I’ve been working on a strategy for combination-acquisition that Modern T recommended to me, and I really think it’s probably the best way to go.
In short, instead of hand-miming or subtly marking the combo as it’s handed out, you just stand (or, in some cases, sit) there and watch — really watch and ingest; get a good, solid mental video.
Then, if there’s a repeat of the demo or a verbal explanation, you can mime or mark as needed. It also helps to program in the counts (and swing and swing and swing and around, or what have you) on the repeat if you think you’re going to get lost.
This approach prevents you from missing critical points — the direction of a turn; what exactly happens during a change of direction; whether there’s an extra step or a direct weight transfer; what’s happening with arms and necks and shoulders and backs.
I did this throughout most of class today. Sometimes it felt really weird to be standing there just watching while much of the rest of the class was doing the subtle-marking method and my brain cells were firing like crazy, trying to make parts of me move.
On the other hand, it worked.
Throughout much of the class, I had the choreography down about as well as anyone. I felt solid doing it, even though sometimes my body was busy going, “WTF, THIS IS NOT GOOD BALLET, I WANT TO DO GOOD BALLET.” Sometimes my body doesn’t get the memo that modern != ballet.
To be frank, this kind of watching is hard for me. I tend to space out (and then start jiggling) when I’m standing still (thanks, ADHD!) — so this kind of “just watching” involved a very conscious, intentional imbibing*.
I totally failed to apply this lesson going across the floor. I started out with good intentions, but then realized I was in somebody’s way, took a step — and suddenly I was soft-marking along and missing really critical elements (Wait, isn’t there a third triplet? And is that hop-tour lent thing on the upstage leg or the downstage leg? And why am I doing it as if it was an sauté-fouetté?!).
As such, my across-the-floor combination was a straight-up disaster.
I did it wrong, then did it another flavor of wrong, then did it a still another flavor of wrong… Literally every pass (and we did the combination at least four times each way) was a new, unique, and different kind of more-or-less entirely incorrect.
Yeah, I got a bit frustrated, there. Like, seriously, for once in my life, when Modern T said, “Do you want to do it again, or are you guys done?” I was the one who said, “I’m done.” (And then did it twice more anyway.)
But, at any rate, I learned a valuable lesson about how I absorb choreography (and, um, knowing is half the battle, I guess?).
Moving right along.
Some thoughts I’ve been kicking around with G+ friends have led me to reflect on my eating patterns, and I’ve realized that I eat quite differently for a strongly dance-based lifestyle than I did when I was training for bike racing.
I’m not at all sure I’m Doin’ It Rite™, but — at any rate — I’ve noticed that dancing doesn’t seem to make me as hungry as cycling (I think I’ve touched on this before) and that my “fueling” strategy is quite a bit higher in carbs than it was for cycling.
Some of this, of course, is sheer disorganization. I have not adapted amazingly well to my current schedule, which often involves dance classes in the morning, a brief break in the afternoon, and aerials or more dance classes in the evening.
Basically, I am not good at changing gears, and thus am not the kind of person who can get much done in the gap — so I do less cooking than I should and more, well, scavenging for anything quick, basically.
I have at least finally managed to mostly get on top of breakfast, for the most part. Breakfast is usually ~113 grams of plain Greek yoghurt, ~70 grams of unsweetened frozen berries (I happen to particularly like the blends that include cherries), and 25 – 30 grams of whatever kind of not-super-sugary granola looks promising.
If this sounds astonishingly precise for me, I promise, it’s really a function of the fact that it’s easier to scoop yoghurt out with a spatula, weigh it, and hit “tare” a few more times as more things are added than it is to shove it into a measuring cup, then transfer it into a bowl or whatevs.
I also have fancy yoghurt bowls that keep the crunchy stuff separate until you’re ready to eat. Using frozen berries means I have to make the yoghurt parfaits ahead of time, which saves me from having to fumble around with the kitchen scale in the morning.
On days that I fail to crawl out of the crypt bed in time to actually eat like an adult (or at least a toddler), I still tend to desperately chug protein shakes on the way to class. For such emergencies, I use Orgain (Creamy Chocolate Fudge) because it’s low in sugar, decent in the fiber department, tastes okay, and isn’t horribly expensive. My base of choice is unsweetened almond milk, but it’s perfectly good with regular milk. I usually add coffee concentrate and a touch of vanilla extract, but it’s acceptable without.
Dinner is frequently some species of pasta — I’m particularly fond of ziti and penne rigate — because I can make that ahead in huge batches and reheat it later. My sauce of choice comprises an “Italian seasoned” tomato paste, a ton of diced tomatoes (usually canned, because laziness), basil, oregano, garlic, onions (sauteed in a little olive oil and red wine), sometimes mushrooms, and either meatballs (sometimes frozen, sometimes turkey) or sausages.
This makes it sound like I plan better than I do.
