First Post-Recital Ballet Class

I’m awfully late to arrive, so they’re already done with the pliés and tendus. I’m just in time for dégagés, however, not a bad way to start, except that Ms. Jessica is feeling ambitious and throws some sort of novel combination of dégagés at us. No mere en croix this time. Something decidedly more complex involving changing to the inside leg on the third beat front and back but not sides. I offer that it’s based on some sort of factors of the square root of two, which joke the old hands have heard too many times by now, I’m maybe starting to realize. But, when confused, just throw out whatever you’re doing, in this case dégagés, pretty much randomly and hope for the best. Then for some weird reason on side two I suddenly grok the pattern and am wickedly pleased when Ms. J out in the center screws it up and still I confidently continue doing it right.

What with my late arrival I’m not in my usual spot by the window, but rather with Renee over at the tall girl bar. You know, the one where Karen and Ayanna would be if they were here. For the stretch I’m sorely out of luck, since there’s only the high bar and no low whatsoever. Is why it’s the tall girl bar. I scurry over to the other side of the studio, where there’s sensibly both the high and low bars. I squeeze in front of Jessica R., and for the first time I notice that she has some sort of wild reverse jujitsu move on the switch from second to arabesque. Apparently twisting her foot around in contact with the bar gives her the willies, so she prefers to twist the rest of her whole being around instead. It’s a nifty trick.

Out center it feels very strange not to be rehearsing the recital piece after so many months. Instead Ms. J’s got even more tricks up her sleeve. For the waltz pattern, we begin with a pas de cheval into a pas de bourrée. Okay, cool. But then after a balancé one way, we definitely do not balance the balancé with a balancé to the other side; rather, it’s a chassé. It feels positively alien. We’re supposed to follow the chassé with another pas de bourrée into fourth for the pirouette. I’ve been getting pretty good pirouette action lately, holding up in relevé coupé much better lately for some reason, even if my turnout is still for shit. But that’s hitching up from a static fourth in my own good damn time. Coming at it from a crazy unbalanced chassé throws me right the hell off and I’m useless.

Similar too is the entrechat quatre that she wants us to start doing on a more regular basis. I’ve had two (later made into three) in my pas de deux with Dawn that I’d been working on for some months now, so I’m initially pleased that I’m going to be ahead of the curve for once. But again, I don’t get to just go right into it, or even start from a nice solid assemblé like from the piece. It’s instead mixed in between two changements and an échappé. I can’t get my brain and feet to work together to save my life. Help!

Finally, going into the corners, we go across the floor in piqué turns. Puke-y turns I declare them. Ms. Jessica tells me to not shoot my tendu out as far, as I’m then never getting straight up over the leg in relevé in the turn. I try going smaller and it works fairly well, as I faintly hear Dawn calling out to me to spot with each turn. It’s something of a wife’s prerogative, I suppose. I still complain about it though.