A quick note on Company B’s nickname: it says nothing about his ability has a dancer. He’s good; very, very good, in fact. It just so happens that he dances for the company and his name begins with B, and I know too many people whose names begin with B, and it amuses me to think of him having his very own boogie-woogie bugle boy, so voilà — “Company B” he is, until I come up with something better.
Moving right along!
Tonight I decided to skip out on acro and sub in an extra ballet class in the interest of being well tuned-up for next week’s intensive.
Company B teaches a very basic class on Thursday evenings, and although he was worried that B and I would probably be bored out of our skulls, I am firmly of the opinion that as long as the instruction is good, no class is too simple.
In short, the basics are the foundations of technique, and everyone can always stand to improve them. That’s the great thing about ballet (okay, also the terrible thing) — since perfection is essentially impossible, you can work on everything forever.
As such, I was quite happy to work on pretty basic material, because it gave me time to really fastidiously apply all the updates I’ve been working on installing, so to speak — tight at the upper thighs in sous-sus; working the outer limits of my turnout consistently; really getting the knees back in frappé avant; doing stupid things with my arms as rarely as possible; using my épaulement; actually looking at the audience (or, in this case, the mirror). The idea was to use this time to refine my technique.
I’d like to say I acquitted myself quite nicely, in fact. Company B gave me a couple of notes on my épaulement that I applied with success. You guys, it is really nice to experience unequivocal success in ballet.
I also finally managed to de-tangle my waltz turns. I think maybe I’ve been doing them right for a while, but I didn’t understand the difference between the right version and the wrong version. Possibly I was putting the brush in the wrong spot, before?
Anyway, Company B was introducing the waltz turn tonight, so he explained them very thoroughly, à la Mr. Beastmode’s explanation of balancé. This got my legs sufficiently de-tangled that I could think about making my arms do nice things, which was great.
We had some nice combinations — simple, but musical, like:
From B+ with Working Leg Back –
Step through – Chasse
Pas de Bourree to Fifth
En Dehors Pirouette*
Repeat first phrase two more times
Pivot/detourne to Fourth
Soutenu turn straight into sous-sus
Sous-sus balance (with expressive arms, because seriously, it’s not that hard)
*The girl who went with in the front of the first group me had doubles as well, so we both tossed them in. I didn’t try for triples because that just seemed like show-boating, which is just obnoxious in a beginners’ class.
I kept wanting to put in an en dedans turn from fourth after the pivot, since that’s basically a defining trait of Louisville Ballet’s choreography and we do it allllla taimz in class, but I managed not to do that and not to wind up behind the music in my efforts to prevent it. I did wind up pointing to the wrong corner at one point, so I just sort of added a rond de jambe into the first soutenu and basically acted like nothing happened 😛
Company B seemed quite happy with my interpretation and musicality and particularly seemed pleased with my execution of the balance from a performance aspect. I was, in turn, quite happy about that, since he’s one of the instructors who’s aware of my goals concerning dance.
After class he said he was glad to have us in class, hoped we weren’t completely bored (we weren’t!), and mentioned that it was good for the rest of the students to have people in class who could show them how things were supposed to look 😀
That felt like a nice vote of confidence, especially coming from a danseur who I admire immensely. Seriously, the first time he came to Saturday class with us, my insides were all like:
Meanwhile, my outsides were all like:
Since then, though, I have discovered that, in addition to being a really fabulously amazing dancer (seriously, this was the guy whose pas de deux I described as “a masterclass in partnering”) and disgustingly good-looking, Company B is also a really lovely, sweet, humble human being.
Doesn’t hurt, either, that he’s one of those dancers who love dancing and he really seems to enjoy helping other dancers learn how to dance better.
So that was tonight’s class. We closed with a little saute-arabesque/saute-passe combination, which I enjoyed immensely. I doubt I will ever, ever tire of that combination, even though it’s really simple.
So, there you have it. I will definitely hit up Company B’s class again any time my schedule allows for it.