On Ballet! – My Core Is Jello
When you were a kid (or, you know, more recently than that, because some of us don’t impose silly restrictions on ourselves about what kinds of pastimes are appropriate for “grown-ups”), did you play that famous game, “The Floor Is Lava?”
Yeah, me too. It was (and remains) one of my favorites (for even more fun, try the “Ballet Moves Only” variation).
Well, yesterday I played a different version during ballet class. Instead of the floor, it was my core muscles … and instead of lava, it was jello.
I was wiggly. I was jiggly. I was sweating my socks off, because suddenly it was 70+ F and sunny and even though we kept the blinds closed it got quite warm in the studio. I try to be all proper ‘n’ shizzle, but I think I might actually switch to capri-length tights for the summer, because seriously, our studio gets waaaaaaaarm.
On the other hand, much like if you want to ride a hot century, the only way to acclimate yourself is by riding in the heat, if you want to dance under hot lights on a potentially-warm stage someday … yeah. So maybe ignore me, and I’ll just go on wearing my tights, because evidently while it is totally de rigeur for dudes to dance topless whenever modern choreographers are involved, we still gots to wear tights*.
Anyway. There was a another new gentleman in class yesterday, which was pretty cool. He’s a newer dancer, but usually does a different class with his wife. She wasn’t dancing due to an injury (I think?) so instead he joined our class, which was surprisingly full, given that it was the morning of Thunder Over Louisville, which is the kickoff event for our several-weeks-long bacchanalia of horse race-worship known as “Derby Festival.” There were something like eight of us. This resulted in a varying degrees of hilarity as we went across-the-floor doing jetes and turned into a game of human pachinko at either end.
Nonetheless, during barre, my core was like a six-pack … of Jello snacks. This might be because I went dancing on Friday night, slept five hours, crawled out of bed, and hauled my bacon to ballet class. I don’t do the rock-’em-sock-’em when I go dancing. I engage every muscle I can find. I use the tools I’ve learned in ballet and modern dance. Sometimes the result is a more jello-y me a few hours later.
So, needless to say, even my strengths were a little weak. I’m not going to bullet-point things this time: basically, it was all pretty mediocre, except for leaps and port de bras, which took place at the end of class and benefited from an hour of trying to remember to hold it together.
My arabesques were high but weak, my barre work as a whole left a lot to be desired, and let’s not even talk about grand battement (for what it’s worth, the leg part looked great, as long as I ignored the fact that my body was kind of all over the place … which, of course, one cannot do in ballet: the core is everything; without it, beautiful legs are meaningless).
On the other hand, evidently my leaps looked pretty awesome. I let the legs take care of themselves (which they do pretty well) and focused on not getting all Freddie Mercury with the arms. Three separate people complimented me on my jetes and sautes arabesques, which was super awesome.
I also felt pretty happy with the port de bras exercise we did: I probably wasn’t awesome at it, but at least I was following along and didn’t look like a Giant Elbow Monster. Seriously, I seem to be so constructed that I really have to work hard to look like I don’t have giant pointy elbows when I’m dancing. Likewise, my arms weren’t tired when we finished, which evidently indicates that I’m using the right muscles to do the exercise in question.
Our teacher, The Divine Ms. Margie, describes it as “hanging” the arms off the back muscles, basically. That’s certainly how it feels when I’m doing port de bras, so I think it’s a good analogy.
In other news, I have basically finished data collection for my research project … though last night, as we stood atop the Cressman Center parking garage watching crowds of people on foot streaming back to their homes and buses and cars after Thunder, I really wished I’d designed an experiment to see how many people would look up if I shouted, for example, “John!” or “Nice hat!” from the top of a building. That would’ve made data collection so much easier.
But, anyway, my research project is basically done, and I’ve sent the preliminary version of my poster to my professor, so it’s too late now (THE DATA IS LAVA! IT’S LAAAAAAVAAAAAAAAAAAA!). Next up, I need to make some revisions to my Research Methods and Statistics exam and write up a research proposal (for a project that will probably never happen, so I get to make it as elaborate as I want to).
And, of course, moar ballet. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s class. With any luck, my core will be a wee bit more stable.
*Seriously, go see a modern ballet production: as often as not, if you combine the wardrobe for the ladies and the gents, half the dancers could have a full outfit. Of course, they other half would have to dance naked, but that would be even more modern … right?