Category Archives: injuries

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.

    A Few More Thoughts On Choreography; More Good(ish) Classes

    D and I are now rehearsing our #Playthink piece.

    It’s actually going much better than I expected it to.

    As one does, I’ve re-written essentially the entire piece now that I’m setting it on actual people and not just on myself prancing about in the studio and waving my arms to vaguely represent the acro moves.

    Initially, I had one vision in mind. Because I was futzing around with it by myself, it involved a lot of ballet.

    Now, of course, that has changed. I mean, there’s still ballet: there’s always going to be ballet because, hello, it’s me. That’s kind of what I do, apparently.

    But choreography has a way of getting away from you. You begin with one vision, and as you actually create a dance and actually set it on actual people, it transforms.

    I suppose that this is because, in a way, a dance is sort of a living thing. It’s a little like having a child (though, of course, on a very different scale) or maybe an elaborate pet. You might think, of a horse, “I’m going to train this horse to be the best cow pony ever,” but the horse might actually not be any good at being a cow pony. It might turn out to be a dressage beastie or something else[1].

    1. My philosophy on training horses was very much shaped both by my childhood trainer and also by the trainer of my friend’s lovely Arabian gelding, which began life as what the Arabian show world in the US calls a “park horse,” morphed into what the Arabian show word in the US calls an “English pleasure” horse, did a brief stint in Arabian-show-world western pleasure, and then eventually found his calling as an endurance racer. Basically, the lady who was responsible for training the horse felt that you needed to figure out which discipline suited the horse, and then train it to be as good as it could possibly be at that discipline. I think that’s a good way to do it.

    Anyway. I digress.

    So this dance is now almost a steady stream of rather-balletic acro and physical theater, and I’m okay with that. One of my goals was to build a dance that tells a story, and in this case, the story is kind of funny and implausible, and acro and physical theater are good ways to tell it.

    I’m not going to try to force this dance to be something it isn’t. I have an entire lifetime in which to craft ballet pieces on ballet dancers (I keep joking that I have this entire three-act ballet in my head, now I just need about fifty dancers and a million dollars or so to get it off the ground … but, really, I do have an entire three-act ballet in my head, and it’s taking up a lot of space!). Right now, I’m working with one ballet dancer (me!) and one Denis, and that presents its own set of challenges and limitations.

    Honestly, in creative work, it’s so often the limitations that free us to innovate (just as necessity—or, just as often, laziness—gives birth to invention).

    The neat part is that this has led us to inadvertently create a new acro move. I mean, probably someone, somewhere has done it before, but I’ve never seen it. It happens to be one that requires that the flyer have a legit center oversplit (among other things), so probably there are a lot of people who can’t do it. Bony impingement is real, it’s just not something that I experience.

    Anyway, the sequence involves moving from this:

    stag

    Kind of, erm, scorpion? thing…

    …to this:

    stag-x2

    Double stag…

    …to this:

    superman

    Superman? Deep sea dive? Front balance? Limbs bird?

    …via returning to a standard vertical candlestick, then opening to a straddle and rolling down onto the base’s feet, and then rotating your legs back and around into the position above (the arms also have to do a thing, obviously).

    The same basic end could be approached by moving from the vertical candlestick into a pike candlestick and lowering both legs down that way, but I don’t think it would look anywhere near as cool.

    Annoyingly, when I snagged these screenshots, I completely failed to get one of the straddle transition. At the time, I think I was like, “A still photo of this isn’t going to impart any useful information.”

    Anyway, you really have to have a perfectly flat straddle for this particular sequence so you don’t just rip your legs off, because your hips take a lot of your weight in the middle of the transition. Basically, if lying face down in a center split feels stretchy, this isn’t the sequence for you.

    You also kind of need really good turnout in order to do the rotation bit.

    The fact that D literally cannot straighten his legs in an L-base also means that I kind of drop myself onto his feet. Eventually, I’ll reach a point at which I can do a complete smooth rolldown whilst upside-down in a full center split, which will make things a little easier, but right now there’s a gap between the end of my smooth rolldown and the end of Denis’ range of motion (because my core strength is still only pretty good, and not completely awesome).

    I wanted to use a sort of grand rond de jambe as an exit, but that also takes more adductor power than D has right now. If I bring my downstage leg to second, then rond it over, the force makes his right leg (which supports my left hip) shift, and I fall off 😀

    We’ll get it eventually, but not in the next two weeks.

