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re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Mon Nov 23, 2009 04:27 AM
Thanks Odile! I needed to know that. Whew! I'm glad I'm getting to this level but it's not pretty, is it? ;)
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Balletdancer980
On Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:00 PM
You really seem pretty good. Don't let other peoples injuries get you all afraid!!! Either they were doing all the steps wrong or they did not have properly fitting shoes.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Nov 23, 2009 08:16 PM
Serendipity42 and Odile53 -

Thanks for the well wishes. And Serendipity, I'm the one that's envious! It sounds like you're doing phenomenally well. You must be in excellent condition to withstand that class load! Good for you!

And, I do agree with Odile53, callouses in this instance are a very good thing.

----

Well, the joy of finding my psoas was short-lived. Think I'm going to have to drop the Monday class. It's not a long story, but a story.

Went into class feeling good although I hadn't taken for a week. I did feel my pelvis, but looked stupid. My leg was behind me in arabesque and attitude, but it's going to take a lot of work to have it getting anywhere near a ballet position.

Soooo I finish the barre and get into the center. We start doing adagio and I did a bit better, but not really. My leg kept dropping and I couldn't incorporate all those new-found muscles and tendons and lord knows what else into what we were doing. A few good people - very good people were in class. We did this turny pirouette thing and then came the petite allegro and grand allegro jump combinations. This is usually my favorite part of the class. Now the last class I had two weeks ago was a disaster because the teacher had done this jumping forward and backward series of entrechats/royal combo - done while doing this grand port de bras with the arms. It was like rubbing your stomach and patting your head. I just didn't do it and I usually try everything. I couldn't even jump off the ground thinking about it. My body just sort of froze. I should quickly add that at this point, my entrechat - and any sort of beats - are fairly non-existent. And I know, I know, the way to get better is practice, but I'm 60. I doubt I'm going to really be doing Giselle anytime soon.

Soooo she gets up to give the jump combination and ... it's the same one that I couldn't do from two weeks ago!!!! I was like ... oh, pooh! I can't do this!! So I get into the center and try the first couple of steps and my body again just freezes. I leave the center and go stand at the barre so I don't get in anyone's way cause I ain't a gonna do it. The class breaks into two groups, those that can do it and those that can't. The ones that can't are rather pathetic older women like me. There is one older woman in class that can do it and can still dance and move so she is in my mind in the first group.

Soooooo I wait until the class finishes the combination. She had divided us into two groups - no not along the lines of who could do it and who couldn't but it wouldn't be a bad idea! I walk forward figuring she was going to give a little bigger jump combo now (like sissones.) Instead ... yes ... she adds onto this first combo and makes it the opening for the sissones! Soooo I basically sit out the entire jump combination. I ended up standing there until both groups complete this combo right then left then right then left. Altogether I was standing there for 15/20 minutes.

After my rest period was over, she gives really big jumps, but first asks if everyone is jumping. Did she mean me? Yes. I nod and she gives this combo and still keeps us in two groups which means I have to do saute chats with four people going across the floor? Guess who didn't have room to jump?

After this horror was over, she went into this diatribe about not giving up on that other combination until e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e gets it and how she'll give it alone without the other steps next time and just have us practice it over and over until we get it because once we do ... I guess that's the question, what's going to happen if I do learn to jump backward and forward, while beating my legs and beautifully arcing my arms? Nothing because it won't happen.

I love this teacher and know she has a strong desire to teach. I rarely give up on anything, but this is one of those times. I just can't do it and, truthfully, don't want to do it. I'd rather just concentrate on getting beats back. I should add that I in no way resent her for giving these advanced movements and combinations. The class is Intermediate and she should give these types of challenging combos. It's just this fixed notion she's got about repeating this particular step. And if she wants to cater to the advanced students that are in the correct level - I'm all for that.

I guess I'll just look around for another class. I'll look at the schedule and see if there's a morning or afternoon class I can take. I am very disappointed though. I really like her. Her barre is incredibly hard and I like aiming high.

