Another Good Reason Always To Go In The First Group

That moment when you screw something up spectacularly at the end of the combination going across the floor and hear yourself hiss, “S**T!” in an unintentional stage whisper — but you’re at the front of the first group, so nobody hears you.

On The Radar

Today’s class with Mr. EF was excellent.

First, EF is the polar opposite of Company B as a teacher. Both bring the humor, but EF is much less gentle. Company B gently invites you to do things right; EF expects you to and (lovingly) yells at you if he knows you can and you don’t.

I feel like they’re two sides of an important coin for me: Company B relaxes me and reminds me that I can, in fact, dance quite well; EF — like Ms. B of Killer Class and like Siren of Trapeze — speaks to the part of me that responds to pressure and a high bar(re).

Speaking of which, the barre was rather high today: lots of counting, shaping the feet, decoupling the automatic port de bras.

Seriously; we did an entire combination of rapid degagés en croix with the arm in fifth the whole time, which is way harder than it sounds like it should be (you spend years developing the habit of automagically taking your arm from fifth, through second, to arabesque).

EF made us keep repeating it until everyone in the room had it right, which took three runs through a combination that repeats itself halfway through (in short, six repetitions of the basic pattern).

On the other hand, by the time we got around to doing our adage at centre (or, really, terre-a-terre), we were, in general, very much on our legs.

I did fall off of mine at one point (see below), but for the most part, things went well … which is remarkable, because this wasn’t adage for the faint of heart. We did every arabesque, we fouettéd, we did tour lent from 2nd arabesque to attitude — and we did so traveling the entire way and doing (or, well, attempting to do) beautiful things with our arms and backs.

It went something like: sweeping chassée into 1st arabesque, sweeping chasée into 2nd arabesque, step through, developpé arriere to fourth arabesque, step through, developpé avant, fouetté to third arabesque, tour lent to attitude, allongé, walk off (gracefully; this isn’t Rent, it’s classical ballet).

There was no half-assing through this; EF will call your butt out if you try.

The rules in his class go like this:

You will carry your arms. You will not drop them. You will swim them through.

You will use your head, your shoulders, your back, your chest. That is classical ballet.

You will present yourself to the audience. You will look at them from behind your elbow or over your arm, or you will show them your cheekbone and your neck.

You will turn your head in second arabesque. 

You will turn your shoulders in fourth arabesque (and I quote: “Otherwise, it’s just an incorrect third arabesque.”).

You will fouetté without dropping your leg or losing your turnout.

You will initiate your tour lent to attitude with your back. You will not just schlub your way into attitude: instead, you will take a higher damned passé than you believe humanly possible (I can guarantee that EF knows exactly how high every one of us can passé) and you will continue to rotate that leg and lift that knee until you think the whole leg going to come off.

And then, just when you think you might be done, you’ll open to a proper allongé and reachreachreachreachreach, extending the line through every part of your body, hovering for one deep, spine-tingling breath before you release yourself and walk off while remaining not just present, but a presence.

You will finish your turns. None of this turns-to-fourth-with-arms-just-wherever: no, first you will finish to (arms in) first, then to fourth allongé; then to en haut, then to a second position which you will open, using every ounce of épaulement that you can muster and saying to the audience, “Here I am.”

You will turn your face upon the audience when you temps levée passé and when you grand jeté. If you’re taking your arms to fourth as you grand jetéyou’ll turn your shoulders and tilt your head and extend the line until your arms are seventeen feet long.

This is all the stuff I need to learn how to do: not that I don’t know, in a sort of cognitive sense, how to do it and that I should do it. But it’s not all in my blood and my bones yet.

It will be. It’s getting there. I was closer in class today than I’ve ever been (even compared to last night, which was mostly a good night for me in terms of épaulement and all that).

After class, l’ancien directeur artistique buttonholed me in the hallway, pointed to my leg, and said, “What is this?”

Thoroughly confused, I fumbled through an attempt to determine whether he was asking about my shorts, or my short tights, or…

He then asked a clarifying question, tapping my leg: “What do you call this, when you’re working the other one?”

