Category Archives: class notes
Class was decent today.
My allergies were, as they have been, off the chain—but that’s par for the course, and no small part of the reason that I bother working on my cardio. The more fit my cardiovascular system is, the less it hates me when I can barely inhale because my nose and the back of my throat are full of goop but I dance anyway.
It wasn’t flat-out the best class I’ve had recently (that was Sunday, I think), but I still feel like every single day I make progress, which is something. Even last Thursday, when my allergies were so bad I thought my head would explode and I had to beg off of grand allegro (to my great and undying humiliation), I made progress.
After class, I reviewed Siegfried’s variation. I had meant to just mark it, but instead after the first phrase I found myself running it: contretemps-tombé-pas de bourrée-glissade-saut de chat, repeat. I was watching my port de bras and my turnout in the mirror and heading back to “stage left” suddenly I noticed that I was, as the song goes, “Way up in the middle of the air,” without actually trying, in this surprisingly nice saut de chat.
- The song in question being “Ezekiel Saw The Wheel,” a folk song which I’d never heard until I met my last roommate, who used to sing it: Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up, way up, Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the air.
Anyway, that saut de chat startled the heck out of me and I landed like a mammoth, but it’s really good to feel like I’ve regained the best of my “Terpsichorean powers,” so to speak.
- Why, yes, of course I’m referencing T.S. Elliot. Also, the musical Cats.
On the other hand, I don’t recommend landing like a mammoth even on good floors. I went back to marking, though with a little more vigor than your usual mark.
I also realized that I tend to fail to bring my second leg to the party when I do assemblés in the context of petit allegro.
I mean, it’s not that it doesn’t get there. It’s that I fail to really actively transport it. Like the first leg gets on the train, but the second one has to walk to the party.
I had somehow failed to notice that … no doubt in part because when I do grand allegro assemblés—especially porté—I really snap that puppy right the heck up there. But, in case you were wondering, petit allegro is not, in fact, “grand allegro, only smaller,” no matter what its name might imply. It requires its own approach (they do it like nobody’s business in Copenhagen).
But, anyway, I haven’t been really pushing the second foot through the plié and snapping it up there, and Killer B schooled me over it this morning.
So Killer B’s advice is to think of glissade-assemblé as a compound word; a hyphenated phrase like tombé-pas de bourée, (or, if you’re a guy, tombé-chaîné-chaîné-chaîné-chaîné-chaîné). You have to really push the trailing leg through the bottom of the plié that’s sort of the hyphen so the momentum doesn’t get lost.
- When you lose the momentum, you wind up with two separate words, one of them mumbled: “Glissade. Assemblah.”
So I tried it, and wouldn’t you know, it worked like a charm.
So that’s today’s bit of technical advice. Since glissade-assemblé is a petit-allegro stock phrase, think of it with a hyphen and pushpushpush the second leg through the plié in the middle, so when it leaves the ground again all the momentum is there.
And use your plié. And use your plié. And use your plié.
Which, coincidentally, will also stop you landing your saut de chat like a mammoth, which you will appreciate when you’re seventy and haven’t yet had to put in new knees, or so I’ve heard.
On Monday I found myself reading some old posts in the bath (because reading in the bath is what I would do basically 90% of the time that I’m not dancing, if I had my way … well, that and swimming in the ocean).
It was surprising to look back on where I was only three and a half years ago: to realize that, really, I had no idea I’d be doing what I’m doing now—or maybe just a glimmer of the idea; something that felt like the vaguest of pipe dreams, I suppose.
It was weird to read the words, “If I ever get a chance to perform,” or however I phrased it. At the time, it seemed like gift one distantly hopes to receive: perhaps if I’m really good, someone will give me–no, not a pony, but maybe a hobby horse?
Now the chance to perform is something I pursue and lay hold of with both hands and create for myself. It’s something I am beginning not to feel weird about getting paid to do, like, “Maybe if I keep my head down they won’t notice that they’re paying me money for this.”
