Feeling pumped after my good experience with Basic Ballet at BDC, I took a readers recommendation and looked up Ballet Academy East, which had not popped up in my previous googlings.
Beginners class, convenient time of day, bam! I’m there.
Like Broadway Dance Center, the Ballet Academy East is located on a third floor.
Funny how that happens in NYC. Don’t get a lot of that in LA- we spread, we don’t build up. Studios in LA are sadly lacking in romantic half-circle floor to ceiling warehouse windows. Which is a bummer, cause, like, I bet a girl could really get her pirouette on in that kind of light. Or a dude.
Wow, that was tangental.
BAE feels a little more homey than BDC, smaller, not as slick, not as crowded with teenagers. Big dressing room, each studio has a high step up into the room, so you can really see the floors are nicely sprung.
Big open windows along one side, from the wall barre up to the ceiling.
I was super early. Got dressed, waited outside studio, stretched a little, flexed and pointed, ankle circles. Other students started collecting. About ten grown up ladies, no teenagers, no kids, no men.
A quiet bunch. Some hellos but no chatting. Guessed they were all getting their game faces on. That’s cool, save the chatter for after class.
Other class finishes, we file in, two ladies bring out a barre each and stand beside, everyone else scatters to the wall barres.
I say hello to the teacher and then stand behind one of the ladies at the barre. Worry briefly that I’m intruding on her personal barre until the teacher says yes, that’s a good place for me, I can watch the lady in front and then turn and watch one of the ladies at the wall barre.
We start the barre.
1. The lady in front of me, who is probably a grandma, has amazingly, beautifully precise feet. I love following her.
2. Miss the way Smirnoff lavishes attention on new class members. And old class members. He’s a lavisher, that one.
3. The barre is different, but I feel up to it. Figure if I took this class about three more times I’d have the hang of it. Main differences are: use of the leg closest to the barre during some exercises, double demi pliés during sequences which fit really nicely with the live piano (love live piano), no barre adagio as part of the barre stretch.
In fact barre stretch was kind of a free-for-all do-whatcha-like whereas Smirnoff’s is choreographed. Probably to make us do all the stretches, even the ones we don’t like.
And the frappés were the kind with the flex-strike-point, whereas Smirnoff does some kind of crazy Vaganova frappé
Arms at a minimum, but thats no surprise, no one does arms like the Russians.
4. No barre pirouettes
5. More balancing interspersed through the exercises. Reminds me of how my first teacher, Sazerac, ran class.
6. Not as physically challenging as Smirnoff’s barre, like, I broke a sweat but wasn’t dangling from the barre gasping for breath. More of a mental puzzle. It would be neat challenge to become a regular and try and conquer that barre.
Barre done, time for center.
Did well with the jumps, badly with the things in sequence. Like always.
But, didn’t feel bad, like, didn’t get that overwhelmed, sinking, trembly bottom lip, I suck, everyone else here Knows i suck feeling. And this wasn’t blissful ignorance either, I’ve felt that bad feeling many many times in class, I’d recognize it if it came over me, but it didn’t.
Therefor I thought, ok, I’m doing pretty ok here.
Until I landed funny from a tour jeté I was doing badly and kinda turned my ankle. It made a pop. I was horrified. Hurt, but could still put weight on it. Weird thing is, no one noticed. Went through the sequence one more time, mostly marking, and then the class ended, with applause, (what gives, NYC? You don’t reverénce?) and the teacher called me over. Said I did a great job, and she could tell I’ve had some training, but that I should take more basic classes, really fill in the gaps, before I come back to a beginner level class. I said yes, thank you, got my bag, walked out to the hall, sat down on a bench and inspected my ankle.
And just felt angry. And sad. And freaked out. Like, what’s the name for that emotion where you want to cry and hit things?
Not upset at being told I wasn’t good enough for the class, I mean, that’s fine. Upset because I’ve been making a huge effort to not let this happen again.
Been taking the subway way more often, even though I want to walk. Love walking! Never get to walk in LA! Been stretching my feet every night. Gave up cute shoes in favor of ugly-but-supportive running sneakers.
And I’ve never turned an ankle in my entire life! Never! Not in volleyball. Not running on un-even surfaces. Not walking in high heels. Not even en pointe! Fuck!
Got up, walked to the changing room. Ankle still supporting weight. Good.
Ladies from my class still in the changing room. Still not chatting. Suddenly occurred to me that that was very odd. They all seem to be regulars, they must know each other a little, and yet there was none of that hey-girl-tough-class-calves-killing-me-like-your-leo-is-that-new? type talk going on. Weird.
Got changed in silence and left.
Walking down the stairs into the subway was painful, but I still whooped and laughed when the updraft flipped my skirt. Figured that was a good sign. Hurt ankle not hurt bad enough to kill humor.
Got to hotel. Got ice. Wrapped ballet tights around foot and ankle as a makeshift compression bandage. Elevated foot.
It is surprisingly hard to elevate your foot above your heart in a hotel room!
At home I could have just sat on the couch with the bad foot up on the couch back, but here ended up flat on the bed, feeling sorry for myself, with the bad foot propped up on all the pillows plus a balled-up blanket.
Got on iPad, did a little self-diagnosis. Decided it’s a mild sprain. Proceeded with RICE. Rest, ice, compression, elevation.
Moaned. Was miserable.
Looked at twitter. Saw that everyone on my feed was having personal and artistic triumphs as well as great hair. Was more miserable. Put hand on forehead. Moaned and wallowed in patheticness. Realized I would not be taking class tomorrow. Maybe not for the rest of my time here. And that all my plans to wander around city on foot were hereby cancelled.
How did I manage to hurt myself? Again! What is wrong with me?!
Got angry, flung everything off the bed (except pillow pyramid) and took a nap.
Husband came home and was like, “why is there stuff all over the floor?” and I was like, “because I threw it there that’s why!”
Then we went out and got banana pudding. Well, I did, he hates bananas. And I was slow but could walk. And we got some aspirin.
And today I’m a slow walker, with a nice bruise coming along, but happily not much swelling.
Think I’m gonna be ok.
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