If I were really any good at planning, there would be far fewer nights on which we eat dinner at 9 PM when I’ve arrived home at 7:45
Interestingly, I almost never ate pasta when I was racing bikes (except when I was intentionally carb-loading). Training rides tended to make me insanely hungry and I would just go crazy with the pasta; I generally substituted raw cabbage for the actual noodles (the sauce heats the cabbage just enough to be crisp-tender, which is awesome).
I’m much better, now, at figuring out when I’m full, so I actually do eat pasta. I still often add either raw cabbage or raw baby spinach, though (because veggies ftw).
In the past, my breakfasts were also generally lower in carbs than they are now.
Meanwhile, lunch is just a horrible, ongoing, unmitigated disaster of food-on-the-fly right now. How desperate my choices are depends upon how well I’ve walked that fine line between just enough breakfast and way the hell too little breakfast*.
I am not too proud to admit that I lunch has recently featured such stellar choices as a fried chicken sandwich, half a Whopper (apparently, I can’t eat an entire Whopper), or pizza from a gas station’s convenience store.
This doesn’t really seem to be making any impact on my baseline health statistics (if anything, it’s the only thing stopping my blood pressure moving from “low” to “undetectable”), but it probably does significantly impact my ability to not be a horrible, face-eating hypoglycemia monster by the time my evening classes roll around.
So basically, in summary:
When I raced bikes I was hungry all the time, limited my carbs, and was much better at lunch.
Now, my appetite is more manageable even though I burn roughly the same number of calories on any given day (if not more, because I have more upper-body muscle than I used to — so, seriously, wtf), I eat pasta like it’s going out of style, and I am terrible at lunch.
The next step, then, is to figure out how to eat lunch on the fly without spending a gajillion dollars. I mean, obviously, I know how to eat lunch (open mouth, insert
foot food), but the question is how to plan ahead and make food to bring with me (because apparently it’s not super safe to just leave a giant bowl of pasta in your car and assume it’ll be nice and hot by the time you get out of class…).
So that’s today’s installment. Not incredibly informative to anyone who isn’t me, I’ll wager, but it has helped me identify a “next step” I wasn’t thinking about (that is, how to handle lunch).
I’ve been being lazy all morning and trying to finish Felice Picano’s Like People In History (and playing with AT&T uVerse’s Interactive Workout feature — we finally got uVerse in our neighborhood, so Denis made the jump), so I feel that I can take a few more minutes (or, you know, an hour and a half…) to avoid my homework and talk about ballet instead.
This morning, while waiting for my breakfast/lunch to finish
microwaving cooking, I tried to run through some of the combinations from last night’s class, and I think I figured out part of the problem.
Besides the usual problem of putting changes of feet in places where they don’t belong (G-d bless Tawnee for noting that; because I don’t always realize I’m doing it until the next morning, and I was able to fix it a few times), I realized I made one enormous mistake: I kept sissoneing the wrong way.
So: when the combination went sissone devant, I kept going sissone derriere. The problem was in the translation: Tawnee initially gave us the counts in Ballet Frenglish, so it was “sissone front, sissone back,” etc., which is totally valid, but somehow my brain decided that “sissone front” meant that the, um, kicky leg* goes forward.
Even though I freaking well know better.
In case you’re wondering, “sissone front” doesn’t mean your kicky leg goes forward. It just doesn’t, y’all. When you sissone devant, you sissone to the front. This means that your back leg is the one that makes a pretty, pointy reachy gesture — and it does so to the freaking rear. Your front leg, meanwhile, kind of points downish, like this:
So every time everyone else sproinged** forward, I sproinged backward, and vice-versa (amazingly, nobody crashed, probably because Brienne, who was taking class with us, was behind me and is a genius). And somehow failed to understand why I was doing this. And, of course, having done it once or twice, I fell into Stupid Zombie Robot mode and did it a bunch of times. Seriously, there are times that I totally know I’m Doin’ It Rong, but somehow can’t stop myself***. Does this happen to other people?
And now I totally get it: my brain was still in barre mode! So when Tawnee said “front,” my brain interpreted it as it would “tendu front” or “close front” — front leg reaches — and so on and so forth.
I am actually rather pleased with this revelation, because I think it probably explains a lot of the bizarre things I do from time to time in ballet class. I definitely have a bit of language-action disconnect in general, and I hadn’t really thought about how it applies to ballet.
So, anyway. That’s something I’ll have to think about and work on.
*In sissones, the kicky leg — that’s the technical term, I am sure — is Very Important.
**Also totally a technical term.
***My first memorable experience of being stuck in Auto-Rong mode? I was maybe nine or ten and was riding Marquis, the horse that I leased, in the ring at my barn. I had just dismounted, and some loud noise happened. Marquis panicked and bolted, and even though I knew that chasing a horse was a completely stupid idea, my body automagically gave chase while my brain went, “NONONONONONO! Don’t chase him, stupid!” I literally could not stop myself from chasing Marquis. Nor could I explain the concept when my riding teacher (very reasonably) chewed me out about it; in fact, I didn’t even try.