“Oh — the supporting leg!”

“Yes! So make sure it’s supporting you in your arabesque.” He then explained how he sort of double-checks his, and that he doesn’t even begin to allow the working leg to float up until he’s dead certain the supporting leg is doing its job.

I made noises of affirmation. He asked me to show him; I did.

It was revelatory: I understand now why sometimes my arabesqueattitude, balances, fouetté, and tour lent feel dead stable, and other times they just don’t hang together. The difference is whether or not I’ve got my supporting leg completely sorted before I roll.

He seemed happy with my demonstration; satisfied that I understood what he was telling me. He grinned at me and clapped me on the shoulder before he headed off.

So that happened. It makes me at once aware of the fact that I am on his radar and far less nervous about it than I was before (it doesn’t hurt that I danced respectably today, after being a disaster all week).

Oh, and there was one triple turn, though it wasn’t a good one. I startled myself — started to go for the triple, didn’t think I had it, hung on tenaciously anyway, and then there it was, but I was already not quite on my leg anymore.

Also got a couple of nice complements from classmates.

D, who has been away for quite a while. She grabbed me before we went left on the adage and said, “You’ve gotten so good! What have you been doing?”

I got all shy and said, “Oh, lots of class,” and then thought to mention that I was fresh back from a ballet intensive.

K complimented me on my arabesque and described it as my “ace in the hole.”

I doubt I would have been able to get my head out of the studio door, what with it being all puffed up afterwards, except that I had EF around to remind me, Not so fast! You’re not perfect yet!

So, yeah. Overall, a really nice day, even if the goal posts do diminish forever along the horizon.

~

PS: We decided to do a retake of today’s balancé video because we kept cutting off our own heads by dancing too close to the camera😛

So that is forthcoming.

Thursday Class: Company B Sorts My Arms

Tonight, I went to Company B’s class, and I’m glad I did.

Barre was generally good, though my arms crept back past my shoulders a couple of times, as is their wont (the downside of hypermobility: wonky proprioception).

Turns and waltz, too, went well. Company B gives us little the touches of finish — turn your head to the audience here; give them your cheekbones there, carry your arms through this chassée, add a little brush out of the pas de bourré.

These are the things I’m working on, now: refining, refining, dancing not only with with the music and myself but my fellow dancers (which was what I loved most about my duo with C — we naturally connected at various points in the choreography in a way that adds a great deal of life to the piece) and, most importantly, with the audience.

Anyway, the port de bras for the chassée — pas de bourré at the start of our terre-a-terre turns made me understand the arms that go with Albrecht’s variation. I thanked Company B for for this and he took a moment working it out, I think to be sure there wasn’t another piece I might need (which there was; there’s a cambré that comes at the beginning of the first sequence of jumps and between it and the repeat of that sequence that I’ve been forgetting). 

Turns were on today. I’m much more relaxed around Company B, as we sort of know each-other socially at this point and his teaching style works so well for me. In his class, I mostly  don’t attack my turns with the kind of frenetic madness that I often do elsewhere. Because of that, they’re better.

We did a really lovely zigzag waltz, which I kept screwing up in various small ways because I was focused on making it pretty — so first I left out the second set of waltz turns, and then I forgot to zag and had to catch up, and then I left out the second set of waltz turns again.

I redeemed myself with jumps, though: managed to do entrechats quatres with a smile on my face, even though I had inadvertently rearranged the choreography (thanks, muscle memory!), and in our grand-allegro I substituted cabrioles for temps levées arabesques. We were granted a little freedom to improvise, so I added tombé-pas de bourré-glissade-pas de chat, for which Company B offered further guidance on my arms.

I threw in one Italian cat, just for fun.

After class, Company B and B chatted for a while, so I reviewed the duo: specifically, the part that looks easiest, and is actually the hardest — a series of pique arabesque balances with a kind of character-dance port de bras interspersed with contretemps. The tricky part is constantly changing the arms through the contretemps while continuing to make everything look blithe and fun and effortless (oy — ballet, amirite?). You say (pique arabesque-ing toward the wings), “Here I am, ladies!” Then (pique arabesque-ing toward center stage), “Here I am, old buddy! Pretty girls in this village!” Then (pique arabesque—ing back toward the wings), “Me again, ladies! Check out these legs!”

