Category Archives: dance team

One Word: Yassssss!

Dance Team came first and second in both of their divisions today—we had four dances, one with the whole group and three small-group numbers (one which turned into a solo for our boy L).

This was their first competition, so that’s pretty great, but from where I’m standing, it’s icing on the cake.

The cake, meanwhile, was the fact that they deported themselves like professionals. They ran their dances on their own while waiting to compete, listened to the stewards and made it to the stretch area, the warm-up area, the on-deck area, and the competition floor on time, and they cheered for each-other and, even more importantly, for other teams.

Edit: They also rolled up to our meeting place, their middle school, at oh-dark-thirty in the cold and windy morning, ready to rock, with their hair in neat buns and all their stuff neatly assembled.

Not that there weren’t a few minor hiccups (these guys mostly still need to learn how to put keep all their kit together, so we don’t have to go off hunting for someone’s jazz shoes at the end of the day or what have you), but overall they once again showed us that they can really pull it together when the chips are down.

Tonight, we catch the show at Suspend, and then I’mma sleep like a boss because I woke up at 5:30 this morning after a bizarre post-apocolyptic Zombie dream.

Tomorrow I’ve got Sunday morning class (with a teacher I haven’t had before, yay!) and whatever else. I have a new dance belt to test drive, so I’ll try to report back on that. It’s one of Sansha’s models. Wound up with white (the least practical color for a dance belt: potentially shows under black or white tights), because that’s what they had in my size.

Dr. DanceBelt mentioned that Sansha’s models tend to be high-waisted, and an initial trial fit suggests that’s accurate. I won’t know whether that’s a good thing or not ’til tomorrow.

This Week, We’re Doing LINES

…I don’t mean lines, like scheduling has finally made D and me so insane that the only way to keep up is to use cocaine (heck, he’s so chill he’s still drinking decaf). I mean LINES, as in Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet(1).

  1. Which, by the way, runs an Adult Summer Intensive (it’s on the Workshops page; 2017 dates aren’t up yet). Taught (in part) by Alonzo King himself. OMG, you guys. I’ll add that to the list when I next get around to updating the list, which might be this evening?

Also Louisville Ballet’s Choreographers’ Showcase, Suspend’s Winter Showcase, and the dance team competition.

If I actually think about all this, I might really just explode, so I’m basically not thinking about it.

That said, I’m taking tonight off to try to do some cleaning, because the rest of this week is booked solid. I need to check in with Mr. BeastMode about the fact that I’m very probably going to miss our first rehearsal for the Spring Showcase performance because I’ll be at Choreographers’ Showcase. I’ll see him tomorrow, though, so no big deal there.

I think, in the interest of not dying of overscheduling, I’m also going to skip Thursday’s modern class this week. I’ll run that by LT tomorrow.

I will not, of course, be missing BW’s class or Killer Class. That said, I suspect my legs will appreciate having an evening off today.

Meanwhile, my cat is draped over my arm, impeding any further progress that doesn’t involve my computer. He will be very disappointed when I have to go to work.

Ah! There You Are!

The turnouts seem to be slowly returning to life.

Class today was incrementally better. I was able to feel the turnout muscles without training my entire mind upon them like the Eye of Sauron hunting the One Ring.


As a giant nerd … erm, I mean, as a serious ballet student, I felt that this point required illustration (stolen from via Teh Googs). Also, it really bothers me that I didn’t quite manage to center my caption :/

The result of this was that I actually got a compliment on my passé in Killer Class. It came attached to a minor correction for the placement of my arm, but it still totally counts, mmmkay? (The funny part is that I think I got the same correction from BW last week. Derp!)


This is approximate, of course, but you know … close enough.


I also tried to apply the principle I’ve been exploring in modern class—for me, stretch isn’t a good indicator of placement. This did much for the appearance of my adagio and for the effectiveness of my turns.

Right after terre-a-terre, though, I inhaled a roving dust bunny, which proceeded to stick to my uvula and cause me to cough my brains out :/ Stupid dust bunny. Stupid uvula.

