Friday, November 3, 2017

Ballet Techniques review

I've now taken three of the four classes in the four-class "Ballet Techniques" series. It's so much like an intro class that it seems like it should be easy, but it's not. Or maybe I should say this is really basic beginner stuff but I'm still having trouble with it. Of course, that's why I wanted to take this class in the first place.

This posting started out to be a narrative of the first two classes, but it's taken until now to sort out what I wanted to say. I've finished the narratives but switched to more of a commentary (or rant) at the end.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Adult Pointe class is a bust

After avoiding the topic for a few weeks, I asked Susan if she was going to pursue holding an adult pointe class at Joy of Motion this spring. She says that JoM doesn't really want to hold an adult pointe class.

She asked whether I'd had any luck at Md School of Dance. I told her that Kim Parmer didn't want to teach any additional classes, and that Mané wasn't interested in teaching an adult pointe class. I said that they might be willing to host the class if she wanted to teach it, but she didn't jump at the opportunity.

I asked Susan what adult students who wanted to learn pointe ab initio should do. She suggested that anyone in that situation should pick out a beginner-level class and ask the instructor if it'd be okay to take class, or at least barre, wearing pointe shoes. Of course, that's pretty much what people are doing now.

If there is a bright side to this, it's that there is heightened awareness of the interest. You'll still need permission, which you would have needed to do anyway—and let's face it, some people are not physically prepared for pointe work—but you're unlikely to get the death glare for asking. There are at least three or four students in Susan's Beginner II classes at MYB who take barre in pointe shoes, and one or two often do the entire class. There are two in pointe shoes in ManĂ©'s Thursday night class at MSD, one who just started. So you wouldn't be the only one. However, both instructors suggest talking to them before investing in pointe shoes.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


If this wasn't class number 3 of a pre-paid 4-class series I would absolutely go back to bed right now.

edited to clarify: This is not a reflection on the class. I just hate mornings. Especially this morning, for no particular reason. I had plenty of sleep, but I really did NOT want to get up and get ready for class.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Distilled white vinegar for the win

It seems every time I post about dancewear it turns into a rant.

For those who may not be caught up, I've been trying to clean a favorite shirt I often wore to ballet classes. It's an UnderArmor shirt intended to be worn in athletic activities. Despite several machine-washings and air-dryings, an ammonia odor would develop every time I wore it to class, but only after I sweated in it for more than about 30 minutes. That translates to a bit more than half-way through barre.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ballet Technique with Stephen Baranovics

One of the problems with learning ballet as an adult is that you often don't get an organized, comprehensive introduction. Instead you jump into a class with other adults, some of whom know what they're doing and others who are just as lost. There are many parts of ballet I can do without thinking about it, and others of which I'm clueless.

If I was starting over from scratch I might take MYB's Intro to Ballet enrollment classes, but after six years of classes I think they're targeted a bit lower than I need. So I was intrigued by the announcement of a four-day ballet technique workshop being offered by the Washington School of Ballet (the school associated with the Washington Ballet professional company). Here's an excerpt from the flier:

Ballet Technique with Stephen Baranovics 

Sundays 9:30am-11:00am
October 15th-November 5th
Cost: $76 for all 4 classes

Pre-registration is required. No drop-ins.

This four-week workshop is designed for students with a minimum of 2 years of ballet training to help them strengthen their technique and provide the tools to move to the next level. The workshop will cover the 7 movements of ballet as well as pirouettes, jumps and turns.

Sign up online, at the front desk, or by calling 202.349.0261.

Class will be held at the Joseph C. Coleman Studios (The Joe), 3308 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Stephen Baranovics also teaches a class for younger boys at MYB immediately before the Saturday Beginner II class I often take. Some years ago our instructor for was suddenly taken ill on her way to class, and he substituted during barre. I've been curious about taking a full class with him ever since. I've taken a very few classes taught by male instructors, and I find the differences in technique to be very helpful.

I decided to sign up for this class, despite it meaning that I have to get up at some horrendously early hour on a Sunday morning. I hope it's worth it!