Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and then there’s other times.

Went to ballet at Millennium Dance Complex the other day. It was my first class after about a month off, and I went to Millennium because I needed a ballet class that is the exact opposite of Cheers.
Know what I mean?
Sometimes I want to go where Nobody knows my name, and they couldn’t give less of a damn if I came. So far the only place I’ve found that’s crowded enough to give me that level of anonymity is Millennium.
Still got a couple corrections though, because that Kana is totally looking out for everybody in the room, not just the good ones or the regular ones. I pretty much heart her.
Anyway, when I’m in a new class and especially when it’s above my level AB review of Millennium here, I pick someone to follow.
My criteria for choosing someone to follow is 1) they appear to know what the hell they are doing.
Most ballet classes in LA are small, which means it’s obvious who I’m going to follow because it’ll be the one person who knows what the hell she or he is doing.
Like I said though, Millennium classes are crowded, and mostly everyone knows what the hell they are doing, but this time I noticed something interesting:
Knowing the barre exercises, the correct order and all that, and doing things correctly, doesn’t necessarily make you easy to follow.
I noticed this because on the first side of each barre exercise I had a choice of several girls to follow. There was Beautiful Feet, Serious Face, and Socks. All three of them were impossible to follow. Very beautiful movements, extension, precision, doing things correctly and on the music, but somehow, I don’t know, they were just no help.
I know I know, they’re not there to help. I should be listening and remembering and marking and not relying on others. I know. And I was listening and marking! But, you know, I just wanted a little guidance ok?
But on the other side of each exercise, there was this guy with one pant leg rolled up, let’s just call him LLCoolJ, and he was an excellent leader. Everything he did was broadcast in a way that made it clear what we were doing next.
I don’t know what it was. I don’t think he was making larger gestures, I don’t think he was going slower or lower or higher or really anything different, he was just a better broadcaster is all I can think to describe it.
Have you encountered this? It blew my mind a little, like whoa, it’s not just a matter of not screwing up.
I took a tribal belly dance class a couple times a while back, and in tribal they do a lot of unspoken leading and following, but they teach the leaders to give certain signals, like clear preparations and sometimes even eye contact and a wink or something to say, “Hey Ladies! Shimmy left, now!”
This dude was definitely not winking or anything though. Hmm.
Anyway. I only stayed for barre. Good ease back into ballet, and next class was back to Cheers.

Posted in Technique and Class | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Later dude. Ballet.


Posted in Drawings of great sillitude | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Odette, it’s a Wrap.

Queen Michelle of Kingdom of Style sent me a piece from Danseuse, not for review purposes but just because she loooooooooooooooooves me.
Here it is!

It’s got kind of a kimono feeling, with a light open-weave fabric. A more elegant line than my other ballet tops, which previously came in only two varieties: cropped-and-boxy or painted-on.
If you visit Danseuse to see some actual photos of the Odette Wrap Top, be sure to also check out the Wendy shorts in grey and the Margot top in dark grey, as they are delicious.

Disclosure: I received the Odette Wrap Top as a gift, because of see previous Queen Michelle looooooooooooooves me. I do not receive any compensation from link clicks or sales or anything, so click away friends.

PS, did I mention Michelle is One Of Us? A fellow adult beginner? Designing from an adult dance student’s perspective with a focus on adult dance students?

PPS, hell yes!

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Favorite Search Engine Phrase of the day:

“Can some people not do pirouettes”
I understand that this is a legitimate question, and have sometimes wondered it myself, but am having a really hilarious time reading this question with a Tone, directed at Some Specific Person who needs to stop it already with the pirouettes,
as in “Can You Not? Can You Just Not?!”

Posted in Bark! Bark! Bark!, Technique and Class, You Asked for it | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Reading Audition

I was telling my husband about this book I just read,
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe,
And I was like, “it’s ballet young-adult fiction. But it’s written in verse! But not like rhyming couplets verse, more like a stream of consciousness kind of thing, it actually reads really naturally and I only had like one brief moment where I wondered what the book would look like if it were written in paragraphs instead of verse but then after that one moment I was totally on board with the verse and into it,”
And he was like, “Wait wait wait. There’s ballet young adult fiction?”
And I was like, “Huh? Oh yeah, definitely! There are probably more ballet YA books than regular adult ballet books. Makes sense, I mean most of the people in the world doing ballet are kids and young adults, so there’s your audience.”
Which I hadn’t really thought of before. Now I want to make two lists of all the ballet fiction ever and see which list is longer, A or YA.
I really enjoyed Audition. Read all 607 pages in about three hours and not just because the verse lends itself toward page-turning.
The main character, Sarah, has a very adult inner voice that she is pretty much completely unable to voice outside of her own head. A problem I majorly remember. From my own self at sixteen. Or yesterday. Whatever!
Sarah is in this relationship:

…every other part of me is straining to be
The forearm his fingertips are absently stroking.

