Monday, July 17, 2017

Sometimes we're our own worst enemy

I went to Philly for the day yesterday, which forced me to miss my usual Saturday morning class. This morning I motivated myself into the car and arrived at the school about 10 minutes before class. It looks like they have a new desk clerk, and he's still learning the business of checking in students. This resulted in a bit of a queue. Nervously glancing at the time I was quite relieved when one of the regular desk clerks called out, "Oh! Hi, Reece! Julie's class?" Problem solved.

Walking down the hall to the changing room I encountered this morning's instructor. She smiled and said, "We have a guest artist today!" I'll choose to interpret that as good-natured teasing for not having been in any of her classes for several months, though for some reason I'm never quite sure. Chalk it up to a touch of insecurity, and insecurity leads us to make poor decisions.

I was already wearing my dance gear under my street clothes so it didn't take long to change and claim my usual spot in this class. Still, I didn't get much time for warm-up before class started. This class is a proper Beginner 2 level class, with combinations that are generally less taxing both physically and mentally than the Tue/Sat classes. We're also given the option to do some of the barre exercises on flat rather than demi-pointe. A rational choice would have been to do the first repetition on flat and the rest on demi, but I felt the need to show that I'd been coming to classes regularly and did all the optional segments on demi-pointe.

At first this seemed to be working pretty well. I am somewhat internally-competitive and I get a bit of a thrill when I'm able to do something especially well. Today I found that I could hold passe releve on demi-pointe for a good while without needing to use the barre. All was fine until the last barre exercise, ronds, when I noticed that my hip flexors and were getting fatigued. Eh, that'll pass during the break, right?

In centre we started with a simple combination that I should have been able to do with no effort, but my legs developed a case of the wobblies. By the end of the combination I'd realized I'd overdone it at barre and there was not going to be a quick recovery and just stopped. The instructor apparently recognized it too, because she commented "And... we've lost Reece." See what I mean by not being sure whether the teasing is good-natured or a little snarky?

After jumps we continued a combination this class has been working on for some weeks. Have I mentioned that I haven't been in this class for months? So it was completely new to me. I had to ask for clarification of the middle couple of steps, but to my surprise I could grasp it mentally. Glissade, jeté, temps levé, glissade, jeté, temps levé, glissade, jeté. Glissade, assemblé, sissonne fermée de côté, pause. Glissade, assemblé, sissonne fermée de côté, pause. Repeat going the other way. My brain thought, "A couple of years ago I would have been so confused. Now it seems pretty simple." Of course getting my feet to follow was more difficult but with practice I had most of the transitions. I don't have the grace that some of these dancers have (damnit!) but I understand what I was doing.

Now I want to go to class both Saturday and Sunday. *sigh*


  1. Great to see you in class again. I remember hearing "we've lost Reece" but I thought it said was in good nature. And you were not lost for long -- you soon rejoined centre work for the rest of the combinations!

    1. Hi Helen! See what I mean about the insecurity? I could have taken her comment as anything from complimentary ("He has a sense of humor and isn't going to quit if he's teased a bit") to a little bit snarky. That's why it's often a good idea to get another's viewpoint. Thanks!

  2. She says the same thing lightheartedly in the Advanced Beginner level as well -- I usually interprete it as her letting those remaining in center that they have more room (esp. in a crowded class) or her counting up the total number of students in order to divide them into groups.
    Ah -- now I understand the airplane wing-blue-sky-cloud motif of this blog!

  3. I enjoy your blog - I will be in DC next week for work, and plan to head up to MYB for a class or two. Maybe I'll run into you there. I'll take advanced beginner and maybe intermediate, depending on how the adv beginner class goes.

    1. Hi Andy! Glad you find the blog enjoyable.

      I'm usually there Saturday late morning to just after noon; occasionally the same period on Sunday. Even at a busy place like MYB, adult men are rare enough that most of the staff know us by name and we know each other by sight. New faces usually stand out.


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