Category Archives: work
Yes, I’ve resorted to counting down the days until I’m cleared for all the things.
The problem is that I really want to do handstands for some reason. Like, right now.
Normally, when I want to do handstands, like, right now, I just do them. (Often, when this happens, it’s because I’m trying to think my way through a sticking point in my technique and my nonverbal mind thinks it’s on to something. Sometimes, though, it’s just for fun.)
I may have done a few wee petit allegro jumps in my kitchen (which is far too small even for medium allegro) last night. It might have felt good.
I decided I was ready to get back to barre when I found myself doing turns in my kitchen. I don’t think I can justify doing allegro of any kind (excepting the occasional step in my kitchen) until I’m 100% cleared.
So, needless to say, I’m antsy.
But it’s only mine more days.
What I’m really antsy about, though, is being able to take a proper, fully-submerged bath. I haven’t taken any baths at all because I’m afraid I’ll just submerge everything without even thinking about it—but on the other hand I do find baths really helpful on cold mornings (and, as you may recall, we have already established that my standard for labeling a morning “cold” is fairly pathetic).
Maybe I’ll try taking a bath and mindfully not submerging myself. And, of course, if I get really antsy, I can always use one of those medical-grade wound-protector things that they make for exactly that purpose.
In other news, I’m really tempted to wear this thing:
…to class tomorrow, just to make BW and TS giggle. I think if I do, I’ll be forced to shoot some video for posterity.
We worked in the sphere a bit more today, first at about knee height, then at a more respectable height of 1.25 meters or so.
My bit of the brief duo is essentially nailed down; my partner is adjusting hers since we’re using a span-set rigging that allows her to work atop the sphere.
Got a little video and some decent still shots from there. This is one of my favorites:
So I dutifully kept my heart rate pretty moderate during tonight’s performance, but it was still so humid I finished up looking like I’d gone for a swim o.o
Also, I just realized that my scars add a dimension of realism to the Sparkle Zombie get-up XD
…Or, well, kinda dances, anyway.
As of Thursday, I began slowly settling back into class.
For all that it’s normally his job to beat me with a stick until I jump higher, BW is actually profoundly capable of imparting a really gentle barre when you need it—so Thursday we did no one-foot releve, no grand battement, no torturously-long adagio…
It was just the essence of working through the feet and the legs and the turnout, feeling placement and balance, figuring things out.
It’s funny how profoundly you feel your hips and your legs and your feet when you’re not allowed to do almost anything with your arms.
It’s also funny how freaking insanely hard it is to come up with barre combinations when your only cambré options are front (rolling up) and a tiny back, like a subtle high release (it was pretty, though). BW kept going, “Wait, that doesn’t work…” Eventually, though, he got into the groove and stopped having to pause and reset.
BW gave me the option of doing a little across-the floor, but we decided against and opted to stretch for a while instead: splits first (I was afraid I’d have lost my left split in three weeks of sitting on my butt, but I was actually able to drop right into it), then a bit of work for the turnouts.
BW had noticed (probably because he was no longer blinded by the need to octopus-wrestle my arms into shape) that he and I share a bad habit: we both have a ton of rotation in the hip, so we sometimes we get lazy about engaging all the things.
This led to the two of us lying on our backs on the floor doing a kind of clamshell-and-Theraband thing when the studio owner wandered in to grab something she’d left behind.
…Which was surprisingly awkward.
Sunday I wandered back to J’s class, where I discovered that everything feels okay with my arms en bas and first, second, second allongé, romantic fourth, and fifth. Cambré is fine to the front as long as my arms don’t drift behind my shoulders (in short: no swan dives for me, and definitely no Angry Bourne Swans); back I’ve got a little more than I had on Thursday; side is still tuggy and thus to be avoided.
I stuck around for the tendu, which I did pretty well (though for some reason, my arms decided at one point to be effacé while my legs were croisé), and the adagio, which I did quite badly once because I was being tentative and then actually pretty well on the second run. Just like I haven’t lost my splits, I really haven’t lost my extension gainz either. I wasn’t trying that hard, as the goal was ultimately to keep my heart rate down, but had no problem reaching 90+ degrees even à la seconde.
I also met a really nice guy who was new to the class, but obviously not new to ballet. Have I mentioned this already? Anyway, I hope he keeps coming. There were three guys in class at the start! T had to leave right after barre, though, and I spirited myself away after the adage, leaving poor L to fend for himself. He seemed capable, though, so I’m sure he was fine.
Regardless, if the two new-dancer guys who have occasionally been to J’s class are still at it, then we have at least six guys in regular rotation in the program now. w00t!
