Let’s all get in the Way-Back machine and visit one of my very first ballet classes, ever, with Sazerac, who was waging an epic battle to get me to follow my arm movement with my gaze and not be just a big wooden block of wooden wood.
‘Look at your hand!’
(I take a lightning fast peek in my hand’s general direction)
‘No! Look at your hand! Look right into your palm! What’s in there? Better look! Better see what’s in there!’
So, of course once she said that I was Totally Curious and freaked out and was like, oh my god, am I holding something, what am I holding?! Seriously couldn’t tell without looking, so intent on paying attention to every freaking other body part.
So I rubber-necked around and of course there was nothing in there.
But her little trick got me to turn my head, and moving the head is a huge part of creating a sort of inquisitive, lively feeling in ballet.
Got me into the habit of checking in with my hands during ballet class. You know, just having a little chat.
‘Whatcha got there, Rightie? (grande plié, head inclined to the left, gaze to the right hand) Oh, a big invisible marshmallow? Nice!!! Ok, keep it real, I’m gonna go visit with Lefty now. (head travels in a graceful incline to the right, gaze to the left) Hey Left, how’s it hanging?!’
It’s crazy how much trouble my hands will get up to if I don’t keep an eye on them.
Recent example: we’re learning this jump, I deduce it’s a called a sauté turn? Because it’s a jump from both feet to both feet?
We jump up, turn completely around in the air, and land.
If life were one of those oldie timey how-to-dance charts with the footprint diagrams, the diagram for this step would be two feet, a big ass swirl, and then two feet back in the exact same place.
When Smirnoff gave instructions for this craziness the first time, I did what I usually do: I took a surreptitious peek to my left and to my right to see how the most experienced girls in class were taking it in.
If they look unconvinced, then it’s cool, I’m not alone, this request ridiculous.
But in this case they were totally on-board.
This thing is do-able! I’m going to have to figure out how to do it! Right now!
Oh, and it’s a jump from fifth and switch your feet in the air while making the full circle to land with the other foot front in fifth.
First few weeks (Weeks, people) of trying this I am totally ridiculous, landing half way through the circle, then three quarters through the circle, then finally making a full circle but landing with butt stuck out in a very nice pas de Duck.
But this is good, because it means Smirnoff can start giving me real corrections.
Like jump up, straight up, height helps.
And, “look at your hand!”
And when I look, my arm is not waiting patiently at my side in second, ready for the jump. No! The damned thing is way the hell behind me, gearing up for a big swoop through the air!
So I check in, say, ‘ok Left, you stay here now,’ get it in a good second position, look away and get ready to sauté when Smirnoff stops me and says again, “Look! Look at your hand!” and I look and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it hasn’t gone right back to it’s wind-up position, where I specifically told it not to go just two seconds earlier!
The only way I have ever made it through this sauté turn successfully is by addressing my hand with a firm warning that I am on to it’s tricky ways, and that I will be watching it all the way through.
And I point two fingers at my eyes and then point them at the offending hand.
And throw in a finger-gun for good measure.
- got a question? I might answer with a post! email@example.com
- @UKBalletGirl I dream of five hours of sleep. 6 days ago
- I love shopping for things in Ballet Pink. 1 week ago
- @CloudandVictory will totes look for Chacott! In the meantime, have ordered a pair of convertible Capezios. 1 week ago
- "You must spend x amount more dollars to qualify for free shipping". Perfect. Pink tights added to cart. 1 week ago
- Need new tights. GRUMPY FACE. 1 week ago
- May 2013 (7)
- April 2013 (3)
- March 2013 (7)
- February 2013 (10)
- January 2013 (9)
- December 2012 (4)
- November 2012 (4)
- October 2012 (7)
- September 2012 (6)
- August 2012 (10)
- July 2012 (18)
- June 2012 (13)
- May 2012 (9)
- April 2012 (9)
- March 2012 (12)
- February 2012 (14)
- January 2012 (20)
- December 2011 (25)
- November 2011 (18)
- October 2011 (10)
- September 2011 (15)
- August 2011 (9)
- July 2011 (13)
- June 2011 (25)
- May 2011 (24)
- April 2011 (13)
- March 2011 (15)
- February 2011 (12)
- January 2011 (5)
- December 2010 (13)
- November 2010 (20)
- October 2010 (18)
- September 2010 (8)
- August 2010 (11)
- July 2010 (20)
- June 2010 (7)
- May 2010 (10)
- April 2010 (4)
- March 2010 (8)
- February 2010 (6)
✱ you might have missed…
✱ break it down: