Usually I go to intensives and spend the whole time thinking, Wow, there’s a whole week left or whatever.
LexBallet this year has felt completely different, possibly because I’ve been driving back and forth each day (turns out that it is less expensive even than AirBnB). I’m used to either having the days or the evenings to just loll around and read during intensives, so this is pretty different. Even though the total drive time is only about 2.5 hours each day, I’ve also been at home, doing the things I normally do: going to class, running errands, doing laundry, cooking, amusing the cat … which is really quite different from hanging out in a guest capacity somewhere and not having to do anything except feed myself and eventually put clothes on.
So here it is, almost Friday already. I’ve learned quite a bit. This year only four of us are doing rep, and we’re all in the mix together, learning a scene from Paquita that’s usually all girls but which has a bunch of nice little variations. I am, of course, doing the one with lots of big jumps.
I’m wrestling with some of the corps part still, but feeling pretty decent about my solo (which involves three sauts de Basque, so of course I love it). I’m looking forward to showing it off a little tomorrow.
What comes after gets filed partly under Continuing Education and partly under To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent. The CE part is masterclasses: one (maybe two) at LouBallet and one at LexBallet. The other part (parts, really) I’m keeping under my hat for now.
Suffice it to that sometimes you see a fork in the road approaching, and you have to make some decisions, and while either branch has its merits, sometimes you really find yourself rooting for the new horizon.
I got back to aerials today. Worked on rope for the first time since Intro class (so very, very long ago, that seems!) and realized, holy heck, I like rope. We did some trapeze, too, and I learned a new sequence that works for my bendy, snaky body.
After, we chatted about the personality of the apparatuses. Ultimately, we decided that rope is like that big, kinda rough punk kid who maybe doesn’t shower enough but will stop and help you change a tire in the rain, while silks are totally Mean Girls (pretty, but bitchy as hell and complicated, and they’ll drop you like a hot potato if you set a foot wrong). Trapeze, which we didn’t discuss, strikes me as a little aloof and superior. Probably a bit kinky, too. Dance trap is definitely kinky.
After, L and I set a new phrase for my incredibly complicated acro-ballet-ball piece.
Tonight in class, my body remembered how to ballet (though my right quad decided to involve itself in an relevé lent devant one, which was weird and annoying and promptly made it cramp right up the rectus femoris o_O). We were a little boisterous, but still BW gave us some challenging combinations and some good corrections. I did the petit allegro as if I was, like, actually decent at petit allegro. Go figure.
I have, at most, a few more classes with him. I’ll miss him rather more than I care to admit.
At the same time, I’m trying to look forward and plan the next phase of my training. I’ve had a stellar mentor in him, and while hope we’ll keep in touch a bit, it makes sense to build that kind of connection with someone local. I think Killer B might be a good fit. Did I say that already? Predictive Text seems to think so.
Oh. Lastly, I submitted my proposal for a piece for the next choreographers’ salon thingy. Now I need to round up my dancers and get to scheduling. I’ve decided to set the piece for seven dancers, and I think I have enough
victims volunteers, but whether I can lay hands on all of them at once remains to be seen.
Okay, so I said radio silence through Saturday was probable, but I’m up and running earlier than is usual for a Thursday, so I have time for a quick entry.
Every now and then, I reach a turning point in my life. I think we all do — the proverbial fork in the road.
In truth, I think we usually reach them months, sometimes even years, before we acknowledge them.
I’m not sure when exactly I reached mine, but at some point I did. At some point, a while ago, I chose a path.
I wrote once about my decision not to branch off my ballet-related ramblings into a separate blog. I still have no intention of doing that. What I do intend to do is re-structure this blog.
When I started out here, I was a first-year psychology student, fresh back in school, and still working at a job I hated (actually, this blog goes back to before I even returned to school, but that’s another story). My primary obsession, at the time, was cycling. My primary goal in life was to be a homemaker. I didn’t really have any central focus, though I thought I did. Ballet was a blip on the radar — something I missed fiercely every time I watched anyone dance, but similarly something I guess I could only imagine doing in a far-away Somedayland beyond the margins of imagining.
Obviously, a lot has changed.
First off, while taking care of my home and husband remains an important priority (the cat won’t feed himself — oh, wait, yes he will, if I leave the Food Closet open…), “homemaker” is no longer my primary career goal. Early in our relationship, Denis predicted that this day would come. Because I am stubborn and kind of an ass like that, his prediction made it much harder for me to admit it.
Yet here we are: I no longer think of myself as someone whose primary career goal is “homemaker,” although I still think that’s an important job. It just so happens that I’m not very good at it, in part because I am constantly doing other things that have coalesced into an entirely different, nascent career path.
Four years ago, I thought of myself as a kind of apprentice homemaker. Now I think of myself as a dance/movement therapist in the making, a hopeful choreographer, a researcher, and perhaps someday a neuroscientist.
Four years ago, I was also in denial about my bipolar disorder. Obviously, that’s changed (and it’s changed in part because dancing has made it feel survivable).
Even one year ago, I had bike-racing goals. They were nebulous, but they existed. I don’t anymore. Bike racing and ballet are, to an extent, mutually exclusive. They are antagonistic activities. Training to race tightens all the muscles that ballet needs loosened; ballet, meanwhile — well, ballet might build a better randonneur, actually, but racing demands a high degree of specialization. So I don’t plan to race for the time being. Maybe someday; maybe not.
One can choose either to be a bike racer who dances in a casual, recreational kind of way, or a dancer who rides in a casual, recreational/transportational kind of way. While not that long ago I wouldn’t have been willing to admit it, I have, in fact, made a choice, and the choice I’ve made is to be a dancer.
I’ll undoubtedly still knock out occasional centuries though, and I’d still like to roll a 200k, just to know that I can. But my life with the bike will no longer be about being stronger, faster, harder.
Cycling for transport remains a major component in my life. I don’t see that changing. Likewise, I expect to continue to care about and advocate for forms of transport beyond the private motor vehicle.
The upshot of all this is that I’ve decided to restructure this blog — in effect, to start over fresh, redesign my system of categories (which is, right now, so complicated it isn’t even funny), and let it reflect the direction my life is taking now.
I’m also going to shelve the vast majority of my older posts. Not that I think history is unimportant (that’s why I don’t plan to delete them); it’s just going to take me a dog’s age if I try to go back and re-organize everything. I feel like I’m at a point in my life at which I want to wipe the board clean so I can start working the next problem.
So there you have it. I’ll be tinkering with things for the next couple of days, and I hope that I won’t break anything too badly. This feels like a cleanup project of such epic proportions that, admittedly, a part of me wants to say, “Screw it,” burn my digital house down, and just start over. I’m choosing (with great effort :P) not to do that, but I can’t promise I won’t completely hose things up by mistake and have to start over anyway.
Regardless, going forward, I’m going to let this blog take the direction it’s been taking anyway. I guess it will mostly be about ballet. There will also be bits of research, occasional reviews and travel-related entries, some stuff about cycling, excursions into the realms of bipolar disorder and ADHD, and possibly some other ramblings. I shall re-structure my categories accordingly. Oh, and as always, there will be recipes. I’ll resurrect the old ones as I have time.
In the end, this blog reflects my own journey — the process of becoming myself. I suppose its history is as complicated as that process is. I hope you will forgive me my grand and sweeping changes.
So that’s it. To borrow the words of the great Sam Cooke, “It’s been a long time comin’, but I know a change gonna come.”