And yet I realize, still, that in a way the chance to live the life that I’m living right now is a gift—a gift, I suppose, I’ve worked hard to be worthy of, and will continue to work hard to be worthy of, but still one that depends upon the goodwill of so many people other than myself.
Friday, early, we leave for the Playa again.
This year, a group is staging The Rite of Spring. I’ve never seen it live, so I’m looking forward to that. Perhaps I can find other dancers and do class with them.
As for me and my camp, we’re doing Open Barre, with Mimosas, twice. Contact improv, twice. And all the other things that my camp does, but that’s what I’m in charge of. My gift to the Playa, along with whatever I wind up feeding people, as so often I do.
My feelings are mixed about going this year. I’m working, so that’s a challenge—learning the choreography at a distance will be interesting—and I’m afraid of coming back with a respiratory infection again. I’ll have to be careful this year.
But there are always things to be learned, and what was it I was saying about learning not to constantly try to control the outcomes?
So there it is. This is the outcome right now. I’m strung between two loyalties, but perhaps it’s okay. If things work out as I hope they will in the coming months, I most likely won’t be able to go to the Burn in 2018.
Because, as D told me so many times, there is something in the world for which I will sacrifice all other things—even Burning Man, as much as I love it.
When all this is over, the desert will be there still (unless we blow up the world before then, in which case it’s all a moot point anyway).
I took class on Monday and found that, although my feet and Achilles’ tendons were still a little tight, I was mostly functional. I even got some nice turns in.
As such, I hit the studio again tonight (didn’t make morning class because D’s truck overheated, so he needed my car, and I was too late to catch the bus) feeling fairly confident about things.
My confidence was, in fact, well-placed. Class was good, all things considered—I’m still a tad wheezy, but with adequate oceans of medication that stayed under control.
Anyway, tonight’s class was essentially built around petit allegro—not that we didn’t do anything else, because we absolutely did, but the ultimate goal was to improve our petit allegro by improving our use of pliés.
When we finally did get around to petit allegro, BG gave us a very, very helpful note: if the music is fast, focus on getting down into the floor with the pliés.
It’s counter-intuitive as all heck, but it works a treat. I am one of those people who can milk a fair bit of elevation out of a jump by brushing hard and really springing through the feet, so I don’t always use my deepest demi-plié in preparation.
This is not at all helpful in fast petit allegro combinations—it just takes too freaking long, especially when you factor in hyperextended knees and really flexible feet.
Turns out that if I get deep into my demi-plié, I can actually get there faster. I suppose it comes down to employing the entire bottom of the foot—I suspect that when I’m struggling with petit allegro, my heels are probably just skimming the ground when they should be doing some actual work.
Anyway, this feels revelatory, as things do of late. I’m going to have to practice the hell out of it in order to overcome a lifetime of attempting to do petit allegro the way I do grand battement.
Anyway, that’s it for now. In short: never be afraid to get down when it’s time to boogie.
Tuesday, after a fairly hard conditioning class and a not-difficult-but-demanding technique class, we began learning variations.
Wednesday, after a very restorative conditioning class and a lovely technique class, we continued with them.
The girls are doing the Swans’ entrance scene. There are only four of them, so they have a lot of ground to cover, but they already looked pretty great at Tuesday night’s brief “show ‘n’ tell” session.
Meanwhile, my variation (one of the many versions of Seigfried’s) is a challenge in the small studio even though there’s only one of me—it’s packed with big leapy bits, all of which seem to land me precariously close to the walls when I do them full-speed. Thus, I wind up doing a lot of marking and semi-marking. There seem to be a lot of walls in that studio.
Still, I was quite happy with the sauté arabesque-balancé-tombé coupé jeté sequence last night (it varies from the video we’re using as a model, which involves a bunch of revoltades, which I still am not sure how to do on purpose). Also feeling better about Bournonville jeté, although I still tend to jump through my arms. We worked on that a lot last night.
