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The Most Terrifying Arabesque 

Hard, But Not So Hard

This describes both class and life, today.

After the second or third class in a row thinking, “Ms. B. didn’t work us too hard today,” I’ve realized it’s not her — it’s me. The extra work at Suspend, the extra challenge of Advanced Class: these things are paying off. I no longer want to die halfway through barre, and I was even together enough to catch the medium and grand allegro combinations today. In the past, I’ve often not really been firing on all 3.5 cylinders by the last combination or two.

That said, my knee objected stridently to frappés (apparently, I lock my hyperextensions during frappé: oops). It also haaaaaaated promenade and did not love the slow attitude turn, but I endeavoured to execute our adage with all the aplomb I possess all the same. It was too nice not to.

The knee also still wasn’t so happy about some fast-traveling turns (right-working-leg en dedans from fourth, especially), which I find distracting enough that I hosed up the pirouette combination going left and made myself do it over. Twice.

Medium allegro was a brain-teaser:
Part A
little Sissone to coupé avant right
little tombe back to fifth, plié
coupé temps levée arrière left
assemblé-glissade-assemblé, maybe? (I don’t remember what exactly happened here, though I succeeded in doing it right at the time.)

…And then Part B:
sauté to first
sauté in first
sauté in second
soubresaut x3
…and then repeat Side A on the opposite leg.

Or, well, something very much like that. No difficult steps (at least, not now that my legs have remembered how to Sissone yet again), but a test of dexterity. The weight shifts constantly; the bit in the middle (and again at the
end) feels delightfully simple, but you must pay attention to your changes of foot, lest you start the second pass through Part A on the wrong leg. The tempo’s too fast for that, and next week, when we do it again, it will be twice as fast.

We didn’t do beaten jumps, but that’s fine. I did better beaten jumps on Monday than I’ve done in years: quick, crisp, and articulate.

Our grand allegro started out simply, but included a transitional mind-screw of epic proportions.

It went:
Temps levée arabesque
Temps levée passé
temps levée arabesque
directional change via pas de bourée
temps levée arabesque, etc.

First, my body really wanted to insert an extra temps levée passe.

Second, none of us — NONE! — could convince our legs while marking that it was okay to pas de chat from the front, even though that happens sometimes even in Real Ballet. If you do it from the back leg in this combination, you have to adjust a bunch of stuff on the fly. Some of us did succeed in nailing it on the first run, but by then least one of us (I mean, of course, your humble Danseur Ignoble) had discovered a creative way to screw things up anyway.

You see, I apparently blinked or was pouring water into my mouth or something and missed the part of the demo that made it perfectly clear to everyone else that the PDB was the directional change. Instead, I must have decided it was supposed to be Bizarro-World PDB (front-side-back) or something like that, since we were already doing Bizarro-World PDC.

I don’t know what I did while marking; I may have just left it out because how can you screw up pas de bourré, right?

But screw it up, I did: having decided that the directional change came after the PDB, I passed the cat (ha), then despaired over what to do with my legs and sort of faked my way into the next part. I can’t, at this point, really fathom what I must have been thinking, because once I realized my mistake it was so obvious.

I got it down on the second run, though my brain stubbornly tried to insert an extra temps levée passé on the left side, so once again I made myself do an extra repeat.

On the upside, my old difficulty in getting from temps levée arabesque through failli to glissade did not resurface, so there’s that, and once I had all the parts in place, the combination was buoyant and pretty and fun.

I wound up walking a lot after class, and by the time I got home I was cooked and my knee was sore, so I opted out of class at Suspend. Tomorrow, it’s once more unto the breach, etc., but tonight, the knee has earned a break*. I went straight to bed with an ice pack, a book (on my tablet), and my cat, who is now applying his vibrating massage feature to said knee.

*NOT THAT KIND OF BREAK, Knee, so don’t go getting any ideas!

There was more I wanted to write, but it turns out that I’m exhausted. I still haven’t been sleeping well: I got 13 hours on Monday night, but probably fewer than 5 hours last night. I kept waking up and lying there in that suspended-but-not-asleep state in which Bad Thoughts have me at their mercy. It’s not quite sleep paralysis, but it’s close; I can operate my body after a fashion, but can’t steer my brain at all. This morning, I never got back to sleep after Denis’ first alarm, and thus missed an hour of sleep that I could really have used by then.

Thus, I’m going to read for a bit longer, and maybe then I’ll sleep again (thanks to the power of Twilight, which makes reading on my tablet less wakefulness-inducing than reading a regular book by my bedside lamp).

I think I am going to survive this week. I think maybe I am learning to talk to people, though still not yet apparently before I find myself in a crisis. I’ll work on that next week, I guess.

À bientôt, mes amis.

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