Category Archives: ID-10T errors

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.

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A Thing I’m Slowly Figuring Out

I tend to try maintain an aura of ebullient optimism.

I’m aware that I lead a relatively charmed life, in which I’m permitted by circumstance to pursue a fairly impractical set of goals, and to mention that I still struggle seems a bit like spitting right into the face of good fortune.

But I do still struggle, and I’m beginning to understand something, which is this: living a life in which I’m not forced to do work that grinds my soul to powder, in which the work I do is work that I enjoy, doesn’t alter the fact that my mental health is a little fragile and that history and genetics have conspired to place me on a narrow bridge that spans a yawning chasm.

Rather, the life I’m living acts as a kind of safety harness, so that when–not if–I go plummeting off my bridge, I can eventually climb back up, or at any rate be hauled back up by people who love me.

I am capable of periods of immense creative productivity, but they’re interspersed with periods in which merely surviving is still all I can do. Those periods of mere survival are made easier to bear by the knowledge that I won’t have to return, as soon as I’m barely able, to work that will inevitably accelerate the arrival of the next plunge off the bridge.

Because D carries the vast majority of the weight of the financial responsibility of keeping us afloat, I’m able to get up and walk along my bridge for long periods, when in the past I rarely made it beyond the clinging-and-crawling-along-the-edges phase before I slipped again.

I don’t make much money doing what I do, but I usually have enough energy left over to keep our house comfortable to live in and to cook good food.

~

Read the rest of this entry

…You Stop When The Gorilla Gets Tired

(File under: Every Aphorism I Know I Learned In Bike Racing)

I’ve been having a tough time with re-entry following this summer’s intensives.

Not that I’m, like, pining for the fjords. Just…

Hmm. How do I explain it?

Going to a dance intensive is, in a way, very much like going to summer camp. You’re essentially excused from most of the responsibilities of adulting. Your daily activities are heavily programmed for you. You don’t have to juggle variables, interruptions, or random transportation disasters.

If you forget your ADHD meds, you make it through the day pretty well because all you’re doing, really, is dancing, and your brain works best when you’re in motion. You don’t have to remember a bunch of discrete, unrelated tasks and somehow accomplish them.

If you stay up really late bonding with your new dance family, it’s no big deal. You get up the next day, pour some strong coffee into your face, hit the studio, dance your butt off, and sleep like the dead when you get back to the dorms or your AirBnB.

And then you come home, and your body is adapted to an 8-hours-per-day-plus physical workload that you’re unlikely to match except during the most intense periods of rehearsal or performance, and you have to get back to Adulting (with or without ADHD).

For me, this illuminates one of the central challenges in living with ADHD: it never goes away.

To borrow a quote from Kiwi bike racer Greg Henderson [1]:

Greg Henderson quote:

Swap “ADHD” for “training” and you’re good. (Shamelessly stolen from Pinterest, of course.)

  1. or a quote about success from Robert Strauss, who presumably doesn’t race bikes but could feasibly be a Kiwi; can’t be arsed to look him up right now.

You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.

ADHD is, in some ways, a gorilla that never gets tired. Instead, you have to learn to manage your gorilla—and managing is largely a question of automation.

When I’m doing it right, I manage my ADHD by making it as hard as possible for myself to screw up the basics.

I lay out each day’s clothes the night before, so I never have to fumble around looking for clothes before my brain is working.

My morning and afternoon doses of Adderall are right there in my 7-day pillbox, so I don’t find myself thinking, “Feck, did I take my meds?”

My keys, wallet, sunglasses, and other important small things live on a shelf by the door, so I will always put them there when I walk in and never have to wonder where they are.

My phone lives next to the bed, where it acts as an alarm clock. Once I get out of bed, I either leave it tethered to one of its chargers or keep it nearby. That way, I never have to look for it.