Drats!!!!!!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By odile53
On Mon Nov 23, 2009 09:42 PM
Sylph, we're elders. We can do anything we want, feel like doing, or are up to doing in any given class. Being native, I take "elders' privilege" very seriously.

I understand the body freeze thing. Sometimes its almost as if there is a cast iron plate somewhere in the middle of my neck, preventing those nerve impulses from getting to those muscles, ligaments, and tendons and making them do what I really know they are supposed to be doing. My body's favorite variation on this theme? I'm physically dyslexic at times, usually when I'm really tired, and I can overthink the hell out of anything when I'm tired. By physically dyslexic, I mean sometimes I literally don't know my left from my right! I have been known to execute a complex combination complete with ports de bras (including that bane of one where arms are moving en dedans and legs are moving en dehors,) epaulement, gaze, and expression, only to find out I'm GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!! Among my nicknames at my home studio is "Wrong Way Odile!"

You can't think yourself out of this. All you can do is relax yourself out of it, or just make your mind shut up and dance.

You can't do entrechat? Big whoop. Tell your teacher what your problem is with this, and tell her you are feeling pressured with this particular combination of sissones. As a matter of fact, tell her exactly what you told us. There are others in your class who are similarly challenged, or I would wager to say, more so. Among "elders privilege" is our responsibility to lead, to take initiative. Maybe the kiddies are too shy to say it's too tough right now, and it has to get broken down. Neither you nor I would have a problem saying that, politely and privately, but in no uncertain terms!

Maybe we superannuated ballerinas are "pathetic" by SAB standards, but that isn't why we're doing this. We're doing this because we still can! There is no point in our trying to expect ourselves to do something that MOST twenty year olds will never do without a lot of work, if we want to do that. But there is something to be celebrated by the fact that we are still physically capable of doing these things, and gifted enough to try. I would wager, and there is no way to collect on this, because I probably won't be around to verify, that when most of the teenagers and twenty-somethings are my current age, they will no longer be doing ballet in any way, shape or form, and those satin shoes will be moldering away in an attic someplace, and the joy long forgotten. We aren't doing that! We are still dancing!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 24, 2009 08:02 AM
odile53 wrote:

Sylph, we're elders. We can do anything we want, feel like doing, or are up to doing in any given class. Being native, I take "elders' privilege" very seriously. ...

... You can't do entrechat? Big whoop. Tell your teacher what your problem is with this, and tell her you are feeling pressured with this particular combination of sissones....

... Maybe we superannuated ballerinas are "pathetic" by SAB standards, but that isn't why we're doing this. We're doing this because we still can! ...

... We are still dancing!


Hey Odile53 -

Thank you for the very analytical and articulate reply. You definitively have made some good points and have me thinking. I believe I'm thinking slightly differently than you. We're all individuals right? So we all do things for different reasons - and when we are doing the same thing for the same reason - often our goals differ.

For me, beingi realistic and really taking stock of myself as to what I can do and can't do is key. This includes ballet. The truth is I look pathetic on most movements. That's just the way it is. And I'm not comparing myself to 20-year-olds, just to the standard of what a ballet movement is supposed to look like. I deviate so far from that thing called perfection, as to look silly, stupid and very old. It's not a plea for someone to talk me out of this opinion, it's just a truthful assessment. Taking an objective assessment is part of taking ballet. The thing is, due to my long layoff, I wasn't sure how much of this weakness was caused by my 20-year absence of dancing and how much was caused by my being aged. I still don't know. Last night, although most of the time I couldn't do what I wanted, my turnout was amazing! I don't know what happened in my pelvis, but when I first stood at the barre and went into fifth, voile'! I felt my heels pressing forward and I had a pretty decent fifth position! This is the first time that happened. I have to admit I was "forcing" my turnout a bit (okay a lot and you kids reading this - do as I say and not as I do! lol) by twisting at my knees. I was careful and couldn't do it in the center anyway, but since discovering my pelvis/psoas, man do I have turnout! I gotta admit it felt soooo good. I could really push out with my heel and I felt my leg going all the up to my waist.