I couldn’t remember about 20 seconds of the version that C taught me (which doesn’t have tours in it), and since I was working with J last night, we subbed in some tours just because. They feel a lot better this year—I’m figuring out how to use a relaxed plié in grand allegro instead of hanging onto tension, which makes a huge difference.
To be honest, though, just having another year under my belt also makes a huge difference. I don’t have to think about choreography anywhere near as much: I’m better at remembering chains of steps, instead of individual steps. That makes a huge difference.
Likewise, even though we don’t get to do grand allegro anywhere near as often as I would like at home (especially since BW is in Europe for the summer), there are a lot more steps I can do without having to think about them at this point.
The most invaluable corrections this far have been as follows:
- In saut de chat, focus on travel rather than on elevation (the elevation takes care of itself)
- In Bournonville jeté, imagine leaping over a hurdle. This imparts the graceful ballon that makes it such a nice leap.
- Also in Bournonville jeté, think about reaching forward with the arms, then opening them. This both looks better and prevents me from hyperextending my back and shoulders, which screws up the momentum of the jump and looks weird (though probably okay in modern contexts?).
The central thing I’m taking away from this intensive is that I need to focus on one idea:
I used to ride a horse with whom the same basic principle applied. You had to ride him forward, or he would just slope lazily around and pretend he didn’t know from dressage.
The highlight of last night was when I came in way too hot on the first tombé-coupé and instead of the standard jeté, it turned into something spinny and impressive whose name I don’t know. It’s definitely a thing—I’ve seen it in other variations—I’m just not sure which thing. I’ll have to see if I can find it in Tarasov when I get home.
Anyway, J said, “Ooh, that was fancy!” Sadly, since I’m not actually sure how to do that particular thing on purpose, I’ll just have to file it away for now (with revoltades) and save it for some future date.
Last year, I think I was a bit wary of speed and power. I was forever doing Albrecht’s variation as if I had a check-rein on: behind the motion, without abandon. I was too busy thinking about the steps and trying to be precise, and I was definitely a little afraid of running myself over.
This year, I feel like I’ve made friends with speed and power, and when I get out of my own way, I can harness them. Confidence goes a long way!
In other news, my adductors are pretty sore, which is okay, since they’re one of the bits that need to be stronger. My beats look better for it, though in class yesterday I kept doing jeté battu on the wrong foot (wtf?) and decided to just do plain jeté like everyone else. I should try breaking out the entrechats sixes today. Quatres were nice yesterday.
Anyway, I should go do my laundry. I’m not going to walk down there this time; it’s 3 miles round-trip.
Tonight we polish up the variations; tomorrow we get to show them off.
Everything was reasonably functional this morning, which was good, because Advanced Class began with four of us and two had to leave after barre. The remaining pair of us got quite a workout.
JB was like, “I always end up with two students,” and I said, “It’s a sign. You should be teaching pas de deux class.”
Sadly, we did not get Pas De Deux 101 (or even 095: Remedial Pas De Deux–Topics In Not Dropping The Girl And Not Kicking The Boy In The Hereditary Storehouse).
- True story, which I’ve probably already told: when we were rehearsing Vivaldi Variations, two of the three girls in the Sirens group were convinced that they were going to kick me in the, erm, shenanigans. In case you’re wondering, the best way to guarantee that you’re going to kick the boy in the Hereditary Storehouse while doing assisted fouettés is to be afraid that you’re going to and thus stare directly at his No Fly Zone. The foot goes where the eyes go.
Instead, we got a demanding class that was entirely about weight transfers.
Most of it was good. Since I know I can do quadruple turns, I’ve been dialing back the quantity factor in order to improve quality. As such, turns and terre-a-terre went quite well, except when I got a bit too excited about a developpé à la seconde balance from sus-sous and knocked myself off my leg.
During petit allegro, for some reason I could do royales during the mark but not during the actual run. WTF even is that?
I still hate royales, but that probably means I should work on nothing else until I nail them down.