And you definitely should not look uncertain about about it, or all lithely and tragically romantic like you will in the next act when the Wilis have got you (yeah, perfect setup for a “Mother Russia” one-liner).

So, anyway. Good class. Good night :) 

Wednesday Everything, OMG 

Summer Intensive being over, Killer Class with Ms.B is back. 

It wasn’t too bad yesterday, though I was too bad yesterday.

Sure, a year ago, I would’ve killed for a class in which I was like, “Yeah, I’m hella tired; I’ve only got half-baked double turns and single assemblés battu.” 

Still, I felt like an ongoing disaster: my rotators didn’t want to stay rotated, my balances were Meh, my balancés were Meh, I had trouble keeping things in my head, and at one point I forgot we had already done both sides of a combination and stood there blinking with the wrong hand on the barre while everyone else patiently waited for me arrange my waterfowls, etc.

Still, I made it through. Even managed beats in petit allegro, which was mercifully slower than Ms. E’s on Monday, during which I mentally grumbled about wishing we could do men’s tempo for once whilst simultaneously observing that any Danish-trained danseur could certainly manage this tempo so that’s no excuse. 

Grand allegro was better than I expected it to be, if not quite awesome.

I think les turnouts (which, regardless of Autocorrupt’s delightful suggestion, are definitely not “turbos” right now) and the leg-springy muscles need a day off. They might get one today, but I’m still on the fence — do I go take class with Company B, or do I acknowledge the fact that I’m rapidly careering towards two straight weeks without a rest day?

Anyway, afternoon and evening comprised a therapy appointment, my first Trap 3 class, Hoop 1, a break during which I stuffed hummus wraps into my face as I tried not not to heckle Denis during his Trap 1 class (which he’s intelligently taking to supplement Trap 2) and then some futzing about in the Dance Corner, where I discovered that I really shouldn’t more than mark Albrecht because that floor beats the holy hell out of your legs after a couple of runs of big jumps (to be fair, it’s not intended for grand allegro executed by someone with a lot of jump).

Trap 3 was revelatory. I got bumped up from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3 very quickly because apparently that whole thing about lacking upper body strength was some kind of delusion and I’m naturally flexible, while ballet has imparted enough grace, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness to successfully tackle all the things. 

Trap 3, on the other hand, is going to be harder. I expected, for example, to nail meathooks yesterday because I have solid single-knee hangs, a stellar center-split, and controlled v-ups. Ha! In Mother Russia, it turns out, meathook nails you. 

Our instructor, who I’ll call Siren (because I somehow just realized that there are two Aerial Ms!), pointed out that for for me it’s not a question of strength, but of figuring out how to get all the parts to work together in an unfamiliar way*.

  • *This, by the way, typifies my learning process even in ballet: I fumble through the first several attempts at almost any complex new motor pattern, and then it just gels and I have it. The notable exceptions have been tour jeté, single cabriole, assemblée en tournant, and single tours, all of which I apparently learned by divine inspiration. You should have seen me trying to figure out Sissone double, though. Oy to the vey. 

In short: meathooks are … hmm. Ronds-de-jambes that you do in a different plane whilst in a long-arm hang with your head down and your junk up against the bar in such a way as to finish folded over your own arm or arms.

They should end up looking like this (thanks, YouTube!), more or less.

Our meathook exercise involves transitioning from inverted straddle to left two-handed meathook through inverted straddle to right two-handed meathook and back. So far, when I’m lucky, I can get from inverted straddle to an approximation of one meathook or the other — and that’s it.
Trying to convince your shoulders to continue to engage and your body to remain upright while you patiently rond first one leg, then the other around the barre is mind-bogglingly difficult.

