Saturday, September 28, 2019

Why don't YOU do that?

For much of the eight years I've been writing this blog I've been the only male in my ballet classes. Occasionally, though, there have been other men in class, and recently we've had as many as four of us in class at once. When this happens our instructor often asks that we men do the petit and grand allegro sections as a separate group. This, I suspect, is because we tend to move across the floor more than the women. Recently she's also asked for the music to slow a bit when we go; apparently this is traditional, to allow us to jump higher—which takes longer—and still keep pace with the music.

As I've written before, I'm a little bit competitive, but in a good way. When I see someone doing something really well I feel challenged to perform better. Maybe the term "inspired" would be better than "challenged". I watch them to see what it is that they're doing differently. A good example might be my efforts to improve my petit jetes and glissades. But the feeling of competitiveness is heightened when it's a group of four men, two of whom are more advanced than I am.

Still, this is me telling myself that I can do better. Before class, when I'm feeling fresh and energetic, I've completed double pirouettes. The last quarter turn often isn't nice and my spotting needs work, but I'm not falling over and the landing is stable. By the end of class, though, when I'm hot and exhausted I'm content to land a single pirouette with some measure of precision rather than hop through a sloppy double attempting to keep up with the others.

And so it was rather shocking when one of the women asked me, "Why don't YOU do that?", indicating one of the other men. I managed to suppress my initial reaction, which would have been to slap her across the face and demand, "Why aren't you on pointe like some of the other women?" Instead I blinked a couple of times before replying truthfully, "Because I'm exhausted and I'm happy to just remember what step comes next." She smiled and nodded understandingly, but inside I was seriously pissed off.

Please, folk. Don't be judgmental of others. You probably wouldn't be happy if I asked you a question like that.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fish dive, anyone?

I don't know what was going on in the area, but traffic was surprisingly heavy this morning on the way to class. The 5-level parking garage, which usually has plenty of parking on the 3rd level, was full through level 3 and half-full on level four. It was a good sized class as it started and students continued to trickle in for the next ten minutes, all complaining about traffic and parking.

I was lucky to arrive early enough to have about 10 minutes to warm up before class. When I started my calf muscles were very tight as was my right hip flexor, and I was wondering if they would loosen at all. To my surprise they relaxed quite a bit. This made barre easier and, honestly, less painful. I'm not one of those dancers who can fold at the hips and plant my nose on my shins. The last time I bent like that was a trampoline accident in high school, and I couldn't walk for a week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Yes, I am jumping

Last fall, a friend of mine from ballet classes called me out of the blue. What was initially a pleasant surprise turned out to be a call for help. She had taken a bad step on some stairs and had injured her ankle. After initially refusing to believe the injury was serious, she had finally realized that she needed medical care and wanted to know if I would be willing to meet her at the local hospital emergency room. Of course I said yes immediately.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Re-learning petit jeté

One of the problems I have with having learned ballet as an adult is that I didn't get any sort of structured instruction at the beginning. I pretty much jumped into a low-level adult class and tried to figure things out as I went. The result is that I find myself stumbling (sometimes literally) over what should be basic things. Like petit jeté and glissade.

Monday, August 12, 2019

A 30-second Pas de Deux

I have managed to drag myself to class for several consecutive Saturdays. There hasn't been much going on worth writing about until this weekend.