So I take ballet on Thursdays at St. Mark’s Dance Studio in Capitol Hill. It’s part of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; for some reason they’ve also got a dance studio. They’ve got some liturgical dance, children’s classes and adult classes. Thursday night is Jessica Sloane teaching the intermediate adult class. Jessica is married, so I guess she’s a Mrs., but as ballet mistress I call her Miss Jessica. Well, usually she’s simply Jessica, but on occasion, in more formal settings, like now, I go with Miss Jessica.
I started out in Miss Jessica’s 7:30 p.m. class for beginners, but after two years I’ve moved up with the big kids. Also in the class are my love Dawn, as well as — pardon my attempts at spelling names — Finnette, Renee, Ada, Jill, Jessica, Ayanna, and Pat. Last night we were also joined by Susan and someone else who’s name Dawn told me and I’ve forgotten, but they’re not doing the recital piece with us. And Renee was missing last night. And Shirley is sometimes there, but I’m not certain what her status is regarding the recital.
We’re doing a somewhat modern piece for the recital. It’s set to a pretty cool tune, called “My Guru.” Jessica found it on the soundtrack to the Jack Johnson movie Thicker than Water. It seems, though, that Jack Johnson himself found it on a soundtrack called Bombay The Hard Way: Guns, Cars And Sitars. That soundtrack is itself a compilation of songs from many other soundtracks, with snippets of dialog added, and then all of that remixed and mashed up by Dan the Automator. The original music is credited to the legendary Bollywood team, the Shah brothers, Kalyanji and Anandji. But there’s no telling at this point what the underlying song is, where it’s from originally, or who’s speaking from what movie the dialog bit at the beginning of the track, “I’m sorry, my good friend. Let me learn it properly from my guru. Then I will teach you.” Blame Dan the Automator, I guess.
The choreography goes well with the music, in that it blends old and new, traditional and modern. There’s this one point where my group does this swivel hip thing that I’m still trying to get comfortable with, but otherwise it’s all cool fun moves. I’m still trying to learn the basic steps, when I’m supposed to be stepping where, and then I’ll be able to stop running into the other dancers.