Monday, February 20, 2017


Instead of going to class yesterday I went to see Allegiance, a movie presentation of the Broadway play featuring George Takei, which addresses the shameful forced relocation and internment of 120,000 American citizens and residents of Japanese descent during World War II. I consider it time well spent.

I'd tell everyone to go, but there was only one showing nation-wide, and that was Sunday, February 19th, 2017, the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, known as the the Day of Remembrance. Maybe it'll come out in DVD form, or in the cinemas again. Watch for it.

This afternoon I got a message from the ballet teacher from the school west of me, letting me know that they would be holding class tonight and asking me if I would like to attend. It's rarely practical for me to do so because I work on the other side of the city and the commute is prohibitive. However, on those occasions when my client has a Monday day off, sometimes I drop in.

I really didn't plan on it, but having missed class yesterday I decided to go. This class is only an hour, rather than the 90 minute classes I'm used to, but lacks the break after barre. I did a lot of walking yesterday, and for some reason this made my calf muscles feel tight and knotted. I didn't get there early enough to have much time to stretch before class, so I did have some issues with them cramping. Still it was a good workout.

Afterward, as I went to settle the bill, the owner of the studio remarked, "Oh! Your teacher has told all about you. I hear you're very good." Huh? What? I've been in classes with people who are good. I'm better described as "very persistent." Then I noticed a familiar face passing the desk. It was Runqiao Du, former principal dancer with the Washington Ballet, former principal dancer with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, full-time lecturer at Towson University, and former artistic director at ADI, where I took classes a few years ago. He's now a "guest instructor" at this school. Now that's "very good." For a little hole-in-the-wall studio, they're bringing in some serious talent.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Embrace your Bowl

Every class there is some key phrase uttered that I want to use as a title. Some days I even remember them.

This one comes as part of an explanation of keeping your hips level while raising one leg. Think of your pelvis as a bowl full of hot liquid. As you raise your leg you don't want to tilt the bowl and spill its contents. This led to the admonition to "embrace your bowl", and much giggling among the students.

This is not the only key idea for today. The other is that hiking for three hours the day before will affect your performance in ballet class. Unless you do that sort of thing every day (I don't) it takes longer than 18 hours for muscles to recover. Nothing really aches any more than normal (for an hour after class) but some bits of the last 10 minutes felt a lot harder than it seems like they should have been. Oh well... that'll get better.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Another class, another ache

Last weekend I had a great time Saturday touring the Smithsonian museums with a friend, but that meant that I needed to spend Sunday catching up on chores and other obligations and didn't get to class. Today I was a little later going out the door than I liked, but I did go.

We jokingly say this school is in a slightly different time zone because every class seems to start 5-10 minutes late. Today I was perhaps 3 minutes late and the class was already a quarter way through the first barre exercise. I wasn't the last student, though. One was rapidly stripping off her street clothes in the hallway just outside the door as I ran in and she begged me to stay with her so she wouldn't have to walk in alone, but I declined. And then another student or two arrived after she scurried in.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Well THAT was stupid!

I thought I saw a typo in my previous post ("We're gonna die") so I went to edit the page, then changed my mind and tried to cancel the edit. Poof! No more post!

After some flailing about I realized I'd reverted the page to draft state rather than deleting it. I've reposted the page. Whew!

After the one-legged relev├ęs we did at the barre Sunday I was expecting to be sore this week, but I wasn't. I worked late today so I didn't go but I am starting to think about going back to two classes a week at some point.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We're gonna die

I was determined to get to class this morning to avoid missing the next step in whatever our instructor is developing. My knee-length shorts haven't gotten through the wash yet, so I dressed in full-length tights. It's winter, right?

Checking in at the front desk I was reminded that our regular instructor was out, and the instructor from the Saturday morning class was substituting. Yes, the instructor who teaches Beginner 2 as if it's 2.75. I love her dearly, but I'm still ramping up from my months-long layoff. If I wanted to be in her class I would have shown up yesterday.

Quite a few of the regulars were absent, and there were a fair number of new (to me) faces. Two of them were younger women who showed up because they knew this instructor and wanted to take her class, and the three had an animated chat while I warmed up.

Barre was fairly typical for this instructor, meaning most of this class's regulars were puffing and sweating from exertion. When we broke after barre I went out to fill my water bottle. As I passed the two women I overheard one say to the other "We're gonna die!" The other nodded in agreement. Hey, this is not your average Dolly Dinkle ballet school; even the adult classes require real work.

Center went pretty well. I've been working on stretching my hip flexors and psoas so I can maintain a more erect posture with less work. I spend much of my life sitting so these are abnormally tight on me. I think it's working because my balance continues to improve in tiny but noticeable increments. Most of my turns are more stable than they ever have been, which allows more attention to things like spotting and how my working leg is positioned. I did have to sit out part of one exercise as recovery time, but that was a conscious decision that I'm comfortable with.

I may be a year older but I'm not the ones thinking I'd die.