Monthly Archives: February 2015

Snow ballet class today

It snowed 10 inches in Alabama no less.snowmobilr

Not all beginning classes are equal

If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know I have a love-hate relationship with beginning ballet classes.

I love the technique building part of it. Fundamentally, I know I need to get better.

The pace of the class, that’s a different story. After taking intermediate, advanced and company level classes, there are times when I loathe the pace.

I love to move. I love doing complicated combinations across the floor during center work (something I never thought I’d say when I returned to dance as an adult).

Most of the beginning classes I’ve had in the past few years, we’re lucky to be off the barre with 15 minutes to spare in class.

Because of sickness and wacky weather cancellations, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to taking a beginning class Monday night, But I worked too late Sunday night to make my usual intermediate open class on Monday morning.

It was my first opportunity to move, to take class in two weeks,

I was expecting a painstakingly slow, OK here are the positions and tendu kind of class.

I was pleasantly surprised by the class I got.

It was taught by a former company dancer I once danced with in class. She moved back home this year after graduating from college.

The tempo at the barre was actually more intermediate, even though the combinations were basic. It was really cool.

And we hit center halfway through class. I was totally shocked.

We worked on the fundamentals of a pirouette to be honest that I sorely needed,

But then we ended up moving through somewhat complicated combinations across the floor for a beginner class. There were five of us. Two ladies who had some experience and two ladies who were pure beginners, and myself.

I felt sorry for the two pure beginners, But I was enjoying the chance to finally get to move, to finally get back into a routine.

I also had a chance to focus on technique. I’m flat-footed, so it was an eye-opener to me that I dance a little too much on my heels. And it was a jog down memory lane to get a refresher on the eight facings.

I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things, but the weather may not be cooperating.

We’re expecting a somewhat rare snow storm in Alabama to hit just as tomorrow’s open advanced class is ending, Since I have a commute and have to cross a bridge to get to class, it may unfortunately be a no go,

You know you’re a male dancer when …

you wear tights under your jeans to protect you from brutally cold weather … as in 11 degrees Farenheit (with a windchill of 10-below).

This cheered me up on a tough day

Sissones … you want me to demonstrate that?

Nothing like demonstrating a step you’re not very good at.

That’s especially true in a class with two-thirds company kids and the rest recreating adults.

Mr. O asked me to demonstrate a two sissones, Fi-e (don’t ask me how to spell it, but I can show you), assemble’s combination. Have I mentioned my sissones (probably misspelled) have not been very good lately.

Ask me to demonstrate something I can do, please!

But seriously folks, actually they were better today than they have a while. So maybe it was OK to be the one demonstrating.

And petite allegro also went well, It was nothing fancy. Glissade, jete (right), glissade, jete (left), coupe, pas de bouree, changement, changement, repeat in opposite direction,

I actually made it through going in the right direction and with music.

My pirouettes were a bit messy today, and I was a bit wobbly today during adagio at centre. Finding my balance proved to be a challenge after barre.

But all and all, it was a good class.

And I’m still looking forward to what I’ve got in store for Sleeping Beauty. My part hasn’t been rehearsed yet.

Watching Dance Moms: 30 minutes of my life I can’t get back

My daughter and I are big Marvel Comics fans. We go to every movie (my son along with us, but he now lives in another part of the state), and on Tuesday nights, we become avid watchers of Agents of Shield and Agent Carter.

We found ourselves looking for a program to watch a half hour before Agent Carter came on. Among the choices? Dance Moms.

I’ve flipped through channels and watched it in bits and pieces. But Tuesday night was the first time I actually sat down and watched for an extended period of time.

I’m a recreational dancer, so any dance show would draw my attention. My daughter used to dance, and still watches dance shows and knows good dancing when she sees it, partly from going to see the company her dear old dad performs with from time to time.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I wasn’t shocked by dance moms acting like hicks from the sticks. Or by a dance teacher/”agent” who looks and somewhat acts like one of my old offensive line coaches from my brief high school football days.

The dancing. That is what shocked me the most.

It was downright horrible. Seriously, I could dance circles around those kids and I stumble around as a bottom dweller in the company-level classes I take.

Basically, the choreography and dancing amounted to this: Walking around and striking a pose, and occasionally doing some acrobatic stunt. I felt sorry for the girls to be honest. Showing how high you can get your leg and doing a back flip isn’t dance when you do very little steps in between.

It saddens me that a show like this is the only picture many people get of dance schools in America.

Pushy moms, yeah I guess that’s funny. Maybe the mean dance teacher, too, makes for compelling television for some.

But the dancing sucks.

It really does.

I’m not a huge fan of competition studios. But I’ve got to believe there are some really good dance schools among them out there.

If you’re going to give a dance school a nationally-televised show, you would at least think they would give it to a studio where you’d be wowed by the dancing.

But evidently moms and a teacher acting like jerks makes for compelling television, rather than quality dancing.

Respect for women: Why a boy should take ballet

I’ve found myself on the sidelines on some interesting “Should Christian women were yoga pants or leggings” in public debates.

While I’ve found a lot of the comments a bit amusing … I was stunned by some of the comments from some of the other guys who were sharing their opinions about a question asked by a very sincere, well meaning friend of mine who asked whether it was OK to wear yoga pants in public.

She’s a fitness freak who went from 320 pounds to about 130 pounds in a year’s time and appeared on the Today Show because of her amazing drive to get fit for her two kids.

When you’re a guy who has been in ballet classes as a kid and as an adult, yoga pants on a friend doing leisure activities doesn’t really seem all that extreme or immodest.

Basically, I was in the minority of her Christian guy friends who said it was OK. Maybe not to work or church, but for a day in the park with the kids and a quick trip to the store … no big deal to me if you’re totally comfortable wearing something like that.

Apparently, I was wrong. Apparently men have a “lust” problem and women should dress accordingly to keep men from falling into “lust,”

Look, I’m not advocating for women to wear immodest clothing or any that would send some type of inappropriate message. But comments like the ones I read seemed creepily like something out of the Taliban manual.

What is wrong with wearing something you’re absolutely comfortable wearing when you’re out doing some time of leisure activity?

And what does ballet have to do with this issue?

When you take a coed ballet class when you’re young, and its one with a strict dress code, if we’re honest, little is left to the imagination on both sides of the coin. For new kids, I know it can feel awkward (it was that way for me, especially since I was the only boy at first).

But the more you go to class, the more comfortable you become. And because of the structure of a ballet class, you learn to respect your classmates, their feelings, their bodies. And that is especially true for a boy in a partnering class, where building respect and trust are of the utmost importance. I know it was a learning experience for me.

It’s hard to find a place anywhere else in the modern times we live where you’re taught a certain etiquette, how to be a gentleman around a lady like you do in ballet, especially at schools were male students aren’t that much of an oddity.

I admit I received a refresher when I plunged back into class as an adult as they only guy in a class full of soccer moms a few years ago. They helped redefine my definition of beauty.