The Value of Video
Sometimes, when he takes class with us, BG stops after barre or skips the repetition of an exercise and sneaks in some video recording.
Some of us grumble about it—generally, folks who don’t want to see themselves on the program’s Facebook page (BG is very conscientious about honoring their wishes)—but I’m grateful for the videos.
The thing is, no matter how hard you try, you can never really watch your own turns (by way of example: the same can be said for entrelacés and so many other things). At best, you snatch glimpses of them. It’s hard to really get a sense of how things look so that you can correct accordingly—and how things look often differs considerably from how things feel.
Likewise, video allows a real sense of progress: you can compare last year’s video, last week’s video, this morning’s video and see where you’ve improved, where you really haven’t, and where perhaps you’ve picked up a bad habit.
- Dancers, like horses, catch “vices” from one-another sometimes.
Anyway, BG posted a couple of videos yesterday that I found very useful.
In the first, L and I are doing soutenu turns at the beginning of an exercise. It was surprising to see how much more vertical the axis of my turn has become.
BW has given me so many soutenus; it was in his class that I first noticed that I was allowing my shoulders to fall backwards (or, really, that I was arching my back away from the turn). I’ve been working on that very consciously for months, so it was nice to see how well it’s paid off.
I think I’m still just a shade behind the vertical, but that’ll come.
The second video is a waltz: T, L, and I—generally the more advanced segment of this class—dancing together in a lovely little triad.
I’m much happier with my balancé than I was even a few months ago, though I think T’s épaulement is prettier than mine. Same goes for the waltz turn: I think one of my arms looks a little wonky in this video (I failed to carry my elbow), but I’ve managed to pull a lot of slack out of my spine, which allows me to reach through my legs more effectively.
My turns, on the other hand, are a bit Meh. I prepare with too much slack in my lumbar spine and my free leg slightly less than fully turned out, which means I’m doing extra work to pull the turn up on its axis. This is a profoundly useful bit of intel, as it explains one of the reasons I don’t have reliable triples back yet: my core isn’t quite there—or, at any rate, my use of my core isn’t.
This exercise ends with piqué arabesque, and BG managed to capture the moment when I remembered L’Ancien’s physical correction to my arabesque in our adagio. It’s funny to watch: I remember recalling L’Ancien’s question and pulling myself together, and that it made me late exiting the arabesque but felt good.
In the video, I don’t manage to get my leg and my back as high as I did in L’Ancien’s adage, but it’s a cool thing to remember a mental self-correction and to see it after the fact.
I’m not sure this will work, but here are the videos:
(Gave it a test run. You don’t have to log in to Facebook to watch these, though the dialogue sort of implies it. Just tap or click the video itself to hit play. I’m not sure if they’ll be viewable outside the US; international permissions can be weird.)
Anyway, class tonight, but today I’m basically taking it easy until then. Just going to wash some dishes and cook some food.