Now as for this movement, I'm really not going to talk to the teacher about this. It's not my private class and like I said, it's intermediate. In the class beneath this (adv/beg), they teach beats and give preliminary exercises to execute the movement. Therefore, I don't feel the class should really conform to me and go beneath it's stated level. It wouldn't be fair to the other people that are at this Intermediate level and expecting it adhere to that level. It would be very selfish indeed if I somehow coerced the teacher to dumb the class down and force those beautifully trained dancers to go through those rather basic exercises when they already know how! That's they're in the Intermediate class! I'm the one that doesn't know how! And I'm there because it's really my level in terms of training, but not in terms of physicality anymore. In other words, I know all the terminology and movements, I just can't do them anymore so the talking to the teacher is not an option. It'd be different if she was doing something wrong - she really isn't. She's doing her job.

I also totally agree about the elder privilege concept. That's why I make decisions for myself as to what to do and what not to do. However, the point in this case is that I took myself out of a combination that ended up lasting 20 minutes. That's 20 minutes of a class I missed out on because I couldn't execute a given combination. And then there's the promise of this teacher that this combination will repeat ad infinitum until we all get it! That's going to be a lot of standing around. As you know it doesn't take much for us older folk to lose our aerobic capacity, so I really don't want to do this.

As for the pathetic remark, I don't think all older dancers look pathetic so anyone who is older and taking ballet should not personalize that remark. I look pathetic - and these other two women in my class look pathetic. As I said, there's another girl there that's older (don't know what age anyone is as it's none of my business), and she does just fine. Turns beautifully and still has her beats. Her positions are nice and she looks just fine in terms of conforming to the standards of what a ballet movement looks like. There's also several teachers that are older and look just terrific. So I'm not "down" on older people - of which I'm one - taking ballet.

Anyway, I hate classes that repeat this way just in general. There's another class there given by an older teacher (who is one of the fabulous older dancers - she's beautiful and very graceful) that repeats and repeats and repeats. It's a slight variation every week, but the exact same combination. Don't take the class for that reason.

I just don't want to stand around. I want lively jumping as I need this desperately to keep in shape. I've been ridiculously busy and haven't even gotten to my pseudo ballet classes, so I'm really relying on the regular classes to put me through my paces. As such, this is not working for me.

Oh, well! Easy come, easy go! I'll find another class. It's just this one is the perfect time and perfect location.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By odile53
On Tue Nov 24, 2009 08:29 PM
Oh, Sylph, I hear you on this one. And obviously, I can't help you analyze why you are deviating from what a standard ballet movement looks like. It may be age, a return to training after a long absence or a combination of both, as you pointed out. I envy you that you are in New York, and have a possibility of finding a class that will fit your current level as well as challenge you but not frustrate you. There aren't all that many around here, and those of us of a certain age are pretty much forced to keep up or modify if we want, and can generally do, something other than adult beginner ballet. And schedules for us real working adults can be hard to accommodate. I've been known to run out of class when I'm on trauma team to run back into work, with my teacher yelling at me to be sure I stretch in the parking lot or someplace before I go standing around for several hours (obviously, I clue her in as to when I'm on call.)

You're right. We do have to make decisions for ourselves and
formulate our own goals in light of our own capabilities, best interests, and effective spending of that precious commodity that runs out too soon for us all--time. A class spent trying to nail something that just isn't going to happen is wasted effort that causes needless frustration and saps us of the joy of our craft.

I hope this teacher decides to give another class that will better fit your needs, or that you will find one that is at a good time and location for you. Again, I'm somewhat envious that you are in NY, your chances of being able to make it all come together are about ten times better than my chances up here in Frostbite Falls!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:14 PM
odile53 wrote:

I hope this teacher decides to give another class that will better fit your needs, or that you will find one that is at a good time and location for you. Again, I'm somewhat envious that you are in NY, your chances of being able to make it all come together are about ten times better than my chances up here in Frostbite Falls!


Odile53 -

Yes, we are in agreement there! It is true that NY does have dance classes!

