly opposing my still-reconditioning posterior chain.

Needless to say, I might skip Tuesday night classes for a couple of weeks until I get my turnouts back in line.

This is an awkward decision to have to make. Trapeze 3 is only offered on Tuesday night right now, and I really should be drilling away at it—not only because I’ve been in Trap 3 FOREVER (mainly due to schedule conflicts), but also because I recognize that Trapeze is the circus discipline in which I’m closest to achieving a high-level professional standard, and from an economic standpoint, even as a freelancer, aerials gigs to pay better than dance gigs.

That said, I exist first and foremost as a dancer, and it’s my dance background that sets me apart when it comes to auditioning as an aerialist. As such, when I feel like I must choose, ballet always gets the nod. It’s the single most specialized thing I do with my body, and even though my body is well-suited to the discipline, the reality is that to it takes constant work to be a good ballet dancer.

The realities of daily life as a bipedal primate in an advanced society militate against the physical adaptations required to do ballet well. So we take class all the damned time, knowing that every time we miss class, we’re unraveling a little bit of the intricate tapestry we’ve been creating all along.

As they say, “When I miss one class, I know it. When I miss two classes, my director knows it. When I miss three classes, the audience knows it.”

…Presumably because I’m face-down on the stage, wondering how I got there.

Now, the Good:

Adagio felt really decent for the first time since I came back from my post-surgical healing break. As a supporting leg, my right is still significantly weaker than my left, but it’s catching up.

I think part of the reason for this, oddly enough, has to do with the layout of our bedroom. If you’re facing the foot of the bed, I sleep on the left. Our bed is lofted over two layers of drawers, so the options for getting into bed involve climbing, jumping, or doing the equivalent of mounting a rather small horse from the ground.

Being who I am, I opt for jumping or the ground-mount. I usually accomplish this goal by springing off a turned-out left leg whilst jeté-ronding the right[1,2].

  1. This is true whether I’m jumping or doing the ground-mount. The ground-mount version involves bringing my left knee up as if I was going to developpé straight to 145+ degrees à la seconde, setting the inside of edge of the ball of my left foot on the edge of the bedframe (it was build to be a waterbed, so it’s actually nigh level with the mattress), then engaging through the posterior chain whilst swinging the right leg up and over. So, basically the same thing, only different. Also, I’ve never tried to describe a ground mount in terms of ballet before, but it’s surprisingly effective.
  2. I should note that this also has to do with space constraints: yesterday, I tried it the other way, bounced my left knee off the wall to the left of the bed and whacked it very, very hard on the bedframe. 0/10: not recommended.

In short, for essentially two months, I’ve been using the posterior chain of the left leg to do plyometric workouts and more or less doing nothing with the right side.

As they say on the internet:

well-theres-your-problem

via Pinterest, via teh Googs, via ImgFlip, probably via some professional photog who isn’t getting her royalties for all the abuses of this photo

Anyway, today I really tried to concentrate on, like, actually engaging my right leg when it was playing the supporting role, and not just flailing around like a dead fish that doesn’t know how to ballet.

Which, to be fair, very few dead fish do.

This involved conceding the possibility that I might need to work with lower extensions: trying to tour lent with the working leg above 90 degrees and the supporting leg on strike doesn’t work very well (to whit: for me, 90 seems to be the sweet spot).

Anyway, I made it through all the things. By the end of barre I wasn’t at all sure that I was going to survive through all of class, and I let Ms. B know just in case I had to peace out before jumps or something.

However, I did survive jumps, and although my brain didn’t want to retain all the petit allegro (and kept insisting on putting entrechats where they didn’t belong, which I guess is probably First World Ballet Problems all the way), I carried off the first run of the grand allegro rather nicely under the circumstances. My grand assemblé was a little meh, but it was better than not doing grand allegro at all.

The combination in question was a zig-zag, starting croisé:

sissone failli
assemblé
sissone failli
assemblé
tombé-pas de bourré-glissade-saut de chat
…then back the other way

On second run, I was thoroughly cooked and had trouble getting my trailing leg to play along with the grand assemblé process. It was, on both sides, willing to get off the ground, but that was about it. It was having no part of sweeping up to meet the leading leg at the apex of the jump.

I mention the facing at the start, by the way, because sissone often changes it, and it was no exception here. In this combination, the facing changes through the sissone from croisé to effacé, then back to croisé through the assemblé. The tombe-pdb-glissade-saut de chat begins en face, but finishes croisé on the second side.

Incorporating the facings both makes this combination look really nice and prevents everyone from sproinging into each-other. …Which, to be fair, is not something that happens with any regularity in Killer Class, but you never know.

You Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

Good class tonight (technically last night, at this point). Back to accidental private class mode, but instead of the pyrotechnics, we focused on the details. This meant a very, very long barre in which I did something like 24 super-slow grand pliés in first whilst BW rebuilt, cleaned, and polished my port de bras and épaulement and the coordination of the same with the legs (which know their job fairly well). I keep forgetting that the Swiss have precision engineering in their blood.

This resulted in me actually looking like the danseur I aspire to be (at least while doing grand pliés in first). BW’s patience and precision are the perfect foil for my impatience and impetuousity. He is not at all afraid to make me do the same thing a million times until I really, really get it.