    So there’s that.

    Anyway, classes were good-ish yesterday and today.

    Yesterday’s, in fact, was fairly lovely. Today’s was our first Advanced Class with JAB (OMG, his initials are seriously JAB!!! XD), who really does actually give an advanced Advanced Class.

    On the upside, I’m finally (FINALLLLLYYYYYY) jumping again for real: grand allegro and everything. Cabrioles with turny bits, even (though I think I kept turning them into some kind of cabriole-scissor hybrid and landing on the wrong leg).

    On the other hand, possibly because I went to a party last night and didn’t get to sleep ’til almost 4 AM (and then had to wake up and eat a sandwich, which was surreal because I was still pretty tipsy and more than half asleep), my brain was for the birds today.

    I struggled because there were gaps in my recall of Every. Single. Combination. once we left the barre. The bits that came off, though, mostly went pretty well (except for a weird disaster in adagio during which I basically fell off my leg and then couldn’t get back on because gravity is the worst thing sometimes).

    I also hit up a new class at Suspend, which is basically floorwork for acro.

    You already know how much I love floorwork, soooooo…

    Anyway, we got to break out our improv for the last 10 minutes of class, which resulting in some video that’s party really cool and partly like WHY DO YOU KEEP NOT COMPLETING THE MOVEMENTS WITH YOUR ARMS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

    But, anyway, here are a few nice shots from this morning’s video, just because I like them:

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Also, I feel like in the arch picture, my butt looks like a couple of angry badgers having a fight. Muscular angry badgers, though.

    The tape, by the way, is just there because a tree stabbed me in the foot yesterday :/

    Anyway, I was being annoyed with myself for not making the effort to do quadruple turns today, and then realized that I’ve somehow, like, sideswiped my ballet goals without realizing it. Like, basically, I’ve made a significant dent in them and didn’t even notice.

    Basically, one of my major goals for this year was to nail down reliable triples and unreliable quadruples, basically. And, bizarrely, I have achieved that goal. I had this weird epiphany on the way home from class yesterday: I realized that, like, a year ago or so, even doing one little triple turn more or less by accident was the most amazing thing ever.

    And now I’m like, “Meh, triples, yawn,” when I don’t try for quads.

    So, basically, I need to pause and appreciate how much progress I have made.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve also got turns in second sorted. They’re not always beautiful (or, let’s be honest, even pretty), but I can always do them. Just not always sixteen of them.

    So, yeah. There you go. I feel like I’m “back,” more or less, right now.

    Of course, Choose Your Own Intensive begins Monday, soooo… . .  .

    Trolled By My Own Foot

    This morning, I awoke to a weird[1], intense pulsing pain my slowly-healing toe.  

    1. Though not as weird as the fact that I’ve awakened by 8 AM without an alarm for several days running. #NightOwlProblems

    Obviously, this made me a wee bit angry. 

    And then, after about an hour, it just stopped.

    Seriously, foot, what the hecking heck? 

    I  did awake with my foot tucked under the opposite thigh[2], though. There’s a decent chance that I slept with it in there all four hours that I actually slept night. Maybe that just made it angry?

    1. I entertain a hypothesis that dancers, in general, sleep in positions that suggest we’ve been dropped from a great height. My entirely scientific sample of, like, three ballet people has thus far confirmed said hypothesis. Weaknesses of this ongoing study include a subjective operational definition, poorly developed survey instruments, nonrandom sampling, and the complete lack of anything resembling a proper control group.  

    A Brief Hello

    I’m apparently in a bit of a rut right now, of the irritating kind defined by the feeling of being sufficiently depressed to find socializing exhausting but not so depressed that you can’t see that A) you’re depressed and B) you’re kind of a jerk right now.  

