Ballet Squid Chronicles: A Mixed Bag of Combos?
Class was interesting today. Claire called in sick, so we had two teachers — Margie for the first half of barre, then Brienne for the rest of everything.
I employed Claire’s suggestion about keeping my fingers in my eyes (okay, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes!)…
…which made my balances a bazillion times better and let me focus on today’s challenge — preventing the Fail Chain and keeping my turnout, well, turned out.
At the start of our fondus, Brienne handed us a deeply-useful bit of advice: if thinking of bringing the heel forward is making stuff not work, try imaginging that you’re bringing your calf forward (I assume this means the back of the calf).
It’s a brilliant trick. Simply put, you can’t bring the back of your calf forward without opening your hip (and, where appropriate, your knee). Somehow, this little mental-imagery thing makes it way easier to find and activate the muscles that wrap around the back of the thigh and make your turnout go — which, in turn, makes your extensions about a bazillion times easier.
Also makes your balance in passé much prettier — I actually got a “Nice, Asher!” on one of these today … a non-ironic one, even 😀
Other things I learned tonight: PDG’s name is, in fact, Brian. He wasn’t in class tonight, but PDG2 (whose name is Connor) was, and wow, was he lovely to watch.
I (stupidly?) decided to stand on the same end of the room as PDG2 during barre (and, frankly, just about everything else) in hopes, perhaps, that some of his loveliness would rub off on me. At times, it worked, or maybe I’m just improving. At other times, it was more like, “Yeah, here’s a foil for my badness.”
I also decided to go ahead with my bold, bad self in the first group on every freaking thing — in part because I realized that we comprised an odd number, so then I could run around, hit the end of the line again, and practice all the combos cross the floor twice! Bwahaha.
That said, my jumps kind of sucked. Which is weird, because usually I’m all about the jumping, and I didn’t feel like my legs were particularly cooked. In fact, I specifically chose not to go home between school and class in order to spare my legs. I think the problem was actually in my brain; today was one of those distracted days.
Anyway, some of today’s combinations were good (the adagio was pretty, even); some of them were, well, meh. There were good moments (Pirouettes from fourth! I love them!) and there were terrible moments (Recite this in waltz time: Sauté arabesque! Sauté passé! Crap, what comes next? I have no clue!)
The weird part about that last one — I actually did know the combination (the next part was tombe – pas de bourrée – glissade – assemblé), but as soon as I would light out on the first sauté, my mind would go completely blank. It so happens that I can Sauté arabesque! Sauté passé! all day on autopilot, so I kept getting that bit down, and then the rest … ehhhhhhhh.
So that was my class today. I decided that it’s better to screw up boldly and confidently at the head of the line than to screw up mousily and quietly in the back.
For what it’s worth, at some point, the secret to all forms of dance is being able to fake it when you totally forget what you’re doing. You put on your biggest, most confident face (I would say “smile,” but what if you’re Von Rothbart, and you’re supposed to be getting your butt kicked by angry swans?).
Then you do something, and you sell it so well that everyone in the audience believes that you’re doing it right, and everyone else in your line (or in the entire corps, or whatever, depending on the scale of the piece, eh?) is doing it wrong.
Oh, and you don’t stand next to someone who’s better at faking it than you, or it won’t work.
So that’s it for tonight.
Be good, and if you can’t be good, be bold!