At one point, he said, “You’ve already got more of this than a lot of people. You’ll notice it when you watch people dance.” That’s quite high praise coming from him, and so indicative of something fundamental about him: he never gloats about his own precision and technical prowess; he seems to be frustrated that not everyone has it. But I love him for that, and for taking the time to impart precision and sound technique upon me.

After, we carried that lesson into a deceptively-tricky rond de jambe (relevé lent devant [“Higher!”] with arm in 2nd, allongé as you tendu, arabesque with arm in 2nd, tendu allongé, 4 ronds without port de bras, allongé, cambré into the barre and down the front, tendu allongé, reverse, cambré in and down the back, tendu plié allongé passé balance, sus-sous, allongé, detourné, second side—not complicated, but he wanted it absolutely precise), a lethally-slow fondue with synchronized port, and even the grand battement.

Amidst all these allongé, I discovered that the bones in my left shoulder are clicking. Later I mentioned it to D. Turns out I’ve separated my left shoulder somehow—mildly, but it also explains the ache in the morning.

I may, for all that, have actually done this to myself in my sleep. It could have happened at literally any point. As such, I’ll be working on shoulder stability (read: pumping up the delts, evidently) going forward. My wonky connective tissue probably played a part in this development, and the answer is always “strength training.”

The right shoulder only grinds when I do certain kinds of push-ups, these days, so I’m sure the left will sort itself out. Curiously, I haven’t noticed the left shoulder grinding during push-ups, so it might not even take much to correct it.

Self-Doubt Update

My ploy to boost my own ego by sandbagging[1] beginner class worked.

  1. In case this sense is unfamiliar, it’s bike-racing parlance for entering a race in an easier category than you really should in order to improve your results. The UCI frowns on it, as does everyone else, but it happens all the time anyway.

Had a very good class; supporting leg remembered how to do its job during turns. Effortless doubles ensued, including a very nice slooow double en dehors (I’m better at en dedans turns, which prevent me from leaning back). Thank goodness. Technically, this being beginner class, doubles weren’t required.

Repeated a nice combination from yesterday:

  • Tombé 4th
  • Rond de Jambe (à terre)
  • Fouetté (à terre) to 4th
  • Brush through 90 degree 2nd into en dedans turn
  • Repeat other side

We were in the itty-bitty studio, but it was possible to do about four repetitions (total: right-left-right-left) because this one doesn’t travel that much.

The first time, I missed the bit where Señor Beastmode informed us that the short wall would be the front, and proceeded to do the whole combination treating the long wall as the front and wondering why everyone else was so aggressively wrong. As such, I spent most of the combination being aggressively correct about my technique–and then figured it out on the last rep. D’oh.

So basically I adhered to the maxim that says, “Whatever you do, own it. ”

On the second trip, I both owned it and did it right, except for one time when I started thinking. Ah, well.

I also did the little jumps (effortless) and the petit allegro (also effortless, especially since BG didn’t make us do assemblé no change-assemblé changé this time). I think he gave us different directions the second time, but apparently I didn’t pick up on them. That or else I was the only one doing it right that time! (Just meant that I did extra reps of the harder bits, so no biggie.)

Where The Girls Are

Two of my friends from the primary studio, TS and MB, joined me for BW’s class today. It was nice having them in class—I mean, I missed having BW all to myself, but they’re fun to dance with. That said, I’ll miss my men’s technique private, unofficial though it was!

BW is quite capable of teaching men’s tech to the boys even in a mixed class, though, and we’ve talked about doing an official private class now and then anyway. I will probably take advantage of that as audition season approaches. Right now, I am definitely not feeling ready, but I suspect that once I’m really back that’ll fade.

Range of motion continues to improve. Circular port de bras remains a sticking point, but I can get through it if I’m restrained in my execution (usually, I’m effusive). Cambré derrière is once again and 90 degrees with no splayed ribs or noodle neck. I continue to dance in skimpy little shirts because I can.

I’m thinking about the next phase of things—excited about getting back into grand allegro now that I won’t be fighting a compression vest. I had no idea how significantly it impacted my ability to breathe before I stuck one on just in case after class last week (to head off any possible swelling). Erm, wow?

I’m also pleased with the impact of feeling comfortable in skintight shirts: the more clearly my teachers can see my form, the better they can tune their corrections. I have a stock of tiny ballet t-shirts that I bought right before the surgery, though at the moment I’m really into tank tops. But winter is coming.

Anyway, tonight’s major corrections were the usual “chest forward” and “lock out the legs,” with a side of my barre shoulder creeping up. I caught myself doing that during grand battement, though, and applied BW’s suggestiom that I really concentrate on sending my weight down through my supporting leg. That fixed it.

Attitude balance was cracking good left but only Meh right. Also, I briefly led everyone astray during the barre adagio when I reverted to Killer B’s from Wednesday o.o

I did the centre tendu, during which BW fixed my head (he’s all about fixing my épaulement). Double turns are still very much on tap. Didn’t try for triples or quads as I think those might be too exciting. Bowed out after that and served as a human spotting target, which was fun.

That’s it for tonight. I’m pretty tired, and the next several days are packed—rehearsal, class, performance, rehearsal or class…

Cambrés: I Haz Them

Got all my cambrés back. Circular port de bras still requires a modicum of care. Forces me do it thoughtfully though.

Did the Awkward Rotator Exercise before class. L, T, & BG all took class today, too, so the boys were well-represented.

My fondus were better today, but I still had to shelve half the grand battement to keep my heart rate down.

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