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Wednesday Class: In Which Dancers Are Hot

…Literally.

This afternoon, we all walked out of class looking like we’d showered in our dance kit.

It was completely worth it, of course — especially the delightful little grand allegro at the end.

It was another simple combination (the petit allegri were hard today; crazy fast and full of beats) — just:

Small Temps levée à droit
Chassé
Small Temps levée à gauche
Chassé
Temps levée arabesque
Failli
Glissade
Grand assemblé battu or Pas de chat or Saut de chat (“Choose Your Own Adventure”)
Reverse R/L on the opposite side, of course.

… But the focus was on the performance elements — especially arms and épaulement. The idea was for the legs to stay razor-sharp and fast while the arms were light and smooth and graceful, using a variant of Ceccheti/RAD third through first on the first four steps.

Oh, and we were to do all this whilst eating up the entire floor in one pass (not hard to do in this case; I really like to travel).

The music was also quite fast, which made for a really nice contrast between the quick legwork throughout most of the combination and the flying leap at the end.

We went in pairs, and on every run my partner did saut de chat while I did pas de chat which, as it turned out, looked quite cool. Pas de chat is one of the steps that I’m willing to say that I really do very well, and my partner’s high, fleet, linear saut de chat contrasted beautifully with my high, light, bouyant pas de chat.

It probably helped that we were similar in height and proportions.

I experimented with different arms on the pas de chat. I think for this combination, taking the arms to fifth and opening back to second through the latter part of the arc worked really nicely.

Anyway, by the time we were done, I think we were all well and fully cooked and ready for a break.

For what it’s worth, my turns were better, but my adagio was terrible today. This was definitely a class in which I felt the lingering effects of my sleeping pill. I got progressively better as the hangover effect faded — I am definitely far less coordinated on mornings like this one.

In other news, I switched to the day track for the Cinci workshop — it turns out that they were probably going to wind up canceling the evening track anyway. I’ve been very impressed with how well Mam Luft & Co have organized this thing and how promptly and smoothly they handled my request.

In trapeze class, meanwhile, I nailed down Montréal and learned a new sequence that starts with Montréal, then passes into Surfer, then into a balance whose name I can’t recall (looks much like the stag pose, only your feet are on the bar, which cants up towards the front foot), then into a hands-only spin around the leading rope to horse.

I also learned that if, as you’re spinning, your hands start to burn, you should definitely not relax your grip, no matter what your brain says, unless you’re keen on — shall we say — trying a higher voice part in choir (ahem).

Apparently, the moment that the bar connects with your “no fly zone” is also clearly visible to everyone in a the immediate vicinity. I feel heartened by the fact that everyone winced right along with me, though — and that, apparently, everything looked really good up to that point.

Also, it is totally possible to semi-gracefully dismount the trapeze before staggering over to the nearest available spot suitable for collapsing. In case you were wondering.

Fortunately, no permanent harm was done. Add to with “Bodies are weird” and “Bodies are different” the aphorism, “Sooner or later, we all walk the walk of shame.”

Which is, in case you’re wondering, more like a pinched shuffle, really.

Wednesday Class: Musicality Day

En manège:
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Pique turn
Pique turn
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Chaînes x4
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Temps levée arabesque
Balancé turn
Those coupé half-turns whose name escapes me
Temps levée arabesque
Run away so second group can go, but make sure you’re spaced so you can re-enter on the next pass

Petit Allegro:
Glissade (no change)
Jeté
Glissade (no change)
Jeté
Glissade (no change)
Jeté
Pas de bourré
Entrechat quatre
Other side

Other Petit Allegro:
Sissone simple avant
Sissone simple arrière
Tombe
Coupe
Glissade
Assemblé (battu if you like)
Other side

I didn’t do as well with choreography today as I expected to — I attribute this to Denis’ nightbear.
Yes, that’s -bear rather than -mare. He dreamed a giant bear was hovering inches from his face and woke with a loud shout. That cost me two hours of sleep, and I was slow getting started this morning and didn’t eat or drink enough before class. The end result was weak petit allegro (edit: because I ran out of steam; and I should say “weaker-than-usual;” my petit allegro has only recently started being reliable in Wednesday and Saturday class again).

On the other hand, Ms. B gave me a ton of really good direction at barre — she’s really working on making an expressive dancer out of me, and it’s working far better than I had expected.

Addendum: there was this really awesome moment during one of the exercises when she was correcting my port de bras and epaulement and said something like, “Open that chest — really show that you’re strong — proud!” and I responded by channeling the frack out of my inner Ballet Prince, to which she said, “Yes!”

In ballet class, “Yes!” can mean so, so much.

She also gave me a modification on our centre adagio – my knee wasn’t hurting, but I didn’t want to push it, so she suggested that I substitute a penché in place of a promenade on that side.

Because I was the only guy in class and standing in the center of the group, I think it looked rather cool; rather intentional.

The challenges are timing my penché so I arrived back at the vertex just as the ladies completed their promenade and keeping the penché fluid and lyrical (which is harder when you’re tired, evidently!). It was cool; I enjoyed having the opportunity to think about timing and musicality that way.

I think my penché was a tad stiff on the first run, but it came together beautifully on the second.

This week I’m working on keeping my core together while maintaining a fluid, expressive relaxation in my upper body. These are the details that I both enjoy immensely and find quite challenging.

Anyway, I’ve almost reached the grocery store, so I’d better close. We have something at Suspend tonight, but I didn’t recall precisely what.

À bientôt, mes amis!

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