Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Bastards canceled my class!

As those who read this blog already know, I've been planning for months to attend Ballet San Jose's Men's Master Class scheduled for this coming Sunday. My boss even arranged my work schedule so I'd have good reason to be out there the week afterward. A couple weeks ago I called to confirm the class, and again last week, each time leaving a message asking them to call to confirm.

Well, they finally called, and it wasn't to confirm. No, they're having financial problems and they've canceled the class. Perhaps they waited until the last minute in hopes they'd get the enrollment numbers they needed; I didn't ask. All I know is that I have a big gap in my schedule that I'd rather be spending at home.

And a big hole in my stomach.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another Snow Day

Normally I'm quite relaxed about snow days. Here on the Mid Atlantic coast, snow generally doesn't stick around long, and I can usually work at home. There's a large grocery store within walking distance, and several more within a couple of miles. When I do have to go out I drive a Subaru with all-wheel drive, and have decades of experience driving in snow.

This winter, though, is driving me batty. I'm enrolled in Ballet San Jose's Men's Master Class in San Francisco on the 15th. I missed several classes in a row in December due to illness, and several more scattered over the last couple months due to weather. Today everything is closed due to heavy snowfall.

That's not to say I haven't been getting to classes, despite my lousy blogging habits. I've made it to a couple Thursday night Advanced Beginner classes, and I've lost that hesitant feeling I wrote about before. Some of the folk from my Beginner II classes have started showing up in my Advanced Beginner classes too. It makes me feel better to have others of about the same skill level in the class, and not just folk who are clearly better than me.

With any luck I'll get to a class either this weekend or Monday evening. I expect I'll be too busy preparing for my trip to get to class Tuesday evening. I might make it to a class Friday night in San Jose. We'll see.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm ready for SPRING already!

Between the weather, some personal stuff, and the WEATHER, it's been more than a week and a half since my last class. And I'm feeling it for sure. Especially in the hip flexors. And it's only a month before the Men's Master Class in San Fran. So far to go and so little time.

Tonight there were no professionals and no pre-pros in my Advanced Beginner class. The exercises actually felt do-able. My balance was way off, but my lame-duck piqué turns were good enough that I could focus on foot placement and spotting. My pirouettes en dehor were ok, but en dedans they were crappy. We had a couple of tour jetés in the last combination, which were fun — I like catching a little air.

I am so totally ready for warmer weather. The forecast for tonight says it might get down to -5F (-20.5C), with the wind making it feel like it's -20F (-29C). That'd set a new all-time record low for this date. Maybe the bears have it right: I want to hibernate until Spring!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A peek In The Wings

I just got home from one of The Washington Ballet's In The Wings presentations. These are hour-long discussions of up-coming ballets featuring TWB's Artistic Director Septime Webre and others. Tonight's topic was Sleepy Hollow, a telling of Washington Irving's classic story of a headless horseman chasing Ichabod Crane through the woods late one night. Joining Webre tonight was Composer Matthew Pierce, Trainee Ballet Master Luis Torres, who also dances the part of Ichabod Crane, and a friend of Webre's whose name I missed, but is a retired professor of history and helped inspire the selection of the subject.

The presentation started with Webre's description of the sequence of events that led to the creation of Sleepy Hollow, which led into an overview of the historical context of Washington Irving's stories. We learned how the score was developed, and were treated to bits and pieces played by Pierce on the violin he uses for much of his composing, one his mother bought for him decades ago when he was first mastering the instrument. The presentation wrapped up with some insight from Torres into how the choreography developed. Finally, Webre outlined the hectic schedule for opening week, starting next Monday, including the revelation that the female lead dancer broke her ankle doing laundry Friday, and is being replaced with a principal from American Ballet Theater who just started rehearsals this week! Ain't live theater a trip!

Walking into the facility I was reminded again that The Washington Ballet was started and continues as a school, as I had to worm my way through younger students who had just finished classes and were waiting to be picked up and older students who were getting ready for evening classes. Other than being dressed a bit differently, it wasn't a lot different from many other evenings. I recognized an instructor who teaches at both schools and nodded to him, receiving that odd acknowledgment you get when the other person thinks you look a bit familiar but otherwise can't place you. On the way out I bumped into a pianist who plays at both schools, as several do. At the end of our time, Webre shooed us out exclaiming, "There's a class in this room in 3 minutes, so we have to get out!" Checking the schedule I noted with a laugh that the class coming in was their Adult Beginner class. Maybe I should have stayed!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Turner is Broken

I got to my Beginner II class a bit later than usual this morning, and a newbie had camped out in my usual spot. An entire portable barre in the front row was open so I stood there instead. No big deal, until one of my classmates says loudly, "Hey Reece! Someone is in your spot!" The woman standing there gets all embarrassed and says, "Is this your spot? I didn't know! I'll move." Hilarity ensues. In the end I insisted she stay in "my" spot.

I'm not sure what I did, but I seem to have broken my turner. I could barely manage decent pirouettes en dehor from fourth, and en dedans just wasn't happening. This problem persisted through Advanced Beginner too, which I stayed for.

Speaking of which, I'm kinda thinking I need to drop out of the Beginner II class. Not because I've learned everything there is to learn there, but because three hours of ballet is a lot. I'm quite sore this afternoon. As my girlfriend jokingly said, "You let the ballerina beat up on you for three hours? You poor baby." I tell you, I get no respect.