The Good with the Bad

First, the bad:

I felt like crap all the way through barre. Tired, which I expected (three hours of circus classes on Tuesday night will do that to you), but also like I was fighting against my own body, which I didn’t expect.

Halfway through I realized that I was fighting against my own body: that I’d managed to turn my quads on and couldn’t turn them off, and they were constantly opposing my still-reconditioning posterior chain.

Needless to say, I might skip Tuesday night classes for a couple of weeks until I get my turnouts back in line.

This is an awkward decision to have to make. Trapeze 3 is only offered on Tuesday night right now, and I really should be drilling away at it—not only because I’ve been in Trap 3 FOREVER (mainly due to schedule conflicts), but also because I recognize that Trapeze is the circus discipline in which I’m closest to achieving a high-level professional standard, and from an economic standpoint, even as a freelancer, aerials gigs to pay better than dance gigs.

That said, I exist first and foremost as a dancer, and it’s my dance background that sets me apart when it comes to auditioning as an aerialist. As such, when I feel like I must choose, ballet always gets the nod. It’s the single most specialized thing I do with my body, and even though my body is well-suited to the discipline, the reality is that to it takes constant work to be a good ballet dancer.

The realities of daily life as a bipedal primate in an advanced society militate against the physical adaptations required to do ballet well. So we take class all the damned time, knowing that every time we miss class, we’re unraveling a little bit of the intricate tapestry we’ve been creating all along.

As they say, “When I miss one class, I know it. When I miss two classes, my director knows it. When I miss three classes, the audience knows it.”

…Presumably because I’m face-down on the stage, wondering how I got there.

Now, the Good:

Adagio felt really decent for the first time since I came back from my post-surgical healing break. As a supporting leg, my right is still significantly weaker than my left, but it’s catching up.

I think part of the reason for this, oddly enough, has to do with the layout of our bedroom. If you’re facing the foot of the bed, I sleep on the left. Our bed is lofted over two layers of drawers, so the options for getting into bed involve climbing, jumping, or doing the equivalent of mounting a rather small horse from the ground.

Being who I am, I opt for jumping or the ground-mount. I usually accomplish this goal by springing off a turned-out left leg whilst jeté-ronding the right[1,2].

  1. This is true whether I’m jumping or doing the ground-mount. The ground-mount version involves bringing my left knee up as if I was going to developpé straight to 145+ degrees à la seconde, setting the inside of edge of the ball of my left foot on the edge of the bedframe (it was build to be a waterbed, so it’s actually nigh level with the mattress), then engaging through the posterior chain whilst swinging the right leg up and over. So, basically the same thing, only different. Also, I’ve never tried to describe a ground mount in terms of ballet before, but it’s surprisingly effective.
  2. I should note that this also has to do with space constraints: yesterday, I tried it the other way, bounced my left knee off the wall to the left of the bed and whacked it very, very hard on the bedframe. 0/10: not recommended.

In short, for essentially two months, I’ve been using the posterior chain of the left leg to do plyometric workouts and more or less doing nothing with the right side.

As they say on the internet:


via Pinterest, via teh Googs, via ImgFlip, probably via some professional photog who isn’t getting her royalties for all the abuses of this photo

Anyway, today I really tried to concentrate on, like, actually engaging my right leg when it was playing the supporting role, and not just flailing around like a dead fish that doesn’t know how to ballet.

Which, to be fair, very few dead fish do.

This involved conceding the possibility that I might need to work with lower extensions: trying to tour lent with the working leg above 90 degrees and the supporting leg on strike doesn’t work very well (to whit: for me, 90 seems to be the sweet spot).

Anyway, I made it through all the things. By the end of barre I wasn’t at all sure that I was going to survive through all of class, and I let Ms. B know just in case I had to peace out before jumps or something.

However, I did survive jumps, and although my brain didn’t want to retain all the petit allegro (and kept insisting on putting entrechats where they didn’t belong, which I guess is probably First World Ballet Problems all the way), I carried off the first run of the grand allegro rather nicely under the circumstances. My grand assemblé was a little meh, but it was better than not doing grand allegro at all.

The combination in question was a zig-zag, starting croisé:

sissone failli
sissone failli
tombé-pas de bourré-glissade-saut de chat
…then back the other way

On second run, I was thoroughly cooked and had trouble getting my trailing leg to play along with the grand assemblé process. It was, on both sides, willing to get off the ground, but that was about it. It was having no part of sweeping up to meet the leading leg at the apex of the jump.

I mention the facing at the start, by the way, because sissone often changes it, and it was no exception here. In this combination, the facing changes through the sissone from croisé to effacé, then back to croisé through the assemblé. The tombe-pdb-glissade-saut de chat begins en face, but finishes croisé on the second side.

Incorporating the facings both makes this combination look really nice and prevents everyone from sproinging into each-other. …Which, to be fair, is not something that happens with any regularity in Killer Class, but you never know.

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 2017/11/29, in balllet, class notes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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