I used about 6,000,000 tissues while Killer B gave us the combination for the warm-up jumps, but still managed to recover in time to do them.

We then did a tiny petit allegro that went:

sisson simple avant
petit assemblé
sisson simple arrière
petit assemblé
changement (x4 I think?)
entrechat quatre
entrechat quatre

Or something along those lines I may have the number of changements and echappés wrong. Regardless, it ended with a pair of entrechats quatre.

My beats were still mostly messy, which is annoying. They’ll get better as I regain all the strengths.

Grand allegro, on the other hand, was less than optimal, because I kept forgetting that there was supposed to be an assemblé after a glissade, and thus getting off the music and being like, WTF, OH NO, INCOMING, ABORT ABORT!!!

…Because, of course, this was a combination that changed directions in the middle, so if you were ahead (or behind), things were going to get weird in your little individual flock.

On the balance, though, class was pretty good, and definitely indicates that I’m on my way back.

In other news, my Dance Team small group is gamely doing some hard stuff, and also my quads are currently on fire, which indicates that I’m still using them too much (read: not yet using the turnouts enough).

Anyway, time to go dangle from the ceiling, after which I am probably going to borrow a corner of the floor during Open Fly and video what the choreography for the small group’s dance is supposed to look like.

Tomorrow I have to call UPS and hound them about the location of a pair of ballet shoes that I ordered, since they were supposedly delivered to my mailbox on Tuesday. Since there has been no sign of ballet shoes in my mailbox, or indeed of a UPS truck, I’m guessing they may have been delivered to the wrong address.

Needless to say, I’m feeling a little peeved, as the new shoes are Blochs, and I was eager to try them out and see whether I like them at least as much as my favorite Sanshas (assuming, of course, that I’ve ordered the correct size).

I may just go buy a pair at the brick-n-mortar shop, as I need to pick up another dance belt anyway, and also I have no patience. But either way I am going to hound UPS about my shoes.

It’s Taimz for Crazy Taimz

As of today, my schedule officially begins its trek through the land of:

This means rehearsals that end at 10:30 on Monday nights, a whole lotta class(1), extra conditioning for an upcoming audition, Dance Team, preparation for our annual Meeting With The Accountant, and work on the next iteration of the website for D’s business*. 

  1. This is different than a Whole Latte class, in which baristas would presumably learn the art of making ethically-sourced organic coffee drinks, or perhaps simply how to make an entire latte and not just part of one(2).
  2. If you forget the milk, for example, it’s just coffee! 

In the interest of retaining some shred of sanity, I’m keeping Modern Mondays off the calendar until March, at least. My primary studio just added modern on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though, so I’ll be doing at least one of those, depending. 

I’m trying to keep Tuesday unscheduled, but since tomorrow is the first class, I’m going to go.

For the time being, on Mondays, it makes more sense to take an evening ballet class instead of a morning modern class. That keeps my mornings free for goofing off on the Innertubes  household stuff and groups all the dance things into a nice block from 2:45 — 10:30. (There’s a dinner break in there, don’t worry.)

This is one of the things I’m trying to do differently this year. Instead of saying, “Oh, cool, I only have three things on the schedule for Mondays!”,  I’m accounting for things like transit time and the fact that I don’t change gears well, so it’s foolish to assume I’ll get even one task done if I have a couple of hours between engagements. 

Thus, while I seem to have once again stacked a lot onto my plate, I’m trying to be sensible about how I approach it. 

The thing I’ve learned about pursuing dance seriously is that you’re either up to your eyeballs in alligators—wait, let’s call them crocodiles because it will be funnier later—or you’re on break. The challenge is learning to Arrange Your Crocodiles  In A Linear Array. Which is to say:

Get your crocs in a row! (Shamelessly ganked from Chris Booth over at Expatior)

Arranging my waterfauna is really not my forté, but I’m learning. Sort of.

The frenzy of class and rehearsal is worth it to have the chance to make art and do the thing that it feels like I was made to do(3).