    On the other hand, good things are happening regardless, to wit:

    • I can finally jump reliably again! (And I am So. Out. Of. Shape. But I can jump, so that’ll be sorted soon enough.)
    • Ballet Detroit’s master class was superlative! Literally one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and also one of the hardest. Rayevsky gives a heckin brutal barre, but in a good way. Meanwhile, our final exercise across the floor involved (for the boys) sixteen grand pirouettes. On each side. I managed eight on the right; I literally can’t remember what happened on the left =:O I will be working on these with BW.
    • Got my triples back going right. Going left, turns still feel a little weird on my healing foot, so I’m working on getting clean ones and not focusing on counts—so it’s singles and doubles, which I mostly don’t do like a crack-addled wildebeest. Mostly.
    • Did a … We’ll call it a “quarduple.” Not quite a real quad, but a proper triple that ended with I … AM … GOING AROUND …  AGAIN … DAMMIT!!! It wasn’t pretty, but it happened.
    • Did turns at the barre without panicking because there was no time to panic, because the in question was like “8 counts AND TURN! 8 more counts AND TURN! Now repeat (AND TURN!) and reverse (AND TURN!)”   
    • Also landed a double tour out of sheer terror. Apparently, I perform best when I’m basically terrified of disappointing my instructor. Sadly, I didn’t even really clock the fact that THAT HAPPENED at the time because, you know, sheer terror. 
    • Got a scholarship for Pilobolus’ intensive 😀
    • Picked up my first Official Dance Paycheck. YASSSSSSS. 
    • Learned that D can Bluebird Lift me.

    So those are all good things that happened. I’m hoping that now that I can jump again and have survived a double tour once, I’ll stop psyching myself out of double tours. 

    PS: I can only Bluebird Lift D if he climbs into it, partly because he’s harder to balance than I am because he’s not as good at engaging all the things, but also partly because my arms are short. 

    PPS: I realized that even though I know how to lift people bluebird-stylie, trying to be lifted us confusing as hell when you’re trying to remember where your hands go when you’re doing the lifting and translate it to placing your bodyparts appropriately. 
    😁

    Wednesday Class: Mostly Functional

    I was on the fence about going to class today, as I woke up feeling foggy and congested.

    I went anyway, and was glad of it, since two guys who came for a few weeks last year were in class. They’re both very good, and really quite nice. Sadly, they’re only in town for a week this time—they’re both professionals, and they spend most of their time on tour.

    Either way, it was nice having them in class. They’re both good examples for me: relatively muscular guys who dance really nicely. I wanted to tell the taller of the two that he’s basically my hero right now, since he, like me, is built for big, powerful jumps, but is actually really quite good at petit allegro. He makes the small, finicky jumps look pretty freaking great.

    #goals, amirite?

    Fogginess notwithstanding, I found myself surprisingly able throughout barre, adagio, and turns. BW’s class has proven to be the biggest help to getting me through Killer Class: BW gives me physically demanding fondus, makes me use all my turnout, makes me get my legs up as high as I can and then hold them there, etc.

    I did get weirdly woozy at one point during grand battement. I’m not sure if I was holding my breath, or if my blood pressure just dropped through the floor for no reason, but it was weird. The last time that sort of thing happened, I was definitely holding my breath during a long cambré back (in BW’s class, of course) and almost fainted. Wooooooo.

    I was also not too terrible during petit allegro, although I kept blanking on a part of the third combination that should’ve been obvious.

    I actually did royales without substituting entrechats. I may be the only person alive who learned entrechats before royales, and whose body thus stubbornly persists in refusing to acknowledge the existence of the royale.

    It was Killer B’s demo that fixed me: I’ve been thinking of a royale as a sort of half-baked double beat (like an entrechat that’s slow to wake up, or something), but if I think of it as a squeeze-change, I don’t then end up doing an entrechat quatre and thus finish on the wrong foot.

    Or, well, I don’t finish on the wrong foot unless I start on the wrong foot, which is always a possibility.

    Killer B gave us a long, beautiful grand allegro. Predictably, I landed a pas de chat not terribly well (I was trying not to run into a railing at the edge of the studio), my toe started kvetching at me, and I had to stop.

    Or, well, I didn’t have to stop. I could have kept going … only I’ve realized that this toe isn’t going to finish healing until I stop pissing it off all over again. Sometimes you give up the grand allegro for a bit, even though it’s the thing you really love, so you can get back to doing grand allegro without having to bail a third of the way through the nicest grand allegro combination you’ve seen in ages (there was a cabriole and everything!!!).

    I thought about getting back up there and hitting the repeat on the grand allegro, but I didn’t. I think that was probably the right decision, particularly since grand allegro is really my strong suit as a dancer and I’m not really losing a great deal by sitting it out once in a while.

    Anyway, it turned out to be a much better class than I expected, considering the slow start this morning. Now I’m off to dance team, then probably home for the evening. Last night I was hit with a gigantic wave of fatigue at roughly 8 PM, so between that and the fogginess and the vaguely-itchy throat (and the performance this weekend), I’m taking a conservative approach to physical stuff today.

