Category Archives: intensives

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.

    Choose Your Own Intensive: Day 2

    At ML&Co, it was partnering day. I paired up with a girl who was frankly awesome at partnering. She made us both look good!

    I landed hardish a couple of times on my healing foot, but still made it through everything in BW’s master​class except grand pirouettes going left. My foot complained about those, so I decided to play it safe and only do a couple.

    Even grand allegro went reasonably well. Still can’t get out of my own way doing brisées in medium allegro, though :/

    Or, well. I managed a couple going right, but literally got off on the wrong foot going left and failed to actually recover.

    I guess that’s going to be a goal this week.

    The combo is:

    Glissade, jeté, jeté jeté; balloté x4; coupé-balloné; brisée, brisée; temps de cuisse, entrechat quatre x2.

    I think I’m going to have to mark that at home.

    On the other hand, some of the stength-y things and some of the balance-y things felt easier today, as did the crazy petit allegro brainteaser that BW has us running (the one from last Thursday with the incredibly confusing assemblés).

    So that was today. No ML&Co class tomorrow, so I plan to catch up on housework, make friends with the foam roller, and review the crap out of that medium allegro.

    Choose Your Own Intensive: Day 1

    I was, in fact, on the nervous side this morning when I left home.

    Surprisingly, by the time I reached Clifton Cultural Arts Center, that nervousness had evaporated. Instead, I simply felt delighted to be returning to a place where I had a really great experience last year.

    I picked up my number and the little program for the intensive and parked myself in the main studio, where a bunch of the students were watching Rosas Danst Rosas. Even that was pleasantly familiar: Rosas is one of the seminal works of progressive modern choreography that almost every dancer who’s worked in the discipline knows, and Mam-Luft & Co’s 2016 intensive  was the first place I saw it.

    41

    “I’m #41! I’m #41!” shouted nobody ever, except me, probably.

    Improv class went well. I really actually rather love improv, though my body took a bit to wake up today. The drive up to Cincinnati is nearly 2 hours, which is a long time to sit still. Tomorrow, my class starts a little later, but I’m still going to leave at the same time.

    I am not, I’m happy to report, the Onliest Boy this time. There’s another guy, and he’s quite good. He’s auditioning as well. We’re very similar in size, but quite different in build and movement style, so I’m actually kind of hoping I’ll get to work with him in the partnering classes at least a bit.

    A couple of the girls from last year are also there this year, which is awesome. Regardless, I don’t feel so weird and shy and isolated this time. Like, I kind of feel like I know what I’m doing this time, and like I have some business being there.

    After class, I dashed away almost immediately (partly so I could stop at United Dairy Farmers and get a milkshake, which turned into the greater part of my ultra-healthy lunch[1]).

    1. A milkshake and a banana. Don’t judge. We don’t have UDF in Louisville, so it was 100% worth it.
      • In fact, this worked out surprisingly well, really. The milkshake provided enough fuel to get me through ballet without turning into a brick in my belly.

    Back in Louisville, I took a break to read things on my phone, then headed over to the ballet. We’re in the main studio downtown, which is really nice. There are only 10 or so of us in the master class, so we have a ton of room to move … which is good, because BW likes to make us travel.

    Class went well. I got through everything, jumps and all, though I couldn’t convince my body to brisé during combinations, only during marks. I do, however, have my entrelacé back. I got to do grand allegro, and it was pretty good.

    I took a couple of technical notes, but I left my notebook in my car and I can’t remember what they were. That’s fine, though: if I don’t remember at least some of them by the end of this week, I am probably beyond hope and should consider a career in Couch Potato Cultivation rather than in dance.

    I am, in fact, the Onliest Boy in the masterclass series this week, but I’m okay with that. It’s a much smaller group than ML&Co was last year.

    Anyway, I’m really tired, so I’m going to close here. I think I intended to say something more interesting, but I’ve been busily doing a billion other things whilst writing this post, and I can’t remember what they were.

    ~

    PS: You know you’ve worked hard when you drop in at your aerial studio to say “Hi” to your friends, and the first thing someone says is, “Did you get caught in the rain?” 😀

     

    My Car Is Horrible Right Now; Brief Notes on Modern; Also, I Made A Thing

    At the moment, my car smells like the inside of someone’s dance bag.