  1. The cat disagrees. He believes I was made to serve as a cat bed and play-bot. 

I fully expect to arrive home exhausted at 11 PM tonight. Needless to say, I’m glad Tuesday isn’t Killer Class day.

If it was, I’d make it work. It would be worth it.

Right now I feel weirdly like my dreams are rushing towards me at terminal velocity.

All things considered, that’s a pretty cool feeling.

Though, really—ask me again in March how I feel about my schedule 😉

Here’s a detailed explanation of how my current schedule happened:

Okay, Just One More 

… Before I take a break. 

Performance went pretty well tonight.

On the other hand, about half the stage stabbed me in the butt. 

I had to change out of my shorts after “Lean On Me,” because OMG:

Key included for scale.

The corresponding hole in my shorts, happily, doesn’t align with anything that might be considered obscene. 

As D observed, “That’s why you should only dance on marley.”

…Our at least run a Giant Splinter Check with something other than your butt. 

A Break, Maybe?  

I’ve started and scuttled four or five posts this week, and just now figured out that maybe (GASP!) I should take a brief break from the ol’ blorg. I’m not really doing social media right now, either. 

Now is a good time—this week has been jammed with rehearsals and, for me, last-minute learning of choreography for a piece that lost a dancer to illness (I mean, she didn’t die, she’s just out sick; fortunately, this dance is neither long nor difficult, so picking it up in two days has been okay). Next week is the last week of Dance Team for the semester, so we’re doing an improv workshop and team banquet on Friday. I also need to check in with my own wee group of dancers and schedule rehearsals for “Work Song.”

Class updates: Thursday class is on hiatus until after Nutcracker (because BW is Dancing All The Things), Wednesday Class has a sub (who I like very much) until the end of the month because Killer B is also Nutcrackering (IIRC, on Key West!). Saturday class continues with excellent substitutes. I’m going back (finally) tomorrow, though I may just do barre. I chose to call it a day after barre on Wednesday this week, and I think that was the right decision, and while I’m feeling more like normal now, JP’s teaching, and I may or may not have it in me to do his full class. Sunday, I’m back to teaching.

I’ve put Monday class and all Tuesday classes on hold until I get my waterfowls in a linear array, because it’s the only one I feel the least bit flexible about. I’ve been having a rough time getting caught up on stuff that got behind behind at home  while I was sick (in other words, literally everything). That needs to get sorted quickly, and now (before we jump into the fray of “Work Song” rehearsals, Spring Dance Team, and Even Moar ballet) seems like a good time. 

So I am pretty sure I’ll be taking a one-week break, and I might make it two.

But I am, as always,  Not Dead Yet. 

And for all all those celebrating all the various holidays:

So paper. Many joy. Wow

DanceTeam, Yeaaaah! 

Out girls performed on an actual stage for the first time today, and they blew me away. 

Not because they were perfect — they weren’t; nobody is.

But whenever one of them made a mistake, she just kept on trucking like that was exactly what was supposed to happen — so the mistakes disappeared from view.

Likewise, they all broke out of their shells. Apparently the key to getting this bunch out of their own way is to stick them in front of an audience of strangers (and let them bust some hip-hop moves in the hallway before they go on). We’ll remember that! 

The other team that made it to the show(1) was pretty awesome, too. They did a very different piece than ours, which which was cool. They have a couple really, really good movers.

  1. Of the remaining two teams that were registered, one evidently had the wrong address and got hella lost, and the other had a legit flu outbreak, which is not a big shock, since Louahvuhl is more like Flu-ahvuhl right now.

I was also really impressed by the fact that our team wished them luck, cheered for them, and congratulated them, and vice-versa. I can think of at least a few adults who could stand to learn that kind of sportsmanship. 

Anyway, our girls were thrilled, we were thrilled, and nobody went home in tears (not even our dancer who got accidentally elbowed in the nose in the locker room—she got herself together, got back out there, and danced her brains out).