    A Mostly-Good Day 

    Sunday class went well today. I seem to have suddenly remembered how to dance, though my grand allegro (of all things!) was iffy. I was, of course, thinking hard about my arms, and the rest of everything was just rather meh, except for the last grand jeté, which felt very nice.

    JMH is one heck of a good teacher. I find the pacing of his class very pleasant, likewise the material is about right—stuff I can do and am polishing, generally. Hence the “thinking hard about the arms” part. I am trying to cure myself if this embarrassing wrist-flick that has infiltrated my arm programs. 

    I also managed, amongst a field of mostly acceptable turns (not bad, but nothing to write home about), a triple that felt light and stable because:

    1. I didn’t attack it mercilessly until dead. 
    2. I got up over my leg and didn’t let myself tip over backwards. 
    3. I didn’t anticipate my spot. 

    I did, however, keep overdoing the chaînes in the same combination. Not doing them badly, just doing too many. Which is a better problem than the previous problem of hating chaînes and struggling with them. 

    I stepped out early from the class I’m semi-teaching because my right foot hates modern right now. I dislocated my irritable small toe a while back, and it stayed that way for a month (because dancers, or at last this dancer, can be monumentally stupid: like, “It’s still attached, and I’m still dancing, so it must be fine!”). It’s back in place now but very annoyed with me. 

    I hung in there gamely for a while, but even a well-executed safety release makes that foot scream, and we’re performing next week (YASSSSSSS!), so I don’t want to annoy it any more than is necessary. And there will be a metric shed-tonne of necessary the next two weeks. 

    That gave me a few minutes to roll my legs, though, and they neeeeded it.  

     After, I did Pilates, finally, and discovered to absolutely nobody’s surprise that, yes, my core needs work. And after that, I had one pint of IPA and found myself surprisingly tipsy. 

    Definitely out of practice, there.

    A Map We Can Never Lose, Or, The Dangerous Times Are The Ones When Everything Seems Fine

    Content and language warnings on this one. Sorry, guys.

    I’m in a weird place right now.

    On one hand, I’m doing better than I have at this time of year in a while.

    Fall and winter … okay, and spring … are hard for me. The whole range is loaded with difficult memories, and winter does all kinds of crazy stuff to brain chemistry. Crushing depressions studded with dizzying manias are more or less the norm.

    While late summer is potentially the most dangerous season—that period when any Summer Mania shifts into agitated depression—but the winter is full of a trifecta of suck: crappy health, crappy brain chemistry, and really effing bad memories.

    This year, I’m having less general trouble with the brain chemistry than usual. I’m not going to say that I’m not depressed; I am probably at least a bit depressed in the neurochemical sense. On the other hand, dancing and cirque-ing and having an actual supportive network of friends in meatspace helps, as does getting the house back in order and baking a bunch of delicious stuff all the time. Seriously, you guys, when something I cook makes D happy, the effect is weirdly magical.

    Because of cirque, Winter Ballet Break doesn’t mean an abrupt halt to all the physical activity that helps keep the volume of the peaks and troughs in my brain chemistry a little lower.

    I’m putting the rest of this behind a cut, y’all, partly so you have a choice about it, but also partly because it makes me feel less weird about writing about it.

    Read the rest of this entry

    Working Out The Kinks

    …By which I don’t mean taking a certain band to the gym 😉

    I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done a bunch of injuring myself in the past two years.

    I think it’s also fair to say that I’m getting better at managing injuries and recovering from them — at reasonable share of which is learning, through trial and error, what “rest” means in relationship to various injuries if you’re a dancer and/or an aerialist (and, for that matter, what “rest” means in general as someone that my physiotherapist spouse defines as “an extreme athlete” — read, if you’re a serious dancer or aerialist, that’s you! Hi!).

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, I’ve found myself doing a fair bit of reflection on why I’m injuring all the things and how I might, you know, stop that. (Or at least mostly stop.)

    I’ve concluded that there are three major components:

    1. REST!
    2. Balance.
    3. Learning when to say “when.”

    Let’s start with Point the Third: Learning When to Say “When.”

    Like most dancers, I take pride in my ability to listen to my body in certain regards.

