Category Archives: ID-10T errors

Choose Your Own Intensive: Days 3 & 4

Yesterday, I had nothing before ballet, so I was properly fed and rested and so forth.

As a result, BW’s class went very well.

After, I went and played at Suspend, where we did all kinds of lifty things in Acro 2.

After that, my car decided to throw a fit and D had to come rescue me (fortunately, I noticed that it sounded weird and didn’t get on the expressway). As result, an already late night got later, and I was too tired to pack lunch.

This morning, D came home early and sent me to Cinci with his truck, which was really sweet of him. I had eaten two hot dogs for lunch, with the intention of grabbing some real food when I got back into Louisville.

In Cinci, partnering class was half really frustrating: I couldn’t hear because my allergies were trolling me, and we were learning partnering phrases, so I kept not quite understanding what was going on[1]. As a result, I kept frustrating my partner, which made me nervous, which makes my brain not work too well.

  1. Also, my body wanted all the fouettés to be tour jetés. WTF, body?

Anyway, we got there eventually.

During the second half, we did group lifts, and that bit went really well. Didn’t hurt that Acro 2 last night was all about the dynamic group lifts :p

Anyway, after Partnering, my plans for food were scuttled by a traffic jam. I resorted to buying Chex mix at a gas station when I refueled the truck. I would be surprised if that even brought me back up to baseline.

Anyway, BW’s final class was more challenging than it should have been, since I basically ran out of juice. I got all the way through anyway, but my grand pirouettes weren’t really all that grand. They started out nice going right, then fizzled, going left, I just worked fourth-passé-second-plié-relevé-plié-relevé, etc, without the actual turns.

On the other hand, I cracked out some nice grand allegro: it was kind of my way of saying, “I value your class and, dammit, I’mma try as hard as I can!”

That backfired, of course, when we proceeded to follow the second grand allegro combo with even moar petit allegro.

Oh, I can now check entrechats six off my goals list. Or, at any rate, I can mark them as done with baseline success but in need of werk, werk, werk, werk. They’re not pretty, but they’re there.

We did 36 of them.

Also, after that, so many Royales, which are my least favorite jump. I mean, seriously, in France there’s a hamburger named after them[2].

  1. I may be employing artistic license here. Who knows?

    Anyway, my legs felt weak and resentful (I suspect that, if you’re a dancer or a cyclist, you understand what I mean), and I resented their resentful attitude (note to self: I need to draw a resentful attitude 😁) until I realized that it wasn’t fair to resent them when it was my own fault for not feeding them.

    Evidently, it takes a lot of calories to run this body at peak performance, or at any rate more than the ≈600 I have it before tonight’s ballet class.

    …Oh, well.

    At any rate, I’m pleased with myself for not giving up. There were a few times in class tonight that my dark side whispered,”You could just say your foot is unhappy!”

    But I didn’t.

    So there’s that.

    Anyway, I’m going to go have a wee soak in some Epsom salts. Tomorrow, I have to leave at 7 AM for Cinci because evidently I’m insane, so after that I’m off to bed.

    Thursday Class: Tour de Force*

    *Yeah, it’s a pun, and a bad one.

    I can’t sleep, so I might as well write, eh?  

    Mostly good barre today (or, well, yesterday). No scary turns-at-the-kneewhacker; got my RdJ en l’air back, extensions were okay-to-good. The adjusted passé/retiré is becoming automatic.

    That said, the frappé was delightfully wicked: facing the barre (universal ballet code for This will either be a piece of cake or hell on wheels), singles (from flexed) en croix on flat, repeat in a sustained fondu, spring straight up to doubles en relèvé, petit battement at maximum speed for a billion (okay, actually sixteen) counts, straight into the reverse, repeat twice as fast, plié, brush out while remaining in plié, close back, other side. Doesn’t sound too hard, but it’s that “repeat twice as fast”  that gets you. It adds up. 

    Also, my petit battement is currently way(1) better on the right than on the left. Feh.

    1.  Or, well — the difference at double-time is definitely enough that I notice it, which is too much. 

    What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. BW either wants us strong or dead. I’m guessing strong; he’s a sweet guy.