At least now I’m able to do them in such a way that they don’t look like a complete afterthought: JB does them really cleanly, and I finally got my head around the idea that a royale isn’t so much a lame, beaten changement for people who can’t do entrechat six as it is a showy little flutter: you beat out-in (front)-out-in (back).
I think that in the past I’ve always beaten the first stroke of my royale to the front instead of to the side, which makes it both nearly invisible (en fact, in fact, it can be completely invisible) and probably not actually a royale—it occurs to me that, basically, only cabrioles and assemblés battus do that.
Our grand allegro went something like:
sissone faillie (passing through a clean first!!!)
fourth arabesque à terre
[something else might have been here?]
coupé-chassé-rond de jambe (en relevé)
tombé-“pas de bouchassé”-brush-grand assemblé
pique third arabesque
some other kind of chassé-developpé sequence
repeat on other side
- At first I kept doing some weird kind of cloche thing, which made it difficult to get to the arabesque à terre efficiently.
It was a really cool combination. My tour jetés were kinda lame (like, BW would’ve made me go back and do them again, and HIGHER, and SHARPER), because I was pretty cooked by then, but I’m still so happy to be jumping again that it didn’t really matter that much.
- …Even though the part of me that likes to impress my teachers with my prowess as a jumper was really annoyed.
I think, though, that as much as I’m happy to be jumping again, my favorite combination today was a waltzy thing in which we changed facings via passé from fifth to a lunge in fourth three times in a row.
It was really quite pretty, and I think I managed to do it without getting the arms backwards at all … which, honestly, is one of those awkward ballet things. Internally, I’m half like, “YESSSSS! NO BACKWARDS ARMS!” and half like, “WTF are you doing still getting your arms backwards, you jackwagon? Aren’t you past that yet?”
- The answer, of course, is, “Mostly.” It still happens on occasion, at apparently random intervals, and thus I live in fear of doing some or another combination otherwise beautifully, but with the arms entirely backwards. What even is that.
We also did a nifty center tendu in which we paddled ourselves around the eight points of the stage using ronds de jambe à terre. It felt, I don’t know, contemplative might be the right word. It reminded me of doing fancy paddling tricks in a canoe.
I want to say that was the same combination in which we ended with a tour lent en dedans at passé through to attitude derièrre. When I picked that one up, I initially thought that the tour lent was supposed to be en dehors, which in turn made me wonder what we’d done to make JB hate us so much 😉
It was hella awkward with the tour lent going the wrong way, since the transition into attitude derièrre happened during the turn, which meant that if you did the turn backwards, you had to work twice as hard to keep everything together (because momentum, and turnouts, and physics, and stuff).
Anyway, it’s all improving bit by bit. There are days that I suddenly really feel that I’m a better dancer than I used to be—like, I feel it in my bones, with a kind of immanent certainty.
Today wasn’t one of those days, but it was the kind of day on which I can see that I’m making incremental gains. I think the difference is that sometimes everything just comes together, and I dance well enough that I feel legitimately gifted, whilst on other occasions I just feel, you know, serviceable.
But, honestly, my goal is to be a serviceable danseur. There’s much to be said for being serviceable: it bears with it the notions of reliability and competence. Yes, when you’re having one of those “gifted” days, your teacher or AD or whatever tends to take notice: but over the long run it’s important to be serviceable, reliable, and competent.
Speaking of which, my sissones did not suck today. So there’s definitely that.
In other news, after listening through a couple more times, I’ve decided to stop banging my head against the impossibly huge wall of Late Romantic Era music and just leave the score for Simon Crane as it is for now. If it proves impossible to actually set “Isle of the Dead” effectively, I’ll sort it out later.
For now, I just need to keep listening to it and working the story into it.
In semi-related news, I have a playlist on Amazon Music called “choreography,” and I have no memory of adding half the things that are on there. On the other hand, one of those things is the first movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein,” which I suspect might be as fun to choreograph as it is to listen to and to play[6, 7].