    I know when I’m hungry, and I know when I’m full. I know when I should eat all the salty pommes frites and when I shouldn’t. I know when I need a freaking salad. I know that I should not have more than one beer when I have class the next day (so, basically, ever; we’ll address that under the heading of REST).

    I more or less know when I’m really freaking tired and should just Go the F**k to Sleep (hint: I realize that I’m acting like a poorly-socialized two-year-old; shortly thereafter, I put my cranky behind to bed).

    I know … okay, I almost know … how to not spend all my money on dance and aerials (I really did need that fourth dance belt; there might not be even one laundromat in Cincinnati, and more importantly, I might be too tired to bother! Also, it is totally important to have twenty pairs of tights and three pairs of ballet shoes and special socks that you basically only use for modern class and … okay, maybe I’m not that great at this one yet).

    But when it comes to classes, I’m not great at knowing when I just plain need to STAHP.

    Or, at least, I wasn’t.

    Recently, I’ve tried a slow-and-steady approach to getting back into class after an injury. Amazingly, just as every physiotehrapist and exercise scientist and coach and trainer and ballet instructor on earth would’ve predicted, it worked!

    I didn’t completely forget how to dance. My legs did not fall off. I did not lose my single knee-hang on both sides (though I’m still working back into it on the left, because when you basically completely disengage your adductors for a couple weeks, they detrain pretty fast).

    I’m now working out the series of kinks (not injuries so much as low-level irritations) that I accumulated while compensating for my most recent injury: weirdness in my back; knee and calf fatigue on the opposite side. My right calf was a wee bit sore by the time we finished petit allegro on Wednesday, but not so much that it felt like I should skip grand allegro. I rolled the dice and it worked out, but I’ll probably need to think carefully about that tomorrow, too.

    And every other day, for the rest of my life.

    Okay. So that covers the whole “know when to say when” thing. On to Point the Second: Balance.

    While this isn’t quite how things work in the real world, it’s usually more or less functionally accurate to acknowledge that when you increase strength, you reduce flexibility.

    This is a problem for normal people, but it’s a huge problem for hypermobile people.

    In short, if you don’t pay attention to muscle balance when you train and/or you don’t stretch adequately (or you overstretch, or — worst of all, if you do some of each), you can throw your whole body out of whack.

    That goes double if your body isn’t strung together very securely in the first place (that is, if you’re hypermobile).

    I would like to show you a picture.

    Here:

    Group-Candlestand-3

    Top Row: Janie, Me. Bottom Row: Amy, Courtney. Both Rows: COMPLETELY FREAKING AWESOME. Also, I am astoundingly modest today, amirite?

    On the face of it, this just looks like a really cool acro-balancing pile (and, for the most part, that’s completely accurate).

    However, ballet wonks will notice that my eyes say Armand (from La Dame Aux Camélias) while my hands say OMG DON QUIXOTE!!!!!1!!oneone

    Which is what they say ALL. THE. TIME. unless I pay a ton of attention to what I’m doing with them.

    I hear about this in essentially every class ever, unless I pay a ton of attention to what I’m doing with them.

    All this is more or less the result of muscle imbalance. I don’t always stretch adequately after aerials classes, nor do I do much to counteract the effects of working on aerial apparati in terms of strength balance — so unless I think very hard about making my hands soft and graceful, they do this*.

    *Okay, it might also partly be a personality trait: as a dancer, I tend to operate in one of two default modes — I have no idea what I’m doing right now or I am such a cocky little badass, depending. The fact that it was specifically the Russian dance in Nutcracker that made me want to take up ballet probably tells you essentially everything you need to know.

    Anyway, until I started being really conscious about stretching my hands after trapeze, silks, lyra, and mixed apparatus, this was making my hands hurt, because things were pulling on other things in unbalanced ways.

    The whole disaster with my pelvis started more or less the same way. I neglected to train the bottom third of my abdominal muscles, and things pulled other things out of whack — and since my connective tissue is unusually stretchy, they got really, really out of whack.

    So, in short, things that train strength need to be balanced with things that train flexibility and vice-versa. Likewise, when you train the crap out of your adductors, you should also do some work on your abductors. And so on.

    And, of course, training needs to be balanced with every dancer’s favorite four-letter word:

    Point the First: REST.

    The process of getting stronger is essentially one of creating tiny tears in your muscles, then letting them heal.

    Guess what makes them heal?

    REST.

