Tag Archives: adult classes

The last time I did a fishdive lift, my partner wasn’t even born

How is this for returning to ballet for the first time in more than a year: Class No. 3 this week was a partnering class.

It’s been maybe five or six years since I’ve been in a partnering class. But we never did fishdive lifts in those classes.

The last time I did a fishdive lift was when I was 18 in a partnering-pointe class.

And I am two weeks away from birthday No. 51.

There were four men and four women in the class, counting the 30-something guy who taught the class. The other two guys and all of the girls were about my daughter’s age.

We rotated partners. I’ll be honest, I was nervous. I never really thought I did well in the partnering classes I was in a few years ago.

And partnering girls my daughter’s age has always seemed a little awkward.

But I was pleasantly surprised by how well the class went, and by how fun it was.

Other than the waltz-turn ballroom type combo that I completely butchered, I thought I did OK for an old man who hadn’t been in a partnering class for a few years.

The holding your partner while she did pirouette turns part went better than they ever did when I took those classes from Mr.O back in the day. I always thought I did pretty decent with finger turns and whip turns back in the day, and today was no different.

The weird thing? I can’t remember when my lifts were as good as they were today.

I lifted a girl over my head while she gracefully leaned back. Of the three-non teaching guys, I actually did the best.

And they’re much younger. And assumingly have more upper body strength.

Go figure.

My promenades with my partners en pointe were all in the right direction, which for me is a victory. I’ve often been more than confused doing any thing to the left.

As for the regular classes? I’m still shaking off the rust. My glissades suck, but some parts of my petite allegro arsenal seem to have gotten better.

My pirouettes need a lot of work. Getting back to actually doing a double might be a little harder than I thought.

And for some reason, I’m better at floor than barre. The teacher I’ve had for both classes has been challenging, but her combinations are doable. It’s just my brain has got to get used to putting together the combinations, and then getting the body to do them at the pace I need.

It would help if I could get in a little better shape. It would also help if I cut myself a little slack.

For an old man like me, I think I’ve done OK for the first week.

The neat thing is that maybe a few things I thought were beyond my reach when I quit class last year might be back on the table.

There is the opportunity to perform at this school for an old person like me.

And I’ve done one pas de deux since I returned to class as an adult. I messed up, and wanted one more chance at it.

Maybe if I stick with partnering class, that might be one more opportunity for an old man to do one more simple pas de deux before I really do hang up the ballet shoes.


The Russian experience

My experiment with new studios took a surprising new turn today.

A friend of mine, who used to be the top male dancer at my regular school, teaches hip-hop at a studio that’s known for ballroom classes.

I had every intention of taking his class this afternoon. But I also wanted to try the Pilates and ballet classes taught by another former teacher at my regular school … Madame Vaganova (my name for her because of the academy she trained at).

I had her once as a sub, years ago. The arms and the accent were confusing.

The main reason I wanted to take her classes was because of her Pilates reputation. Everyone I know who has taken Pilates from her said she was tough.

They weren’t kidding. We used hoops, rubber balls and therabands. I was winded pretty early, basically wiped out by the end of a one-hour class.

But I stuck around, winded as I was, for her basic ballet class. It was interesting, Her terminology was a little different (actually the same as Melissa B, who also learned Vaganova style). I was winded the whole time from Pilates.

And the class was a bit unusual, a mixture of teens and adults. The guys outnumbered the girls. I can’t ever remember that happening,

I’m not in the kind of shape I need to be in. I paid the price for the time off.

The neat thing about this studio? It’s drop-in, no registration. $10 per class, except for beginning hip-hop, which is a cheap $5.

I was, however, too wiped out to take the hip-hop class,

My arms, my shoulders, my abs and my thighs still ache.

I have a day to recover before Monday’s danceapalooza. I’ll be returning to my regular studio for an open class in the morning for the first time in almost a month. It will be interesting to see if they missed me.

And then I’ll return in the afternoon to the other studio for ballet and jazz.