It’s hard to express how proud they made me today. It was awesome to see them rise to this occasion like they did. So, yeah—I think by the time competition season rolls around, they’ll have no problem holding their own. 

Break (Almost) Week; Reflections on Renversés and Choreography as a Process

Saturday, I spent four hours teaching, several more hours scraping paint, and two hours composing choreography before we went to a party that was actually very fun. Sunday, after acro and Acro Brunch, I spent an hour running choreography, then another hour teaching, and then untold æons (with, so really an hour and change, maybe two) standing on a ladder and painting the house while my hands froze in a chill wind in spite of my gloves(1).

  1. Note to self: wear winter cycling gloves next time. They’re wind-resistant.

As such, I opted to stay in this morning, do housework, and take evening class instead) even though I should really get back to doing Modern Mondays). 

The piece I was working on Saturday evening and a Sunday is essentially a 5-minute long comedic story ballet set to the 2nd movement (adagio cantabile) of Beethoven’s Pathétique. I programmed in a few renversés, and I realized while I worked the piece that not so long ago I wouldn’t have even thought of them. They just wouldn’t have occurred to me. 

BW and JP have really tuned up our renversés this semester, and as such they seem perfectly natural now. I put them in more or less by instinct where the music calls for them and the movement leads to them.

This is, in fact, true of a lot of movements in the classical vocabulary. Many things feel perfectly natural now that wouldn’t have a year ago. 

I think I’ve discussed my tendency to get get to the studio and instantly forget every step I’ve ever learned, then devolve upon programming a bunch of piqué turns and ronds-de-jambe (sometimes while thinking, “How do I get to the jumps?! Ack!”).  I also used to open every adagio piece with essentially the same sequence of développés and adagio turns that open Simon Crane.

Somewhere along the line, that seems to have changed.

This surprised me. Ballet is funny like that. It creeps up on you, and one day you discover that you are far more fluent in its language than you thought.

As a caveat, I must admit that I don’t know if it works this way for people who are genuinely new to dance. I think it might take a little longer in the situation, possibly. For me, the vocabulary was there but largely dormant; I could picture a dance, but when I tried to essentially run dance.exe to execute the dance, it was as if I couldn’t access the necessary files and code.

Taking class again for the better part of three years has apparently done a great deal of hard disk repair, kicking out the bad sectors and improving the connections between the good ones. The dynamic link libraries are once again accessible; the modules of code that create renversés  and cabrioles are no longer in the land of File Not Found (double cabs continue to elude me: goal one for 2017, I guess; double tours are probably goal two). 

When I go to create a piece that’s floating around in my head, I rarely lose the piece anymore. The vision and the finished dance usually match pretty well. I still mostly work phrase by phrase — visualizing, iterating, visualizing, iterating, then moving to the next phrase when the current one one seems solid, then eventually stringing them together into parts and finally stringing the parts together into a dance — but that may simply be my work style.

It also really helps to be able to remember the names of things. Makes writing them down much easier. The downside, though, is that I can now stay up till 1:30 AM listening to music and writing out choreography, knowing that in the morning it will still make sense. Or maybe that’s another upside, because it’s not like choreography didn’t keep me awake before. It just rarely turned out to be particularly intelligible in the cold light of day(2).

  1. Seriously, while working with BB, I have actually said things like: Why did I just write “effacé” there?! Éffacé what?! How? What does that mean? …Did I even mean éffacé? … Wait, I don’t think I meant éffacé.

So I’m pleased to say that this current piece, which I’ll be performing on 9th December if I can convince a couple of people to join me (there’s a second, far less technical dancing part and one brief non-dancing part), is not just a sequence of RDJs and random turns (it has arabesques, penchés, faillis, renversés, double turns, sautés arabesques, tours lent, and some other stuff, not to mention a grand allegro chase scene in the middle). Progress!

In other news, this week will largely be a break week, which means I’ll have time to catch up on household minutiae and start rehearsing “Work Song,” possibly, if everyone is available. After tonight, both dance team and ballet are off until next week. This will be a good week for reconditioning. You guys, I am weak. Between vacation and being sick, I have lost a lot of strength and stamina. 

