Friday, September 20, 2013

Holes in my brain

Tuesday night's class had about 15 people in it. None of the "star pupils" were in attendance so the combinations weren't all that difficult. I've had several classes in a row now where my balance was better than normal, but this night I struggled more than usual. That was really frustrating because I pretty much had the combinations down but I wobbled a lot doing them.

I'm not sure what the deal was with the pianist during barre. I'm sure they get bored playing the same music again and again, keeping a metronomic beat. But this night I had the worst time at the barre counting beats. Yes, I'm one of those, but if we're doing a circle stretch in eight counts, then knowing where I need to be in the sequence on, say, beat four, lets me end up at the right place on beat eight. But this night it seemed like every so often there'd be an extra or a missing beat in the music -- she'd reach the end of a phrase too soon, then a few phrases later there'd be an extra bit of music. I'm sure it'd be lovely if we were just sitting and listening, but when you're trying to follow a combination it's really disconcerting.

Eventually we got to the last combo of the class. This instructor always does jumps of some sort (changements and échappés this time) before one last allégro combination, I think to make sure we all are exhausted when we leave. The combination wasn't all that complex, something like this: sauté arabesque, faille, glissade, petite jeté, coupé, tombé, coupé, assemblé (over), coupé, assemblé (over). For some reason very few of us could figure out the transition after the jeté, including me. I could do what came before and what came after, but there was a blank spot in my brain at that point. Our instructor, who developed and teaches the most basic adult intro class the school offers and seems to have the patience of a saint, seemed annoyed and frustrated. I don't recall ever seeing that emotion from her before. We tried it again with the same results, then ran out of time.

As she called to the pianist for a quick reverance, one of the quieter students asked if we could stay after class a bit to figure it out. Her response was, "Don't worry, no one is leaving here tonight until they get it!" Her tone left doubt in my mind whether she meant that she was happy to stay until everyone figured it out, or if she intended to force people to stay.

With about half the class gone, the rest of us asked questions about that one stubborn spot. About 30 seconds in a light bulb went on in my head and it suddenly made sense. Others followed suit with varying numbers of trials and errors. I scurried out, changed clothes, and made my way home.

I didn't get to Wednesday's class because of work. I didn't win the $400M lottery either, so daytime classes are still impractical. Thus I had classes Sat/Sun/Tue, and then no classes for three days. I've tried to do some stretches in the interim, but I'm expecting Saturday to be uncomfortable.

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