Wednesday Everything, OMG 

Summer Intensive being over, Killer Class with Ms.B is back. 

It wasn’t too bad yesterday, though I was too bad yesterday.

Sure, a year ago, I would’ve killed for a class in which I was like, “Yeah, I’m hella tired; I’ve only got half-baked double turns and single assemblés battu.” 

Still, I felt like an ongoing disaster: my rotators didn’t want to stay rotated, my balances were Meh, my balancés were Meh, I had trouble keeping things in my head, and at one point I forgot we had already done both sides of a combination and stood there blinking with the wrong hand on the barre while everyone else patiently waited for me arrange my waterfowls, etc.

Still, I made it through. Even managed beats in petit allegro, which was mercifully slower than Ms. E’s on Monday, during which I mentally grumbled about wishing we could do men’s tempo for once whilst simultaneously observing that any Danish-trained danseur could certainly manage this tempo so that’s no excuse. 

Grand allegro was better than I expected it to be, if not quite awesome.

I think les turnouts (which, regardless of Autocorrupt’s delightful suggestion, are definitely not “turbos” right now) and the leg-springy muscles need a day off. They might get one today, but I’m still on the fence — do I go take class with Company B, or do I acknowledge the fact that I’m rapidly careering towards two straight weeks without a rest day?

Anyway, afternoon and evening comprised a therapy appointment, my first Trap 3 class, Hoop 1, a break during which I stuffed hummus wraps into my face as I tried not not to heckle Denis during his Trap 1 class (which he’s intelligently taking to supplement Trap 2) and then some futzing about in the Dance Corner, where I discovered that I really shouldn’t more than mark Albrecht because that floor beats the holy hell out of your legs after a couple of runs of big jumps (to be fair, it’s not intended for grand allegro executed by someone with a lot of jump).

Trap 3 was revelatory. I got bumped up from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3 very quickly because apparently that whole thing about lacking upper body strength was some kind of delusion and I’m naturally flexible, while ballet has imparted enough grace, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness to successfully tackle all the things. 

Trap 3, on the other hand, is going to be harder. I expected, for example, to nail meathooks yesterday because I have solid single-knee hangs, a stellar center-split, and controlled v-ups. Ha! In Mother Russia, it turns out, meathook nails you. 

Our instructor, who I’ll call Siren (because I somehow just realized that there are two Aerial Ms!), pointed out that for for me it’s not a question of strength, but of figuring out how to get all the parts to work together in an unfamiliar way*.

  • *This, by the way, typifies my learning process even in ballet: I fumble through the first several attempts at almost any complex new motor pattern, and then it just gels and I have it. The notable exceptions have been tour jeté, single cabriole, assemblée en tournant, and single tours, all of which I apparently learned by divine inspiration. You should have seen me trying to figure out Sissone double, though. Oy to the vey. 

In short: meathooks are … hmm. Ronds-de-jambes that you do in a different plane whilst in a long-arm hang with your head down and your junk up against the bar in such a way as to finish folded over your own arm or arms.

They should end up looking like this (thanks, YouTube!), more or less.

Our meathook exercise involves transitioning from inverted straddle to left two-handed meathook through inverted straddle to right two-handed meathook and back. So far, when I’m lucky, I can get from inverted straddle to an approximation of one meathook or the other — and that’s it.
Trying to convince your shoulders to continue to engage and your body to remain upright while you patiently rond first one leg, then the other around the barre is mind-bogglingly difficult.

I think part part of my difficulty, though, was that I set my grip too wide, which (because T -Rex arms) makes it potentially impossible to engage correctly through my shoulders and and chest. I have this same problem with the arrow/pencil inversion on lyra (and its children, pike and Verukai [sp?], when I don’t remember to set my grip a little narrower than instinct suggests). 

Still, I managed to finagle my way through the Cuddles sequence (I can only assume its name is at least somewhat ironic), which opens with an inversion into a pike across one of the ropes (or, in short, a kind of inversion into a meathook sans straddle) — and the fact that I’m very much capable of managing that inversion suggests that, indeed, strength is not the problem.

After the initial inversion, “Cuddles” involves more or less waving your legs around artfully to tie yourself in a very complicated sliding knot, from which you next glide first into a split and then into a leana, slipping yourself free of your knot as you go. 

It’s a devilishly complex motor sequence, roughly akin to the opening phrase of Albrecht’s variation in terms of coordination and motor planning (though not in the modulation of force, which is part of what makes Albrecht’s variation hard).

After all that, Hoop 1 felt like a walk in the park (which is good — I wasn’t sure that lyra as a chaser for a hefty  draught of trapeze was anything like a good idea), though I made the same grip-width mistake on my first go at the day’s enchaînement.

After, I shot some video of Albrecht’s variation broken into phrases so I could work on properly  sequencing my arms. I think, though, that I’m not going to run it on that floor anymore — I tried to turn down the jump on the cabrioles, but when I do that, the result is cabrioles badly executed, with the top leg dropping to meet the bottom as it swings up to beat (to be fair, it does have the decency to spring back up again — but it shouldn’t drop in the first place). Not a habit I want to cultivate! (I also need to get out of the habit of doing tiny, cautious tours, which I won’t on that floor). 

So I think from here out I’ll either run it on the mats or just mark the legs and train arms and épaulement, depending on whether the matts are free.

Port de bras and épaulement are definitely major goals, now. It doesn’t matter how high you jump or how well you travel if your arms aren’t up to speed. At the end of the day, in fact, that’s the thing that makes me fall in love with Russian dancers every time I see them — they can stand around doing nothing with their legs and break your heart just by lifting their arms.

I want to bring that both to my dancing and to my trapeze and lyra work.

So there you have my new Wednesday schedule in a nut-shell. Killer Ballet followed by Hard-Mode Trapeze, then a lyra class that feels like a break!

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 2016/07/28, in aerials, balllet, cirque, class notes, life, variations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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