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This is Humid-o-We’en

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

Dripping in the Green Room

Also, I just realized that my scars add a dimension of realism to the Sparkle Zombie get-up XD

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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.

The Time I Weekended Like a Champ

Okay, one of these days, I really need to take an actual weekend.

I cleaned the bejeezus out of the bedroom on Friday (we were supposed to go to a party, and then drinks after said party, and then the party was cancelled and, as a result, so were the drinks).

Saturday, I did juggling and ballet class (which was something of a disaster, y’all, and I have no excuse, except maybe the lack of breakfast), got costuming details sorted, showered, then ran back out the door to do dinner, a Cirque show, and drinks afterwards with my cirque peeps (we resolved to do the “getting together for drinks” thing again some time soon).

Also, YOU GUYS, I SHOWERED. The fact that this feels like an accomplishment suggests to me that I may be overscheduled*.

*To be fair, I do bathe pretty often, but that’s more like physical therapy than washing up.

We got home around 2AM, managed to get to sleep by 4AM, then got up again at 8AM to go do Acro, Open Fly, and the Sunday dance class.

Though we both did quite well with the dancing and the teaching, both Aerial A and I were defeated repeatedly by technology during class. I chalk this up to sleep deprivation, you guys. Because, seriously, we were both like, “OMG WHAT IS THIS THING I HAVE NEVER USED THIS BEFORE” as our phones trolled us. They were like, “Tendu music?  Imma let you fi-NO I’M NOT!!!! HAHAHAHA!”

I gave my Sunday class a rond de jambe combination with that lovely fondu-rond-allongé thing. To be honest, I was kind of expecting at least one person to fall over, and nobody did, which was pretty impressive. I should reiterate that these guys are doing all this without a barre. Fortunately, aerialists already tend to have strong core muscles and to know how to use them.

What we’re working on, in this case, is lines: using turnout through the full range of motion in order to maintain a beautiful line. (In case you’re wondering: hands on is the best approach, here. Rond de jambe definitely really benefits from poking and prodding, not to mention grabbing and rotating and pulling and guiding.)

This is really very relevant to performing on aerial apparatus — I use rond de jambe all the time on trapeze, lyra, and silks. Right now, it’s especially handy in my trapeze choreography to transition from gazelle on the right leg to horse on the left leg.

Oh, and then I started in on the Handstand Challenge. Gentlefolk of the internet, here is how you do not do a handstand for more than 8.4 seconds:

handstands-week01

Three words: HOLLOW BODY POSITION. That is how you hold a handstand for more than 8.4 seconds. This is not that. Also, my upper body is officially skinny, I guess?

I’m home now and in the process of making dough for French rolls and cheesebread (breakfast of champions?).

After we turn them into meatball sandwiches and stuff them in our faces, my big plan is to collapse into bed and SLEEEEEP.

…And then tomorrow it’s Monday again, so modern class.

I feel that, as a kid, this is what I was probably imagining when I imagined what weekends would be like when I was An Adult. Like:

“DO ALL THE THINGS! ESPECIALLY THE AWESOME THINGS! Then fall down and sleep!”

So there you have it. My weekend.

Jeez, guys, I need a break**.

**Not really complaining, here; also, totally aware that this whole post is like FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS OMG.

 

In Which Budgetary Constraints Make For Easier Decisions, For Once

As a physical therapist who specializes in adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Denis is reimbursed for his services primarily through Medicaid.

Upcoming regulatory changes both to reimbursement rates and the delivery of services mean that right now he’s considering taking a full-time staff position rather than continuing in private practice.

I started to write about the details of that decision here, and then realized that was going to be a really, really long post; it it’s a question of regulatory changes that reflect both good intentions and terrible implementation, and it really deserves a thorough treatment in its own post.

Anyway, as such, we’re keeping our belts a little tighter until we know what’s what, and both Sun King and Mam Luft’s full-day track are off the table until the dust settles.

Realistically, that might not happen until mid-June, and since Mam Luft & Co’s summer intensive takes place the first week of June, that’s obviously a spanner in the works.

Fortunately, Mam Luft & Co has an evening track which costs roughly half as much as the full-day track — and which falls well within the scope of my monthly discretionary budget.

Thus, I’ve signed up for Mam Luft & Co’s evening track. On one hand, I’m a tad disappointed, because I really wanted to do the Contemporary Ballet classes offered as part of the full-day track. Likewise, I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be able to participate in the performance at the end, since that’s specific to the full-day track.