I think part part of my difficulty, though, was that I set my grip too wide, which (because T -Rex arms) makes it potentially impossible to engage correctly through my shoulders and and chest. I have this same problem with the arrow/pencil inversion on lyra (and its children, pike and Verukai [sp?], when I don’t remember to set my grip a little narrower than instinct suggests). 

Still, I managed to finagle my way through the Cuddles sequence (I can only assume its name is at least somewhat ironic), which opens with an inversion into a pike across one of the ropes (or, in short, a kind of inversion into a meathook sans straddle) — and the fact that I’m very much capable of managing that inversion suggests that, indeed, strength is not the problem.

After the initial inversion, “Cuddles” involves more or less waving your legs around artfully to tie yourself in a very complicated sliding knot, from which you next glide first into a split and then into a leana, slipping yourself free of your knot as you go. 

It’s a devilishly complex motor sequence, roughly akin to the opening phrase of Albrecht’s variation in terms of coordination and motor planning (though not in the modulation of force, which is part of what makes Albrecht’s variation hard).

After all that, Hoop 1 felt like a walk in the park (which is good — I wasn’t sure that lyra as a chaser for a hefty  draught of trapeze was anything like a good idea), though I made the same grip-width mistake on my first go at the day’s enchaînement.

After, I shot some video of Albrecht’s variation broken into phrases so I could work on properly  sequencing my arms. I think, though, that I’m not going to run it on that floor anymore — I tried to turn down the jump on the cabrioles, but when I do that, the result is cabrioles badly executed, with the top leg dropping to meet the bottom as it swings up to beat (to be fair, it does have the decency to spring back up again — but it shouldn’t drop in the first place). Not a habit I want to cultivate! (I also need to get out of the habit of doing tiny, cautious tours, which I won’t on that floor). 

So I think from here out I’ll either run it on the mats or just mark the legs and train arms and épaulement, depending on whether the matts are free.

Port de bras and épaulement are definitely major goals, now. It doesn’t matter how high you jump or how well you travel if your arms aren’t up to speed. At the end of the day, in fact, that’s the thing that makes me fall in love with Russian dancers every time I see them — they can stand around doing nothing with their legs and break your heart just by lifting their arms.

I want to bring that both to my dancing and to my trapeze and lyra work.

So there you have my new Wednesday schedule in a nut-shell. Killer Ballet followed by Hard-Mode Trapeze, then a lyra class that feels like a break!

A Singularly Awesome Day; Also, Have Some Improv

Today, a small group of us got to do an exclusive trapeze performance for a group of people who are way under-served in our community. It was fantastic to be able to take our show to them — they had a great time, and so did we.

Back at home, I managed to get some laundry done, then trundled off to the studio for Denis’ trapeze class and our mutual flexibility/mobility (which I definitely needed; in retrospect, I should definitely have brought the foam roller last week!) and acro-balancing 2 classes.

Suspend usually has good music playing, and I am unable to resist the urge to dance, so eventually I relocated myself to our dance corner. The dance floor is slightly sprung, but it’s still better than the concrete corner where I had initially been trying to convince myself that even itty, bitty jumps were a bad idea.

The meditation/yoga hammocks were still hanging down, and while mucking about on the dance floor, I happened upon the idea of leaping from one open space to another, skimming between visible and invisible zones.

I wound up playing around with the idea and eventually wound up recording a few minutes of the little improv that came out of it.

To be sure, there are definitely some complete WTF moments — like, at one point I wind up on the ground and decide that I should fold myself in half.

What am I thinking in that moment?

Who knows?

I sure as heck couldn’t tell you. At one point, you can clearly tell by the look on my face that I’ve realized I’m doing something that doesn’t really make any sense, and that I have no idea what I should do to fix it.

There are also some moments I really like; ideas that I plan to work on — a bunch of nifty développes, some interesting turns that kind of fold in on themselves; a sequence of pas de chats, another of glissades.

I wasn’t paying any real attention to technique (in case you’re curious, this is more or less what I look like when I go out clubbing, heh); instead, I was making up little rules in my head and seeing what happened when I attempted to follow them — but I think with some attention to technique, something could be made of them. I think next time I’m going to try alternating between the two methods of travel; in this space, that could be pretty interesting visually.

