Friday, August 16, 2013

Less is More

In last Saturday's class our instructor made a comment that stuck with me: when it comes to pirouettes, less is more. You don't need to put much energy into a turn. The only thing the body needs to do is rise to the proper position, and the arms provide all the impetus needed to turn. I didn't get much chance put this into use that day, but it stuck in my head.

Tuesday I played hooky from class and went to the Huey Lewis and the News concert instead. I've seen them in concert before, at some old winery out near San Jose, and they were really good. They play here about once a year and I gotta remember to get tickets for next year.

Wednesday I decided to drop in on the Beginner I class, figuring it'd be good exercise. Compared to the frenzied pace of the Beginner II class, this was like watching grass growing. How did this ever seem so hard? The slower pace gave me time to think about each movement at the barre and concentrate on getting things right. But without the need for absolute concentration just to keep pace I found myself screwing up the sequences at the barre. Embarrassing. But I did manage to hold a pretty decent first arabesque on demi-pointe for several measures of sedately paced music. Not so embarrassing!

Once we moved to the center, things got a bit better. In the Tuesday and Saturday classes, I'm challenged just keeping up with the steps and the music. Although I don't feel like I'm flailing, I'm often not far from it. Wednesday, though, I had the time to think about the steps and the transitions between them. That didn't prevent me from getting my arms in the wrong place several times, but I overall I think I did pretty well.

I even got several chances to put the "less is more" aphorism to use. Rather than trying to turn my body and have the hands go with it, I concentrated on getting my body into a halfway decent, balanced position and let the momentum of my arms handle the rotation. And it worked! I was able to execute several pretty good pirouettes en dehor. Better turning to the right than the left, but then my balance is consistently better standing on my left foot than my right.

I'd like to find a class with a more challenging barre than this instructor's Beginner I class, but not as difficult center as her Beginner II class. One of the better students in my Beginner II classes took another instructor's Advanced Beginner class and said they were of comparable difficulty. There's a Beginner II class on Sunday taught by a different instructor, rumored to be somewhat easier, and I'm wondering whether that might be a good option. Perhaps in addition, rather than instead? Why couldn't I have won that $400 Million lottery a couple of weeks ago so I could take classes during the mid-day instead of doing this "work" thing?

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