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Week 3 With L’Ancien

I’ve fallen in love with L’Ancien’s teaching style. Today he did a lot of pulling us up short and making us start over, but always with a very specific point.

We corrected, and several times got a “Good!” or, “Oh, that’s so much better!” or even the coveted, “Beautiful!”

My extensions are returning. My supporting leg is getting through tours lent. At one point, L’Ancien stepped in and reshaped my arabesque: free leg well above 90; back pulled way up, in the midst of our adagio.

I didn’t believe I could hold it myself—and yet I did, and I made it through the tour lent, and through the rest of the lovely adagio.

Last week I felt as if I couldn’t remember a combination to save my life, and as if I was constantly pulling my body back together. I was coming down with the thing that knocked me flat for a few days, but didn’t know it yet.

Today I felt, once again, like a dancer working on learning his trade. It’s been a while.

After, I went to an advanced acro workshop and got to throw people and get thrown, and then finally made it to Trapeze class, where I nailed half-mill to half-Russian with no difficulty at all, even though the last time I did it was probably a good year ago, and I struggled with it because my arms are short.

Tonight, I’m performing at our opera company’s gala, and then I hope to fall into bed and sleeeeeeeep.

Honestly, I’ve missed using my body this much. A day like today reminds me that this is why I do the work that I do. At the end of the day, there is a deep satisfaction in using my body to do the things that I’ve done today.


I had a lovely conversation with L’Ancien after class. I stopped to thank him again for teaching is, intending to tell him that I’d been thinking a lot about something he’d said, but I immediately blanked on whatever it was (probably because it was everything).

He told me a bit about his early days as a dancer: he started at fifteen, with three years to learn nine years’ worth of material, knowing nothing. His teacher told him, “Don’t worry about what anyone else can do; just think about yourself.”

He passed that thought along to me, with the coda: You’re here because you love to dance.

I’m glad he can see that, even when I’m struggling in his class (though today there was much less struggle).

Anyway, I hope he’ll stay with us for a good while. I feel like I can learn a lot from him.

This is a man who’s been dancing for significantly longer than I’ve been alive.

Also clearly a man who loves to teach.

I’m glad he has come to teach us. Immensely glad.

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