On the other hand, I’m really excited about the partnering, improv, and music awareness classes that make up a big chunk of the evening track’s course load, and I can add the Contemporary Ballet class if I want to by adding a “Pick 3 Classes” registration (which, at $54, is a reasonable add-on; I’ll need to do something during the day, after all).

Since Contemporary Ballet is on the second day of the program, I think I probably won’t be too cooked to handle the early-ish start (evening track classes end at 10:10 PM; the Contemporary Ballet class starts at 9 AM o_O).

I didn’t check the “I want to audition for the company” box on the the application, because I’m not sure that I have anything like enough modern dance experience, but maybe I’ll write to them and ask about that. Apparently men are strongly encouraged to audition, so there’s that?

It doesn’t make sense to car-commute 2 hours each way the whole time, so I’ll find a place to stay in Cincinnati for the week (I’m hoping for some place with a swimming pool; that would make an awesome counterpart to dancing), and then I’ll have to find ways to entertain myself during the day.

Honestly, that shouldn’t be a huge problem: I’m pretty good at keeping myself entertained. I plan to do some research over the next few weeks, find fun cheap-or-free things to do by day, and bring my bike (because if all else fails, I can always amuse myself by riding the bike … probably very slowly, and only in the flattest parts of Cinci I can find, but riding the bike nonetheless).

And, of course, there’s always the magical land of IKEA.

For July, Lexington Ballet’s week-long adult summer intensive is very much on my radar. At $275, it’s also quite affordable.

LexBallet’s program is evenings only, but like Cinci, Lexington is a nice place to visit, and I’m sure I can amuse myself during the day for a week. I also know my way around pretty well, and I will definitely bring my bike, since there’s some very nice riding in Lexington. If I’m lucky, I may be able to stay with friends, or with friends-of-friends, since I still know people there.

I’ll need to register by June 15th, but that seems very much doable even if things are still up in the air, financially speaking.

So it looks like I’ll probably be doing two one-week summer programs this year, in addition to my usual ballet-and-modern schedule.

So that’s my summer planned:

June:

Suspend Spring Showcase
Mam Luft & Co Intensive (Evening Track)
PlayThink Festival

July:

Lexington Ballet Adult Intensive

August: 

Burning Man!

And that’s it for now. I should go finish my various houseworky things, as we have all kinds of crazy plans all weekend.

Pilobolus Master Class All Up In My Drawers

 

…Wait, what?

Kids, this is why punctuation is important. That should read:

Pilobolus Master Class; All Up In My Drawers

First: Pilobolus Master Class!

You guys, it was so great.

I feel like I learned a great deal about the process of creating dances through improv, and it was cool to dance in an environment where technique wasn’t even a thing. The guys from Pilobolus basically said, “We love dancers and we love dance technique, but if you’re someone who spends hours every day in class, please check your technique at the door.” As someone who loves technique but can get a bit too invested in it, that idea was very freeing.

I am a horrible person, and have forgotten the names of our ambassadors of Pilobolus, but they were both very cool guys and very good teachers — though this process was as much one of bringing out what’s already there as one of teaching. The teaching part was more about figuring out how to use what’s already there.

I must admit that I went into it a bit worried that I’d be all stiff and horrible because…

OMG STRANGERZ!!!11!!!1one1oneomgwtfbbq

…But apparently I overlooked the part where, like, you know, dancing? …When I was worrying about that.

If dance is involved, I seem to do relatively okay in groups of new people.

At the end of class, we broke into three groups and created three short (about 4 minutes) dances in the span of about five minutes, performed them, critiqued them, refined them over another two (two!) minutes, then performed them again.

All three dances were completely different, and all three of them were cool, but one (not my group’s; ours was silly) was really stirring and moving. I hope some of the dancers will take it and run with it, because it was really, really good.

I feel like I want to let this whole experience percolate a bit more, then write about it at greater length. It was, in short, just an amazing two-ish hours (happily, we ran over the original 1.5-hour class time).

It turns out that Pilobolus holds a 3-week summer workshop series (in Connecticut, yay!). I’m going to have to seriously consider whether I can figure out how to afford at least one week this year. Curiously, the name of the third workshop, Vision & Revision, was also the name of my favorite writing class when I was in high school.

Serendipity, much?

 

And Now: All Up In My Drawers!

I did manage to make it to IKEA afterwards.

My one real goal was to acquire a second Big Blue Bag, which will greatly improve my laundry system. Heretofore, I’ve been using one Big Blue Bag and any of my various not-quite-as-ginormous shopping bags.

