I am apparently having an unsociable week. My apologies for the comments to which I have yet to reply (I keep saying to myself, “NEXT TIME YOU LOG IN, DanseurIgnoble, REPLY TO PPL!!!” and then not doing it) and also for relative radio silence.

I am doing class and things are going pretty well, actually, I’m just feeling peopled out and my language co-processor keeps being like, “Feh, you want me to craft a cogent response to somebody else’s thoughts? Here, why don’t we look at more memes instead.”

So! It turns out that, this weekend, Pilobolus is teaching a master class in Cincinnati! At 10:30 AM! FOR ONLY FIFTEEN DOLLAS (if you register in advance)!

If you’re in the area and you can go, you totally should. You will run into me and get to watch me flail through said class. Assuming you’re not also flailing away so hard that you can’t spare the energy to do so.

Pilobolus occupies a huge space in my heart. I grew up on their home turf (Connecticus is tiny, y’all), and they were the first modern dance company I ever saw, way back when I was but a wee bairn (like, seriously, I was probably about three?) and had no idea that dance came in different flavors.

Anyway, you can thank Modern T, who informed us of this minor miracle, for this particular FanBoy Moment.

…Which sounds like some really awful blended tea flavor. “After a hard day at the con, settle down in your hotel room and relax with a piping-hot cup of FANBOY MOMENT.”

Or maybe it’s an equally ill-advised cologne, I don’t know. I imagine that it either smells like a freshly-opened pack of Magic cards did in 2002 or maybe like the scent of convention centers and sleep deprivation? I’m rooting for the first one, because I have never been to a convention center that didn’t have that “brand-new-carpet and brutalist concrete architecture” smell.

Anyway. Come do class with Pilobolus! It will be awesome! And then we can go to IKEA together, because Louisville is apparently not good enough to have its own IKEA.

Or, well, we can if we can still walk after an hour and a half of Pilobolus masterclass. Or maybe if they have those little electric carts. I don’t know.

Posted on 2016/04/19, in balllet and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Frist time in the Boss’s midweek harder-mode class last night. And turns are back. This shouldn’t have been a big surprise because I’ve been practising the B prep at every opportunity – if it works on a hotel room carpet, both vanilla and a la seconde, it’ll probably work in class. Seriously. I got a double just randomly dicking about between sequences, which the Boss heartily ignored. So it looks like I was turns girl this week:-)

    Also, I finally pulled off the backwards roll/kick both legs over one shoulder off the opposite arm bastard in floorwork. The fear has gone out of that one. And did she notice? naw.

    On the other hand, the Boss’s midweeks are fast and I did quite a bit of falling behind, racing through the next movement, and ending up ahead of the count. Plus there were two new sequences to learn. The floorwork phase was familiar, just faster, but the adagio and the across-the-floor phases were completely new. Awkward goose is awkward *honk*.

    Ironically for TURNS ARE BAAACK! day, the new sequence could kind of do with turns girl. Big dramatic jumps, though – in three successive travelling phrases there’s a TJ to reverse direction (followed by a travelling handstand), a split-leap (followed by a curious sort of half turn in demi pointe), and a stag for the finish. On the other hand it starts off with annoying intricate floorwork. Let’s see if I can remember it all:

    Start off in 1st
    Drop into a press-up position
    Open to the right, extend the right arm
    Roll right (tuck in the arm, clearly) 2x
    Rotate right 90 ie. you’re facing to the left of stage
    Backward roll ie. you’re now facing right
    Push up and around, so you’re standing up, facing right
    Travelling hs/windmill to standing parallel

    [if I haven’t fucked up by this point something is abnormal]

    Change leg [not exactly a turn, but you should be facing through 180 degrees from the previous movement. tell inner turns girl to piss off]
    Piqué turn en dedans
    Run 2 steps
    TJ to reverse direction
    Travelling hs
    Rotate left 90 to face the mirror
    Extend right
    Lunge into an arabesque on the right
    Tendu to 5th, arms in 5th
    weird new half-turn – en dedans off the right leg, sort of in attitude, sweep left hand across your face as trigger movement and plié as you do it

    [the plié was a correction – actually a really useful one]

    gallop 2 steps left
    half turn
    gallop 2 steps right
    split leap right, landing in 4th
    step back, up to demi pointe, half turn
    gallop 2 steps right
    stag leap!

    and you’re done.