    Also a fondu-adagio thing with all the attitudes and demi-ronds en l’air and the holding the extension à la la seconde until the legs became impervious to pain, plié — inside passé balance for eight, plié — outside passé balance forever, sus-sous, détournée, other side. This was lovely and light and painless except for that à la seconde. At one point BW shouted, “Fight for it!” and I kid you not, that gave me a second wind. Because I adore BW as ridiculously as I adore Ms. Killer B of Wednesday Class fame. Basically, if he told me to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge…

    Also, at one point he touched my foot, and part of me is like I will never wash those shoes again but, to be honest? They’re kinda grungy, and they’re white, soooooooo… .  

    Anyway, at center we did a tendu (or dégage, or grand battement) combination that was all about body facings and épaulement and little faillis and turns from fifth. I did grand battements and doubles on the repeat, since my body finally decided to get with the program and face the right way.and my arms Asiago sorted themselves. 

    We then did a really nice (and simple) terre-a-terre with back-to-back turns from fourth:



    chassée – pas de Bourée – fifth

    chassée to fourth


    land fourth


    Sweep through to soutenu turn from croisée to opposite croisée

    sus-sous balance with port de bras

    balancé, etc. 

    Going right, I felt good and managed two easy doubles in  the first three turns, so I aimed for a triple on the third. 

    Turns out that you can, in fact, force a triple through sheer stubbornness, even if if you haven’t got the momentum for it, if you’re willing willing to let it be an ugly triple.

    It was totally, “Around, aROUND, gorammit WE … ARE …  MAKING … IT …  AROUND AGAIN IFITKILLSME!” 

    But it was still a triple. 

    I made up for for it by almost careening into the mirror doing hell turns  chaînes on the left. Apparently, my ear isn’t quite up for those yet, no matter how hard I spot. 

    Also, I travel like a mofo. I managed to eat up the whole floor doing 2 piqué turns, 2 soutenu turns, 2 piqué turns, 4 chaînes. There was a lot of ATTAAAAAAACK! involved. I get a little excited about piqué turns sometimes. I’m even worse about tombé-piqués/lame ducks, though. Frealz.

    So that was Thursday. Today it’s all about scraping the paint, then painting the paint. 

    Saturday Class: Grand Faillegro

    It started out so well!

    Barre was fine today, with the exception of one strangely derpy RdJ en l’air (which may have been the result result of trying to listen to a general correction and RdJ en l’air at the same time). Adagio, once I sorted out the part of the combination in which my imagination had inserted something completely different, was also fine(1).

    1. Regarding which: you guys, I used to hate adage so very much. I have come to love it. Ballet is weird. Sometimes you fight so hard with a thing that, eventually, the clutch of battle turns into an embrace.

    Turns and terre-a-terre were mediocre. We did each combination twice, and in both I was a complete wreck on the first run, but managed to pull myself together eventually. This was particularly rewarding on the terre-a-terre, which involved an attitude turn followed immediately by a turn in arabesque. Just put the heel down, plié the supporting leg, and go whilst simultaneously transitioning from attitude to arabesque. No big…  o.O

    I’m working on not attacking my turns as if my goal was not only to murder them, but to retroactively stamp their ancestors from the face of the earth. That made the attitude-to-arabesque bit extra challenging, as the surrounding choreography meant both that one had almost no force going into the first turn but still had to manage to make it all the way around in the second. I didn’t account for that at first and backed my attack down so far that I had to do the Hop Of Shame just to get the attitude turn all the way around.

    On the repeat I thought, instead, about keeping my core connected (which was JP’s general correction to the whole flailing lot of us) and actually managed to do the whole thing.

    This did not, however, prevent the rest of class from becoming progressively more and more unhinged. In petit allegro, I didn’t mark the combination of even apparently take take it in very well because I was examining my knee, so that was awkward. During grand allegro, I completely blanked on the beginning of an extremely simple combination(2) and failed to go the first time; the second time, I started thinking and thus danced with the consummate grace of a drunken penguin attempting to negotiate a stairwell. As I finished, I said to no one in particular, “I’m a disaster today.”

