Sunday, January 26, 2014

Never give up! Never surrender!

It's a hokey quote from a hokey movie (Galaxy Quest) about a fictitious TV show. But sometimes it seems appropriate on many levels. Including as a parody.

I haven't been to a class since last Sunday due to a combination of work, weather, and social activities. I need to add back at least one evening (Tuesday or Thursday) to my schedule so I can rebuild my endurance. I got dinged during the allegro segment of the Beginner II class for my "unorganized" execution of a piece of a sequence, and rightly so. My brain momentarily dropped offline, and I kinda walked through that part. The combination this was part of is not that complex, long, or physically demanding, and I shouldn't get so tired so easily.

This also shows how having high expectations for yourself is a double-edged blade. Both I and the instructor believe I'm capable of doing better, and I don't get let off easy when I screw up. But at the same time, I wouldn't want to be let off easy — if I wanted that I wouldn't go to a school with quality teachers and high standards, and I certainly wouldn't be pushing myself into classes like Advanced Beginner.

But enough of the self-flagellation! There's lots of good mixed in with the bad. In B2 we expanded on a combination we've been working on for a while. Going to the right, it starts with the right foot in tendu devant, two step-over piqué turns, tombé, pas de bourrée, pirouette en dehor from fourth, détourné, and repeat as space permits. Or something like that; it all runs together this late in the evening. The first time we did this combination a few weeks ago I had significant difficulty controlling the piqué turns. I'd end up falling out of them in a random direction. Today my control is definitely improved, as is my spotting. Other than the momentary brain fart mentioned above, in which I did the turn on the wrong foot, then walked through the following steps, I felt pretty good about the improvements.

That turned out to be important, because Advanced Beginner included a similar combination. Similar in that it started with the B2 combination but then continued with a two piqué turns en dedans and ended with a pirouette en dedans in the other direction, all done at a faster pace.

That pretty well summarizes the difference between B2 and AB: no new steps, but much longer, more complex combinations, executed faster.

To my surprise, I didn't have a horrible time with this combination. I started out dreading it, because I hadn't done a regular piqué turn in months. I think I may have lagged behind the music at points, but I knew the steps and had brain bandwidth to think about the next step a little bit before starting it. That tells me that a lot of this is moving from conscious thought to "muscle memory".

I did bail on one combination entirely because I just couldn't wrap my head around it, though I walked through it several times in the back of the studio as the others took their turns. I could have attempted it — no one in this class would dare criticize another student who had trouble with a combination — but at that point I just needed a break. I jumped back in for the next combination and did better than I thought I would.

Which brings me back to the hokey saying in the title. Never give up. Never surrender. And I'll add: take the risk. It's worth it.

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