My class and rehearsal schedules get written out on the whiteboard on the refrigerator door. Writing them down helps me remember what’s coming up; it also gives me a hard-copy reference when I’m not sure and lets D know where I am, when.

While I cook, I clean as I go and streamline general dishwashing into those moments when there’s nothing that requires attention.

I run errands before, after, or between classes so I won’t have to take extra trips out of the house. I maintain shopping lists on Google Keep so I don’t have to remember anything, including the shopping list.

I burn a ton of energy, knowing that it’s the only way I’m going to be able to sleep on anything resembling a normal, diurnal schedule. I run Twilight on my phone and f.lux on my PCs to cut out blue rays (this really does make a huge difference, for me). I don’t play video games or peruse social media in bed, because those get my brain ticking over too fast.

I pay really close attention to things like caffeine intake: and if I’m having a rough time sleeping, I avoid any caffeine at all after about 2 PM.

These are all fairly small things, but they add right the heck up.

The problem is, they’re all routine-driven, and once I get out of a routine, it can be really hard getting back in.

This week, I’m struggling really hard with insomnia. After being sick for most of last week (during which all I actually did was sleep), I’m left with a surplus of energy, but not enough on the schedule to burn it off.

Since it only takes one sleepless night to torpedo weeks of careful sleep programming, I’m currently in the midst of a really unpleasant cycle of sleeping two hours one night, then nine the next.

Last night was one of those two hour nights. I missed class today because of it: I finally got to sleep around 8 AM. Turned off the alarm at 9 AM, when I realized it would be foolish to try to do modern on one hour of sleep. Woke up at 10, when I should’ve been starting class, anyway.

I’ve realized I need to get back to negotiating with my gorilla. I’m home for one more week, then off to That Thing In The Desert[2] after all, then back for a week, then off for a medical thing[3], then possibly starting rehearsals for a thing, depending[4].

  1. In addition to the usual Open Barre sessions with mimosas, I’ll be leading some contact improv playshops at our camp this year.
  2. I’m going to apply my “to know, to will, to dare, to keep silent” clause here. This is a minor medical procedure but a huge freaking deal for me, so I’m trying not to  feck it up.
  3. Here, too. I’m actually okay with waiting and auditioning for the next thing this company does, but it’s sort of up in the air right now whether we can work around my temporary restrictions after The Secret Medical Thing.

None of this makes it easier to figure out where to start rebuilding my Life Management Protocols, so I’m just going to do what I normally do: fumble forward and hope for the best.

In other words, just pick something and start where you are.

In that vein, I’m hoping to get a class in tomorrow to make up for missing today’s (though tomorrow’s class will be ballet, not modern).

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment at 8-o-freaking-clock in the morning for which I have to check in at 7-goshdarn-30, which means getting up at 6-what-even-is-sixthirty-30 because I kind of need D with me for this one and he needs more than 20 minutes to get out the door 😛

As such, I need to actually get my tuchas in bed at a reasonable hour tonight and, if necessary, hit myself with a whacking great dose of doxylamine succinate to make sure I don’t stay awake all night.

Those are some easy start-where-I-am steps that I can actually do (along with getting audition video links to the AD for the Secret Dance Thing and signing some documents for The Secret Medical Thing and emailing them back to the practice in question).

So, there you have it. I think I really wanted this post to be more of a thought-piece about managing ADHD than me scrabbling on about how I’ve managed to hose everything up for myself (though I did plan to mention that), so I suppose I’ll add that to my queueueueueueue of posts to actually write sooner or later as well.

Until then, I’ll be here, negotiating with my gorilla.

~

Oh: in other news, I successfully gave a bit of advice to a new guy in class last night, which felt really good.

Why I Love JB Right Now

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
  • bath
  • 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.”

 

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:

    balancé

    balancé 

    chassée – pas de Bourée – fifth

    chassée to fourth

    turn 

    land fourth

    turn

    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 😦

    handy-guide

    …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.

    Jeez.

    Guys?

    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.

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