Thursday Class: Company B Sorts My Arms
Tonight, I went to Company B’s class, and I’m glad I did.
Barre was generally good, though my arms crept back past my shoulders a couple of times, as is their wont (the downside of hypermobility: wonky proprioception).
Turns and waltz, too, went well. Company B gives us little the touches of finish — turn your head to the audience here; give them your cheekbones there, carry your arms through this chassée, add a little brush out of the pas de bourré.
These are the things I’m working on, now: refining, refining, dancing not only with with the music and myself but my fellow dancers (which was what I loved most about my duo with C — we naturally connected at various points in the choreography in a way that adds a great deal of life to the piece) and, most importantly, with the audience.
Anyway, the port de bras for the chassée — pas de bourré at the start of our terre-a-terre turns made me understand the arms that go with Albrecht’s variation. I thanked Company B for for this and he took a moment working it out, I think to be sure there wasn’t another piece I might need (which there was; there’s a cambré that comes at the beginning of the first sequence of jumps and between it and the repeat of that sequence that I’ve been forgetting).
Turns were on today. I’m much more relaxed around Company B, as we sort of know each-other socially at this point and his teaching style works so well for me. In his class, I mostly don’t attack my turns with the kind of frenetic madness that I often do elsewhere. Because of that, they’re better.
We did a really lovely zigzag waltz, which I kept screwing up in various small ways because I was focused on making it pretty — so first I left out the second set of waltz turns, and then I forgot to zag and had to catch up, and then I left out the second set of waltz turns again.
I redeemed myself with jumps, though: managed to do entrechats quatres with a smile on my face, even though I had inadvertently rearranged the choreography (thanks, muscle memory!), and in our grand-allegro I substituted cabrioles for temps levées arabesques. We were granted a little freedom to improvise, so I added tombé-pas de bourré-glissade-pas de chat, for which Company B offered further guidance on my arms.
I threw in one Italian cat, just for fun.
After class, Company B and B chatted for a while, so I reviewed the duo: specifically, the part that looks easiest, and is actually the hardest — a series of pique arabesque balances with a kind of character-dance port de bras interspersed with contretemps. The tricky part is constantly changing the arms through the contretemps while continuing to make everything look blithe and fun and effortless (oy — ballet, amirite?). You say (pique arabesque-ing toward the wings), “Here I am, ladies!” Then (pique arabesque-ing toward center stage), “Here I am, old buddy! Pretty girls in this village!” Then (pique arabesque—ing back toward the wings), “Me again, ladies! Check out these legs!”
And you definitely should not look uncertain about about it, or all lithely and tragically romantic like you will in the next act when the Wilis have got you (yeah, perfect setup for a “Mother Russia” one-liner).
So, anyway. Good class. Good night 🙂