Monday Class: In Developpe-ment?

Okay, that was bad, I admit it. Couldn’t think of anything else.

I felt a bit stiff this morning. I may have overdone it yesterday with caffeine, rum, and sugar, while under-doing it with, like, actual food and calories, heh. Today, I made roasted chicken legs* and vegetables for dinner, so that’s a step in the right direction.

*…As I said to my friend Robert, “…Cut from the bodies of bros who skipped leg day. THIS IS WHY YOU NEVER SKIP LEG DAY.”

Fortunately, as I’ve mentioned before, in ballet, every day is leg day.

On the other hand, The Lady of the Camélias was stunning. Not only very fine dancing, but very fine acting, particularly by Svetlana Zakharova, who absolutely embodied the principal female role, Marguerite. Anna Tikhomirova brought humor and aching pathos to Marguerite’s mirror image, the legendary Manon Lescaut, who appears both in the ballet-within-the-ballet and also in Marguerite’s inner visions.

Andrei Merkuriev portrayed Monsieur Duval, father of the lovelorn leading man, Armand, with a moving gravity worth noting.

As so often happens, watching great dancing instilled in me a renewed sense of both why I dance and what ballet should do — lessons I hope will stick with me while I’m recording my audition video this week!

I walked away from The Lady of the Camélias remembering that I need to return to what might really be the first principle of free movement in ballet:

Don’t make it happen —
Let it happen.

…Which I largely succeeded in doing during barre, but not so much at center.

Class started out strong, but Tawnee (subbing for Brian, who’s dancing in various places over the next few weeks) worked us quite hard, particularly in the fondues. I acquitted myself quite nicely throughout the barre, up to and perhaps especially the fondues, but my legs were pretty cooked by the time we got to center.

That said, my développé at barre was about as good as it has ever been today — a partial compensation, I guess, for the fact that my turns were horrible, horrible, horrible! Except for the last one, which was … eh. Decent, I guess?

I’ve noticed that, when I’m tired, I resort to trying to make things happen, and I get really tense. You definitely can’t do adagio well when you’re tense. Or, well — I can’t.

So, basically, if the motto of every ballet teacher ever is, “Make it look effortless!”, at center, I more or less did the opposite … at least until we got to jumps. We only did little jumps (we ran out of time), but those always go well for me, and they use different muscles than developpé.

I should probably add that, fatigue notwithstanding, this class was fantastic — very reminiscent of Brienne’s killer classes, though with a slightly calmer energy. I think it’s a question of personality: I wouldn’t say that Tawnee’s more laid-back than Brienne, just that her intensity is more … internal? Both run a tight ship (which is incredibly important on Monday morning!) and issue solid, intelligible, helpful corrections.

Tonight I’ll be rolling out … um, basically every muscle in my body, probably … and then taking some naproxen before bed. I already gave myself a good soak in the tub, but I might take another one. I’ve been working on really nailing down port de bras, and I’m feeling it in the muscles of my upper back — the middle and lower parts of the trapezius especially, but also the little muscles whose names I forget that keep the scapulae (the shoulderblades) pulled in against your back.

Incidentally, if you’re doing port de bras without your shoulder blades sticking out, you’re probably also not letting your chest collapse inwards and your shoulders round and creep up, so that’s something worth thinking about.

In order to achieve really free, graceful port de bras, you really have to hold it all together and use the big muscles in the center of your back** to suspend your arms … which, when you’re paying attention to using them right, can get surprisingly heavy over the course of a class even if they’re not very big.

**This is why dancers tend to have beautiful backs.

Tomorrow B. and I will rehearse my piece and finalize some choreography. I haven’t even marked this dance with a second person, let alone run it, so there will probably be some things that need to be ironed out. Thursday, we’ll be able to record, and then I can finally finish my Columbia application 😀

I think it’ll be awesome dancing with B., because we have very similar personalities and we kind of feed off each-other’s energy in a really cool way. (Denis and N., B.’s husband, were cracking up about this at dessert after the ballet yesterday; B. and I kept going on and on and on and on about dance, and of course waving our hands about like madpersons (there is nothing, I’m sure, quite like being crammed into a tiny booth with two dancers madly walking through sweeping adagios with their hands), and evidently this was highly amusing.)

Erm. What else?

Flexibility-wise, the left split is back to being super easy; the right is still a little tight, but I’m at least getting down to the floor reliably again. I feel like I should probably focus quite a bit on flexibility this week, since I’ll be dancing every day through Thursday, and the weather is going to be grey, damp, and chilly — a perfect recipe for stiff muscles.

Okay. That’s it for now. I’ve got a little more laundry to fold, and then I’m going to roll my legs and go the heck to bed.

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 2015/12/07, in balllet, class notes, school and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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