    1. Edit: I feel the need to explain how how very very simple this was. Seriously, the combination was: tombé, pas de bourée, glissade, saut de chat, contretemps, same thing back forth across the floor until you run out of room. 

    To cap things off, JP then gave us one job: do fouettés or turns à la seconde if you’re a dude (translation: if you’re me; other dude had gone on to prepare to teach a different class or something). 

    Disastrously, I started out trying turns à la seconde, then decided halfway through the first one that I was doing fouettés instead. 

    Suffice it to say say that it went downhill from there and ended in shameful stuckness and a momentary feeling that I had no business being in Advanced class in the first place. 


    So, yes, those days still happen. 

    Next week will will be better. Unless it’s worse. But I suspect that it’ll be better, since I’ve figured out what’s irritating my knee. 

    Thursday Class: On the Spot

    We were back to BW’s Thursday class tonight after a two week break (one week for Swan Lake, one week while I was watching Pilobolus).

    It was a good class. Just BB and me, so we got to do a fairly complex (and long!) barre. I tried to remember to relax my upper body, since I realized on Wednesday that when my upper body is tense, I tend to lose the ability to really control my deep rotators.

    Sometimes that’s a losing battle, the upper-body-relaxing bit. Tonight, it went fairly well. Sometimes a little too well, at which point my hands when from Don Quixote! to Dead Birds 😦


    …Unless, of course, you are actually in “Don Quixote,” or dancing a character role that calls for Emphatic Flamenco Matador Hands. But there is no place in ballet for Dead Birds, unless they’re the Dying Swan, and even she doesn’t get to have Dead Bird Hands because, I mean, like … birds don’t even have hands, man.

    Anyway, at barre, BW corrected my grand battement à côte, which I was allowing to drift too far backwards (and, like everyone else this week, got on me about my working knee not being straight in arabesque; for some reason, it has decided to choose this week to give me … ahem … attitude :V).

    Curiously, I think this is a new-ish development. I’ve started doing them mostly with the arm in 3rd, because it forces me to keep my shoulders down and, frankly, just gets the danged arm out of the way. Before I adopted that approach, I used my arm as a handy-dandy guide: as long as I shot my leg to the front of my arm, I was fine. Now I need to, like, actually feel where it’s supposed to go.

    Speaking of attitude, he also sorted my attitude balance-to-allongé. For some reason, I kept doing it to second arabesque. Have I always done that? Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think that I have. That said, I have no idea when I started doing it or why. For all I know, I’ve been doing it like that for a year and it originated as a way to get my arm out of the way without cracking the back of my hand on the wall or the mirror.

    We also did a kajillion turns. BW noticed something weird about my spot: I was, in essence, spotting twice — like, getting stuck briefly in the mirror on the way to the actual spot. Apparently, this problem is contagious, because BB was doing it, too.

    I very much get how this came about: I’m attempting to watch my turns in the mirror.

    Specifically, my wonky proprioception makes it really hard for me to feel whether or not I’m actually snapping my leg to a proper open passé (or retiré, as is sometimes required), and I’ve developed the habit of attempting to catch a glimpse on the fly.

    Apparently, that plays havoc with your spot, even though the hesitation it produces is minuscule.

    The really annoying part of all this is that it really probably isn’t necessary. Snapping to a proper, open passé/retiré is one of the things I do naturally. There is absolutely no reason for me to be checking that in the mirror when I’m doing turns.

    Keeping my foot attached at the knee until I really finish my turn, on the other hand… Eerrrrm, yeahhhhh. Sometimes I start stepping out of my turns a little early. It’s a thing.

    That said, I mostly managed to stay attached tonight. Maybe the mini-spot in the middle was the problem?

    Anyway, with regard to your working leg in turns, it’s fairly easy to tell whether you’re staying placed: if you can finish in a clean fifth when you do turns to fifth, you’re probably keeping your foot attached. For me, this works for turns from fifth, fourth, or second(1).

