Sunday, June 3, 2018

Flattery will get you... everywhere?

I've been getting to at least one class a week, most often two, over the last month. Last weekend I had other commitments Saturday morning so I went to the Sunday Beginner 2 class instead. This is the true Beginner 2 class, rather than the Saturday Beginner 2.75 class I usually attend. The result is that the sequences are short and relatively easy to remember, which allows me to focus on technique.

Sometimes I have my...differences...with this instructor. Last weekend she directed what I consider a rather obnoxious comment toward me, though I'll write it off as a rather poor attempt at humor and not anything malicious. Fortunately I'm not in this class because of her charming wit or personality, but rather because she's quite an excellent ballet instructor and that forgives many sins.

Case in point. She made an observation to another student regarding how the working leg and foot should be placed for a pirouette. I always listen to her comments, regardless of whether they're directed to me or not, and I tried to apply the comment to my own technique. It made an immediate improvement in my turns en dehor.

On the other hand, she never believes that my legs are actually straight when they are. Bent legs when they're supposed to be straight are a big deal to her, and she can spot bent knees through skirts and sweatpants. She came over and tickled the back of my knee -- not poked, not prodded, just lightly tickled -- saying I needed to make sure it was straight. My knees don't get any straighter than they were at that moment, and the tights I was wearing hid nothing. But it's better than being ignored.

This morning it was pouring rain (again), and many students were still trickling in when it was time for class to start. She was explaining to another very new student that this class was much simpler than some of the other Beginner 2 classes, though some of the students took both this and the Advanced Beginner class that followed so she shouldn't judge herself in comparison with others. I commented on the pirouette advice that I'd found so helpful last week. She seemed very pleased by this.

Later, during barre, she took a position at the barre I was using, facing me, and gave suggestions on my pliés. At first I thought she was speaking to the woman on the other side of the barre, but then I realized she was speaking to me. I have to admit that because of this I really have no idea what correction she was trying to make, but I'm happy she did it anyway. It's been my observation that students in her class fall into one of two categories: those who are likely to benefit from receiving corrections and those who probably will not. Understandably it's those in the first group who get most of her attention.

As I look back on this morning's class, it occurs to me that the only turns we did were the detournés at the barre as we switched sides. No pirouettes, no waltz turns, nothing. Very unusual, even for this class. I recall hearing her tell one of the newbies that she had planned a different class, but the presence of several new and inexperienced students caused her to revise her plan. I guess that's why.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The stigma of being a boy in ballet

Pointe Magazine has posted a blog article about an upcoming feature-length documentary called Danseur that addresses the stigma of being a boy in ballet.

From the Pointe article:
The documentary is the brainchild of director Scott Gormley. "I have a son who is a dancer, so I watched what he went through," he told Pointe last week. "I thought, is this typical?" After doing some research and talking to other parents and dancers, he realized that cruel and relentless teasing, along with social isolation and disapproval from peers and adults, was all too common. "It just felt like a message that had to be broadcast. My goal with the film is to educate people about the subject and hopefully start some conversations about what young men face when they choose to dance."
There's no date for a theatrical release yet. If I hear of one I'll mention it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Paying for it

Tuesday evening before class I was chatting with our instructor. I mentioned that it'd been a week since I'd been in class, and I'd probably end up paying for my sporadic attendance. She disagreed. I have a suspicion that she thought I was saying that'd she'd make me pay, but that's not what I meant at all.

Yesterday my calf muscles were a little bit sore but not horrible. I started thinking I would escape relatively unscathed. But when I got out of bed this morning I could barely get my feet flat on the floor, and going down the stairs was almost comical. I really should know better by now.

The question of the day is now whether I should go to class this evening. On the plus side it'll definitely help stretch things back out, but will that make the aches go away faster or prolong them?

Tune in tomorrow for an update!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Aaaah... CHOO!

A week ago Thursday I went back to class, being careful not to overdo the arching of my back. Everything seemed fine, and I participated in all activities. I had a wee bit of trouble translating the grand allegro from one side to the other, but that's nothing new.

Saturday's class also went pretty well. I skipped the jump warmup, but otherwise did all the exercises. One of them has been giving me fits for weeks. It's another one of those twisty sequences that changes with every measure: 3 petite jetes, 1 glissade; 2 petite jetes, 1 glissade, 1 petite jete; 1 glissade, 1 assemble, 1 petite jete, 1 assemble; sous-sou. Repeat to the other side. Every class I've gotten further through the sequence before I screwed it up; this time I got through the whole sequence only a little bit behind the music, but screwed it up when we did it again. Oh well, little improvements are better than no improvements at all.

One of the announcements Susan made was that the woman who has run the Adult Weekend Workshop for the last few years is moving and won't be running it this year, and Susan has been asked to take it over. This is both interesting and scary. I haven't decided whether I'm going to sign up because it's interesting, or opt for personal preservation. There isn't a date set yet, but the last few years it's been in June.

Tuesday I was busy at work and skipped class, rationalizing that I'd be in class Thursday. Thursday I had every intention to go to class, and even had my dance bag in the car, but I got hit by allergies and was sneezing so badly that I reluctantly went home and dosed myself with Benadryl.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cambré -- pop!

means "arched" in French. "Pop" is the sound my back makes when I arch too much.