Ballet Squid Chronicles: In Which Everyone Has a Terrible Class
I try not to make excuses, but I think maybe I need some today.
So here’s the litany:
I had an asthma attack last night.
For the first time in months! So if course I spent half an hour in denial, hacking my lungs out, which was pretty exhausting. Then, of course, I used my inhaler, and because albuterol is a powerful stimulant and I was already sleep deprived, I took a sleeping pill.
Predictably, I then overslept, so I made it to the bus stop by the skin of my teeth without having eaten breakfast (and still groggy).
Today in class I felt like I could neither learn combinations nor execute anything correctly. I was a mess at barre (seriously, we did turns at the barre and I cracked not one, but *both* knees!) and literally did not make it all the way through even one combination correctly at center.
Or, wait – I did the first set of little jumps right. So there’s that?
On top of not being able to think, my legs felt super-tight. This is what happens when I miss Wednesday class and then have to haul bacon to the bus stop on the bike.
The thing I did do right was persist. I wasn’t injured and I was still learning, so I kept going. Even though I didn’t know the combinations. Even though my balance and coordination were, um, less than perfect.
Once in a while I did something nice. Sometimes I did things that were wrong (that is, not in the combo), but which still looked nice. Sometimes I just a hot mess — and that’s fine.
For what it’s worth, I wasn’t the only one having a bad day. At least three of us (B, Brian, and I) missed breakfast and were not especially sharp, mentally speaking. Another lady (whose name I didn’t catch) hadn’t been in class in a while. The one remaining member of the class (didn’t catch her name, either) seemed to be doing well, at least!
For what it’s worth, I know my standard of badness, so to speak, has improved. When I first came back to class, a bad class was one in which I could barely manage to balance in a 45-degree extension without trembling and wobbling. A couple of months ago, a bad class was one in which I did Every. Single. Turn. the wrong way.
In this class I found and held 90—degree extensions without really trying or even realizing it. I would glance at the mirror (in hopes of confirming that I was doing the same thing as everyone else) and be like, “Ohai! Look at that!”
I turned the wrong way exactly once, and that was because I got ahead of the combo mentally. It had turns both en de dans and en de hors and a change of direction.
I also slipped coming out of a turn and made it look good by dropping into a nice kneeling lunge. Cool stuff.
So there’s that, too.
Perhaps just as importantly, I now feel comfortable enough with my fellow dancers to (GASP!) talk to them before and after class.
Even Brian (aka PDG) has somehow evolved, in my mind, into an actual human being and not an Intimidating Ballet Demigod.
It helps that he’s humble and funny and so forth. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that he struggles with his arms as well (Brian! Of the Beautiful Arms! Struggles with his arms!).
So there you have it. Friday class. Kind of a disaster, but a good disaster nonetheless.
Essentials tomorrow, then opera.