Going to get back to work on that double

Today was week three in the incredible new world of nothing but adults ballet class.

As an adult “Ballet II” class, we still have quite a few different levels. It’s nice to be among the top of the class.

We continued to work on building up to pirouettes, and those of use (about three in a class of about 15) who had experience with turns got to try them at the end of the combination,

When you haven’t been doing ballet of any kind for six months, there is much to build back up. That includes my turns.

My old problems have returned. I still lean back when I turn. I can’t stay on releve’ long enough. And my left side, which used to be my strength, was pretty bad.

But in this new, informal without performing ballet world, the old goal still remains to hit doubles cleanly and consistently, and work up to a triple. If I can do that, I’ll have to get video of it to send to Mr. O, who once vowed to make it his life work (a joke of course).

As much as I do like the new place, I still miss my home, and the adrenaline rush of being on stage, that I confess.

The classes I’m taking are basic compared to what I’m used to, but still fun.

I didn’t look like a complete idiot during petite allegro, and was one of the better ones in class doing a two pas de chat, jump second, three changement combination that kept changing directions. At least at a slower pace, I’m not thinking about arms and head. I’m hitting those without thinking.

Of course, petite allegro hasn’t involved jete’s or glissades (things I confess I’ve never done well), so it hasn’t been a mess.

And grande allegro went well. Always been my strength. It was the same arabesque hop combination we did last week.

It was pretty basic, but still a good work out.

Class is going great. But that 140-mile round trip will pretty much limit how many classes I’m able to do.

Right now, it looks as if one class a week will have to do.


Muscle memory kicks in

I remember when taking class with young company wonders at the old studio back home how envious I was of them.

The could do steps and combinations without thinking.

I would usually be really frustrated.

Mr. O, the old artistic director would remind me that most of the company wonders had been taking ballet since they were 6 or 7. Many of the steps that were routine for them, I was just trying to master.

Things are a little bit reverse in the Level II adult class I’ve managed to make for the second Sunday in a row.

Out of the class of about 10-11, I’m up near the top. Most of the steps are basic, but that is OK.

I think part of the problem since I restarted ballet as an adult is that in some ways, I plunged in too quickly. I moved on to more complicated steps without entirely mastering technique.

I’ve used the last couple of classes really to concentrate on technique. In a combination across the floor, we did passe releve’ where in my old ballet world I would try to work on hitting that double pirouette consistently. Muscle memory wanted me to turn (and I did a couple of times).

While others in class were doing combinations at the barre with arms in second, I was trying to concentrate on the proper arms and head positions. Muscle memory carried me through while others struggled.

I know how they felt.

I have to say, while the class was pretty basic from what I’m used to (Ms. B., the teacher, introduced grande allegro to class today, so we are a long way from my favorite step, a tour jete’), it was pretty cardio as ballet class gets for a 50-year-old out of shape dude.

There is a Thursday class I’m trying at the same level with the same teacher and many of the same students.

So I can finally say that I’m plunging back in.bianca

Oh yeah, the iPhone shot is a bit blurry of Maple Street Dance Space in Albuquerque, where I take class.


Back to the barre

I finally made good on the thought of returning back to class.

Maybe it was the binge watching of “Bunheads” with my daughter, which followed binge watching Gillmore Girls (don’t try to yank my man card, I have a crush on Lauren Graham).

As I’ve said before, I’ve been missing ballet … a lot. I’ve come up with a lot of excuses as to why I hadn’t been going, the most important part was the 70-mile drive to Albuquerque.

The class was pretty basic from what I’m used to. It’s a level II adult class. I was disappointed there wasn’t any turning in class. Muscle memory kept wanting me to turn as we were doing a waltz combination across the floor (not to mention feeling the urge to pirouette at the end of a combination that included a pas de bouree.

The barre was pretty simple. The class evidently hasn’t really progressed much past having arms in second, other than a couple of times when they went to fifth.

But it was fun to move. And the stretching at the end of class was epic. And we did a small, choreographed piece, pretty simple, that involved a little bit of partnering which reminded me of my last ballet role which came in Sleeping Beauty where I escorted my stage wife on and off the stage.

Although I miss the challenge of the classes I took with company kids at my old school back in Alabama, I will say that I fully appreciate the dynamic of being in an adult class. It’s nice to receive encouragement and be able to strike up a conversation without wondering if it’s awkward (a struggle when you’re not only a guy, but are greatly outnumbered in a class of teenagers).

Not to mention the partnering part. My partners today were younger than I, but at least they were a few years above the legal drinking age.

 


The Second Act

From my personal blog

Source: The Second Act


Longing to restart the journey

I’m too old. I’m too fat. The drive is just too far.

Those are among the reasons I haven’t been to a dance class in more than three months.

I stopped going to the pre-pro school in Albuquerque I briefly attended because of the lack of consistency. You never knew if anyone was going to show up.

The motivation to continue to go just wasn’t there. I made the decision to end my dance journey.

But my love for ballet, and dance in general, never disappeared.

The truth is, I’ve missed the barre and centre work. I miss feeling the music and moving.

I miss the combinations.

I miss the healthier lifestyle I live. I miss the one place I could go and de-stress.

I plan on going back in the next couple of weeks to the adult program that I tried during the summer a couple of times.

I don’t go with any goals, even though I love performing.

I’m three weeks away from 50. I will do what I feel my body can do.

I will just go and enjoy class.

My dance journey is in transition.

I’m going to look for other ways to express my love for the art form.

I may use this blog to discuss all things dance.

As a writer, I’m thinking of writing  young adult novel about a boy’s dance journey, in part because I feel there are very few books that cover the subject.

There are plenty of books about girls pursuing ballet dreams, but very few about boys doing so.

The same can be said for television shows featuring young dancers. Bunheads was a favorite. The Dance Moms shows not so much.

Male dancers in either play only minor roles.

Maybe that will also be featured in this blog.

 

 


Ever think about teaching?

Yeah, I know I probably wouldn’t be qualified.

But a drive to Native American festival yesterday had me thinking what if.

I took a tour of an old cattle drive town with maybe about 1,000 people. The friend driving showed me an old abandoned high school gym that was built by a public works program in the 1930s.

After a new school was built, an actress bought the building and ran a community theater there. She’s since passed on, and the building remains vacant except for community reunions and such.

Then we drove out to the nearby Navajo reservation, and talked about the poverty and the lack of programs there.

I guess, in a sense of a dream, I thought wouldn’t be great to offer dance classes for free at some place on the reservation or at the old abandoned gym?

I might could at least teach barre, and maybe some centre, and offer classes for all ages.

But I wouldn’t know how the idea would fly since I am … you know ,,, a middle aged adult dancer approaching the age of 50.

That’s not what people would think when they think of someone teaching ballet in a small community.

Of course, it would keep me involved, since the nearest dance studios are really about 70 miles away, and I can’t seem to make classes consistently.


A subject that is dear to my heart

I still think culturally it’s a little easier for a boy who wants to dance than when I was a kid, but it is still outside the box
http://www.npr.org/2015/08/22/433264225/ballet-programs-look-for-more-boys-to-step-up-to-the-barre?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150822