I didn’t notice until I had watched this a couple times that there’s also kind of a motif that occurs near both the beginning and the end (totally not planned; the end of the video is the point at which I realized I had like 2 minutes before my class started)There’s also a brief conversation with Aerial M, asked if I wanted the hammocks put up (when I said I was using them, she actually said, “Cool!” but you can’t really hear that bit).

There are also several moments in which I want to strangle myself for doing the weird things that I so frequently do with my arms, though in a way seeing them in video is helpful, because I don’t usually realize that I’m doing them (the downside of hypermobility: sometimes, you really have no idea where your body parts are).

Watching video of myself dancing, I’m always like, “Wait, why are you dropping your arms there? Why did you just — no! PUT THEM BACK, THEY SHOULD GO AROUND THE OTHER WAY, YOU MORON, DON’T—” and then I realize that yelling at a video of yourself is even dumber, somehow, than yelling at the TV.

Anyway, here, have this little video of me playing around in warm-ups and leg-warmers as a sort of aperitif, and I’ll work on making a better recording of Albrecht’s variation. I think we’re going to try to get the new balancé video done this Friday or next Wednesday, schedules (and weather; we’re crazy, so we’re planning on recording it outdoors!) being what they are.

Edit: PS, I know that a bunch of times, it sounds like I’m hitting the floor really, really hard — that’s an artifact of the way my phone records sound and possibly of the floor itself.

PPS: I have absolutely no idea which song is playing.

balancé (en tournant) under >.<

After what feels like a jillion years being confused about part of the naming convention vis-a-vis balancé, I just finally (while thinking about how to re-do my balancé video) figured it out.

The over/under ones (en tournant) are named based on where your foot is going.

HERP. DE. DERP.

Having heretofore failed to make this distinction, I couldn’t even properly link the terms “balancé under” and “balancé over” to the concepts of en dedans and en dehors*.

*There is a part of my brain that is perpetually nine years old and always chooses to translate “en dehors” as “in the out” and then snicker about it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when someone says, “balancé under*,” what they mean is that the working foot passes behind (sometimes expressed as dessous: under, in the same sense that the leg to the rear is “under” in sus-sous or that coupé dessous means “cut under”) as you come through the turn.

*So, with all the French, balancé (en tournant) dessous, which works out to balancé (en tournant) en dedans.

So, say you’re doing balancé à droit – balancé à gauche – balancé under – fourth?

In the balancé under, you:

grab your Metro strap with the right hand (à la Strap-Hanger Waltz)
brush out with the right foot, step onto it – pivot – plié
as the left foot comes around in coupé derrière
continue the turn as you step onto the left foot and plié
pique back onto the right foot and complete the turn
tombé onto the left foot in fourth

This will make my life so much easier, as it’s easy to miss the distinction if you blink when you’re watching the combination, and it helps to have a meaningful description to fall back on.

Honestly, I have spent so many years going, “BUT IT ALWAYS GOES UNDER THE ARM. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. DOES NOT COMPUTE! ABORT! ABORT! QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKetc…”

Why did it take me this long to figure this out? And WHY HAVE I NEVER ASKED? FFS. This is why I remain a Danseur Ignoble: if I had thought to ask all the questions I should have asked by now, instead of just quietly puzzling away in my pretty little head, I’d clearly be a proper danseur noble by now (SHUT UP. OF COURSE THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAR YOUUUUUUUUU.).

>.<

…On the upside, I will now be capable of actually teaching balancé under (and over) to my Sunday class, instead of just going, “Um, you sorta go like this?” and hoping they’ve all had their coffee and Adderall.

Monday Class: A Rule of the Universe

Even though it was completely unnecessary and unreasonable, I decided to do class today.

My lower core, adductors, and turnout muscles are on strike. I worked them really hard last week, and they need a little R & R  — which in turn means that I can’t ballet to save my life right now.

I knew that, but I figured I’d go in and just take it easy; move around a little. I figured my balances would probably suck and I was dead certain my petit allegro would suck (it did), but that was okay. I was just going in to stretch a little.

