On the balance (see what I did there? :P), class went well today.
I felt a bit asleep at the wheel for the first half of barre, then found myself able to count with my brain but not with my feet, then finally got it all working at once, so by the time we came to center I was wide awake.
We had a lovely adage that looked like it would begin croisée right but in fact shifted immediately to the left instead—one picked up the back foot and turned the hips, devloppéed to the front, then lifted up and through into first arabesque before closing back and developpéing the front leg to écarté. From there, if I remember correctly, it closed back, shifted the facing again, extended to third arabesque, fondu-ed to attitude, came around via tour lent (aka promenade) just to the opposite corner, fondu-ed to allongé, came through pas de bourrée to fourth, turned en dehors, and began again on the opposite side.
- Killer B goes by the definitions in which it’s only promenade when partnered, which I also prefer.
I might be missing something, but it was a really nice combination. The constant shifts in facing meant you couldn’t let your body get behind you: on the first run, second side I did, and wondered why everything felt so heavy and awful. I fixed it on the repeat, and it was like magic.
The real magic, though, was our petit allegro—nothing complicated, just:
…but the first time it felt heavy and disconnected.
Then Killer B said, “Think of each jump as preparation for the next jump,” and a little lightbulb turned on in my head.
We ran it again, and suddenly it felt light, free, and easy. I found myself inhabiting the physical memory of doing petit allegro as a kid. That, you guys, was a profound pleasure.
For what it’s worth, it’s not that I didn’t know that petit allegro should be done this way. There are many things that we, as dancers, may know intellectually without really knowing them. I hadn’t realized that I was executing each step of each petit allegro as A. Separate. Entity. Unrelated. To. The. Next.
But I was. And the times that petit allegro has felt good? Those were the times that I forgot myself, got out of my own way, and did it right anyway. The times that I let myself dance.
So, strangely enough, it seems as if maybe I don’t actually hate petit allegro. I certainly didn’t hate it today. In fact, to be honest, I kind of loved it.
We also learned how to correctly execute temps levée battu from jeté (presumably also battu): assuming that you’re not doing the weird reverse jeté that closes coupé devant, you spring off the leg you’ve just landed on, beat front as if in sous-sus in the air, then bring the working leg back to coupe as you land.
THIS LOOKS REALLY COOL.
Honestly, it’s one of things that always blows my mind when I fire up the YouTurbos and watch the Royal Danish Ballet.
In fact, here:
This clip is supposed to start at 0:55, where two of the boys break out that beautiful Danish petit allegro that always seems, to me, like a visual representation of the song of a canary. It might not start there for you (the preview keeps starting at the very beginning), but if it doesn’t, that’s where the really impressive bit takes off.
In other news, I had this very intense dream in which I smelled smoke and thought the house was on fire, but it turned out that someone was burning a stubbled field just down the road. I wasn’t myself—I was some random blond boy living in a farmhouse with my sisters, and we were all very afraid until we understood what was happening.
I woke to the persistent smell of smoke, but not “the house is on fire” smoke—more like that scent of burning dust that you get when you fire up your forced-air furnace for the first time in any given winter, but much, much stronger than usual, and much more persistent.
It turned out that what I was smelling was the bearings of the furnace fan burning themselves out.
D, fortunately, knows how to fix stuff like that. I continue to be impressed with him. In all honesty, while I sometimes enjoy lifting heavy things (like other human beings or myself), I am Not That Gay Guy. (And, yes, if you’re wondering, that was definitely a consideration when we were courting. He had me at “I can do most plumbing and electrical work myself.”)
So as I write, D is replacing the fan in the furnace that blows the hot air around so I can get out of bed with only two shirts and a hoodie on instead of with three shirts, a hoodie, and a parka (because we both refuse to turn the temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit but I’m a dancer so I get cold).
Speaking of dancers, back to the Royal Danish. There are some lovely moments in the coupled petit allegro that immediately follows the boys’ little variation wherein they’re folding and unfolding their legs in this way that is, for some reason, one of the things I love most about ballet. I love ballonés, ballottés, and temps de cuisse in part because they employ these folding-and-unfolding sequences, and so often when I catch sight of myself in class and thing, “Ah, I look like a dancer right now,” it’s in the midst of some developpé or balloné or ballotté.
If, by the way, you could use a little guidance on the difference between balloné and ballotté, Ballet Webb has a good, short article on exactly that.
Needless to say, the technicalities of ballotté are high on BW’s nitpick list. It drives him crazy when he catches us doing ballonés instead.
PS: I used the heck out of the “Look! A Foot!” cheat during the sissones. It worked like a charm, though then I got excited and kept sissone-ing to like 90 degrees. Mental note: CALM DOWN, IT’S PETIT ALLEGRO!!!