Tag Archives: company class

The song that gives me butterflies

I was standing in the hallway waiting for class when I heard it coming from a rehearsal.

The Arabian song from Nutcracker. And it’s weird, I felt the butterflies.

Is it strange a song that triggers the emotions when I’m about to go on stage triggers almost the same response a little more than a month from when we perform?

Why does the Arabian music do that for me? It’s simple, I’m in the Chinese dance, which comes after Arabian in order. No other song does that two me even though I’m on stage two other times.

The role of party dad is almost too easy, so the overture at the beginning doesn’t quite make the nerves go. At least in our version of The Nutcracker, party parents are in the background. If we (as in party parents) mess up, no ┬áreally notices unless you knock over the tree. The focus is on the kids, Fritz and Clara (or Marie, depending on the version), the dolls and Drosselmeyer (misspelled?).

My other part, I’m under the bed during the battle scene transporting a sleeping Clara all over the stage. No one knows it’s me. Most people think it’s either moving by remote control, or by some other tech form of magic instead of me giving it the “Fred Flintstone” driving treatment.

But when I come on stage for Chinese, it’s a complete different story. I know that for roughly a minute, I am the center of attention, in front of 2,000-3,000 people for seven shows.

That’s why the nerves hit when Arabian plays. That’s why it gives me butterflies every time I hear it.

The weird thing? Once the Chinese music comes on, once I’m on stage, the nerves go away. It’s just one amazing, fun, adrenaline rush.

Can’t believe we’re about a month-and-a-half away.

As for class today, it was really fun.

Mrs. O was serious about driving home points about shaping our feet and using proper body alignment.

She gave us a couple of tricky combinations: Inside turn from second, chasse, pirouette, ton be pas de bouree, repeat in the other direction … and for petite allegro: Glissade, soubre saute (misspelled?), assemble’ right, assemble’ left, glissade assemble’ (right or left depending on the direction we’re going) and for grande allegro: Sissone, sissone, sissone pas de boure’, glissade assemble. (Please forgive my misspelling of ballet steps)

They were tough. But Mrs. O explains steps so well, I was able to do the combinations, although they were a little sloppy. But for the most part, I kept up with the company kids.

I appreciate classes like that.

As I walked out, I looked at the open beginner class were they were doing slow steps.

Don’t get me wrong. Those classes have their place.

And that’s where I started.

But I like classes where I get to move. I like classes where I get to work on tricky combinations and get a sense of accomplishment when I’m able to do them.

That awesome moment when …

Your artistic director tells you you danced a combination better than the company kids.

That happened on Wednesday. We were divided into twos and did four changements in one place, and then on the diagonal (sort of resembling bunny hops). Yeah, it’s simple. But the young company professional and I were singled out by Mr. O for doing the best in the class … clean, with height, with the music.

It’s a small triumph. But when there are no other “recreational dancers” in the room, just pre-pro company kids and a couple of contracted professionals, you take your victories where you get them.

It was actually one of the best classes I’ve had since the start of the season. To be honest, part of my problem has been a lack of energy because of long work hours and going to college part-time. The timing of the classes, coupled with a brutal work schedule have completely drained me.

So I’ve tried to make sure I either get enough sleep, or eat something that will give me energy before ballet class, and I think I’m beginning to succeed.

I had more energy on Wednesday than I’ve had in a long time. Same for today, and on Wednesday, my turns were better than they’d been in a while. I feel I’ve got a shot at a breakthrough with my double pirouettes, although I wasn’t quite feeling it today. Mr. O did praise my turns on Wednesday, which was a plus.

But everything else was better today. My jetes in petite allegro were cleaned (feet pointed), and I was on time with the music. I believe my legs were straighter with my tour jetes during grande allegro.

And for an old man, I think I did well coming out of grande plies in fifth during adagio in the center. Trust me, at my age, it’s not easy to do.

I think it helped, though, that our teachers have sort of taken things off the gas pedal with the company’s fall show two weeks from today. Feels weird not being a part of it, especially after being in the spring performance. But with my work schedule, it wouldn’t have been doable. I will be jealous, I’m sure.

Look forward to seeing them perform if the work schedule allows. A part of me will be glad when the fall show is done. Why? That’s when the focus shifts to Nutcracker, and my turn to perform.

By my count, my first rehearsal will be three weeks from today, and then with my parts, it’s pretty much rehearsals every weekend until tech week. It’s my favorite time of year.

Not a good day for Trocks to be watching

A couple of guys who’ve danced with Les Ballet Trockedero Monte Carlo stopped by our studio while we were doing day 2 of maintenance classes. Not sure why they were here, but I’m sure there’s some connection with Mr. and Mrs. O.

And as ballet has always been for me, my good day yesterday was followed by a humbling one, which is really frustrating because you want to show people who are watching class that you actually can dance … which at times today it didn’t seem that I could.

My turns, which were better yesterday, weren’t there today, which turned out to be a bad thing because Mrs. O turned today’s class into a turn class. Pirouettes? Where were those doubles from yesterday? Arabesque turns? I’m betting the leg was bent quite a few times. Surprisingly though, my attitude turns turned out better than expected.

And our petite allegro combination turned out to be a mess, and not just for me. A lot of the company girls struggled with it, too. My biggest problem? Muscle memory. We start so many petite allegros with a glissade, especially in Mr. O’s class, that it’s hard to start with anything else.

Today’s combination should not have been the beast that it was: Assemble’, glissade, assemble’, assemble’, glissade assemble’, changement, changement, soubre saut. But I botched pretty good, as did about half the class.

My saving grace is usually the grande allegro, but not today. Three sissones followed by a pas de bouree, saute (fi-e?), glissade assemble’. My sissones sucked, I kept botching the pas de bouree, which through my time off for the saute.

The one thing I know I did right? The grande jetes at the end of class, although I know my arms were probably a mess.

I suppose it was suppose to be tough today. It is after all, company audition week. They need to find out who can dance what for the roles they’ll have to cast this year.

It was frustrating, but still fun.

I think it would have helped if I didn’t feel like I was dancing on tired legs.

The good thing about today?

There is a class tomorrow.

Another shot at redemption.

Will there be Trocks watching? I actually hope so, or people who can dance.


Because if you want to perform on stage, you’ve got to prove you can dance in front of an audience.