Friday, March 27, 2020

We're Number One!

The USA just took over the top ranking for the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world. That's an "honor" I think we could and should have done without.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Plague Cometh

Okay, so it's not really plague, which is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia Pestis and spread by fleas on rats. Instead this is a Coronavirus that produces a disease called COVID-19, and is spread primarily by close contact with an infected person. It's reportedly spreading faster than the flu viruses, and appears to have x10 the fatality rate of flu.

I've been busy with other activities and haven't been getting to my ballet classes with any regularity recently. The ballet schools had been attempting to maintain their schedules, but with the federal and state health departments raising alarms, one by one they've all decided to close for several weeks. This makes sense to me -- I'm pretty sure the last time I got sick it was something I was exposed to at the ballet school.

Thus far I'm healthy and hope to stay that way. We'll see how this plays out; there's not much more I can do.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Learning to swim

One of my classmates, Christina, took the time to write a thoughtful reply to my post In over her head. This post started as a reply to her, but it got kinda long so I've rewritten it as a post of its own.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

In over her head

Class today was very crowded: about 30 students in a room more appropriate for 20. One of the late arrivals was a woman I hadn't seen in class before. She ended up on the other side of a portable barre from me, sharing that side with one of the better regulars.

At first she seemed to not know which way to face, which struck me as odd. In this class, as with most classes I've taken elsewhere, a barre exercise starts with the left hand on the barre, and then is repeated with the right hand on the barre. She also didn't seem to have picked up the instructions for the exercise, so I suggested that she and the student she was sharing that side of the barre switch so the newcomer would be sandwiched between two regulars regardless of which way she faced. They readily agreed. I told her this class is much closer to Advanced Beginner than the advertised Beginner II, so not to worry if it was a bit more difficult than she expected. She spoke briefly with our instructor, who assured her that she was fine to do what she could, and if she still felt unable to keep up that she could get the class credited back to her account.

Even with experienced students to follow, though, she still seemed to be having trouble. And by "trouble" I mean not knowing what basic movements were. After the next exercise she explained that this was her second ballet class ever. Using what I hoped was a understanding voice, I quietly confided to her that when I'd first come into this class I'd had two years of ballet, and I'd felt totally lost at first. Taking the hint, she smiled and gathered her things, thanking the instructor on her way out for being understanding.

Our instructor later confided that at first she thought this student looked familiar but couldn't place her, and only later recognized her as one of her students from the Wednesday evening Beginner I class. This might also explain why she didn't know which way to face, as the Wednesday evening barre is done facing the barre rather than parallel to it.

I feel sorry for this student. She went out on a cold Saturday morning (it was 17F/-8C when I got up this morning) and fought her way through traffic to come to class, only to leave after maybe 10 minutes. But frankly, there was no way she was going to keep up. Shortly after this student left we did a degage combination that I found challenging due to its speed, and then we did it again even faster. Everyone struggled with that. And centre work was no easier. Probably smarter to leave once she realized she was in over her head and get the class refunded than to struggle and just end up frustrated.

I hope she sticks with the Wednesday evening class. It is possible to start from scratch as an adult and work your way up, but it takes time and perserverence.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Dance Ranked Most Physically Demanding Job in the U.S.

If you want to understand how physically demanding dancing as a profession can be, take a look at this article in Pointe Magazine. It points out that a study by the Occupational Information Network ranks dancers as the most physically demanding job in the US, based the level of strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination required.