Of course, I had forgotten about one of the chief rules of the Ballet universe:

If you’re having a bad day, the AD or former AD will come to your class.

I’m not actually sure how this works.

Do they have time-turners?

Are they actually Time Lords, perhaps?

How is it that if there are five classes going on (though today we were the only class), either the AD or former AD of the company will simultaneously happen into every single class in which someone is having a bad day?

Anyway, our former AD came and took class with us (which was actually lovely, he’s quite a beautiful dancer and a fine human being). Predictably, my barre was terrible and everything else was even more terrible, with the exception of one or two nice tour jetés that happened after he left (of course).

Oh, and there was a decent-enough attitude arrière balance on the left, though not quite my usual standard. Balances are hard when the muscles that hold your legs on are basically trying to unspool, you guys.

I shall attempt to remind myself that Former AD has seen me dance on good days as well (presumably, someone else was having a bad day on those occasions).

Anyway, I did more or less take it easy, and I’m really rather glad that I went to class, because I think my legs are happier for it. I did make an effort not to overwork them (not that they were about to let me), and basically just got my heart rate up and my blood flowing a little. No Supreme Efforts in the interest of Achieving Transcendant Grace or whatever.

And I emphatically did not walk through Albrecht’s variation, though I did show B the really cool Sissone-thing from it that, sadly, didn’t come off as beautifully on Saturday as it did on Friday … or as it did this morning, but it’s really easy to do in isolation:

giant demi-pliè to gather momentum
spring straight up with the legs in tight sus-sous as if in a really high sourbesaut
just at the apex of the jump, allow your back leg to take wing

Port de bras:
gather your arms in from 2nd to 1st as you load the spring
toss (not throw; we’re not doing tours) them lightly to en haut/3rd/5th/35th
at the apex, give them just a little extra stretch
float them down through 2nd to 1st (or whatever the choreography requires)

The effect is magnificent when it comes off — basically, it enhances whatever natural ballon you possess about a zillionfold and creates this lovely illusion of floating.

For whatever reason, whenever I do this or tours, I tend to arc my body as if I’m doing the fish jump — so, evidently, I need to get back to working on balancing the stength of my anterior core muscles.

My back is hella strong (I guess because arabesques?), and right now it has way too much pull.

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

Ballet Intensive, Days Five and Six: Sleep Dep and Crazy (Arms) Mode

Friday was interesting: I had no zip in conditioning and technique because I was running on three hours of sleep (did I write about this already?); variations went well because in those three hours I seriously only dreamed about Albrecht’s variation.

Today’s performance was okay — I think I should have gone a bit easier last night; as such, my jumps weren’t awesome.

Also, I kept sort of forgetting what to do with my arms and just kind of waving them around in more or less the directions they were supposed to go, more or less. Jeez.

I know this because there’s video. I’m annoyed with myself for forgetting to just carry my arms through the opening two steps of Albrecht’s variation. Also for doing the world’s worst tour jeté and tiniest tours, but I understand why those happened.

That said, there are some nice moments in both pieces (one is the double turn that goes to attitude on the second rotation), and I’ll try to take KvN’s advice from Cincinnati and focus on those things!


Edit: I’m thinking now about ballet goals for the rest of this year, so I’m going to write them down.

  • STOP DOING THE CRAZY ARMS AS A DEFAULT.This is a big one. This happens in part because I don’t always mark the arms with any clarity when I’m just walking through things, and the arms decouple from the choreography, and if I’m tired, I lose them. This morning, I lost a really nice moment in Albrecht’s variation specifically because of this.

    The first rule of performance is: AS YOU REHEARSE, SO SHALL YOU PERFORM.

    So I need to stop rehearsing my arms incorrectly, duh.

    ~

  • Nail down the double cabrioles, because seriously, it would be good to have those in my balletic toolkit, and I think I should be able to get them down.~
  • Polish the frack out of Albrecht’s variation and get a good video posted. I should also do the other one. It would be less awesome with only one person, but maybe I could teach it to someone else?~
  • Get ballet video more often. For me, video makes a really good tool for analyzing and correcting my movement patterns.This week I discovered that I can learn and memorize demanding choreography pretty quickly; video can help me figure out how to make it cleaner and better.

