Category Archives: goals

On Learning To Be Serious

Sometimes, in the process of navigating your life, you look up and realize you’ve passed a bunch of waypoints without even really noticing.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: I realized that I needed to update my dance resumé, which pretty much made me laugh out loud, because I’ve come a really long way in less than one year, and I totally failed to notice.

In short: this year, my life has suddenly taken off.

Or … well. It feels sudden, but when I think about it, it really isn’t.

(moar behind the cut; it’s long)

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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 😀

Ballet Goals for 2017

We’re on break for the next couple of weeks, so this seems like a good time to sit down and set some ballet goals for next year.

I think I set some last year, but I’m not sure what they were (because I’m too lazy to look them up right now). Anyway, I may not have included all of these on whatever list I made, but I know these were all things I hoped to achieve in 2016:

  • Reliable double turns. Check.
  • Suck less at port de bras. Hella check. I realize now that this is a really, really vague, but still. The nice part about being actually terrible at something is that you can improve really fast if you put in the work.
  • Suck less at petit allegro. Kinda check? This one was too vague as well. I am less bad at petit allegro than I used to be, but it is not my forté. Not at all. Got beats, though, and at least least it’s usually just bad petit allegro these days and not the desperate flailings of a a baby giraffe on rollerskates. 
  • Barrel turns. Oddly enough, I did manage to learn these. I wouldn’t call them reliable—they’re still squarely in the “can do it if I don’t try to think about it” department. 
  • Tombé-coupé-jeté. See “barrel turns.”
  • Saut de basque. Check. Like a boss, mofos. I have one heck of a nice saut de basque. 
  • Ditto pas de chat Italien. I didn’t know this was a goal until someone asked me if I could do it. Then it was a goal for the 5 minutes it took me to remember how.
  • Ditto also renversé. I don’t know why it’s so hard to “get,” but once you really have it, you want to put it in everything. It’s like saffron or fleur du sel. 

So my first goal for 2017 is to make my goals for next year less vague (pretty sure that’s basically like wishing for more wishes).

So here we go.

Steps & Stuff

  • Double tours.
  • Double cabrioles avant and arrière (edit: see footnote 1)
  • Reliable triple turns.
  • Unreliable quarduples.
  • Reliable turns à la seconde.
  • Entrechats six et plus. This should be doable; my quatre is reliable.
  • Brisée—this needs to be reliable. Right now, it’s …. Yeah. Let’s not talk about that.
  • Maybe revoltade? I feel like fewer of my goals should be grand allegro pyrotechnics, since that’s basically playing to my strengths. 
  • Solve the infuriating problem of being good at circular/grand port de bras without the barre and less good with.
  • Overcome my turns-at-the-barre phobia. Seriously.
  • Balances. All of them. Today in Sunday class I slow-piquéd into a first arabesque, slowly brought my working leg up above 90, and just hung out there until my head pretty much exploded with amazement thanks to a very simple exercise that Aerial A gave us. Then I failli-ed out like it was no big deal. 
  • Temp de puisse. Stop turning it into a funky Sissone.
  • Sissones. Review them. ALL OF THEM. 

Specifically for BW:

  • Directional stuff. BW is basically the reason I can now reliably describe whether something is croisé or effacé without having to freaking well get up offa that thing and dance til ya feel better  out of my seat, draw my imaginary box, and then execute the movement in question. 
  • Strengthen them turnouts.
  • Use that crazy-high passé/retiré without having to think about it.
  • Dat sus-sous, though. I feel feel that BW will be happy with me when he never, ever has to remind me to tighten my sus-sous (for the record, he’s the one who helped me solve my sus-sous versus knees problem, so I’m glad he calls me out on it).
  • Effing devil turns.  Chainês. Be good at them, because I want BW to be proud of me, and whenever I do chainês he looks vaguely horrified. I think this is exacerbated by the fact fact that we usually precede them with My Favorite Thing, piqué turns, at which I rock 

Variations 

  • Revisit Albrecht’s variation. Work out the kinks. Specifically: connect the steps and passes better; get the arms sequenced so I don’t do stupid flappy hands after jumps.
  • Revisit the first act Peasant Pas from Giselle. See above. No flappy hands and no half-assing the balances. 
  • Learn at least 2 more solo or duo variations. This should be no problem. I should look at the repertoire and see what’s what. Probably not Le Corsaire, though miracles do happen. I could probably learn the trepak from one Nutcracker or another. Maybe something from Swan Lake? Or from La Dame aux Camélias.
  • Learn at least one pas de deux. This will probably depend on whether we get rep class and partnering class to happen; otherwise it’s just going to be a thing that maybe happens at summer intensive, I guess?

