Friday Morning Fumbling
I had many troubles with the sleepings last night, as is probably evidenced by my falling back onto something resembling a combination of dogespeak and lolspeak.
As a result, today, I arrived on the scene mentally jumbled, then proceeded to try to lead pliés.
I have been doing pliés since I was six. You would think I would have this down. Likewise, I’ve designed (edit: and led) plié exercises for beginning dancers before. Whole barres, in fact.
It’s not hard. In fact, it’s so easy that the proverbial cave man could do it, providing that his musculoskeletal system allows for an appropriate degree of turnout (otherwise, he should modify accordingly).
Usually, you can do something like two demis, one grand in 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th, then stick cambres and things between them if the music allows. At the end, you either take a sus-sous and possibly detourné or maybe you don’t, depending on your class. Maybe you just take a sus-sous and balance. Maybe you just finish en bas.
Anyway, coming up with an opening plié combination is normally the easiest thing in the world.
But, OTOH, it really helps if you listen to the music first and work your way through. Which I totally failed to do.
So there we are doing the pliés I’ve just given, and I’m going, “Oh, crap, I should’ve included cambres in here, there’s totally time,” and kicking myself and screwing up the port de bras. That I’ve just given.
Anyway, later in class it got better, as my brain finally decided that it could come on line and work a little. I had an easier time asplaining the chassée-sauté combination that we did going across, and even convinced the class to relax and play around a little.
Semi-Pro Tip: when doing a simple chassée-step-sauté combination, invoke the Party Scene from Nutcracker; it makes everyone giddy (unless they hate the Nutcracker, in which cause … I dunno, there are good party scenes in basically all of Petipa’s ballets; just pick one). Likewise, to encourage freedom in the arms, ask your dancers to imagine themselves in big floofy skirts that they can wave around with their hands — grown-ups think this is funny, which makes them laugh, which helps in and of itself, but they’re often willing to step right into the Big Floofy Skirt role. (YMMV with guys; I didn’t have any guys today, but I’m certainly not afraid to don my Big Imaginary Floofy Skirt.)
I was, however, an overall terrible example much of the time, because sleep deprivation had left me a tad wobbly and was also making it hard to keep my head in the game.
Seriously, when we had some time to practice turns at liberty, I did two stellar singles from fifth, then somehow got distracted by my own reflection and pretty much fell over. I mean, not all the way, but you know how it is.
Anyway, next week, I will come prepared with a plié exercise in addition to all the fancy tendus I keep thinking about, and then I will maybe introduce them to basic mazurka step, which I think they’d enjoy.
And, also, I will listen all the way through the music while class is getting itself set up, so I know what I’m working with (though if it’s the same music, I know what we’re doing now).
And, with any luck, I will be less sleep deprived, so things will hang together (like my head and eyes and arms, for example; so many times my head was just like, “Oh, we were doing rond de jambe now? I was, you know, thinking about Swan Lake, and also about bagels.”
So there you have it. Failing to plan is planning to create a deeply inadequate plié combination.
À bientôt, mes amis.
Posted on 2016/04/01, in balllet, class notes, teaching and tagged fail to plan - plan to fail, falling down on the job (more or less literally), the hard part is thinking with your body and your brain at the same time. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.