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Sunday Class: Grand Allegro Pyrotechnics

This has to be brief, as I still have a boatload of stuff I need to finish today, but JMG gave us a really lovely, long grand allegro today, and I apparently tossed out one hell of a nice tour-jeté.

It was edifying to hear that it was nice, because I put All The Efforts into that run, including the tour-jeté (which I spring-loaded as if BW was there to remind me to jump higher) and couldn’t catch my breath because stupid allergies are stupid, so after we finished I had to sit down so I wouldn’t puke.

I don’t think that the left side was quite as nice, but it was still pretty nice, with the added bonus that there was no fear of barfing after finishing the run.

I think this is probably the first time I’ve managed to cram grand assemblé, tour jeté, saut de chat, pas de chat, Bournonville jeté, and a tour into a combination in class 😛

Oh, and today I did triple turns on command. Bad triples—one was pretty decent, the others were like, turn, turn … FECKING TURN ALREADY AIGHT, one with the Hoppity-Hops of Shame—but triples nonetheless. Both sides. Like four of them. So that’s a thing now, I guess?

I remember when bad doubles on command were the only doubles-on-command that I had, so I’m taking this as progress.

Any now, back to restoring all the freaking financial data via manual data entry because apparently I have severely, severely offended the Demi-urge of Bookkeeping.

Turn, Turn … Er, Ah, Oh Yes, Turn

Somehow, I’m suddenly working for reliable triple turns.

Today’s were sketchy. Too much 1, 2 … and a half … 3. First two revolutions would be fine, but I’d lose my momentum in the third somehow. Once I wound up getting halfway through the third revolution and having to kind of do this embarrassing little hoppity-hop thing to get the rest of the way around. The next time I launched too hard from the foot, like I was trying to do a tour en l’air at passé. Oy vey.

I think the problem is one of confidence. I know I can do doubles, but I’m still not sure about my triples. I get anxious and lose focus, my spot slows down, and so … does … everything … else. Clearly, the answer is to go for quadruples — the best triple turns I’ve ever done were ones that wanted to be quads.

On the other hand, turns and terre-a-terre were otherwise good. Suddenly I have nice doubles from fifth, nice tombé-piques (I’m no longer trying to launch them into space), and arms that do things related to the combination and not just random crazy stuff. Also, my adagio glissades are da bomb.

I felt tired halfway through petit allegro, though the first combination went very well, and very much phoned it in throughout grand allegro. Some of my jumps were lovely, some were just plain wrong because I missed part of the combination (thought the second chain involved entrelacé and fouetté when really it was two fouettés; fixed that going left).

The linking steps were an unmitigated disaster (in short: I could only remember half of them), though I worked to make it look like I thought I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. There was a whole coupé-tombé-pas de bourré that I replaced with a chassé, which meant my saut de chat, though decent, was hella early. Frustrationne.

This, by the way, is my new ballet strategy: Don’t know the whole combination? Just pretend you do and really commit to whatever game version you invent.

I’m out of Adderall right now, and I feel it in advanced class. The combinations are long, and I tend to fail to keep my concentration engaged while receiving them. I would be like, watching watching watching huh, I wonder if I should take my legwarmers off, D’OH!, watching, watching…

That said, I’m doing surprisingly well remembering and executing adagio right now. Occasionally I find myself in a position that I can both execute and watch in the mirror, and it’s neat to watch my legs just unfurl themselves while my body stays still and upright.

My arms mostly seem to know what they’re doing now, as well, though once today they tried to do something weird (I caught them). My head is slowly getting with the program. There was less eye-rolling today.

Also held a right attitude balance arrière that blew my previous records out of the water.

Felt like I could’ve stayed up there forever. Came down in complete control — allongé, arabesque balance, close to sous-sus, plié. First time, probably, that I’ve chosen to come down from a balance because the class was getting ready to start the second side! (Usually I choose to come down when it starts to feel like things are thinking about falling apart.)

Left was nowhere near as good — too much thinking — though the exit was similarly controlled and graceful.

At barre, B commented on how far I’ve come since January and added, “One day I look up, and there’s this dancer in front of me.”

I suspect that has a lot to do with it, in a way — I think of myself as a dancer, and I think that shapes things. As dancers, we tend to embody our inner visions of ourselves. What we visualize, we do.

Of course, quite literally being stronger and fitter than I have ever been and just plain getting to class reliably make a huge difference, too.

As does finally being able, once again, to trust my body. It’s more and more like an exquisitely well-trained horse: horse people will understand the feeling of riding a horse that seems to read your mind; even to know what you want before you do.

It may seem strange to describe one’s body that way, but the sense of trust and unity and satisfaction is the same. I know where my arms are now in a way that I didn’t six months ago.

One more detail before lunch.

Looking at pictures of Nureyev (who apparently had ridiculous knees like mine) in fifth and sous-sus, I realized that I can probably nail mine tighter if I really max my turnout and pull my inner thighs tighter than I feel is physically possible.

This should help get my giant, bony knees out of the way. I’ve been kind of cheating lately, given that my turnout is really close to 180 in first at this point. I keep doing the thing where you plié and rotate your front knee back and  heel forward simultaneously, but then having to reduce turnout a bit to get my knees in or out in tendus, etc, because they’re in each-other’s way.

If I engage my inner thighs more effectively, I think I should be able to pull the knees past each-other rather than against each-other. Heretofore, I haven’t been doing that because Male Dancer Reasons, but um, suffice it to say that there’s at least one painting of Nureyev in the nude, and he had bigger (ahem) reasons than mine, so to speak. In short, I should trust my dance belt to do its job.

So that’s it for today. Lunch, splits challenge, and then … Honestly, who knows?

Coincidentally, this should also help me make my petit allegro quicker, since I’ll have to work on making the same set of muscles stronger. It will also stop me getting yelled at about my lazy assemblé and soubresaut 😉

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