    1. Are turns from third  even a thing?

    On the other hand, if you find yourself finishing everything in a sort of sloppy 4.5th position, your foot is probably wandering. Or, at least, that’s how it works for me.

    So here’s the rundown:

    1. Allongé from attitude: it is not the same thing as an extended second arabesque.
    2. Grand battement à côte: don’t let your leg drift behind you, and if you have trouble feeling where it is, do it in the mirror a whole bunch of times and figure out how to feel it.
    3. Turns: don’t get stuck in the mirror; the extra mini-spot just screws it all up.

    Oh, and one more bonus: when you’re doing a simple combination of piqué turn – piqué turn – soutenu  turn – soutenu turn – piqué turn – piqué turn – step-over turn – step-over turn, don’t get so into it that you nearly crash into the wall at the opposite corner.

    Pro Tip: crashing into the corner is not how you ballet (though IIRC Nureyev totally launched himself off a stage once, in front of like all the people).


    Wild Wednesday: Missing the Moment

    But first, Killer Class.

    This morning, I took a shower for once (to clarify: it’s not that I don’t wash myself; I just don’t usually shower in the morning). While showering, I found myself thinking, “Gee, we haven’t done saut de basque in a while. It would be really cool to do saut de basque.”

    Apparently, the Divine Killer B read my mind, because we not only did SO MUCH PETIT ALLEGRO (which I managed mostly to do right), but we did an awesome grand allegro combination with sauts de basque and cabrioles.

    So, basically, it was an awesome day. I also learned, by the by, that I’ve been over-crossing my arabesques, which makes my penché glitchy. Killer B came over at one point and was like, “Try not to overcross,” and moved my foot over, and then it was like, “OHAI, FLOOR!” So that was awesome, too.

    On the other hand, I really missed the bus on what could’ve been a meaningful thing at DanceTeam practice.

    One of the girls, who is actually a really awesome dancer when she gets out of her own way (with which, being middle-schoolers, they all struggle), randomly said while I was drilling some choreography with her and her friend in a breakout group, “I feel so fat.”

    Aaaaaaand, I totally dropped the ball.

    There are so, so many meaningful things I could’ve said — and while it’s true that probably none of them would’ve taken hold immediately, it’s important to hear those messages.

    I could’ve said, “Don’t worry, there’s no one right body for dance,” or “The right body for dance is whatever body you’ve got” (though that one can sound a touch judgmental) or “All kinds of bodies are beautiful” (though, honestly, that might be a bridge too far for someone who’s in seventh grade and wrestle with all the stuff that people wrestle at that age). I could’ve pointed her to some amazing dancers that are shaped like she is, if I wasn’t so terrible at remembering names :/ (1)

    1. Honestly, I am stunnnnnned that I’m actually remembering the names of ALL my DanceTeam girls; it’s a bleeding miracle.

    Instead, I sort of choked and said, “You look fine!” and then, over the course of the conversation, reiterated the things that I think are great about her dancing — she has attitude for days and she’s really expressive, which means she has awesome stage presence; that she’s naturally a great mover for the kind of dance we’re working on.

    Maybe I should’ve just asked, “What makes you say that?” and tried to listen, but on the other hand, we were trying to get a lot of choreography tightened up in not very much time.

    On the other hand, it’s cool that some of the kids feel like they can say stuff like that around me, given that they really haven’t known me very long. It makes me feel like, against all odds, I’m doing okay making connections and putting them at ease (2).

    1. Probably the smartest thing I’ve done so far was to admit that I don’t know from Hip-Hop; that they get to teach me there.

    Anyway, I’m going to have to think about this: how not to be caught off my guard the next time something like that comes up, and what to say that will be both concise and, in the long run, helpful. I’ll also check in with AS about that, since she (as an actual middle-school teacher) might have some insight.

    So that’s it for now. I have to run off and suffer … erm, I mean, go back to Trapeze 3 after a not-really-intentional two-week break. Eeeeeeeek.

    Modern Monday: In Which I Psych Myself Out

    Modern Class largely went better today.

    It was like my body suddenly went, “Ohhhhh, modern dance!  Why didn’t you just say so?!”

