Danseur Ignoble: Milestones
Today, I did Margie’s class. We began with the usual easy plies, combined tendus and degagees to save time, and then she changed it up and gave us a challenging fondu-et-rond de jambe combination and did our grand battement en releve. The fondu-et-rond de jambe combination also involved circular port des bras, which is finally starting to look like ballet instead of like some kind of terrible spasm.
During our floor stretch I still couldn’t get the right-side split all the way down. My right hamstring has been tight since I’ve been riding the bike a lot, and I think I just figured out why — as a long-time equestrian, I tend always to mount and dismount on the left, and as a result I also tend always to put the left foot down at stop signs, lights, and so forth — which means that the right leg does more than its fair share of the pushing-off-from-a-dead-stop work.
The left split, on the other hand, went right down, no sweat: boom, here I am on the floor. So, of course, Margie wandered over and gave me additional stretches (and reminded me to square my hips) — flat back forward; cambre back. I want to say I’ve probably done cambre back in a split before, but certainly not since I was, like, 13 or 14.
I also was able to pretty much pancake during center splits. That’s another thing I probably haven’t done since middle school (or, at the latest, high school, during my Modern Dance phase).
We also did turns from fifth at the barre, and a few of mine came out rather nicely.
Going across the floor, we did a really-rather-wicked balance exercise — two different versions, really.
Version A was what one might describe as a pique-passe-fondu walk (and here’s the hard part) without putting the working foot down and with control on the supporting leg. No hopping. No schlumpnig. Just one smooth motion: pique; working leg comes through passe towards tendu as the supporting leg melts into fondu. Repeat on opposite leg; no step in between. Easy enough on the flat foot; much harder on releve (we used coupe rather than passe en releve).
Version B, on the other hand, started with pique first arabesque, then came through attitude to passe to extend forward and provide the working leg for the next side (en releve the whole time, no steps between, no hopping, no schlumping). I was able to do this really well maybe twice, when (surprise, surprise) I stopped thinking so hard about my supporting leg.
Apparently, there’s no crying in baseball, but there’s no thinking in ballet.
Needless to say, I shall be practicing this at home! This is the first thing that’s caused me to say, “Wow, that’s hard” in the ballet studio. Not to say things are never challenging — but this is the first time something has been sufficiently challenging to warrant mentioning.
After class, Denis took me to a nearby thrift store, where I actually found three really, really nice shirts in my size. Huzzah! It is not particularly easy to find a size small or 14 – 14.5 mens’ dress shirt at a thrift store in this part of the country, let alone three really sharp ones in excellent condition.
I took a chance on one that I wasn’t sure about — a casual button-up with a large plaid pattern in mulberry, several browns, and a couple of other shades. I tried it on in the changing room, and was really surprised to find that I really like how it looks.
The others are both proper dress shirts, one in a crisp black poplin and the other in a French-blue stripe with French cuffs. I’ll see about finding some inexpensive cufflinks that suit it (my current pairs are red and purple, neither of which would be a great match for most occasions, though the red ones could work for Independence Day or Bastille Day :D). Come to think of it, silver (or stainless steel) would go nicely either either the blue shirt or the black one.
Okay. That’s enough for now. I have to go sort out some web stuff, do some homeowork for the MOOC I’m taking, and otherwise attempt to be a responsible adult. Ha!
I’m working on it.