    In fact, it smells like the inside of a dance bag belonging to someone who shoves his sopping-wet warm-ups into said bag after class and then forgets about them and goes home and the next day is like wtf did I do with my warmp-ups and then finds them when he goes to get his shoes out in ballet class the next day and shoves them back in his bag and forgets about them again until he finally remembers to bring the freaking bag in so he can wash them, which might take like an entire week[1, 3]. Ewww.

    1. I can neither confirm nor deny that this has actually happened to me[2].
    2. Possibly more than once.
    3. For the record, this problem is pretty specific to commuting by automobile, since taking public transit or riding a bike rather prevents leaving your dance bag in the car all week, doesn’t it? Though I did once leave legwarmers in my bike’s trunk bag ._. Good times, good times.

    So I’m planning on going after my car with some carpet foam tonight. Possibly also mowing the lawn (completely unrelated, but still something I should probably do), but we’ll see.

    Anyway, fairly good day in Modern today.

    I am still madly in love with floorwork.

    Perhaps I always will be? The lights (which are on sensors) clicked off about a quarter of the way through our floorwork combination, and we were just like, “Ahhhh.”

    C&W_kittens_(544411242)

    TFW the lights go out during floorwork. (Credit: Paul Holloway from Birmingham, UK – C&W kittens, via Wikimedia Commons)

    Modern dance naptime, you guys. For real. It’s as refreshing as a nap without all that annoying napping.

    Meanwhile, I’m back to being able to withstand light pressure on the outside of my right foot, so it’s now possible to safety-release into various rolls from an upright position. It’s still iffy about turns, but TB (who has been in class with us a few times now—yay!) suggested a different way of taping it that might help, so I’m going to try that tomorrow and Thursday.

    I’m also continuing to work on knowing where UP is, which is remarkably hard (TB finds this unsurprising about me; I suspect it’s part of the “ridiculously hypermobile dancer” package).

    I’m also also continuing to work on not being so freaking terrible at scheduling myself. As such, I created a dance-specific calendar, and because I figured, “Why not?” I’ve posted it as a page. That way D can find it easily and figure out where in hell I’ve gone, which can be a problem when you’re married to a dancer who won’t stand still for 5 minutes.

    Turns out that it loads desperately slowly (read: about the same level of urgency as an unhurried sloth), but whatevs. It’s a start. I thought about making a separate calendar page for intensives, but that seems excessive. Instead, I made two separate calendars with joint output. The intensives show up in a red font; everything else shows up in blue.

    calendar

    A visual representation of a visual representation of a conceptual representation of … anyway, it’s a calendar.

    Why?

    Because I’m crazy awesome. Or something like that.

    That said, it turns out that I’ve YET AGAIN double-booked myself on so many levels it isn’t even funny, so now I’m trying to finagle my way out of the Cultural Dance workshop I can’t take because I’m in Lexington during half of it. That sort of forces me to take our AD’s masterclass, though, which I’ve been semi-dreading because, like, he’s our AD and therefore inherently terrifying.

    In other news, I guess it’s time to Order All The Dance Belts before I jet off to Lexington and then Connecticut. I have three that I like well enough; I would really like to have five so I never, ever have to worry about whether or not they’ll dry on time.

    I need to make up my mind whether to order another pair of Yumikos or to order some M. Stevens tights, also, mainly because there’s some lead time involved in acquiring another pair of Yumikos.

    Though, come to think of it, my Very Own Personal Yumiko Rep is about to jet off to a tropical paradise for an intensive because he is, in fact, awesome (no, really; last year he got invited to dance at Jacob’s Pillow), so that might sort that for me. I’ll have to find out when he comes back from Ballet Paradise.

    Eek!

    I’m now committed for BW’s masterclass and some of the ML&Co intensive—I remembered that there are one-day passes and 3- or 5-class cards, so I’m planning to take 3 classes during the week and then go for the full day on Friday. It will be a hectic week, but not insanely so.

    I also seem to have somehow committed myself to audition for the company at ML&Co’s intensive, so we’ll see how that goes. Erm, onward and upward?

