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Cold, Comfort

This morning, we were alllllll cold.

Mr. B. gave us a slow, full-body warm-up, which made a world of difference, and class as a whole was pretty good. I fell apart disastrously going across the floor, but it was my own fault: somehow, I put myself in the second group and found myself in Advanced Class mode — which is to say that I came in on the second phrase of the music, and my intrepid partner jumped right in with me, and we promptly became incredibly confused because Mr. B. was calling out the combination to the first group.

Today I Learned that it’s actually quite hard to complete the first phrase of the combination while someone is shouting the second phrase at the top of his lungs. Go figure.

I eventually reined it back in, but for a while there it was hilariously bad.

At least there were double turns today?

Anyway, you know it’s cold when the whole class starts out wearing warm-up trousers and leg warmers and hoodies and three shirts and everything else. Today, it never got warm enough for any of us to strip all the way down to tights and leos only. We debated closing the studio door towards the end of barre, but opted against, because it gets so, so hot in there with the door closed; like, people passing out on the floor hot.

B. drove me home and we worked on Super Secret Plan B, which is now fairly concrete. It may or may not pan out, but at least it’s a plan! 😀

After, I crawled into the tub and read for a long time. These days, I spend a lot of time re-heating my body when it’s cold, because even though I was once a hardy, northern-bred boy, I am now a complete hothouse flower because ballet*.

*To whit: the human body doesn’t really do all that much to adapt to cold, but it adapts to heat like crazy. When you spend oceans of time sweating your butt off in a very warm dance studio, you tend to develop excellent adaptations for heat, but when you walk out the door at it’s -5 C and your body has lovingly prepared itself for Miami in July, you freeze your huevos off.
Better winter clothes would help, but we don’t get that many days that are really, really cold.

This evening, Denis and I tried the Fitness & Flexibility class, which combined challenging conditioning exercises (try hanging upside-down with your legs pointing straight up, then touch your toes as many times as you can in a minute**) with stretches that were adaptable even to ridiculous noodle people like myself.

With the supervision of a qualified instructor, of course.

I actually managed to get my butt off the lyra while doing “baby pull-ups” (ha!), so I’m definitely making progress***.

***Sadly, this means I will lose the Very Best Excuse Ever: “Sorry, I have basically no upper body strength, I can’t help move that fridge/bath tub/sofa.”

Last week I just, like, engaged all the muscles and … nothing. I just sat there straining and contemplating my place in the universe (which, at the time, seemed to be, “Right here, with my butt on this lyra.”). This week, I managed to do 11 “baby pull-ps” on the first round and 13 on the second round (F&F, like Conditioning, uses a circuit-based approach).

I noticed that staying warm in F&F was more challenging than in ballet — in part, because it’s colder in the aerials studio than in the ballet studio (except maybe in Studio 5, which gets COLD), but there were also a couple of other factors.

First, the aerial apparati…es? really work better when you’re not wearing a bunch of warm-ups.

Second, ballet simply generates more heat — though possibly not more than the stuff the more advanced aerialists are doing, which involves more constant motion.

I get really hot in the ballet studio in part because the muscles in my legs are fairly enormous. They’re constantly in use and they generate a lot of heat, so I get really warm.

So, anyway, there you have it. This week is all about figuring out how to stay comfortable in the cold while being an admitted hothouse flower (or tomato, as B. put it this afternoon).

More to come.

À bientôt, mes amis!

PS: We have some good new pictures of Denis from Sunday, but he didn’t take any of me.

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