Forum: Ballet / Ballet - Achievements

Ballet - Achievements
Pas de Trois Debut
By Storm_Trouper Comments: 808, member since Mon May 21, 2012
On Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:18 AM
Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2015-04-07 11:10:59
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Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2015-04-07 11:53:42
Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2015-04-07 11:54:25

An impossible dream has just come true for this late starting male ballet enthusiast (with four years of preparation: mid through late 50s) towards getting my first 'big break' onto the amateur ballet scene in my local setting.

Two university students who are advanced dancers agreed to work with me on the reed pipes / mirlitons pas3 from Nut Act 2, the grand Kirov version that is posted on youtube. The supremely neat thing was, they decided they would dance on point and wear romantic tutus for the campus review show that was otherwise comprised of all jazz, hip hop, contemp and ballroom numbers. (We had to submit an audition video.)

Just going to adult drop-in classes (for years) doesn't adequately prepare a person who has never learned ballet starting as a youngster to perform on the stage, it's taken me some time to realize. So part of my journey included taking my first private lesson 2 weeks ago, in support of my debut. It costed me 4-5 times as much (per hour) as drop-in fees, however since I learned technically 10X as much, all personalized to my weaknesses and strengths, it turned out to be excellent value: progress versus maintenance. So I am re-evaluating my entire approach to training now, where I have a very limited budget and an offspring who's about to march on to college this fall. I'll aim to budget one private per month in lieu of weekly drop ins.

The dream or idea of my having an opportunity to explore, experience and discover what it is like to attempt to dance a bit of classical ballet, partnering elegant ballerinas on point seemed elusive at best, impossible at worst and a bit daft generally for someone in my starting position. Then there is that whole (socially constructed) 'stigma' of donning one's dance belt, pulling up the white tights, applying make up for the stage ("Does blusher-bronzer go on TOP of the setting powder that's been applied over the foundation-concealer, or does it go on before?"), executing body movements that are meant to appear intentionally 'fluid', crossing multiple generations inside the studio when taking classes with university dancers the age of one's own children.

Since I have a car, I picked up the bag of rosin for my partners, plus a flat plastic box large enough to take a point shoe on platte, and with a hinged lid, for our portable rosin tray. Rosin use was another first for me too. I mostly dance on hardwood floors and didn't know what I have been missing (friction!) all these years! It was yet another insight-revelation-epiphany that all who had the great opportunity to start learning ballet when they were kids so get to be in recitals etc, from a very young age take for granted, but is never mentioned in adult drop-ins where I live! (I had a choice of buying a small and a larger bag of rosin, the latter being a bit cheaper per ounce of weight. Ignorant of how fast rosin can be 'consumed' by hungry toe boxes and split soles, I choice wrongly and paid more dearly than I ought to have.)

I have read about and seen scores of pics and movie scenes about what it's like behind the scenes waiting for one's turn to go on, dressing room culture, warming up in dark secluded backstage corners, stretching out, jitters and nervous energy burn off, mental visualization of the choreo, listening to calming music thru ear buds, getting one's game face on, peaking at just the right time in the day, eating bananas, keeping one's muscles warm by wearing leg warmers, sweat tops and puffy booties; the warm clingy sensation of perspiration dampened spandex costumes next to your torso as your rib cage heaves.... got to experience it all! This must all sound incredibly hilarious to all you well seasoned ballet types, all of this novel excitement coming from a wide eyed dilettante newb approaching his 6th decade :)

I am starting to firmly believe that good things happen to old brains as a result of following the Dao of Ballet, for my short term memory recall has been improving noticeably lately whereas it had earlier been worsening. Must be those new neural pathways being formed (or rather being beaten into shape by practicing and mastering combinations). Medical researchers are looking at the dementia-forestalling effects of dance as we read this, ballet in particular.

Despite the many great pluses I have experienced along my journey and my 'opening night' highs, probably the best moment was the astonished-shocked-grinning expression on my son's face as I pulled off the 3rd and 4th glissade-assembles elances through to the end of the quad series over 8 counts, followed by an arabesque-assemble tournant solo combination, while he stood transfixed behind the tripod-mounted video camera. (I had had to twist his arm to come out to document his old man.)

I have it all to Blame (It) On Billy (Elliot The Musical) :)

1 Replies to Pas de Trois Debut

re: Pas de Trois Debut
By hummingbird Comments: 10414, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:26 PM
Congratulations! There's nothing like that feeling you get on stage is there :)

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