The brisé. Why is this seemingly simple step SO difficult?! The moment the instructor announces, “And next, brisés,” everyone groans inwardly. I can hear it. Even the super professional level girls are like “gripegripegripety-gripe.”
That looks so easy, right? RIGHT? I don’t get it. Assemblés took forever to master (and I use that term loosely). Now my brain is like, “Um, you said an assemblé, right? Right? That’s what you SAID, right– cuz I can’t do this other thing. It’s DIFFERENT and backward and WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN…” when I do brisés .
In the meantime, since my post on extension, I’ve totally been stretching everyday, and I’m starting to make some flexibility progress. I’m pretty flexible as it is, but I wanted to work on it some more. I’ve also been doing my extension exercises and they’ve been… going. That progress is going to be quite slow, I can already tell.
I’m excited to announce that two* of my suggestions ended up being chosen for the Diablo Web Ballet I mentioned a few weeks back. How exciting! I’m actually flying up to San Francisco this Friday specifically to see the performance! The title of the piece is named the Flight of the Dodo and came together from quite a few interesting suggestions:
@MangoJMango: The story of the Dodo Bird, birds who can’t fly and became extinct.
@BlondieBallet: Feel of piece: Deliberately ironic.
Susan Weber: Include at least one moment that you hope the audience will find hideously ugly… another evoking awesome beauty… investigate their similarities and differences.
Leslie Udland: Setting: Insane asylum.
Cheyenne Rosenfeld: Initiate movement from shoulder blades.
@JoieArt: Other ideas: The color turquoise.
A hand-written suggestion by 10-year old Mia Fuerte:
“I would love for the dance to be in the safari. The boys will be animals and the girls will be explorers.”
I’m especially fond of the little girl’s written request. I really am enjoying the way that the choreographer, Robert Dekkers, brought the seemingly random suggestions from social media together to form a cohesive idea. Now that takes some skill! Check out the first few days of rehearsal on Youtube:
If you’d like to see the official Diablo Ballet page on the ballet, please click here. Also, my wonderful dance instructor from San Francisco, Carla Escoda of Ballet to the People, wrote a great article on it for the Huffington Post– check it out! I’m very excited to see the performance on Friday!! Thank you, Diablo Ballet, for putting together such a fun event!
*Both Twitter accounts @Blondieballet and @JoieArt are mine– one is my main personal account and one is just for ballet. I would’ve sent all my suggestions through my ballet Twitter, but had a TweetDeck failure that sent it from both.
I had to take a week off class because my knees were acting up. I’ve got issues with my knees to begin with– I’ve dislocated the left one three times. Basically the issue is that my ligaments are too long (it’s called hypermobility syndrome) and it causes a whole host of problems. Anyway, I don’t mess around when it comes to my knees. Once those things are messed up you can kiss dancing (and walking, and kneeling, and anything) goodbye. They both hurt a bit, so I decided I must’ve pulled or twisted something slightly and gave them a break to recover. I have no problem pushing myself sometimes, but NEVER with my knees.
After my break, I went right back to class and was pleased to discover my one ballet teacher subbing for the other! It was fun seeing her out of context of her normal class– which is a beginning level. She was subbing for my intermediate instructor, so I was eager to see what her style of teaching would be like ramped up a bit. It was great, and definitely challenging. I also had forgotten my ballet slippers like a fool, and had to dance in socks for the first time ever. Wasn’t THAT a hoot?
What’s funny though is that BOTH teachers have noticed within a few weeks of each other that my front knee muscles (I believe they’re called VMOs) are weak. I get all of my leg strength out of locking/hyperextending my knees (which is bad) and my feet and ankles (which isn’t as bad– just means they’re strong enough to make up for my weak knees). After it was pointed out to me that I am hyperextending my standing leg, I realize that I lock my knees all the time even when standing or walking normally. My new mission is to beat those knees into submission– I need to stand strong WITHOUT hyperextending! It’s hard. I’m also doing some old physical therapy exercises to see if that helps build up my knee muscles some more.
In other news– choreographing my own ballet is really tough. I’ve got some passages all figured out… and then keep improvising in between them to chain them together. That’s probably a terrible idea and it needs to be fixed before my performance. Can you imagine me up on stage freezing up because I can’t figure out what to do in between two phrases? Not a pretty sight…