    Likewise, the process of accumulating explicit knowledge requires rest. A great deal of memory consolidation, as far as we can tell, takes place during sleep.

    Also, the brain itself gets tired. The brain needs rest, too (and not just sleep: sometimes the brain just needs to, like, kick back and sit on its cerebral porch and watch the world go by).

    And ballet, modern dance, and aerials need the brain.

    Moreover, all kinds of injury-preventive functions, from equilibrium to coordination to proprioception to decision making, are compromised by fatigue and sleep-deprivation.

    You know what one weird trick combats fatigue and sleep-deprivation?

    Say it with me:

    REST.

    (Also, sleep.)

    I also need a fair amount of rest when it comes to that whole Being Around Humans thing.

    I am very much an introvert in the sense that I recharge by being alone: like, really alone. Like, “Don’t bust up in my kitchen on one of my designated Leave Me Alone days and start chatting with me and expect me to be anything other than a complete b1tch” alone.

    So, basically, I’ve done a piss-poor job giving myself adequate rest. Even on the days that are supposed to be my days off, for the past several weeks, I’ve had to go out and get things done and be among humans, which has more or less literally been making me insane (seriously, sobbing-on-the-floor-in-the-kitchen-at-9-PM-on-Monday, snapping-at-my-best-friends-for-no-reason insane).

    So, yeah. That’s part of injury prevention for me, too: first, because I get really, really tense, which makes the tight muscles tighter and increases the likelihood of strains and so forth; second, because I have enough trouble sleeping without being, as my old roommate used to say, “outside my mind;” third, because it keeps me from eating people’s faces, which is definitely a kind of injury, just more for them than for me. Heh.

    So here’s another picture:

    WIN_20160527_13_42_04_Pro

    Remember the Sabbath day and keep it whole-ly, even if you have to move it to Sunday because you have a Cube Workshop on Saturday afternoon. Also, sorry it’s fuzzy.

    Please notice the dark circles under my eyes. They are what happens when I don’t sleep (also when my allergies are going crazy).

    Please notice also the bold text and giant circle around it, reminding me that:

    THIS REST CRAP IS IMPORTANT.

    So, basically, I’ll be scheduling my rest days much more strictly (and, it appears, emphatically) in the future. I’ve also opted for one less-physically-demanding class on Tuesday and Thursday at the Cinci intensive in order to build in a little more rest.

    I don’t know about you, but my long-term goal is to to be (as my trapeze instructor is) completely, mind-bendingly awesome at trapeze when I’m 50; to still be dancing when I’m 90.

    It would also be great if my legs don’t fall off long before I reach either of those milestones, because I’ve got a pretty long way to go, frankly.

    Paying attention to moderation, balance, and REST are probably the keys, really, to making that happen.

    So that’s what I’m going to do, even if it kills me.

    …Wait, no that’s not quite what I’m going for. In fact, to some extent, that’s what I’m trying to avoid.

    Let’s try this again:

    So that’s what I’m going to do, so all this doesn’t kill me.

    Edit: Lastly, a very short clip of the juggling-while-Rola-Bola-ing bit,complete with juggling-club videobomb 😀 This was before I figured out I could plié on the Rola-Bola, pick up the balls, and start juggling without falling off.

    Huzzah!

    Today I visited the physical therapist who handles the ballet company.

    Denis was pretty happy to hear that this was going to happen because he always feels a bit hesitant about advising dancers and other athletes who don’t really have the option of just not doing whatever the thing is that they do.

    Anyway, she ran me through a battery of tests (including rond de jambes en l’air at the barre), did a maneuver to sort out a stuck iliosacral joint, and declared me fit to get back to class, with the caveat that I need to pay very close attention to engaging from the “Gotta Pee” muscle up (and to call her if I run into further problems).

    This should also, incidentally, help with the problem of throwing my shoulders back.

    So it’s back to class with me tomorrow. The adductor pull is sufficiently healed to work, and having sorted the IS joint should help it so trying to compensate, so I should be in shape for Cincinnati and beyond.

    This is good, because not really dancing has been driving me crazy.

    Tandem Troubles

    Tandem.

    That’s two people doing the same thing at the same time, ostensibly together, though often in opposition — intentional or otherwise.

    It’s complicated.

    Tandem kayaks have earned the nickname “divorce boats;” likewise, “divorce bike” is a not-uncommon term for tandem bikes.

