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The Most Terrifying Arabesque 

Ballet Squid Chronicles: Who Hid The Squid?

Today started off with a bang — I miscalculated and made it out of the house with 20 minutes to make the “ballet bus,” so I hammered my poor legs off for 3.66 miles at 16.6 MPH average (which is more impressive when you consider that, for the first couple of miles, there are So. Many. Stop. Signs, which really kills your overall speed). I made it to the bus stop in 13 minutes, which is good, because the bus came early (which is unheard-of for the #29, especially on a Saturday!).

I did just Ballet Essentials because afterwards J. and I went for brunch and coffee.

Class went brilliantly — with Denis away at That Thing In The Desert

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Squid Pictures to bring you this image
of Camp Friendzied Serenity going up in Black Rock Desert*.

…we numbered only four students, so everyone got a lot of individual attention. I was very happy that most of the corrections I received were related to refinement and expression — not so much just re-learning how to do stuff as taking it to the next level: really using the brushing-the-floor bit in grandbattement; making nice lines when doing sauté arabesque; turning cleanly. I don’t get to not “do the arms” anymore, either 😀

I was not all that squidly today. Dare I say that, at times, my arms were even pretty? Not all the time, of course. There was a little bit of Swan Arms if by Swan Arms you mean Angry Swan In A Thunderstorm Arms.

"Odette, what is he doing?" "I haven't the faintest idea, Siegfried, but it surely isn't anything I've ever seen." Shamelessly stolen here: "Young swan pair" by Ralfie - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_swan_pair.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Young_swan_pair.JPG

“Siegfried, what is he doing?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea, Odette, but it surely isn’t anything I’ve ever seen.”

Shamelessly stolen here:
“Young swan pair” by Ralfie – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_swan_pair.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Young_swan_pair.JPG

At least it wasn’t all Domo Arigato Mr. Robodagio? (Domo, domo. Domo, domo**.) There was a little bit of, “Wow, those actually look like ballet arms!” arms.

And, of course, the usual leapy goodness, including a couple of good efforts to get some actual height. Sauté arabesque looks more impressive if your supporting leg is more than one inch off the floor, and since tossing the working leg ceiling-ward isn’t too hard, I decided to concentrate on using my plié more effectively. I also got to concentrate on making prettier lines. When your instructor starts correcting you to make your dancing prettier, you feel like you’re getting somewhere! ^-^

I found myself making things happen sometimes during class today, but there were lovely moments of letting things happen as well.

I still sweated balls the whole time because it was hawt in studio 5 (FWIW, it’s just hot in Louisville in general right now, and so humid you might as well bring your scuba gear if you’re leaving the house).

After class, brunch, coffee, and walkies, I rode my bike another 17.4 miles or so (I decided to explore for a new route, and not-so-quickly discovered that there are a lot of roads that don’t connect because there’s an interstate in the way). The first 9 miles I averaged about 13 MPH (including lots of slowing and stopping and roving around in curvaceous neighborhood streets); after that, I backed off the gas and tootled home at 11 MPH moving average.

So, basically, today I used my legs a lot, and since J. and some friends and I are going dancing tonight, it would appear that I’m going to use them some more. I understand that if you use them enough they will fall off and then you grow new (and, one hopes, better) legs?

Or maybe I’m thinking of what happens if you’re skink and someone grabs your tail.

Speaking of which, our neighborhood is rife with adorable skinks right now, and it makes me super happy.

DO - Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) (4073328823)

They look just like this one from Wikimedia Commons.

Last Monday, one was hanging out under our recycling bin before I brought the bin in from the curb. The poor skink experienced a moment of great panic and confusion when suddenly its shelter rolled away and then wove around drunkenly in an effort to avoid its equally-erratic evasive maneuvers.

So. Um. I guess that’s it? I am going to go eat moar food, because feta and hummus and olives, oh my!

Notes
*After five years, our camp has evolved into an official Theme Camp with early admission for setup and everything. This is exciting.
**Denis is a huge Styx fan. I have grown rather fond of them as well over the course of our relationship.

Ballet Squid Chronicles: The Philip Glass Project — Possibilities

So I’ve been listening to lots of Glass, and I’m feeling like his short piece “The Poet Acts” (from the soundtrack for the film, The Hours) and his longer piece “The Light” are going to work brilliantly.

I’m envisioning a pas de quatre for “The Poet Acts,” with no hierarchical distinctions, just a lot of fluidly-interchanging parts. I suppose if there were any hierarchical distinctions, it might not properly be a pas de quatre.

For “The Light” I’m envisioning something with a larger corps (recruiting and setting the piece on more than 10 dancers might be pretty much impossible; I’m not that organized and, you know, Burning Man, so it’s not like I can suck up everybody’s entire week, unless they really want to spend a week the desert trying to make ballet happen as much as I do) and maybe a couple of featured dancers who emerge from and are absorbed back into the corps at various points.

“The Light” is much longer than “The Poet Acts,” and there’s a lot of opportunity in there to play with lines, circles, and lifts. What I’m envisioning for the principals regardless of gender is something more like what Bourne does with the Swan and the Prince in his version of Swan Lake: less traditional; almost more catch-and-release than lift-and-support (or, heaven forbid, lift-and-separate, which is what happens when your lifts go badly, from what I’ve heard).

There’s also a lot of opportunity in “The Light” to make use of groups of dancers doing different, even opposing things.

I can’t help but notice how the percussive instruments in “The Light” actually remind me of Tchaikovsky in the context of ballet. There are brilliant little cues built in to the music. That’s one of the thing I really enjoy about watching the Tchaikovsky ballets — Tchaikovsky tucked these beautiful little cues in all over the place that are profoundly useful both for dancers and for the audience.

The funny thing is, this doesn’t seem like it should be much more daunting from a choreographic perspective than Copland, and I’ve seen Copland ballets (including Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring”).

So I think it will work, if I can give myself a crash course in creating and setting choreography on dancers.

I’ve got a year. How hard can it be*?

Notes
*Yes,  that’s supposed to be ironic, there.  Don’t worry; I’m not that manic.  Yet.

Ballet Squid Quickie: Two Things Forgot To Mention

So last night I mentioned to our friend Kelly that I was planning on choreographing a sort of post-post-modern story ballet, if you will (actually, I’m not sure it’s post-post-modern at all in the technical sense; it might not even be modern — but here on the Innertubes we play fast and loose with our English all the time), to some of Erik Satie’s piano works and that I was planning on possibly putting up a small ad-hoc performance together at Burning Man next year.

Kelly immediately said, “Meh! It’s already been done. Now, if you can choreograph something to Philip Glass, I’ll be impressed!

I replied, “I could do that! I love Philip Glass!”

And Kelly said, “Ha! If your dancers can count!”

And thus was the choreographic gauntlet cast. So I guess I’ll be selecting something from Mr. Glass’s oeuvre (but NOT the whole of Koyaanisqatsi!) and trying to whip up some kind of little ballet for it next summer. The idea is to do some collaborative choreography, spend a little time rehearsing it, and throw out a little performance.

I might still see about doing selected bits from Simon Crane (that’s the working title of my Satie ballet, which is not, coincidentally, about a stunt man — though that, too, might make a cool idea around which to build a ballet). Maybe just a few pieces that give shape to the story. We’ll see.

Sorry I’m so chatty today. Just trying to put all this stuff down so I’ll remember it, and also in order to force myself to do it.

In other news, I find WordPress’s simplified post editor very annoying, and am irked by the fact that the “New Post” feature now defaults to it unless you go to Dashboard>Posts>New Post. Most irritating.

That’s all, really, I promise. I’ll shut up now.

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