Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy 100!

This is posting number 100, and I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate! It's been a year and a half since I started back with ballet, and I'm still having fun with it.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings here. This blog is mostly for my own enjoyment and I've done very little to promote it, yet I've accumulated well over 4 thousand views. I give special thanks to those who have offered their thoughts.

Yesterday I went to the Maryland Rennaissance Festival. As part of my costume I wore a pair of Capezio MT-11 tights, which had been languishing in the back corner of a drawer. And back to languishing they will go! Damn Capezio for dropping the 5945s.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Woe is Me!

Arriving this evening for class, I was informed that our regular instructor was out sick. Unfortunately, "sick" wasn't a euphemism for a happy baby event, and she stayed at home to avoid the chance of sharing whatever she has with others. Instead, the artistic director for the school would be teaching her class.

Yeah. The same artistic director who is a 20-year veteran of a major ballet company. Who was a principal dancer for Suzanne Farrell. Who still teaches ballet technique at a nearby university. That guy. Oh, woe is me!

The odd thing is that while he is more demanding of technique, his class is physically less demanding than our regular instructor's. Much less time spent standing on demi-pointe, although we did a bit of that. The result is that while I worked harder mentally, I didn't work as hard physically.

After the day I've had, that might well have been exactly what I needed.

No class tomorrow night at the old place, so I'll have to do stretches on my own.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting serious

I'm slowly coming to the realization that I need to get serious about working out between classes, or else drop the Wednesday night class.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I find it amusing that stores assume that anyone purchasing dance supplies is female, even one purchasing men's tights and slippers. Discount Dance Supply just sent me an ad inviting me to "Find Your Perfect Pair" of Pointe Shoes!

It so happens that I am looking for new shoes — slippers, that is — but they're out of stock of almost everything in my size. Same with tights. Back Bay Dancewear has everything I'm looking for listed in stock, for a lower price. Tough choice there!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Passé Relevé THIS!

There's a big difference between the teaching styles of the "old" and "new" studios. At the "old" studio there is only one level of ballet. What is taught is what is needed for use in something "dancey" (my words).

The "new" studio offers other styles of dance, but the focus is ballet. There are several levels of adult class, including pointe, and the more advanced classes sometime include minor pro dancers who are looking to keep fit during breaks in their jobs. The skills that are taught at the beginner level are those that are needed to advance to the intermediate level.

Here's a clear example of the difference. In the "old" studio, we learn relevé, which is to rise to demi-pointe. We also learn passé, where we balance on one foot while bringing the other up to where the toe sorta points at the knee. Once in a while we'll do passé relevé, where we do both at once. At the "new" studio, passé relevé is an every class thing, in sequences of 4 or 8 at a time, with a clean beat when changing from front to back each time.

Same thing with degagé, which literally means to disengage, or a tendu where the foot leaves the floor and the leg ends up at a 45 degree angle. It never occurred to me that you could do degagé from relevé, much less do it in the beginner class. But we do.

How about going from fifth to second to passé relevé, with a full turn en dehors every four? If I'm not mistaken, that's a pirouette. And these in combinations of 4 or 8 on each side.

They swear this is the beginner class.

I've read that some people don't look on dancers as athletes. Those people have never taken a ballet class.