- Which is in fact probably shorthand for having, at some point, decided that it would be fun to choreograph the whole thing.
- Which, you guys: if you know how to play the piano passably well, go get yourself a copy of the music for the Waldstein—Sonata No. 21 in C Major—and give it a whirl.
- Seriously, the first movement at least isn’t terribly hard. I figured a lot of it out by ear in high school before I ever clapped eyes on the music. I do have a very good ear, but honestly it’s pretty friendly.
One more class (maybe two, if get antsy I take class Monday morning before I leave) and one Pilates session before Lexington. I’m trying to be chill, but honestly I’m so excited I feel like I might explode.
Oh, and while we’re on it, here, this is finally up on YouTube thanks to CM:
I’m vaguely iffy about posting this at this point, because I feel like I’ve come a long way since then 😛 But there it is, finally. 11 girls and me in BG’s “Vivaldi Variations.” I’m still pretty pleased with how well it came together, given our broad array of experience levels and our abbreviated rehearsal schedule.
Feel free to laugh at all my weird attempts to compensate for the fact that I’m scared out of my mind of wiping out due to the whole Shoe Incident. Also, there should totally be a drinking game that goes with this; something like, “Put the video on repeat and drink 5 shots if you actually spot the shoe” (you can, in fact, see it—and once seen it’s hard to un-see); “Take 1 shot every time Asher drops his arms;” etc. Edit: Oh, yeah, and “Take 1 shot every time Asher lets his turnout go,” though you probably won’t make it to the end of the first repeat if you use that one.
I was having an awkward kind of morning: got a little tipsy last night, stayed up too late, slept badly, woke up early (whichever one of us taught my cat that it’s possible to awaken humans by tap-dancing on their bladders needs a swift kick in the tuchas), started reading, lost track of time, failed to eat, etc.
This translated to a wonky start at barre. I couldn’t figure out where my pelvis was or find my lateral obliques or keep my arm from wandering off to do its own thing. My head kept getting ahead of my arm. I tendued to second, then went, “Hmm, no,” and adjusted (which drives both JB and BW crazy).
Midway through one combination, during a sus-sous balance, JB sauntered over, grabbed me by the back of the neck, reset my head and neck, and then used both hands to physically move my entire ribcage.
I tried not to do the weird thing where I respond to someone touching me much in the way that a sea anemone responds to the touch of a potential predator, though it took a little doing.
Anyway, I had mostly sorted myself out by the time we got around to going across the floor and doing jumps, though I was momentarily distressed by this bizarre phenomenon in which, during a mark, my brain went, “assemblé!” and my legs went, “CABRIOLE, MUTHA****A!”
On the other hand (foot?), there were some nice cabrioles in there, so…?
Since this entire combination was assemblés changing direction and leg until none of us could remember which leg was which, that obviously would’ve been a problem.
Anyway, tomorrow should be better. Today the plan is (in no particular order, except for the “early to bed, Nyquil if necessary…” bit):
- catch up the finances
- mow the lawn
- make dinner
- early to bed, Nyquil if necessary because insomnia and insane allergies are making my life difficult
Oh: I’m considering Schumann’s A minor ‘cello concerto for the third act of Simon Crane. I haven’t listened all the way through it yet, but the first movement sounds promising.
For all that, though, I’m still not at all sure that I want to do away with “Isle of the Dead.”
During the last two days of this past week’s masterclass, I found myself wading hip-deep in frustration.
My extensions were good, my turns were clean—but I felt weirdly tense and stiff.
Not, like, inflexible physically, though. Rather, I felt like I kept tensing up. Thinking too much. Obsessing a bit.
In reality, I was having the good kind of bad ballet day: once again, interpolating and consolidating all the reams of new stuff I was learning.
Saturday class was a little better; today, after a groggy start, was all aces. Even my petit allegro looked (dare I say it) good.