You remember that relationship, right? You’re into him, he’s into him? He’s got the power?
Eventually he sees her like she wants him to but it’s all wrong. He begins taking her movements, the physical expression of her mostly non-verbal self, and working them into his choreography and giving them to another dancer to dance, like he’s draining her soul like some kind of dance-vampire and coming back again and again.
It’s a really interesting angle on the relationship of muse to artist. We all want to inspire someone, I mean how flattering to be someone’s magic, to be the spark that makes an artist create.
But then what do you get back? Love? That’s good. Collaboration? That’s good. Fame? Maybe good? But what if you get nothing back? What if he takes and takes? Is that ok, like in service to the greater art? Or is it not ok because it’s killing you?
I remember we all wanted to be The Girl In The Song when I was in high school. To have a song about you. I wonder if girls want that anymore.
Anyway, Audition. Totally worth an adult read.

Deets are: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe, copyright 2011, Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Disclosure: I totally checked this out from my local library and received no compensation for my review other than the pleasure of a good read.

Posted in Books! | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hey Girl.

Here’s a little mystery.
Exhibit A, for reference, your Adult Beginner:

Exhibit B, photographed through the window of a boutique, after doing a double-take and shouting O MY GAWD SHES BEAUTIFUL WHO IS THAT GIRL:

In other news, haaaaaaay.

Posted in OMG outfits you guys! | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Brain all empty with fatigue, and yet thoughts keep coming out, what’s that about

Dude, Gentle Reader, it’s been a rough week here in Adult Beginner Land.
Last week I took my little boy to the pediatrician, fully expecting to be sent home with a prescription, but instead we were sent to a specialist, who sent us to the emergency room, through which we were admitted to the hospital, where he had surgery, and we were there six days.
He’s totally totally fine and awesome now you guys, don’t worry.
And no, it wasn’t anything vaccine related. I know you guys are up on your current events so I’ll just assure you: I may be a southern-California home-birthing hippy but this kid is up on all his shots, no philosophical objections here.
It was pretty much the worst week ever, but in other ways it was amazing and reaffirmed my faith in humanity.
Let’s see if I can explain this. It’s like, you know how every transaction outside the home, during your entire day —work, coffee shop, post office, grocery store, whatever— you catch a little attitude? Just a little, but from everyone? Like, people are friendly but they’re definitely not interested in you, they pretty much want to process you as efficiently as possible so they can get done with the morning rush, afternoon rush, evening rush and clock out? They’re nice but they basically want you up out of their face and next next next until they can get back to what they really care about?
The ER and hospital were not like that. It felt like everyone who helped my little boy really wanted to help. Like it was their nature, not just their job. They were generous with their help, they checked in, they asked, they pushed me to tell them if I needed anything, they told me it was ok and they understood and they are parents too. They were kind. They weren’t annoyed when I cried. And I cried a lot, unpredictably, almost at random, and I wasn’t the only one.
You wanna be In The Moment, get out of the yoga studio and go to an emergency department, that’s where it’s at.
But that kindness! When do we ever encounter kindness like that in the real world? It was amazing.
It was also really good to see women working well together. You spend enough years in costume shops and you start to think the catty in-fighting is just inherent to women, that women naturally get mean when they’re around each other. But it wasn’t like that in the hospital. Pediatrics ward almost fully staffed with women, and I didn’t catch even a hint of friction between any of them.
Which makes sense, I mean, there’s enough drama in a pediatrics ward, no need to create more.
Although that’s what I always think about costume shops too, there’s enough stress in the work, why create more, and yet there it is.
I think maybe part of it is that the medical field defines a clear hierarchy whereas the costume shop hierarchy is more nebulous and nebulous lends itself toward personal interpretations of rank, which leads to battles and sniping and people refusing to finish a garment someone else started and just a whole bunch of general unnecessary frustrating nonsense.
It was so good to see women working well together.
We were at Providence Tarzana hospital —which I only mention because they were so wonderful they deserve a holla, and because Tarzana is a really fun word to say, and because it’s nowhere near where I actually live so I remain secure within my cloak of mystery— they make it as nice as possible for a parent to stay round-the-clock with their child. But as nice as that is, it’s still the hospital, I was still scared, anxious, stupid with fatigue, trying to KIT for my baby, I had no attention span, I was trying to retain a lot of scary new information, so I found it really nice to scroll through Twitter every now and then.
I’m sure every one on my Twitter feed has had this experience before, where you are having a bad bad time and you’re just so happy for the distraction, a place where no one knows what’s going on with you and you can pretend for a minute that there’s actually nothing going on.
Half the time I’d scroll through and think ‘this is all so frivolous, what is the point of all this ballet anyway’ and the other half of the time I’d think ‘this is beautiful. This is what’s important in life. Doing things, making things, pursuing what you’re into.’
I’m not sure if I’m going back to ballet class this week. I’m not sure if my body works anymore or if I will even want to be away from my family for that hour and a half.
But it’s there, and it’s both frivolous and what’s important in life, so that’s good.

Posted in ce n'est pas une mom blog | Tagged , , | 27 Comments