Turn, Turn, Turn

While usually I’m all about the jumps, today I managed to stay on top of the turns, but lost it in the traveling jumps.

We did another complex adagio combination with promenades en dehors that ended with a tricky one — promenade écarté devant en dehors into first arabesque, which is one of those things that seems really difficult until you do it right, and then it’s like magic (the promenade, especially). The cool part is that it’s easier to balance during the promenade if you bring your working leg higher (provided that you’re using your upper body correctly), so it automatically looks kind of amazing.

For once, I didn’t do any turns the wrong way. Going across, we did balancé, balancé, tombe pas de bourée thrice, with the final phrase ending in pique arabesque, failli, turn from fifth en dehors. It went rather nicely both ways. Staying on the music required using a different attack on the last phrase — it had to be sharper and faster than the first two phrases, which were very fluid and mellow. I liked that.

We followed (after the one zillion little bouncy jumps, which I do well as a matter of course) with a sort of medium allegro combination that should, by all rights, have been right up my alley — just sauté arabesque, failli, glissade, assemblé en menage … except my brain got going about port de bras and instead I bollixed it up rather completely. 

I could not both think and reliably get from failli to glissade to assemblé. I’m sure at least two repetitions ended with glissade, pas de chat, while still others turned into Sissons and even cabrioles devants as I realized, too late, that I was Doing It Wrong and attempted to correct myself mid-leap. FFS. The worst part is the I think my assemblé generally looks pretty rad, but missed it almost every time.

Inexplicably, at one point, the whole thing turned into sauté arabesque, failli, precipité, saut de chat, complete with an utterly appropriate port de bras which, nonetheless, had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual port de bras we were supposed to use. Oy vey.

It was a nice saut de chat, at least? It was totally one of those moments when you just have to completely own your alternate version and be like, “Bishes, pls— I’m the soloist, here, my combo is different.”

(Yeah … apparently mine was the turkey combo?)

And then, to cap things off, something weird happened in my ear going left (which is to say, I suddenly quite deaf in my left ear unless you count the fact that it was ringing), and instead of continuing as I normally would, I sort of froze for what felt like forever.

Right in front of Brian.


You have not lived until you’ve stood, frozen on one leg, confused panic writ large in your every fiber, blinking desperately, nose-to-dance belt with your teacher (he happened to be sitting down at that moment).

Oh, the humanity.


The saving grace was that I wanted to work on spacing, so I opted not to go first. Had I been in front, a tragic and disastrous nine-dancer pileup would certainly have ensued.

Instead, there was only one dancer behind me, and he’s still new to this class, so he was working slowly and carefully (he’s more the “drill it ’til ya kill it” kind than the “fake it til ya make it” kind, I think). There was a loooot of space between us, so I managed to come unstuck and do the right combination, like, twice.

At the end, we just did that weird thing whose name I can’t remember in which you basically run across the floor in attitude (usually with your arms in second). I’m really bizarrely good at it, so that was nice.

If ever they ask me to rename a ballet step, though, I’m going to take that one and rename it “pas berger des chats,” or perhaps “pas troupeau des chats,” because it looks exactly like what I do when I’m trying to herd cats through a door (which, curiously, I also do fairly well, all things considered).

Today’s reverence was also strange, but nice — sort of contemporary yoga ballet reverence.

Soooooooo … yeah. That was Saturday class this week.

For what it’s worth, it was a good class overall.

But I need to remember my own First Rule:

There’s No Thinking In Ballet.

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2015/10/10, in balllet, class notes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a really cool class with some fun combinations. I haven’t danced in a month. Makes me miss it really bad. And one of my biggest problems has been overthinking in ballet, much less thinking.

    • It really was! Brian gives us great combinations (as does Brienne, who teaches or Wednesday morning class).

      I suspect that over-thinking is endemic in adult ballet students. I’ve read that it’s common in adult students of many pursuits, but ballet in particular seems to attract intelligent, thoughtful types.

      I hope you’re able to get back to class soon!

  2. *our Wednesday… Blargh, autocorrupt.

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