    And I’m like, “Umm … it’s in the class title, so…?”

    Some of this was the direct result of last week’s tiny class in which TB reminded me that I have no idea where my body is and should probably figure out how to find it.

    Not that she put it that way — that was all me. TB always begins her corrections about my weird proprioception with, “You’re so hypermobile, which is great, and—”

    So today I managed to remember some of the physical sensations that I’m using as cues to tell myself when I’m correctly placed and so forth. That helped.

    On the other hand, I totally psyched myself out on the last combination. It was one that we started working with two weeks ago, then didn’t touch on last week. As TB began to demonstrate, my brain went, “Oh, this is knew,” but then when we started to mark it, I suddenly remembered that it was one we’d done before and found that bits of it were still familiar.

    …And then, somehow, I completely lost it. At some point, some part of my brain said, “We are never going to remember this,” and I promptly lost the very beginning of the first phrase :/

    So, basically, I totally used neuroscience against myself: I told myself I couldn’t possibly remember a combination that I ALREADY KNEW, got nervous, and not only failed to learn it, but started flying in “reaction only” mode, which prevented me from recalling the familiar parts.



    Take it from me, don’t do that. It’s the dance equivalent of being like, “OMG, I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN HIT THIS TARGET; I SHOULD DEFINITELY SHOOT MYSELF IN THE HAND NOW.”

    On the other hand, someone else mentioned that she couldn’t remember the very beginning, and TB replied that always happens to her in ballet class — which just goes to show you that the familiarity of the movement vocabulary matters. I essentially never forget the beginnings of ballet combinations, though sometimes I forget important things in the middle or the end.

    So that was modern this week, and now I need to eat lunch, do a bunch of household tasks, go make DanceTeam happen (AM is sick), and then run away to the downtowns for the ballet stuff.

    Finally, A Thing 

    So DanceTeam is going well (though I am still convinced that at any moment our dancers are going to realize that I have no idea what I’m doing and revolt/go rogue/possibly eat me). 

    Ballet and modern were less than awesome last week, but the Pilobolus workshop made up for a lot of that, especially the part when one of the instructors tracked me down afterwards and told me I was a beautiful mover with a lot of presence. Definitely one of those “I can die happy now”  moments.

    Likewise, today’s Open Fly, during which I started formally building a dance to Hozier’s “Work Song” that’s actually going to happen (Finally!), felt like a leap forward.
    Including myself, I have four dancers lined up. Aerial A, who went to the Pilobolus workshop with me, is also in, as are my DanceTeam partner-in-crime and a fellow I know from acro (upon whose very high shoulders I have literally stood). We’ve got a tentative performance date early next year (the performance is a definite; it’s just the date that’s undecided). Aerial A happened along while I was working on choreography this afternoon and we stepped through the first 41 seconds of the dance — at least, as much as we could, since there’s some partnering stuff that requires our compatriots.

    Aerial A likes what I’ve got, and I think it’s going to really work.

    Needless to say, the explosion of dance stuff in my life is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. I’m still in that phase during which you just kind of white-knuckle it whilst you adjust to your new schedule. Hence less posting. I’m somehow managing to scrape paint off the trim in the midst of all this, also, because miracles evidently do occur. 

    This week, we’ve got a dance event on Monday evening (a sort of “live interview” with Wendy Whelan), then I think a “normal” schedule again — wait, no, DanceTeam performs on Friday! 

    Anyway, here’s hoping that in class this week I won’t do dumb things like choosing too shallow a line in a bidirectional combination and almost colliding with someone in the next group.

    Intensive plans for next summer are also in the works. Aerial A and I are hoping to hit at least one of Pilobolus’ week-long workshops. In addition, I’ll probably go to Cinci and Lexington again. There’s a remote chance of doing Sun King if our finances are okay, but in the current economic climate it’s really hard to predict.

    No worries there, though. If I don’t get to go til 2018, I’ll be even better prepared than I will next year.

    There are also a few audition-y things on the radar, but let’s file those under, “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent.” At least for now.

    So that’s where I am at the moment. Still percolating other choreo projects, especially Simon Crane — but one of them is finally taking off. 


