Tag Archives: partnering

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.


Unexpected partnering class

Expect the unexpected, that’s how I approached the return of ballet after a week’s absence.

Since company dancers make up the majority of the open classes I take in the mornings, I knew we weren’t in for an ordinary class. They were coming off a weekend performance, so I expected a laid back class, which is what we got for the first hour.

The guest artist who served as an emergency performer took over the last part of class. The last 30 minutes of class, we worked with partners. With only four guys in class, it was about like an assembly line. We rotated and worked with each girl, and the lone adult woman recreational dancer,

It was fun. But it was a refresher about how intimate working with a partner in ballet really is. No personal space! And of course, you worry about crazy things like “why didn’t I get a fresh mint, do I have enough deodorant on and am I sweating too much?”

It was simple stuff. Just a few turns. It made me realize how much I miss partnering class, the one thing I really wish I could work on enough to where I’m comfortable with it. Seriously, though, it helped my comfort zone to have at least one partner my age. But the girls were great and really amazing to work with.

Aside from the unexpected, my turns were pretty good for a return after an absence. I had a few double pirouettes that were as clean as I’ve done them in ages.

The night class, on the other hand, still continues to be a challenge. But I have goals to work toward in Dawn C.’s class, like getting the combinations down. My jetes were sloppy during petite allegro. And I struggled a bit with the pique turn-double A turn combination (one pique turn followed by four double As, which I can’t recall ever doing before I took her class).

Her class is my most difficult, but I enjoy it. Because most of the class was coming off a performance, we did the full 90 minutes to modern-rock-pop tunes (you haven’t lived until you’ve done ballet to Fallout Boy, Imagine Dragons, Flo-Rida and Katy Perry). Of course, it appears now the other male dancers have dropped out of that class, leaving me with just the company girls.

That makes it even more of a challenge, I think. But we do this thing called therapeutic barre, which feels so good. That alone would make the class worth going to.