Anyway, now begins the process of re-conditioning and easing back into my life as a dancer.
This Saturday, I’ll be performing for CirqueLouis at Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. Since I’m not cleared to get back on the silks yet, I’ll be doing some ribbon-dance stuff. Should be fun.
- This reminds me: I need to go borrow the ribbon from my bro-in-law again. I really need to get my own, but his is perfect—our basic costumes are black-and-white stripes, sometimes with red accents, and the ribbon in question is a black-and-white striped snake with a red head.
A bit ironically, I’ve never actually been to JOLS as a spectator, even though it’s supposed to be pretty cool and it’s only about a mile from my house, so I’m looking forward to finally seeing at least some of it (I don’t know yet if we get to stroll the grounds when we’re not performing, but I hope we do!).
So that’s it for now. I’m working on a long piece that I’m hoping to finish tomorrow, but between class and performing I’m not sure how much else I’ll be posting this week.
PS: I have officially left off with the Post-Op Pasties®. I was going to wait a bit longer, but my skin was really pretty done with adhesive. There are still a few little suture-knots left over, but it turns out that they don’t snag on my shirts.
I’ll probably stick a couple of Post-Op Pasties® on during rehearsal, since rolling around in the sphere (which I’m now quite able to do) seems like a good way to snag them, though.
Decided to go snap a couple of progress pix and discovered that all but the very last suture knot had fallen off. The last one was busy working itself loose, so I snipped it off with nail scissors. Et voilá—no more weird little knots.
Because evidently time and I have a tenuous relationship at best, I realized yesterday that I was beginning, rather than ending, the third week since my surgery, and as such I still face four weeks before I can resume my usual workload. Oops.
On the other hand, that does mean I’m healing very, very well. I’ve been
obsessing over reading other people’s accounts of healing from this kind of survey—initially to figure out what to expect, what was normal, and what was cause to panic, and but now because they’re just plain interesting—and it seems that a lot of folks still have a fair amount of discomfort and so forth at this stage. I’m chalking my relatively easy recovery up to a really awesome surgeon and above-average physical fitness.
Anyway, Golden Retriever Timescales not withstanding, I’m starting to make plans for next year.
- I’ve probably used this analogy before: while my sense of immediate time is pretty decent, once I venture beyond that, my perception of time flakes into two distinct categories—the ones you might imagine a not-very-bright Golden Retriever understanding, which is to say say, Now and Not-Now. Anything further than two weeks out, meanwhile, exists in the realm of absurd fantasy. Evidently, this also applies retroactively 😛
I auditioned for more things this year than last year. I expect to continue that trend next year. I’m looking at dance companies (ballet and modern, but mostly ballet), cirque companies, and cruise-line dance-and-cirque companies right now, as well as the usual gig-based auditions.
Ideally, I would love to work in ballet, but I realize that my particular skill-set makes me a good candidate for progressive circus companies. Likewise, while many classically-trained dancers turn their noses up at working for cruise lines, I like the idea of living and working on a self-contained floating city, and cruise-line companies value versatile performers. I suspect that my strong classical dance background and existing aerial skills will place me well (I’m also a pretty good singer, which doesn’t hurt).
That said, my best asset is simply the ability (and willingness) to up stakes and go wherever the work is.
It seems like a good idea, when you’re trying to work in a ridiculously competitive industry, to identify all of your strengths (not just the obvious ones) and seek opportunities where they’ll be useful. Given that I’ve taken a really, really atypical path to working in dance, I plan to use the heck out of that strategy. My goal is to audition as often as possible for jobs that will find my collection of both skill- and non-skill assets highly desirable: in short, to target companies that need people with strong classical (and progressive) dance training, strong aerial arts training, a background in gymnastics, fearlessness, willingness/desire to travel, and flexibility (both physical and mental). Being a ballet-and-trapeze boy who also performs on lyra and fabrics shouldn’t hurt, either.
I’m not operating under the illusion that, should I work for a cruise line or a touring company, I’ll get to see a great deal of the places we visit—but opportunities do arise, and I’m not seeing much of the world from where I am now, either 😛
Anyway, the primary goal next year is to continue training and gain as much professional experience as I can—basically, either to work with a company that rehearses and performs across a regular season for much or all of the year, or to continue to work with a company like CirqueLouis and take every additional gig that I can.
I’m not defining my ballet goals quite yet: I think I’m going to buttonhole Killer B, BG, and BW about those first. I still don’t have an intentional double tour, so I’ll be working on that through the end of the year once I’m cleared.
I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me earlier.