The exception was turns: I tossed off a lovely triple in a mark, then got excited and threw myself off my leg (with the attendant hoppity-hop of shame) on the actual run. I made myself rein it back in and go for clean singles and doubles on the second side, then got a decent triple back on the repeat.
There was a lot of new intel this week, but the outcome has been a better, freer way of moving.
I’ve also found, once again, the lightness in my petit allegro. Who ever should predict that the quest for lightness could make for such heavy going!
In other news, after a listen-through revealed that the first act score for Simon Crane was, in fact, hella boring as a ballet score, I revamped it by replacing some of the Satie with Dvorak. Now it’s no longer 30 straight minutes of tinkly adagio.
Don’t get me wrong—Satie is one of my favorite composers—but it just wasn’t doing the job in this context.
So at present the score goes Satie-Dvorak-Ravel-Saint Saëns-Rachmaninoff-Satie. Technically, Debussy is also in the mix: I’m using his orchestral transcriptions of the first and third gymnopédies.
Thanks to the power of technology, I can listen through the whole thing, which I’ll be doing later today (attempts this far have been interrupted). If I find acceptable recordings of all the pieces on YouTube, I’ll make a playlist. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as assembling a score for a three-act story ballet from fine different dead guy’s catalogs has been a challenge!
Speaking of which: I discovered that the Saint-Saëns ‘cello concerto is, in fact, choreographable. You just have to think of reach movement as more than one scene. And the transition from Ravel’s “Bolero” into the Saint-Saëns is brill.
I’m debating an extra class tomorrow. I won’t be doing this week’s masterclass because omg car repairs are expensive, but I definitely need to stay tuned up for the upcoming ballet intensive.
On the other hand, I’m almost certainly taking an extra class on Friday, since JB is teaching and that will give me two classes in a row with him, so we’ll see.
Obvs, the fact that I survived is pretty good.
Here are a few more, in no particular order:
- The bit during barre when LAA goes, “And then you penché and you just put your hands on the floor and hang out there for a while” as she drops into a 6:00 penché and everyone’s faces be like 😍😒😐😮😯😨😓 while they mentally calculate how badly they’re about to crash & burn
- But then everyone finds so, so much more penché than they thought they had
- The bit where JB keeps cracking me up from across the room between barre combinations while I desperately try to keep it together
- The bit when I catch myself in mirror during the waltz and think, “Holy shizz, I’m dancing!” (Really, “We’re dancing”—my whole group looked so, so good. So polished!)
- The bit where holy crap, where did that extension come from?
- The bit where I finish the first side of the waltz in an 90 degree extension devant straight out of a stepover double and get The Nod. All dancers know The Nod. We sometimes live and die by The Nod.
I also made it through essentially all of Trapeze 2 (we’ll see how/if Trap 3 goes, though :P)—the one thing I really couldn’t do was a catcher’s-hang roll-up, and that’s solely because my rectus femoris cramped like a mofo. The legs, they are tired. Pretty sure the bit where I started going, “Nope ! Nope nope nope! I’m done!” whilst still wrapped in a trapeze was pure comedy, though.
My front balance and hip hang to catcher’s hang transitions, on the other hand, were aces.
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 penché there, recover like it ain’t no thang…”
- 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 beautifully.
- 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.
It’s Cultural Pass day here, which means the classes at the school studio are free, so of course I grabbed an extra class.
Advanced Class ends at 10:30, leaving me two hours to sort out before Beginning/Intermediate class. I ran some errands, then settled down to watch the Intro class.
- Not free, because it’s in the main studios downtown and attracts a different crowd.
It was fascinating: there were a couple of ringers in there (one girl from BG’s Spring Collection, one girl who I’ve seen in every class but Advanced), but many of the dancers were clearly new, and they all used different strategies.
Some of them sketched the idea of the steps, dancing through the combinations even if they aren’t yet entirely technically correct.
Some of them worked with great precision, focusing on placement and articulation, even if it means the feeling of dancing isn’t quite there yet.
