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Danseur Ignoble: We Got The Beats

Mostly good class this morning; the usual blend of hard work and good cheer. 

I didn’t hose up any combinations too badly except the ones that everyone hosed up because the music was faster* than we expected o.O’ Also, got off a bunch of double turns, some of which were nice (and some of which were a bit wild).

My frappés were literally better than they have every been, but my grand battements were weird and wild. I realized at the last split-second that I needed to turn because I was in a corner where I was likely to battement the crap out of the barre behind me and got off my balance and off the music. We détourné-ed right into the next side, so my efforts to get fixed were a tad frantic (though the second side was better?).

Wheeee! First world ballet problems, I guess?

Did the first set of little jumps with reasonable facility, then the second set of little jumps with beats, though I started to feel it in my toe and sort of petered out at the end.

For fun, after class, a few of us did leaps; I threw in a couple tour jetés just for the halibut (insert lame joke here: fishes love tour jetés).

I read an article not long ago about how ballet dancers are not masochists.  I’m not sure I agree at all: when your ballet teacher goes, “This is mean, and it’s going to hurt, and I’m sorry,” and the whole class sort of giggles maniacally, it suggests at least a little masochism on the part of the dancers.

Someday I will create a ballet about ballet class.  It will be called “The Rented Mules,” or maybe “The Merry Mules.”  It will not be as good as Paul Taylor’s ballet about ballet class, but maybe it will be funny.

To Remember:

1. Keep that back together in pique arabesque.

2. Practice adagio turns to développé.   These look really cool, but right now mine are kind of a mess: I need to down-rate my force in order to arrive in plié in the right direction on one leg while already extending the working leg (through fondue). 

Brienne points out that to do this, you think of it as “just a spot” (presumably instead of going ESCAPE VELOCITY GO!!!, which is how all my turns begin except when I remind myself to channel Baryshnikov and Find A Still Place first).

3.  Go to the dance store and get fitted for shoes after Burning Man.  All my shoes are officially pissing me off for various reasons except the little El Cheapo shoes from eBay, which are going to the desert, where they will, without a doubt, be summarily destroyed by the Alkaline Dust of Doom.

In other news, you should come to Summer Intensive with me next year in Lexington!  🙂


Progress in ballet, like progress in life, seems to take place stepwise.

Step 1: Thinking, “What the heck is — how do you even do that?”

Step 2: Giving it a try by broadly approximating whatever you’re trying to do.

Step 3: Feeling fairly confident about your broad approximation even though you still have to kind of remind yourself what frappé or soutenu or pas de basque is.

Step 4: No longer having to remind yourself as often, but realizing that your broad approximation leaves a great deal of room for improvement.

Step 5: Beginning to improve by making the large, visible adjustments.

Step 5: No longer having to remind yourself almost ever.

Step 6: Continuing to improve via medium adjustments.

Step 6: Transitioning from “improving” to “refining,” because you no longer have to remind yourself what a step is or about the improvements you’ve made thus far and you’re now making quite small adjustments.

Step 7: Getting the steps “into your body,” so they begin to feel instinctual and to link instinctually to other steps (this is so cool; sometimes you can predict a significant part of a combo before it’s given to you).

Steps 8 — ???: Further iterations of the refinement-and development-of instinct process.

Step approximately 1,000,000: Mastery (not perfection, which may not exist even in Ballet Paradise, since dancers like to have something to work on).

For what it’s worth, the development of a kind of “ballet sense,” a (still highly-limited) ability to predict what will make up part of a combination based on the music and the preceding steps, has greatly aided my ability to remember combinations.

*When in doubt, mark it out! … Even at barre.

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