    In other news, I learned while I was writing this post that I will indeed be going to Pilobolus’ intensive this year as well! Obviously, that’s pretty exciting! I’ll also be able to visit my Mom and Step-Dad (unless the week that I’m going is the same week in July that they’re out of town; I can’t remember at the moment o.O’).

    Yesterday, after I finished writing my post, I ate lunch, decided to read for a bit, and promptly fell asleep on the couch until 9 PM. Later, I slept from 12:30-9:30 AM. I’m not usually much of a napper, and that’s a lot of sleep for one night, so presumably I really needed to catch up!

    At any rate, I’m feeling pretty well rested today 😀

    We didn’t have modern class today (which let me get a bunch of stuff done around the house), so it’s back to the normal class schedule tomorrow. Modern is moving to a new time-slot, though, so that’ll be a change.

    This week, D and I will start really cracking away at our PlayThink piece, which I hope to have finished before Master Class/ML&Co week (June 5 – 9) so we can simply polish it up before the festival.

    Summer Heats Up!

    I know I said I was probably going to do Mam-Luft’s intensive again, but it turns out I’m not.

    Instead, I’m taking a four-day ballet masterclass taught by BW right here at home. Huzzah!

    I’m pretty excited about that (in case you weren’t sure what I meant by “Huzzah!”). They decided to individually evaluate students for eligibility and sent me an invitation, so w00t. Makes me feel fairly decent about myself, which is good, because yesterday after class I was like I CANNOT REMEMBER COMBINATIONS AND MY FOOT HURTS.

    I went to the doc today for Regularly Scheduled Maintenance and discovered that A) they can now submit my prescription for Adderall electronically, B) …but I have to pee in a cup from time to time (which was only a problem because I was kinda dehydrated, but I juuuuust managed a sufficient sample) because Regulations[1], and C) my foot looks normal on X-rays, so it’s just soft tissue BS sorting itself out at this point.

    1. …Which is fine: honestly, it’s less onerous to be a person with ADHD who has to pee in a cup once in a while than one who has to remember to request a paper prescription, remember to go get the paper prescription, NOT LOSE THE PAPER PRESCRIPTION!!!, carry it by hand to a pharmacy, then remember to go back and pick up the medication later on … yeeeeeah.

    As such, though it made me sad, I didn’t jump in BW’s class tonight (nor did anyone else, since I was All By My-seeeee-eee-eeeelf again). We opted instead for another stretch-n-kvetch, in which we discussed the assertion (made by neither of us) that dancers shouldn’t stretch, to which I responded that A] some dancers shouldn’t stretch some things (hip ligaments, kids), B] but we should stretch the other things, and C] if stretching wasn’t good, cats wouldn’t do it, because let’s be real, cats only do things that are really worth doing.

    House cats, anyway. The ones that don’t have to worry about hunting and whatevs. The ones that are given their due as, at very least, minor deities, &c.

    Merkah-Does-Laundry

    Take Mercutious T. Lawndrey-Tubbs, here. Whatever he’s doing, it’s obviously worth doing, or he wouldn’t be doing it. Also, pretty sure he’s #UpToNoGood, based on those eyeballs.

    We also did lots of fondu-y things, as ever, and at center a nice adagio that began with a backwards pas de basque (or, more formally, pas de basque en arrière).

    This has been a week of combinations with interesting beginnings. We did one yesterday that began waltz turn and waltz turn, devloppé croissé avant, tombé… It was starting right into the waltz turns that was the interesting bit. We don’t do that very often (more often, one encounters balancé, balancé, waltz turn and waltz turn and…).

    Personally, I quite like pas de basque en arrière as a way to launch a combination. It’s at once a bit diffident (since, by the very nature of the step, you’re kind of bowing to the audience and backing away from them) but also a bit impressive, as it’s one of those steps that looks like it should probably be difficult (and, of course, you get a nice  allongé effacé moment).

    BW says I am making good progress, which makes me very happy. I actually felt like a more effective dancer today, particularly at the barre, where I was much more able to notice when my shoulders were being dumb and (literally) put them back in their place.

    The interesting thing about not being able to jump is that it forces me to buckle down and work harder in the other parts of class (…imagine that ._.).

