Sunday, July 26, 2015

Instructor Impersonation

For the two previous Sundays the Tuesday night instructor substituted for the regular instructor. The first Sunday I took the beginner 2 class with thought of also taking the advanced beginner afterward, but with her barre I was too exhausted. The second Sunday I took only the advanced beginner, and decided to leave half way through center because I was shaking with lack of energy.

One of these recent Tuesday evenings I asked her for help re my tendency to fall backward out of turns. We only had 7 students that night so not only did I get
suggestions before class, I got more feedback during class. I think it's helping.

Today the regular instructor returned. Much less intense and I thought about taking both classes but I managed to trip over my own foot during a glissade, of all things, and my foot and ankle are sore. Nothing serious I'm sure, but I decided to call it a day after the first class.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Falling backward

Work has been kicking my ass, the effect of which being that I've been getting to only one class a week. I'm not liking that.

Today's class was taught by the instructor who usually teaches the Tuesday and Saturday classes. Her barre is usually more strenuous, with longer and more complex combinations. Not what I was hoping for, as it was more tiring than I wanted, but I still like her.

The big problem I'm wrestling with is not falling backward out of turns. If I keep my arms in first I'm mostly but not quite stable, but in fifth I find myself leaning backward. One of the corrections given to another student is to not bring the arms too far back, but that only alleviates part of the problem. And the problem is definitely worse when I'm tired.

Anyone recognize this, and want to offer suggestions?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A shout-out to a friend

Four years ago I decided to take up ballet as a hobby. My instructor for the first few months was Jessica Lindenfelser. When I started I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be taken seriously, that other students would think I was there to cruise for dates or ogle the pretty girls. But I was welcomed by both Jessica and the other students.

That's not to say there haven't been a couple of moments. One day I walked into the studio a few minutes late and found everyone huddled over something in the corner. One of the students was new, and when she saw me walk in she gave me a look that suggested she thought I'd just walked into a women's dressing room, only to be surprised when Jessica and the other students greeted me warmly. It's a fond memory I go back to when I feel like an outsider.

Jessica and her husband are true U2 fanatics, and they attend just about every U2 concert they can get to. She said Bono has a fondness for belly dancers, and wrote the song "Mysterious Ways" about them. Knowing this, Jessica had gone to a concert some years before dressed in a belly dancer costume and was holding a sign that read something like "Belly Dancer available, one night only!" Bono saw her in the crowd and when "Mysterious Ways" came up on the playlist he looked for her again but couldn't find her. When he spotted her again a few songs later he called her on stage for whatever song was next in the playlist. What my classmates were doing was watching a video someone had taken of Jessica dancing on stage with the band.

It's been years since I moved on to other studios, but I still follow Jessica's adventures via social media. This afternoon she posted a link to a video taken at a U2 concert in Toronto last night. One of the band members spotted her in the crowd and recognized her. In the video you can clearly see him tell Bono about her, and Bono comes over to the edge of the stage to see for himself. "I know you!" he says before having the burly security people extract her from the crowd and bring her up on stage. Again. This time for "Mysterious Ways", as it should have been the first time.

The video is a bit over 12 minutes long, and is well worth watching. If you have a decent network connection and a larger screen, crank up the video resolution.

https://youtu.be/AzPv5_ipdvs

Congratulations, Jessica!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A decent double, finally

After having been too busy/lazy to get to class for over a week, I finally went tonight. Despite the uncomfortably warm (to me) temp and high humidity in the studio, the floor wasn't sticky at all. My turns seemed to be working quite well, and I was having to stop the turn deliberately rather than fall out of it. At one point I thought to myself, "Self, if you hadn't stopped that turn you'd have gone around twice." So the next time I let it go, and executed a pretty decent double pirouette en dehor.

Except for spotting, which I noticed I really didn't do. So when we moved to pirouette practice, I gave up on doubles and tried to concentrate on spotting. And in doing so I found myself falling over rather than turning cleanly. Clearly I'm doing something wrong; I just need to figure out what.

But I did a decent double! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Words to ponder

I happened across a video on YouTube today entitled A Day in the Life of a Ballerina. It's well shot, well produced, and not terribly exciting. But the dancer makes a statement I thought worth sharing (emphasis mine):
"I've done all of the steps a million times. I'm completely ready to do it. This person picked me out of this company of people. I'm realizing that I will actually get closer to the performances that I want to give by letting go of trying to be perfect."
 The first three sentences really don't apply to me. I'm still learning the steps, and sometimes I have to re-learn steps I haven't done in a while. I'm not ready to perform, and I got picked by having paid to be there. But the last sentence is so true for me. I have an internal drive for perfection, and I chose ballet in part because there is, at any given moment, one right way to do something. But in dance you can't obsess over each step and still get the combination to work. You can't worry about how the imperfection in the last step because the next is coming right now.