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Danseur Ignoble: It Helps If You Can Breathe

12:15 class today with Ms. T. I haven’t done her class in ages (Claire used to teach the noon class on Saturday), so it was a new experience. I also haven’t done the 12:15 Saturday class in over a month, so that was cool.

While the 12:15 class is billed as a beginner class, like most it gets adjusted based on who shows up; today, we skewed towards the intermediate level, particularly at the barre/

I’d say that our work at center and across the floor was more advanced-beginnery — which is to say that we didn’t do 360-degree promenades in attitude or arabesque, anything with pas de Basque or balanceé as linking steps (you guys, I absolutely and irrationally love pas de Basque; it’s one of those steps that just feels like dancing), or any combinations with different flavors of turns.

Anyway, I forgot to tape my toes and forgot to take my nasal spray. The latter of these was the worse oversight: my nasal spray keeps my whole nosapharynx open, and my allergies are on high alert today, so breathing became a challenge towards the end.

Barre was iffy at first (my plies felt inelastic, and it took me a while to get my head in the game), but the last half of barre was pretty good, and I felt pretty solid at center and going across the floor.

We did some nice adagio at center (with promenades at passé, which are comfortingly easy at this point) and then a really pretty traveling combo in waltz time that went:

Prepare (B+, port des bras);

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

(Long) Passe balance
Tendu back;

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

Single (slow) turn en dedans
Tendu back;

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

Double turn en dedans (or triple if you were that one guy with the awesome turns);

Soutenu turn to fifth

Chassee to 1st arabesque en releve
(Faille implied.) Run away!

I wanted to say that the tempo was fairly moderate, so there was lots of room for expression, but when I tap it out on my mobile metronome it’s about 130 BPM, which is squarely allegro.

Maybe it felt slow and easy because we did a really fast grand allegro combo on Wednesday. I mean, like, we ran it first at a tempo that was also squarely allegro, and then at about twice that speed. Woof.

Anyway, today it felt like we had plenty of time and room going across the floor and weren’t rushing to get from one step to the next.

I was on the rear point of a triangle with its front line made up of two people who were shorter than I am, so I kept having to moderate my travel so as not to gallomph into them or become unsynchronized. That’s a useful exercise, though, as being able to maintain spacing in a squadron of differently-sized dancers is an essential skill.

That said, triangles usually go point-first in ballet, don’t they?

I got through the first set of little jumps before my toe started to feel iffy. I skipped the second set, which made me sad — dangit, I wanted to do entrechats! I also skipped grand allegro today, just in case.

Not being able to breathe very well didn’t help. Everything feels about twice as difficult when your air intake is clogged.

It’s mostly, I think, that when you get even a little winded, it’s hard to get enough air to recover properly.

Instead of getting a little winded, recovering, getting a little winded again, and recovering again (which is a normal pattern during certain parts of class), you get a little winded, get more winded, then get even more winded. By the time you make it to the end of the first set of little jumps, you sound like a freight train and feel like your head and/or heart are going to explode.

That said, it’s not like this is a new thing for me. I have had nasopharyngeal issues as far back as I can remember — I’m just usually better at making sure I’ve dealt with them before class.

So, yeah. Nice reminder today about why I take my nasal spray before class.

I think next week I’ll swing for all three intermediate classes (M,W,F) and the 12:15 class on Saturday, which Brienne is teaching, though I may do evening class on Monday (Brienne is teaching that, too).

Brian is back to teaching the following Monday, which will be awesome. On the 14th, Wednesday AM class will be taught by the instructor who teaches advanced classes, so I’m rather looking forward to that as well.

Anyway, that’s it for today.

Never underestimate the importance of breathing 🙂

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