And I have been thinking about what you said in your previous post. It's good to get another point-of-view because sometimes we become way too fixed and change is sometimes what keeps us young.

You started me thinking and what occurred to me is why I was digging in my heels on trying to learn this movement? I mean, as stated above, I don't think there's a chance in the world that I'm going to be able to do this, but obviously the teacher does. And she is a teacher - a good teacher. So I'm getting upset with her for thinking I'm able to work up to a very, very, very complicated combination that I don't think I can do? Doesn't that mean she's thinking more of my abilities than I am? I mean, she doesn't expect us to do things perfectly, only to try.

Well, one of us is wrong and I figure I'll submit to her. She's the teacher and I am the student even though I'm twice her age. If she thinks I can work up to this, then by golly I'll try to work up to it. It means looking like an idiot, but then that's sort of where I am right now! This should be fun. As for the big groups in the final jump combination, that I will address with her. I'll ask if we can go by two's across the floor. I don't want to collide with anyone.

And something really did happen in my body. I had this really strong desire to stretch into a split. I actually got down on the living room floor and did some splits and then that yoga cobra position into the rocking chair sort of position - where you grab your ankles and roll on your stomach. Very strange that I had this urge because I certainly haven't had one since I started back up with ballet! It felt really good.

I also wanted to mention that I'm also envious of you and your situation. It seems you have a great teacher, a wonderful class and are much more talented than I am. And you have a great life, you're intelligent and funny to boot!

Not too shabby.

Take care.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By odile53
On Fri Nov 27, 2009 04:08 AM
"she expects us only to try."

I wish I had a dollar for the number of times my own perfectionism has sabotaged my willingness to give something a fair shot before dismissing it as unobtainable.

Some time ago there was someone who posted here about her inability to strike a particular dance movement well, and was extremely down on herself. It was so bad, I felt for her! I shared with her my own bugaboos.

As I mentioned, I'm of native descent (Iroquois,) and am still affiliated with my nation, meaning I go to powwows. Much of what you see at a powwow is competition dancing, and I would need a couple of paramedics standing by with a defibrillator if I even attempted those things. However, there is something called social or circle dance. Basically, it is a shuffle-stomp dance, with some rhythmic upper body movements to a large drum. In other words, the Hokey Pokey is more complicated! Anyone can and does participate in these dances, and as a matter of fact the people who seem to have the most fun doing so are little old nonnative ladies with blue hair! So, guess where good ole Odile, the "classically trained ballerina," as a lot of people on the rez refer to me, is during these dances? You guessed it, sitting on the sidelines with the amputee elders! Dipped if I can force myself to do this, it's almost as if my brain is telling my feet, "What??!! You mean PERFORM without REHEARSING?!!!" I even faked twisting my ankle at my own wedding reception after dancing with my new husband and my father, rest his soul, just to get out of dancing.

How warped is that?

One of the elders told me that next powwow maybe I should bring my ballet slippers "not the moccasin like ones, the ones with the ribbons," as he put it, and put them on because my feet might only be able to dance that way! Well, I'd certainly be able to stomp with them--ha, ha! Pointe shoes at a powwow will probably be a first in the thousand year plus history of the Iroquois Confederacy! If I do it I'll be sure to let everyone know!

I think all of us manage to mentally hamstring ourselves in some way or another. At this point in our lives though, unless ABT starts a retirement home repertory touring company, we're not going for perfection. Your teacher doesn't even expect it. If you're like me, strive for what I call "close enough for government work!" If you made it back to ballet and hoisted yourself up to pointe and are even trying these combinations at the age of sixty, you are far more talented than you give yourself credit for. Celebrate that fact. You DO have a gift.

Anyways, was it Einstein or Edison that said, "Genius is five percent inspiration, and ninety five percent perspiration?" Or something like that?

Good luck, or I should say, merde, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I spent mine at work!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 09:27 AM
Odile53 -

I would LOVE to see you with pointe shoes dancing at a powwow!!! I smile even thinking about it! What a picture! And I do agree that striving for perfection can stop you from simply enjoying dance. I do think the striving is part of ballet, but accepting what yourself. I know I would never, ever, ever be as hard on someone else or berate them in the manner I do to myself. Never, ever, ever.