    I know I have danced enough for the day when…:

    A. class is over. 

    B. the third class of the day is over.

    C. I have officially burned enough calories that I need to eat breakfast again. And lunch. And dinner. 

    D. I lie in bed reading and can still feel my muscles firing while my brain works through the choreography. 

    E. My legs are on fire, O G-d, whhyyyyyyyy
    …The correct answer, of course, is, “F. NEVAR.”

    (In reality, this post was inspired by the thought, “I’ve only put in six hours today, my legs should definitely not feel this sore.O NOES I HAZ AN OUT OF SHAPE!”

    Yes, I am ridiculous. Also, pretty sure sure there’s ground glass in my turnouts.) 

    5, 6, 7, 8 — Boy, Can We Procrastinate! 

    I am clearly confused about life right now. 

    I’ve jumped into an assistant-coach gig for a middle-school dance team, which is a huge leap out of my comfort zone, what with my background being strictly ballet & modern of the kind that tends to foam at the mouth when someone mentions “dance as a sport.”

    That’s not where I’m confused, though. 

    While I may be something something of a knee-jerk mouth-foamer about about the concept, I’ve realized that, with the right coach, Dance Team can be a way into dance as art for kids who might otherwise never have a chance. The coach I’m working with, a friend of mine from the increasingly tiny world of dance and aerials, is that kind of coach. Likewise, she and I come from essentially opposite dance backgrounds, and know how how to work together to take advantage  of that, so we make a good team.

    I’m totally drinking the Kool-aid, there. 

    No — what I’m confused about is this: why am I still scraping the paint on the house when I should be firming up the piece I’m choreographing for the team? 

    Or, well … Okay, I’m not really confused. I know what’s going on. I’m just confused about why I’m letting it happen. 

    Basically, I’m terrified. I’m afraid I’m Doin’ It Rong; that the dances I create are stupid. 

    This is also part of what keeps me from finishing my longer choreography and writing projects. Every now and and then, I experience a spasm of lack of faith in my own vision. 

    I don’t, I should note, most faith in my ability as a writer (sadly, the same cannot be said for my flaming case of Impostor Syndrome about dance): I’ve had too much success not to know that I can put words together beautifully; I just fall into fits of thinking my stories are stupid. Then I freeze for an indefinite period of time, after which I return to my projects and continue work. 

    Anyway, today I should be making a dance, but instead I’m busy being afraid to make a dance. (I should be making plans for auditions for next year, but I’m paralyzed about that, too.)

    I’m writing this so I can see how silly this all is. Maybe someday, I’ll read this and laugh at how silly I was. 

    After all, it’s not like I have to go win the Prix de Lausanne the day after tomorrow (besides, I’m over-age for that). I just have to come up with a dance for a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who all seem like hard workers with good attitudes (or mostly-good, which is good enough).
    Regardless, I really need to up my procrastination game. Who procrastinates by scraping paint, anyway, FFS? 

    Apparently, I do.

    There’s also this other thing. Maybe you can relate. When everything starts coming together and landing in my lap, which is totally happening right now, part of me (of course) feels grateful and excited … but another part starts looking around to see if the Universe is trolling me. Like, “Was that a real pat on the back, or did some divine force just stick a kick me sign on there?”

    …Which is also totally happening right now (sorry, Universe).

    I’m going to force myself to proceed as if there is no Kick Me sign; as of there’s no possibility of any such thing.

    It just might take me a little while to really start believing it.    

    One Weird Thing

    I will traipse happily through a store openly carrying underwear I have not yet purchased.

    It seems I will also happily traipse across the studio openly carrying my dance belt.

    Once changed, however, I feel weird traipsing back to my cubby or my dance bag carrying my underwear.

    So, um, seriously:

    WTF, self?

    Edit: I just thought, “Well, I wouldn’t have any compunctions about performing in Just A Dance Belt, since that happens all the time.”

    And then I realized that, apparently, I have absolutely no compunctions about wandering around in my skivvies at Burning Man.

    So, apparently, it’s just carrying my underpants around in my hands that’s a problem?

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