Thursday, January 31, 2013

The End of New Years' Resolutions

Not mine — others'. Remember that Wednesday night class with 24 students? Last night it was down to fourteen: 10 women and 4 men. Most of these folk are regulars, with only a few I don't recall seeing before. I don't know whether to be saddened or relieved.

I still haven't been able to reproduce my one night of pirouette mastery. I think the key that night was an exercise where we did four quarter turns, two half turns, then two full turns. Still, I'm feeling much more stable, even though I felt pretty lousy in general last night (I think I'm coming down with something). Last night was also heavy on the relevés at the barre, so by the time we got into the center I was already a bit shaky and more than a bit sore. However, I feel like I'm making steady progress, and that's encouraging.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Something to crow about

In class today the instructor was coaching one of he favoride demo students into a proper sous-sus while the rest of us tried to apply her corrections to our own positions. I was focused on my own position when I hear the instructor tell everyone, "Look at Reece, he has it right."

Huh? Who, me? I've gotten passing comments like "that's good" before, but I've never been called out as an example in ballet class before. It's going to be a while before I lose this smile, I think.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Company

A week ago I came across a movie called "The Company", supposedly about an up and coming dancer about to become a principal. On a whim I recorded it, but didn't watch it until now. One of the first scenes is the start of barre exercises, and as the instructor began leading the dancers through plies I felt strangely compelled to get up and follow. Fortunately I was able to resist. :-)

I only got about 20 minutes into it before pausing it so I can get some sleep. But I'm now regretting not recording it in HD.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A New Home Studio?

This evening I took class at the place I go Sundays, to get a fair comparison with what had been my regular Wednesday place. I have one more pre-paid class at the Wednesday studio. After that y'all may have an easier time following along because I think I'll only be taking class at one studio.

It's not that the quality of the instruction is that much different, but I'm not feeling challenged. These are drop-in beginner classes, and the class has to be tailored to the level of the students. The Sunday place has a special 5-week "introduction" class which siphons off many of those who don't know a tendu from a dégagé, raising the level of the "Beginner I" classes I take.

I'm still learning from these classes, but I can see a time coming when I'll move up to the Beginner II class. I could probably manage the II class now, but for the moment I'm enjoying not feeling dumb, lost, and left behind.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Attack of the Killer Lampshades

Thursday morning I realized that I'd managed to bruise the ball of both feet, but I only noticed the left one because it hurt slightly more than the right. Thus I ditched my Thursday evening class to give my feet time to recover. It seems to have worked, because my feet didn't hurt at all today. OTOH my right hip was a bit sore; no idea if that's related or not.

I wasn't able to duplicate my success with pirouettes today, though I did feel more stable than usual. I suspect it's going to be a gradual thing, as so many things are. But even two steps forward and one step back is one step in the right direction. The combinations we did at the barre today were more complicated than usual, and after a couple goofs in the first run-through I got it on those that followed. All in all it was a pretty good class.

We're back to a normal-sized class, with myself as the only man. The only explanation I'll offer for this post's title is it was something said as part of a discussion in class. I'll leave it to your collective imaginations to fill in the rest.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An hour of barre and a bruise

Last Wednesday I was too busy at work to go to class at either studio. Tonight I went to my regular Wednesday place, as much to catch up on gossip as anything else.

What I got was a full hour of barre with no center work at all. I was looking forward to seeing if my pirouettes are consistent, but when class was over it was already past time for the next class to start. I probably could have tried it during the change-over, but during the jumps at the end I think I bruised the ball of my left foot. It's still somewhat tender, so I think I'll give it a rest.

I've been trying to decide if I just want to go to the other place Wed and Sun, or if I want to keep coming here Wed. This place is closer, the class ends earlier, the class size is usually smaller, and the teacher gives lots of individual attention. But the other class is more challenging, and I like that.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Seven and Three

There were three of us guys in today's class. One was the younger guy who has been dancing "a few months" and is already pretty good. He caught Dengue Fever over the holidays; it'd be a perfect "serves you right for being better than I am" except he's a nice guy and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. The other is an older man, seemingly just starting out.

The big news today is that I nailed all my pirouettes to the right: up and stable, the turn seeming secondary to the relevé. Actually ended up having to come down to stop the turn after over-rotating a bit, and might have been able to do 1.5. Turns to the left, though, are still a struggle. Still, it's progress.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inconsistent sizing

When I was in college I wanted to buy my then-girlfriend a gift of some clothing. Not knowing much about women's sizes, I asked her what size she was. "How much are you spending?" she asked. I didn't want to tell her, so she explained: "If it's expensive, I'm probably a 6; if it's moderately priced I'm an 8; if it's cheap I'm a 10-12." I was both baffled and appalled; men's sizes are based on measurable things: collar or waist circumference, inseam or arm length, etc.

After class today, I mentioned to a friend that I'd discovered that there was a Capezio store on the next block over from the dance studio, but it was closed on Sundays. She wanted to walk by anyway, and we were surprised to see quite a few people inside and the find the door open. Apparently they've just started opening the first Sunday of each month!

Of real interest is that they have a fairly good stock of men's slippers. I realized this week that I've worn holes in the pleats under the big toe of both of my black Cobras, and here was an opportunity to try on a variety of slippers. They didn't have Romeos in my size, but they still have some Cobras. Thinking I'd get a direct replacement, I tried on a pair marked 9.5M just like my current pair, but they were clearly too small.  They had a pair of black Cobras in 10M which fit just fine, which I decided to buy.

Doing some searches I've discovered that Capezio is somewhat notorious for inconsistent sizing, even within the same model number. It did give me a feeling of kinship with the women hunting for just the right pointe shoe, who accounted for most of the others in the shop, but I really could have done without. However, it does give me more incentive to patronize the local dancewear shops rather than buying online.

Also... it being a Capezio store, I asked if they had any 5945 tights hidden away. A woman, who I took for the shop owner, laughed and said if she she knew how to get some she'd "buy a thousand of them." You have to wonder what Capezio was thinking when they stopped making them. Maybe they've decided to abandon the men's tights market entirely? I tried looking for MT11 on the Capezio site just now, and the only way I could find them was a keyword search, and even that page is now lacking the photo it used to have.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Was delayed leaving work this evening, so rather than going to my normal Wednesday night place I went back to the normal Sunday place because the class starts 45 minutes later. Yeah, it's been one of those days.

After changing, I walked into class about five minutes early to find most of the barre space taken, including the spaces along the walls. And people kept coming in. By the time we started in earnest there were 24 of us, four of us men. I don't think I've ever in in a class that big or that full! It brought to mind Adult Beginner's tea cups. I'm betting the number will drop off as the New Year's resolutions begin to succumb to daily life pressures.

I'm feeling comfortably in the middle of the class. There are things I do better than some, and those same folk do things better than I do. I got a couple of compliments from the instructor, and managed one or two full-turn pirouettes with some measure of grace (and a bunch that were just fugly). This instructor is beginning to grow on me, and I'm debating staying with this class. It's farther from home and I get home later, but it's also a 90 minute class rather than 60. I'll have to see how traffic is as people go back to work.