Choreography

  • Finish and stage “Work Song.” I should should be able to fully check this one off in March!
  • Finish at least the first act of Simon Crane. Possibly look into setting and staging a few pieces.
  • Finish Peace, set it, and perform it.

And, of course, I will endeavor to actually be good at port de bras and épaulement, in accordance with the scriptures, and to focus on making my petit allegro light, precise, and clean, instead of always approaching it as “grand allegro, but faster and with a million fussy steps.” (Read: tone down the elevation and the travel.)

That might prevent Eric Bruhn, Bournonville, and Vaganova visiting me from beyond the grave to stare at me in silent disappointment. Not that this has happened, of course, but I feel that it’s what should happen to bad little boys who don’t work on their petit allegro.

Lastly, I will attempt to remember that attacking turns does not mean we’re trying to kill them. Or, rather, to remember that when it counts, and not after class or in bed at 11 PM.

Um, that’s probably enough for one year.


  1. Turns out I can do double cabrioles arrière using the “hands on the barre (or shopping cart)” approach that we use to convince ourselves we can do any cabrioles at all as little kids. This doesn’t actually buy me any air time, so apparently this is entirely a mental thing. Avant on the other hand? Dunno yet.

    Bonus: it’s Hella fun doing shopping-cart double cabrioles across a parking lot in winter boots 😀

    Ballet Intensive, Days Five and Six: Sleep Dep and Crazy (Arms) Mode

    Friday was interesting: I had no zip in conditioning and technique because I was running on three hours of sleep (did I write about this already?); variations went well because in those three hours I seriously only dreamed about Albrecht’s variation.

    Today’s performance was okay — I think I should have gone a bit easier last night; as such, my jumps weren’t awesome.

    Also, I kept sort of forgetting what to do with my arms and just kind of waving them around in more or less the directions they were supposed to go, more or less. Jeez.

    I know this because there’s video. I’m annoyed with myself for forgetting to just carry my arms through the opening two steps of Albrecht’s variation. Also for doing the world’s worst tour jeté and tiniest tours, but I understand why those happened.

    That said, there are some nice moments in both pieces (one is the double turn that goes to attitude on the second rotation), and I’ll try to take KvN’s advice from Cincinnati and focus on those things!


    Edit: I’m thinking now about ballet goals for the rest of this year, so I’m going to write them down.

    • STOP DOING THE CRAZY ARMS AS A DEFAULT.This is a big one. This happens in part because I don’t always mark the arms with any clarity when I’m just walking through things, and the arms decouple from the choreography, and if I’m tired, I lose them. This morning, I lost a really nice moment in Albrecht’s variation specifically because of this.

      The first rule of performance is: AS YOU REHEARSE, SO SHALL YOU PERFORM.

      So I need to stop rehearsing my arms incorrectly, duh.

      ~

    • Nail down the double cabrioles, because seriously, it would be good to have those in my balletic toolkit, and I think I should be able to get them down.~
    • Polish the frack out of Albrecht’s variation and get a good video posted. I should also do the other one. It would be less awesome with only one person, but maybe I could teach it to someone else?~
    • Get ballet video more often. For me, video makes a really good tool for analyzing and correcting my movement patterns.This week I discovered that I can learn and memorize demanding choreography pretty quickly; video can help me figure out how to make it cleaner and better.

      ~

    • Tune up the basics well enough that I continue to execute them correctly even when tired (I’m looking at you, tour jete and legs that opted not to stay particularly turned out during simple arabesque balances).~
    • Triple turns on tap.

    So there you have my ballet goals.

    Oh, and also: my turnout muscles are tired for realz. I suspect they’ll be very happy to know that they’re getting a day off on Monday.

    One last edit: I think I actually forgot to do the turn from fourth to second at the end of my solo and subbed in a regular turn from fourth, but it worked out anyway.

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