Danseur Ignoble: Mining the Elements (Friday Essentials Notes)
I am still making the most of my long purgatory in Essentials, (not so-) patiently working the basics while rebuilding the strength in my calf.
We had a new guy today — it was his second class, but I missed Monday evening, so we hadn’t met before. He’s an enthusiastic student and looks like he’ll stick around, which is great.
As I was heading down to the bus stop, we chatted about classes, and how Margie’s class is well worth taking no matter how long you’ve danced (though our new guy was really totally new).
I was reminded yet again how a basic class is never a waste of time. Even the most advanced dancer can stand to check in with the essential elements of his or her technique from time to time.
Just as importantly, perfection is an ever-receding goal. In ballet, you will never learn absolutely all of the technique perfectly. Thus, it’s very heartening to revisit your strengths.
Today I really focused on bringing musicality into my port de bras and épaulement. I also worked on one-foot relève balances, particularly on developing a better proprioceptive sense about my back. My right calf is still weakish; by the time it’s strong enough for serious work, I hope to have my back well and truly sorted. I am practicing balances like crazy at home, too.
I should stipulate: I can balance quite well as long as I’m moving (so my turns are better than my static balances would imply), and I can definitely balance for a few seconds at a time.
I can also generally balance longer when I step into demi-pointe. It’s rising to élevé or relève that seems to add the difficulty. Too often (just as when I was learning to track stand on the bike), I do fine until I notice that I’m balancing.
So it’s a question of finding my center and staying there as I balance. And, like, not doing whatever, “Oh, hey, look at that!” micromovement it is that knocks me over when I succeed!
Our Ballet Anniversary is coming up. I feel like I’ve had a couple setbacks, but overall I’ve gained a lot of ground as a dancer, especially in terms of musicality and expression (which were not my strengths as a kid: I got by on natural grace, but didn’t really make the effort to develop it).
I think that’s really good progress: what I admired in T when I first ventured into Beginner class was his grace, his musicality. I said I’d be pretty happy if, after a year, I was where he was then. I feel like I’ve attained that goal; like I’ve transformed from overwrought squid into, you know, something like an actual dancer.
The 17th, our actual Ballet Anniversary, is a Tuesday, so we won’t be in class on that exact day — but I hope to be back to working jumps, maybe, which will make a nice end to my first year back in the studio.
A year ago, I wasn’t sure where I was going. Now I have a goal and a long-term plan to reach it, and ballet is part of that plan.
Pretty cool stuff. I’m actually looking forward to the future.
That’s good progress, too.