    ~

  • Tune up the basics well enough that I continue to execute them correctly even when tired (I’m looking at you, tour jete and legs that opted not to stay particularly turned out during simple arabesque balances).~
  • Triple turns on tap.

So there you have my ballet goals.

Oh, and also: my turnout muscles are tired for realz. I suspect they’ll be very happy to know that they’re getting a day off on Monday.

One last edit: I think I actually forgot to do the turn from fourth to second at the end of my solo and subbed in a regular turn from fourth, but it worked out anyway.

Ballet Intensive, Day 4: In Which I Forget To Eat

(And then can’t stay asleep, either.)

Yesterday, I ate an early lunch, dithered around for a while (in the process remembering why I don’t bother with shopping malls even as places to take a walk when it’s abominably humid out), then transferred myself over to the hotel (which, alas, does not have a pool after all).

I then arranged my stuff, watched some videos of Albrecht’s variation, wrote a post about it and forgot to post it (hence the after-class posting), collected my dance junk, and finally rolled downtown just in time to be an hour early for class.

You’ll notice that I don’t mention food any time after lunch. You can guess why.

As such, technique class was … um. Interesting.

Things started out well, but by the time we got around to turns, I was feeling bonky. Not, mind you, bonk*ers* — I’m pretty sure that’s a normal state of affairs for me.

Rather, I was having issues with turns because my legs just didn’t want to passé — not at all a normal state of affairs; normally snapping right up to passé is one of the things I actually do well (my challenge in turns is a tendency to throw my head back).

Basically, my legs just didn’t want to go — and there was something remarkably familiar about the sensation.

That’s when it hit me: I was bonking like a Cat 5 climbing Alp D’Huez. Basically, I was out of gas. (In other news, balancés while bonking are hilarious, as is pas de bourée — “drunk step,” indeed.)

Between technique and variations I ate a granola bar with enough free sugar to get things ticking over again. Unfortunately, it was one of the caffeinated ones that Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (what could possibly go wrong?). As such, I’ve been sleeping in dribs and drabs, alternately dreaming that I’m not asleep (which is incredibly annoying) and dreaming about Albrecht’s variation, whereupon I wake myself up trying to jump.

In my sleep.

Whilst lying face down.

You guys, that is no kind of way to cabriole (especially not avant).

Anyway, Variations involved a whole lot of marking coupled to a few impressive cabrioles. In sum, after running the duo three times, I blew my booster rockets on the first phrase of Albrecht’s variation.

Not my best day, though Mr. J remarked that I have the musicality down, and that first cabriole-assemblé-Sissone might actually have been worth it, because it was sufficiently high and light that it rather startled me.

The rest, however, was a bunch of flaily marking, though at least I was marking the right things at the right times.

Fortunately, I don’t have to go anywhere today until 11:30, when I’m wandering back to Louisville to collect Denis, so I can basically continue to attempt cabrioles in my sleep until 11 if push comes to shove.

Tonight will be our final full evening, and C and I promised that we would finally show the ladies our variations, so it should be fun. We’ll either knock their socks off or kill ourselves trying (or both — after all, dying at the end whilst surrounded by ghostly ladies is totally valid, and they are doing “Kingdom of the Shades,” which is at least kinda-sorta ghostly, though I think the Shades probably have a better deal than the Wilis).

Still going to try to hit at least one double cabriole, preferably in the second cabriole-assemblé-Sissone in that first phrase, because I think that makes more sense. The Wilis are like, “Dance!” and you’re like, “But it’s the middle of the night and I don’t see any champagne!” and then they’re like, “NO, SRSLY, DANCE!!!” And you’re like, “Dear G-d, my legs, what are they doing?”

Sorry, Albrecht — apparently, guilty get have way too much rhythm (but you’re still never gonna dance again, not if Mertha has her way).

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