Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ditching my Capezio Hanami slippers

When I first became involved in ballet, back in the mid 1980s, Capezio was the brand name I knew best. My first shoes, tights, and dance belt were all Capezio. Now I almost feel like the name Capezio is a code for "stay away from these".

I loved my Capezio 4945 tights. They were soft and stretchy and comfortable. Poof! Gone, replaced by the inferior MT-11. I asked the owner of my favorite dancewear store if she knew where I could find some, and she told me that if she could get them she'd "buy a thousand of them". The Capezio website now shows "Ultra Soft" footed tights (10361M), but I have two pairs each of M. Stevens and Wear Moi tights and am not inclined to buy more for a while.

I tried and fell in love with the Capezio CA222 leggings. They were officially a women's style but they fit me quite well. Again, soft and stretchy and comfortable. Poof! Gone. So far gone that this blog is now Google's top hit when searching for them.

I started with Capezio Cobra shoes. Their failing was inconsistent sizing. Eventually the Cobra was replaced with the Capezio Romeo, which was an improvement in my view. Last November, when my big toe started protruding through my most recent pair of Romeos, I went to my local dance store to by replacements. They told me they didn't stock the Romeo anymore, and Capezio's replacement was the Hanami. In case you're wondering, "Hanami" is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers. At first I thought the Hanami was an improvement over the Romeo. The fabric is very stretchy compared to my Romeos, which makes it conform to the foot really well, and the absence of a drawstring avoids having a knot digging into my instep. However I've become increasingly disenchanted with my canvas Hanami slippers.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Summer of Susan

I've been busy on Saturday mornings recently, meaning I've been missing the weekend Beginner 2 class I usually take. While I like that class, it's a bit of a challenge because of the complexity of the sequences this instructor likes to use late in the class. While they're really not that complex on their own, my IQ diminishes as I get tired and by the end of class I'm just too stupid to retain them. After I've rested I often mentally kick myself for not being able to deal with them, but at the time I just don't have the brain power to deal.

The regular Sunday morning instructor, Julie, keeps her Beginner 2 class at an easier level and reserves the more complicated sequences for her Advanced Beginner classes. This gives me a chance to focus on details rather than struggling to remember sequences. So there is something to be said about taking the Sunday class rather than Saturday.

Except this summer, which has been designated "The Summer of Susan".

I'm not sure why, but it seems like Susan is teaching all the classes. I sign in for a class and the desk clerk says, "Susan is substituting". There's no escaping her. Maybe she's been cloned. Or been given a Time Turner.

It may be that Julie wanted time off. Or Susan is feeling the pinch of having to buy a car on short notice after a tree fell on her (parked) car after a heavy rain. I can't imagine what this must be doing to her social life.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Adult Repertoire Class at MYB

I spotted this announcement at the Maryland Youth Ballet this weekend:


This is pretty close to what I've been asking for: a chance for adults to be involved in more than just random technique classes. It's not intended to lead to performances, but it's just shy of that.

From my perspective, the only problem is that it's for Intermediate and up. I haven't taken even Advanced Beginner in several years. I spoke with Jeff, who will be leading the class, and he encouraged me to observe the first class or two. Now I have some thinking to do.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

I took my car to a mechanic, and...

Ever take your car to a mechanic because it's making an annoying noise, only to find it won't make the noise when the mechanic is listening? I just had the dance equivalent happen.

But first I'm going to whine about aches and pains for a few paragraphs.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Instructor improvement

I didn't get to class at all last week. I was busy all weekend, but told myself I'd get to class Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Tuesday evening we had such violent storms that the power went out, a rare occurrence in my neighborhood, and I chose to stay indoors. Later I found out that the storm was so localized that the studio 20 miles away didn't even get rain. I was still planning on attending Thursday when I received an email saying that studio would be closed. Bummer. This weekend I again had other commitments.

So I was determined to go this Tuesday evening, and I did. Unusually congested traffic ate up all my warm-up time, and I didn't get into the classroom until half way through the instructions for the first exercise. Our regular instructor was out and another was substituting.

I've taken classes from this substitute instructor before, and had not been impressed. Not that her class was horrible, but it wasn't something I'd look forward to. Since I don't think I could explain what I didn't like about her previous classes I don't know how to explain how this one was different, but it was much better. She had the exercises planned and written out. They were a bit of a mental challenge, but not impossibly difficult and they seemed to be designed with a purpose. I also liked the way she gave feedback on the problems she observed. Overall I was quite impressed with her improvement as an instructor, and I complimented her after class.

As for myself, having been out of the studio for far a couple of weeks I found myself fighting cramps in my calf muscles and feet. In fact, I'm still quite sore two days later. I managed to get through most of the class, skipping the jumps and petit allegro, but rejoining for grand allegro. There were three other men in the class, and quite by accident three of us ended up doing grand allegro together. I wish I had the ability to watch in the mirror while doing the exercise because I'd really love to have been able to see it.