When I finally got my surgery scheduled, it occurred to me, of course, that down the line I might finally feel happy enough with my body for audition for the enormous portion of dance jobs that can be filed under “Topless Boys Live!”
It occurred to me that I would probably be much happier in class without a compression vest, and definitely would be much happier swimming without one. And, of course, it occurred to me that I would definitely be much happier when the Queen of the Costume Vault inevitably holds up some tiny-ass shirt and says, “He’d look great in this!!!” and the choreographer-director goes, “Make it so!”
It didn’t, for some reason, occur to me that I would, say, finally feel comfortable just sitting around the house with no shirt on.
Which, I realize, probably sounds like no big deal to most of us in the first world—only I’ve somehow contrived to live in a very humid place and also in a house that lacks both central aircon and proper cross-ventilation. In short, it can get pretty sticky in my house, and the more skin you can expose without feeling weird about it, the happier you’re going to be.
So just now, after changing out my most recent round of Post-Op Pasties™, as I lamented the impending inconvenience of a shirt, it occurred to me that, hey! Now I can sit around my house half-naked, like any other idiot-without-central-air-or-cross-ventilation.
- Yes, my office is that freaking chaotic right now, because too much travel. In addition to being where I do the book-keeping and fold the laundry (and eat Cup Noodles), the office serves as a dance intensive-and-festival staging area. This year, we started staging stuff in April and really haven’t un-staged, ever.
- Yeah, I’m basically doing the book-keeping in dance shorts AND NOTHING ELSE. You wanna fight about it? (Well, I don’t. Really, it’s too warm for all that.)
In other news, not that any of you really need to know this, but given the particular surgery I had done there’s a potential for significantly reduced sensation in the nipples. (I’ve fretted about this a bit before.)
Evidently, I’ve completely dodged that bullet, as mine are hecking ticklish right now. I am rather grateful for the post-op pasties, or I wouldn’t be able to get anything done that involves wearing a shirt (which, to be fair, wouldn’t prevent me from doing stuff around the house, I guess?).
Anyway, the right one looks a little weird because it’s a little scabby for some reason, but honestly they look and feel rather a lot better than I thought they would by this point.
The weird part is that the sutures around my aureolae have caused me exactly no discomfort, which is not what I would’ve expected. I figured that would be the worst part, but nope.
You can probably tell from this shot that I have some minor swelling (which comes and goes, so I’m not worried about it) near the middle of my chest. Curiously, that’s the only place where I’ve regularly had any discomfort, and the place where it gets uncomfortable is nowhere near the sutures.
Behold the mysteries of the human body, I guess?
Lastly, I got to do a little work today at Bark in the Park, a fund-raiser for the Animal Care Society (one of the best local organizations for animals in need). Basically, I wandered around in shiny vertical-striped lycra twirling a dance ribbon and conscientiously avoiding raising my arms or my heart rate. That was fun, not least because I got to meet all kinds of nice doggies.
It was also fun not to have to wear a compression vest under my costume in the 90+ degree (F) heat. The festival was pretty quiet (mostly, I think, due to the heat), but the folks in attendance enjoyed having some circus-y folk afoot.
(…Or, “Hey, what do you know, maybe knowledge really is power!”)
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
I’ve been looking stuff up on the internet since I was a kid. I should know how this works by now! Got a weird question? Pretty sure you don’t know anyone who can answer it? Ask Dr. Google!
Anywho, I’ve been fretting over the deep details of What Is Going On With My Chest, and what should make me worry, and what shouldn’t, etc. For some reason, however, it didn’t occur to me until this morning to just, like, look it up.
Even though research is, like, kind of my jam?
- Or, like, my tertiary jam, close on the heels of dance and circusing. But, like, if this was a horse race, research would definitely still be in the money.
So, needless to say, this morning I decided to apply my research-fu to my involved questions about the whole healing process … and, actually, I found really good answers from legit sources (being able to identify legit sources is an important skill, you guys).
Basically, the problem has been not the what, but the why (and how):
- Why can’t I put my hands in the air like I don’t care?
- Why can’t I lift things?
- Why, from a physiological perspective, are those things bad ideas right now?
- How could they impact the healing process (and, more importantly, are they going to make my nipples, like, fall off or something????!!!)?
- How can I prevent myself from screwing everything up?
Anyway, I now understand what’s going on physiologically, which will make it a lot easier to remember not to do things.
I find it very helpful to have that extra data point—it not only strengthens the synaptic connections associated with the information in question, but adds a degree of motivational magic.
Basically, a really strong motivator can, to a degree, sometimes curb my impulsive nature. The challenge is finding a motivator that’s stronger than the motivators that lead me to do dumb stuff.