So it’s back to eating for performance (with, of course, occasional digressions into the realm of pure pleasure) and training for … Erm,  also for performance.

And housework, because adulting never ends. 
Edit: PS – Señor BeastMode would probably like me to remind you that:

Renversé is not a turn.

Meh-dern Monday

I am definitely on the mend (the meh-nd?), but not yet well enough for class. I’ve got an inquiry in to my doc’s office to see if they want me to come back in. 

I stayed in this morning, slept late, and had really weird dreams that probably resulted from the fact that I was sleeping with my face shoved into a pillow that was, in turn, hanging off the bed and wedged into the Pile-O-Books that lives on my nightstand. I can’t remember what the dreams were about, but I remember thinking they were weird. 
Anyway. I read in the bath for an hour and change, trying to get the fresh cement in my head to loosen up. It did, to an extent, for a while.

Then I went off to Dance Team, where the girls were pretty awesome. AS and I restructured the rehearsal program and divided the girls up into discrete small groups, and that made a big difference.

I let my group choose a song to work on with no suggestions from me. They chose Adel’s “Rolling In The Deep” (yeay!) and I banged out the first few phrases and got them started. They did a fantastic job staying on task and picking up the opening choreography, including at least one fairly challenging move, so I’ve added some harder stuff to the section they’ll learn learn on Wednesday. 

On Wednesday, I’ll review the technical aspects of the today’s phrases, review today’s phrases, break the new steps down to get them thinking about technique, then teach them the new phrases. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll do as a group.

Tomorrow, I’m going to have to see if I can find a pharmacy that actually has my decongestant. I’m now out of my previous supply, and the pharmacy I normally use hasn’t been able to fill my prescription, which they’ve had for a week as of tomorrow :/

I am audible enough now that I should be able to call their other locations and check around. I’m hoping one of them will have it, as my insurance only covers two pharmacy chains. I can go somewhere else and pay out of pocket if I have to, though. This isn’t an expensive medication.

In other news, I made Brussels sprouts for for the first time ever tonight. They were good! …Which was nice, because the cooking time recommended on the package was too long,and i was afraid they’d be incredible when I took them out of the oven. 

Anyway, here’s my recipe:

You’ll need:

  • 14 Brussels sprouts (or however many you need; scale other ingredients accordingly!) 
  • 1 – 2 tbsp (15 – olive oil or melted butter 
  • 1 – 2 rashers bacon, cooked and cooled
  • coarse salt to taste

Here’s how you make them:

  1. Preheat your own to 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Remove loose outer leaves and cut sprouts in lengthwise halves
  3. Chop or crumble bacon 
  4. Toss sprouts in oil/butter to coat
  5. Place sprouts cut-side down on a cookie sheet 
  6. Sprinkle bacon and salt over sprouts
  7. Roast for 15  –  25 minutes*, until cut sides are golden brown 
  8. Remove from oven, flip sprouts cut-side up, cool for a minute or two, and serve.

*The sprouts came in a bag that suggested 30 minutes at 350 — too long at too low a temp, IMO. I did 15 at 500 and 15 at 350; next time, I’ll just do 20 at 500. Sprouts roast beautifully at a high temperature, with a lovely Maillard reaction where they touch the pan.  That’s why I put the flat, cut side down, by the way — more surface area for browning!   

I was preparing dinner to coincide with Denis’ arrival from a late evening at work, and the sprouts were ready a bit early. I ate almost all of my share before he got home. Thought about eating his, but I’m a nice boy. At least I’m eating again! 

I think I’m going to make these again tomorrow, so I’ll try to add pictures.

Things That Are Okay Right Now

On the upside, the meds are working (still no voice, but overall I’m starting to feel less like the sort of gross wad of chewing gum that one encounters on the pavements in various places), my DanceTeam girls worked hard today today even though they couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t demonstrate anything, and I should be able to do Thursday class with BW tomorrow night,or barre at any rate.

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