Some fell somewhere in between.
I would wonder which strategy works better, only I think you have to use the one that works for you.
I’m evolving into a technical dancer, but I’ll always belong at heart to Team Just Flail On Through; Team Fake It ‘Til Ya Make It.
My friend T, meanwhile, belongs to Team Build It ‘Til You’ve Killed It (in a good way). She’s only been dancing for three years, but I admire her lovely placement and her beautiful precision.
Anyway, both classes went quite well today, though I had issues remembering the grand allegro in advanced class.
After advanced class, JB rolled up to ask if I was taking this week’s master class, and told me that I’ve come a really long way this season; to keep at it and take class as much as I can and keep working. He actually used the phrase, “The sky’s the limit.”
He’s the second person who’s said that to me in the past twelve months or so, and it means rather a lot coming from him (meant a lot coming from Dr. K, too). I used to be really nervous around him, because he’s so freaking good. I don’t have quite the level of Hero Worship going on with him that I do with BW, but I also haven’t seen him dance as much.
In BG’s class, everything went smoothly and well (okay, except the part where my left shoe twisted during a turns combination).
The final combination was a lovely medium allegro—
sissone faillie, assemble; sissone faillie, assemblé; sissone faillie, assemble, plié and hold;
piqué arabesque, step step, grand assemble en tournant, repeat, walk off
—and those sissone faillie, assemblé bits finally felt good. I also managed not to turn my grand assemble en tournant into entrelacé. Much as I can do any turn inside out and backwards, I can turn almost any jump with rotation into entrelacé. SMH.
Killer B is right: when I do my GAET correctly, doubles are possible. Now if I could just overcome my big stupid mental block about double tours, since they’re almost the same thing…
Anyway. I’m back to feeling like a reasonable ballet boy with a reasonable dose of talent. Turns are improving (did a double en dehors in attitude from 4th today by accident whilst marking a turny adage; couldn’t reproduce the result, but at least I know it’s physically possible for my body now 😛 Jumps are improving. Turny jumps, unsurprisingly, are also improving.
Even my arms are getting their act together, bit by bit. I really wish I could repost BG’s video from the class with all the sissones—the bit where I, like, flap my arms when I start to get tired is pure comedy. Swan lake, indeed.
More like Pelican Beach. Pelicans are heckin graceful once they get going, but their departures and arrivals tend to be less than balletic.
So that’s today. JMG tomorrow, and I’m probably going to sign up for this week’s masterclass, since I’m here. I think it’s well worth the $100. I’m hoping to take Philip Velinov’s as well, but that depends on auditions.
Oh, and I managed to do the dreaded attitude tour lent en dehors straight into attitude tour lent en dedans without falling over. That was in JB’s class; in BG’s,we did the same thing, but at passé, AKA the single hardest way to do tours lent. So there’s that, too.
- Tour lent is often called promenade, but our AD reserves the term promenade for the partnery version.
I woke far earlier than I intended and in an increasingly terrible mood. Headed to class once again figuring I’d just do barre.
I wound up staying for the whole thing, including a nice grand allegro. I got to whipout my Pas de Chat Italien for the first time in months. W00t!
In fact, as a whole, class was pretty good—even petit allegro, during which I managed to do acceptable petit assemblés. We also did the glissade-jeté x8, glissade-jeté x4, glissade-jeté, glissade-jeté, changement, changement, reverse, repeat combination that I enjoy because, frankly, it’s the only piece of petit allegro I reliably do well 😜
The fact that I can do it at all is fantastic: my foot held up through everything.
Anyway, I’m home now and much more relaxed, if still operating on a short fuse. Basically, I have no frustration tolerance today.
On the way home it occurred to me that I might get along with myself better if I accepted that my brain chemistry does this sometimes, and that rather than trying to change that, I can do things to keep myself from making life horrible for other people when it happens.
Maybe down the road I’ll mellow out or learn to down-regulate these moods. For now, though, just getting out of the way makes sense .