- Works best in combination with Adderall, admittedly.
The motivation to make sure that all this surgical stuff heals as well and as quickly as possible is very powerful, but not terribly specific.
The specific knowledge of what’s going on under my skin and what I’m avoiding by following my surgeon’s instructions is really very helpful: it adds a layer of information that makes it more likely that the motivator, “Don’t eff up your surgery” will win in one of those momentary battles between impulses.
On the upside, I’m now past the point of greatest danger of really crazy outcomes (like my nipples actually going necrotic and sloughing off, for example o_O) … which is good, because the first thing I did upon halfway waking this morning was stretch, and although I stopped myself immediately, it made me feel a wee bit panicky. I also got fed up with my compression dressing in the middle of the night, woke up, and took the freaking thing off.
Turns out that I don’t really need to worry about either of those things too much—just keep an eye on things as always, but they probably haven’t done any real damage to the healing process. I’m doing a pretty good job behaving myself, and the nipple-aureola complexes should pretty much have made themselves at home at this point, having been significantly disturbed during surgery but taking only about a week to establish themselves again. They’ll be back to normal resiliency within a couple more weeks.
Anyway, I’m feeling much better now.
So, basically, I have yet again discovered the age-old principle of alleviating concerns by increasing understanding.
Um. Go me? Yay?
In other news, maybe I should also Google, “How the heck do I get all this freaking medical adhesive off my skin?” (Edit: Yup, I Googled it. Evidently, acetone—the main ingredient in nail polish remover—will do the trick. Going to give that a try in a bit.)
PS: I am working on Saturday—a wee bit of low-intensity ambient dancing. It will be an interesting challenge to see what I can accomplish without raising either my heartbeat or my arms 😀
I’m back from the Desert now, and catching up on life. Today was my first full day home, and I hit it hard—did a bunch of administrative life stuff, then booked it out to a 3-hour rehearsal.
Speaking of which, now that my name’s on the official cast list (or, as Autocorrupt suggests, “the official cat list”) I feel like I can stop being silent about one thing, anyway!
I’m seriously stoked about the fact that we’re performing in the Bomhard, which is one of my two favorite local theaters.
Sadly, I missed our headshot shoot (it got moved), so my headshot won’t be in the program, but it’ll be on the website. I’m performing on hammock in this show, in addition to other things, which is pretty exciting. It’s like silks for trapeze people 😀 There will, of course, also be dancing.
Rehearsal today went really well. I’m excited about working with this cat … I mean, cast … and I’m rather a fan of our AD.
That’s it for now. Insanely busy week this week, and next week will be huge if Irma doesn’t completely destroy Fort Lauderdale.
I’m a bit tardy in reporting that I made it home safely from Connecticut after a lovely weekend with my parents.
Since then, I’ve been muddling through the side-effects of the antibiotic I’m taking, which has caused me to feel like I’ve been run over by a truck or something.
I’d forgotten how thoroughly this stuff hoses me up by the end of a course. This was not in any way improved by driving for 14 hours straight on Monday 😛
Fortunately, I took my last tablet last night. It’ll take a few days to get back to normal. The challenge with this stuff is that it causes fatigue, pain, tightness, and weakness in the muscles and can cause tendon ruptures, so one must be careful.
I managed not to rupture anything at Pilobolus’ intensive, though—the side-effects were accumulating last week, but hadn’t peaked (and I forgot to take my dose a couple of times).
I went to class yesterday but skipped out after barre because everything in my body felt like it was about to snap. My grand battement was pathetic. I spent much of the rest of the day asleep (so I woke up at 5:30 this morning … Yay?).
Not sorry at all to see the back of this prescription, though I’m glad it has sorted my sinuses.
I’ve got so, so many thoughts gleaned from my week in Connecticut. I’m slowly organizing them. I’ll try to report back soon-ish.
Rather ironically, I celebrated by mostly not dancing.
Well, there was some dancing, in the morning, before I headed for Mom’s. And my friends carried me down the hall to the door when I left.
Pilobolus Summer Workshop was beyond words—or, well, beyond words that I can find when I’m happily exhausted because I spent the week dancing and creating feeling and spent Friday night singing and drinking and dancing and talking and talking and talking…
Went to bed at 7 AM on Saturday. Woke up at 10:50 AM. My body didn’t feel tired, but I could tell my brain was tired.
Anyway, I’m rolling all this stuff around in my head. You leave Pilobolus’ workshop ready to work, but in need of some time to think.
Anyway, instead of writing, today I’ve been taking pictures. Here’s a few from today and a couple from the week for your enjoyment or what have you.