The second Big Blue Bag wasn’t essential, but it will make the system run more smoothly, since now I’ll have two dedicated laundry bags of the same size.

While cruising through the store (you guys, it is so nice to walk through an IKEA all alone), however, I found something even better: specifically, Drawerganizers(TM).

Since keeping tights and so forth corralled is a fairly regular topic of conversation among dancers and aerialists in my life, I thought I’d share the current iteration of my system, which mostly comprises hair elastics, a plastic crate, and IKEA’s set of 6 Skubb boxes. (Sadly, the Cincy IKEA didn’t have the aqua ones in stock.)

I’ve been meaning to implement a boxes-in-the-drawers system for a while, but hadn’t found Drawerganizers that worked for me (shoeboxes would have been fine, probably, but we didn’t have any). The Skubb series works really nicely, and I couldn’t argue with the price — something like $8 for the set — or the portability factor. The boxes fold up rather ingeniously; when you set them up, little zippers in the floor panels add tension that keeps them in shape.

So, here’s how things are organized now:

image

First Floor: Cycling Apparel, Men’s Shirts, and The Occasional Sarong

Bottom Drawer (technically the second drawer from the bottom; the real bottom drawer houses bed linens): this one’s full of bike kit, a few pairs of shorts, and a bunch of t-shirts that I should probably donate, since I don’t wear them enough.

Bike kit used to share the dance clothes drawer (which was the Bike Kit Drawer until I had too much bike kit to keep it all in one drawer), but then the dance kit kind of took over. Anyway, I’ve used the two medium-sized Skubb boxes to contain bike kit.

Overflow bike kit lives in a vertical organizer in the guest room closet, because I am apparently unusually sentimental about my Cabal jerseys, even the ones I don’t wear very often.

And, yes, there’s even a sarong in there, though I don’t think you can see it in this shot.

Next time I’m at IKEA, I’ll pick up a couple more Skubb boxes to corral the things that are still roaming free.

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Second Floor: Dance Apparel, Fuzzy Socks, and Thermal Tights*

Top Drawer: Dance kit and almost nothing else.

Until recently, I’ve alternated between folding and rolling my tights, and found that neither really prevents everything from coming undone when I’m digging for that one pair with the pictures of mountains on it or whatevs.

The other day, I hit on the solution of buying a package of brightly-colored hair ties to keep them contained. It works brilliantly.

In combination with the hair ties, the Skubb boxes keep things corralled and controlled. No more tights rolling into the base-layer section; no more dance belts hiding under legwarmers (right now, for decency’s sake, they’re hiding under a pair of socks instead).

Things that didn’t really fit anywhere else take up the extra space in the drawer in front of the Skubbs.

image

Rooftop Terrace: Aerial Apparel, Clutter, and Mayhem

On Top Of Ol’ Dresser: Denis’ tights live here, along with our white-noise machine (which is really an air purifier), a photo from our wedding, and a terrifying doll that predates my tenure in this establishment. There are also some foam panels that insulate our air-con when it’s installed, but right now it’s still on vacation.

I found the plastic basket at a place called Five Below, but you can find similar ones just about anywhere.

The fact that Denis has his own tights-basket means he no longer asks me where his tights are (when they’re right freaking there!) or roots through my dance-kit drawer, leaving chaos in his wake. Seriously, the man is like a water buffalo sloshing around in a pond when he gets in there.

My married peeps (and anyone with kids or particularly egregious housemates; similar things can happen in kitchen drawers) will understand how this helps keep me out of prison.

image

La Pièce de Resistance

A cheap keychain-grade carabiner slipped through a convenient opening in the “weave” of the basket holds the hair elastics that aren’t currently in use. I’ve oriented it so the gate can be operated without removing the whole carabiner: you just slide a band up to the top, open the gate, and the band comes right out. The process for replacing one is similarly painless.

I had to think long and hard about how to implement this bit, because my husband is a lazy slob (and will happily tell you so himself). The idea is to make it so freaking easy to put the bands back that it’s basically easier than not bothering.

You guys, I seriously believe in the power of harnessing the path of least resistance. Remember, when (ahem) shaping (ahem) the behavior of spouses, appealing to the natural laziness of the human animal will save you many headaches.

So, there you have it. A tour of how things are staying organized all up in my drawers (dancers be like, “Wait, isn’t that what dance belts are for?” :V).

…And, now, on to the rest of the house.

*gulp*

 

 

 

*So organize. Very boxes. Wow.

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