    Revelations at the barre today: I can now feel when I’m temps-liéing into too wide a fourth. I also figured out what it does that makes life so terrifically difficult (beyond just having to tap basically All The Mana to get back up on your leg to do turns): it turns off your turnouts (and all the other stuff that holds you together as a ballet person).

    A more obvious example of the same phenomenon involves doing grand plié in second until your butt drops below your knees. The rotators and … well, basically all the muscles that aren’t the quads … say, “Feck this noise, we’re outies,” and then it’s difficult to get back up, let alone anything useful. (Meanwhile, the quads be like “AIGHT WE GOT THIS BOYS! PULLLLLLLL!”)

    Turns out that when your fourth is ridiculously big (because you are a travelly go-er who likes to absorb all the space), the same basic thing can happen.

    Who knew?

    …People who aren’t idiots. Specifically, I’m pretty sure Mikhail Baryshnikov wasn’t constantly unspooling his rotators.

    Anyway, that’s what’s what for now.

    During Masterclass Week, I plan to hit up my normal morning classes, unless my foot is like SCREW YOU NO. I’m hoping I’ll be back to normal by then, though. I plan to take a week or so to rest[2] it after Orpheus.

    1. …By which I probably mean “just do barre and flat center-work,” because let’s be reals.

    Anyway, here’s my Updated Summer Plan:

    • Ballet Week At Home!!!
    • Lexington Ballet Intensive
    • Possibly Pilobolus (depending on finances and stuff)

    BW said the Master Class will be “Hard, but good.” Which pretty much describes most classes with him, and is what I need anyway.

    Whoa, This Summer Is Going To Be Intens(iv)e! 

    I’m not going to any intensives on other continents this summer because, in short, I’m not even sure right now that I’ll be able to afford the ones I’ve planned on this continent (for positive reasons, though, which I won’t be discussing in this particular post because #ToKnowToWillToDareToKeepSilent). 

    That said, in case you’re looking for dance intensives all over the planet, HERE THEY ARE. You can basically go anywhere and dance this summer (I know someone who’s going to the Canary Islands! #envy). 

    It would take me all week to check all of these out and write them up on my Intensives page, so I’ll just add the link later on and call it good. 

    BTW, I happened upon this link via Dancing Opportunities (@dancingopps) on the Tweeters, which which highly recommend following if you’re of dancing persuasion.

    It’s a dance world, after all! [(c) Dancing Opportunities, via The Tweeters]

    So there you have it. Intensives for everyone!!! Huzzah!  

    One Moar For The Road

    In the interest of reminding myself that, yes, I have progressed in the last six months, I cringed my way through the videos from last year’s ballet intensive the other night. Here are some screen shots so we can commiserate or what have you. 

    First one is definitely from Albrecht’s variation (with Don Quixote hands because #fml); second one is also, I think, but from the opening sequence with the gigantic sissones ouverts of doom, maybe? I think it’s also the part where I’m going, “Oh, shizzle, I’m way down stage from my mark!” 

    I used up too much of my ballet mojo in class and rehearsal, and my legs were dead (note complete turnout failure and shoulder feckery), but I did manage to swing the straight-pirouette-right-into-attitude-turn bit through sheer force of all our a minor miracle or something. And, yes, I looked 12 years old the whole time. I promise I’m not really 12.

    I’m including this one as proof that you REALLY should always pull your tights up until the word “Nutcracker” takes on an entirely different meaning. Dat sag, doh. (Big obnoxious box is a screenshot-process artifact; stupid tablet.)

    Off to Rep!

    Enough! 

    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.) 

    How to Survive Your Dance Intensive for Grown-A** Adults (Version 1)

    Now that I’ve got a whopping two (2!! Like the number of exclamation points I just used!!) adult dance intensives under my belt, I have lots of facts intel opinions about things you should do to make sure you get through in one piece — and, of course, as your faithful Danseur Ignoble, I am duty bound to share them.

    You know, for the good of humankind, or at least dancer-kind, and all that stuff.

    So, without further ado, here they are.

    ~

    First, know that you’re capable of more than you think you are.

    Let me say that again, with fancy formatting:

    You are capable of more than you think you are.

    Read the rest of this entry

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