    I suppose that’s understandable, given that on a tandem bike, both partners have to work, but only one gets to steer. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than the situation with a tandem kayak, where both partners can work or slack off and both partners can (attempt to) steer.

    Regardless, Denis and I actually do pretty well where both tandem bikes and tandem kayaks are concerned (okay, so I do kind of yell at him on the climbs sometimes on the bike).

    Tandem trapeze routines?

    That might be harder.

    Not that I think we’re anywhere near “divorce trapeze” territory — just, now that we’re into the meat of rehearsal, I’ve realized that he works a lot more slowly than I do.

    In fact, that’s true in more than one sense — he memorizes choreography more slowly, but he also works through his movements more slowly.

    The memorization part is mostly under control: he’s pretty much got his routine down, so we’re more or less online to actually really run things now.

    The movement part — well, that’s a different challenge.

    On one hand, it’s kinda cool. It imparts stylistic spice. We’re not two perfectly-matched RoboTraps doing almost the same moves (but in a different order) with exactly the same style. For the purpose of our piece, I think that works.

    On the other hand, it’s kinda weird in terms of trying to get everything synchronized.

    It makes working out the timings (which falls to me as the musical member of our daring duo) a little more challenging. It means that we’ll definitely need to rehearse the piece together a couple of times, which means somehow finagling a chance to rig two single-point trapezes at the same time.

    In case you’re wondering, that doesn’t happen terribly often at our studio. We usually have two double-point traps rigged and at most one single-point; people just don’t use the single-point as much (well, people who aren’t us). I’m not sure why, though it could be a function of the single-point offering some challenges that the double-point doesn’t.

    Case in (single?) point: if rigged with a pivot — as ours are — the single-point trapeze can spin.

    Likewise, because there’s a significant taper from the bar to the rigging, moves in the ropes can feel quite different on the single-point trapeze than on the double-point (some seem easier; some, harder — the distribution, there, seems to be highly individual).

    Don’t get me wrong, though — as a performer, a choreographer, and a problem-solver, I’m rather enjoying this process. As a glutton for punishment masochist trapeze addict aficionado, I like having an excuse to play around on the trapeze more.

    Doesn’t hurt that I now know that I can run my routine three or four times back-to-back without feeling over-worked, either.

    Anyway, part of the solution for this challenge involves adjustments I need to make anyway — slowing my execution of the individual “tricks” (ye gods, how I cringe at that word) and transitional movements; Using All The Music; adding expression.

    Another part of it involves the well-considered use of pauses; that’s fine. I don’t want to create a routine that’s mostly a series of pretty poses, but it seems reasonable to incorporate a few attractive pauses in the interest of giving Denis room (musically-speaking) to work.

    We also discovered that, although I have about 1 minute and 30 seconds of actual trapeze wrestling in my routine, the other bits (we have some acro-balancing elements as our mount and our dismount, as well as a tiny, tiny bit of character dance) don’t fill all of the music.

    All of this has come together to produce a kind of turn-taking format in parts of the routine, which works into our theme (the piece is called “Duelo Trapecio” — “Trapeze Duel”).

    The remaining challenge will be sorting out Denis’ spin tolerance. The highlight of our piece, really, is the executing of a set of moves in the ropes — but his are done in an inversion, which makes him dizzier than it otherwise might.

    Since our current final move is a two-man counterbalance that requires him to support my entire weight, that could be problematic!

    At any rate, we’ve got a few more weeks to work out the kinks, and I’m pretty happy with the progress we’ve made.

    I’ll be even happier when I’ve got clearance to do all the moves in my routine again. Right now, I can’t do the demi-mill roll because of my injury, which makes me haz a sad. (I know: #FirstWorldProblems.)

    I shot a brief bit of video tonight, but mostly it’s me faffing around on a spinning trapeze thinking about what to do to fill a time gap in my bit of the choreography, so I’m still on the fence about posting it. OTOH, my iron cross-stag-switch-stag-iron cross looks better than it did in the previous one (I wasn’t less tired; it’s just that watching the previous video helped identify things I need to work on).

    And I’m wearing bike-length shorts, so you can see my blazing calves of solid alabaster. Bleh.

    Okay, well. This is now about 3 times as longer than I intended it to be, so I’ll shut up.

    Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow, we have Killer Class, Trapeze 2, and Conditioning.

    Only I won’t actually be doing Killer Class, because #StupidInjury.

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