    I think that’s right for the travelling but I’m hazier about the floorwork bit. at least I got it OK-ish the last time I went across. next up: I must make a note to be conspicuously nice to somebody in the 2-3 hours after class before I return to my usual chippy, cynical self.

    • Hooray for turns! And you’re right — if you can do turns on carpet, you can probably do them literally anywhere. (Ditto renversé, AKA “The turn that isn’t.”)

      Also, holy hell, those combinations sound fracking (no, autocorrupt, not “franking,” I don’t think that’s even a thing) amazing. Though, yes — oy vey, the floorwork. Apparently it’s “World Combinations That involve Intricate Floorwork Week,” as ours had similar goings-on. Also began with stabbing ourselves, which seemed like such an opportunity for expression that I totally failboated it by overthinking).

      One of the things I’m really coming to love about modern is the room granted for the “fake it ’til ya make it” approach — modern teachers are, of course, concerned with not injuring their students through negligence, but perhaps because modern on the whole is much less concerned with replicating a precisely-defined movement style, they seem much more willing to just throw challenging steps at students — steps that might lie a little beyond the boundaries of the students’ current capabilities, even.

      From a cog-psych perspective, I guess it’s a question of top-down versus bottom-up teaching. In my modern class (and those I’ve taken in the past) , we’re always working from the big picture (some giant, crazy movement or what have you) down towards the details. It’s like, “Do this thing!” and we approximate as best we can, sometimes better than other times, and then Modern T goes, “Okay, DanseurIgnoble, try really falling into it,” and we do it again, and so on, until we’re working on the refining the elemental details. (Because of this, I can now do coupé-jete en tournant about 5 tries out of 6, up from “so rarely it’s more or less random”).

      In my ballet classes, it’s usually almost the opposite — new steps often get broken down into the proto-steps that build them (grand jeté = plié + brush into grand battement with the working/leading leg, etc) and taught very explicitly; we work up to performing them all-out and then cycle back to working on details (“DanseurIgnoble, pretend someone’s hooked your shirt with a fishing line so you don’t leave your chest behind. AwesomeGirl, really use that brush through the floor to get more power.”).

      This works, too, but I think it also engenders excessive thinking and the attendant stiffness.

      Regarding your last sentence: I keep being surprised by the fact that all the professional dancers I meet turn out to be disgustingly nice people, but maybe I shouldn’t be. I’m also a lovely human being in the time immediately following a class. Hm.

      • I also have a theory about the touchy prima stereotype, by contrast – if you have a bunch of low level injuries and soreness, you’re likely to be fucking cranky and horrible unless and until you’re warmed up and stretched out. Or drugged up, which has its own challenges. Anyone who’s had a bad back should be able to get this. Outsiders tend to meet you cold, hence the stereotype.

      • You know, this makes a great deal of sense.

        Also, can confirm — source: I can definitely get my bitchy prima on when I’m sore and trying to exist with a bunch of low-level injuries (or when my blood sugar is low; holy hell, I am the hangriest person on earth). And I’m not even a real official professional performance person yet, so I don’t also have to deal with everyone else having the same problem at the same time and an AD being like, “WTF is rong with U ppls?!”

  2. I’ve just remembered I missed a whole chunk of the floor out of that!

    Anyway, off to see Balletboyz tonight.

    • wonderful detail: part of last night’s performance is a class-as-performance piece, and they actually choreographed someone as turns girl, reliably doing a pirouette when everyone else just did a piqué turn and sometimes just an extra one for the sake of it:-0

      • Ha! That is so on point (en pointe?)! FWIW, I have yet to see a class-as-performance piece that I didn’t love — to a great extent, because of touches like that.

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