Ballet Squid Chronicles: Combination
Lather, rinse, repeat.
When you do it right, it looks like dancing. For some reason it fell apart for everyone tonight going left (there were only three of us in class). I realize now that I kept leaving out the assemblé after the first faillé.
I’ve gotten past the thing last week where I kept getting tangled getting from piqué arabesque to glissade. That was the result of too much thinking.
Things are coming back faster now. There were a few nice pirouettes from fourth. Still a few, “Oh, crap! I’m turning the wrong way!” moments.
For some reason, instead of going en dehors, en dehors, en dehors, I found myself wanting to go en dehors, en dedans, en dehors. But the turns are coming, too.
My barre was kind of meh today — some okay bits, some not so okay bits. A couple of times, I totally lost my place — it was like my brain just opted to reboot mid-combo. On the other hand, a couple of my fondus felt beautiful. Were they? Who knows. But that’s how they felt.
I try to keep it in perspective: when I started dancing again back in March, I would’ve been delighted with today’s barre (especially the frappés, even though one of my “reboots” occurred during that combination). That’s the whole thing about ballet — you’re dissatisfied, so you work hard, and then you sort of “level up,” and you get that “Yes!” feeling.
Then you realize you can do it better; that whatever you’re doing, you can refine it.
I enjoy pursuits in which perfection is a goal, but is one that recedes forever into the distance. In ballet, in horseback riding, in cycling, in music, you can always improve. Even if you achieve technical perfection, there’s always room for more musicality, more expression, more subtlety, or more strength.
In other news, today I put on a shirt that’s been too tight for a long time — and suddenly it wasn’t too tight anymore. I might even be able to use it for ballet class.
I have trouble seeing changes in my body, but even I’m beginning to see what all this ballet is doing for me in that regard. Pretty cool stuff. Tonight I was messing around in the mirror at home after class, doing Pretty Things With My Arms, because as a squid those things are hard for me, yo. I transitioned from first-arabesque arms to élongé and caught sight of all these cool little muscles doing their thing in my shoulders and chest and went, “Wow, hey, that’s my body doing that!”
Pretty cool stuff. Denis always says I’m such a teenager when it comes to that. He’s right. I am discovering this body that, when I really was a teenager, was still this scary thing that kind of betrayed me during a time when bad stuff happened to me. I didn’t look at myself. I didn’t want to look at myself.
So now I’m discovering all of it; it’s all totally new, and it’s beautiful in a way. I still struggle to see my body as beautiful, but when I see it working; when I see it doing dancer-ly things; when I see the beautiful machine working the way it’s supposed to work — yeah, I kind of love it then.
One last bit to close. Tonight, when Tawnee arrived, she greeted us (all three of us, ha) with, “Hello, dancers!”
So there you have it. In case you were wondering: we are dancers.
And that’s pretty great.