Okay, made a huge mistake last night. Lapse of of judgment that I'll blame on tryptophan. I went back to the Friday night class with my old teacher - yes, the class where the Witches of Eastwick frequent. Oh, god! They were worse than usual. They don't listen and knock into one another and tried to throw a dig at me by praising the teacher. She's older and one of those older dancers that looks gorgeous. After the plies at the barre, one of the witches cackled out, "How long has it been since you took class?" The teacher preened and first said, "20 years." Now that's how long it's been for me ... and she knew that because hers was the first class I took. Then she says, "Actually more like 34." To which the witch replied, "And you're still good!"

I guess that shows me! What it shows I don't know? And which is it - 20 or 34 years? If it was 34, why did she first say 20? And she didn't stop dancing ballet, she's been teaching at least 4 classes a day for the past 20 .... I mean, 34 years! Yes, she hasn't taken a formal class, but she's never stopped ballet. it's not the same thing as stopping and sitting on the couch! Were they saying my stopping ballet for 20 years and coming back and not being able to do anything just an excuse for being bad? I think so. I have only one thing to say to that ... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Anyway, it went downhill from there. However, I am getting much better at focusing though. I ended up having a great class in terms of working on things. I'm still clenching my thighs, but I'm getting into my plies when I jump and that's key in eventually being able to go up in the air and not shuffle about. Oh, and the class seemed so simple! I mean, in terms of combinations! I am improving because the combinations were sooooooo simplistic! I think I did the right thing in ratcheting up to the Intermediate level. Also when I was at the barre, I hit the right position for about one second for developpes. My leg went up easily - and without clenching! Then I immediately lost that position and went back to clenching. I must love gripping my thighs 'cuz I sure do it enough!

All-in-all, I did okay - even with the ... the ... "obstacles." They didn't throw me off my game and I really just ignored them. That's HUGE progress for me. I just concentrated on myself and everything worked out just fine and I really felt the difference in how much strength I've gained. I'm telling you, this particular teacher's class seemed soooo hard for me ... and so complicated! I couldn't remember anything, but not last night! So the hard work is paying off.

Oh, a weird thing happened though. My right knee was bothering me. Right behind it and to the inner corner. It felt sore. I was at the barre and did something and felt this, "Ping!" At first I thought I did something, but it felt better. The soreness was gone. I kept thinking I must have ripped something, but my knee felt great and has no instability ... or pain. I guess I couldn't have ripped anything, but have no idea how a "Ping" could have solved the soreness problem. If something is sore, it's sore.

Oh, well! Yet another mystery I have no answer for.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 02:46 PM
LOL! You ARE a glutton for punishment, aren't you? *tease*

It's great to feel you can pick up so easily. I'm in an advanced class with a teacher who doesn't speak much English, and I really have to listen and pick up quickly in that one. It's only once a week but it's doing wonders for my "alzheimers" issues.

Now if only I can keep the right alignment in the combos, I'd be fine... *sigh*

Keep an eye on that knee. You may have done a slight twist during an exercise, or overtaxed it while stretching or something. I had something similar on Wednesday. The pain went away and hasn't returned but it was still a concern. I'd not had knee issues before and don't want them now. I expect it grew out of working so hard in the pointe class earlier in the evening.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 04:19 PM
Serendipity42 wrote:

LOL! You ARE a glutton for punishment, aren't you? *tease*


Yes, yes, yes!!!!

I swear I won't do it again! I don't care how much turkey I cram down my face!

And I didn't even tell the best parts of class with the Four Stooges. I was the first to arrive in the studio, quickly followed by T-Rex. T-Rex asked if she could open a window even though it was about minus 10 degrees outside. I didn't care because I was bundled up in a track suit and sweats. Plus it was a step up for her to even ask. She usually just goes around opening all of them up as wide as they can open. Whiny Carol enters and screams at her for opening the window and Alpo yaps in and says it's freezing also. Window shuts, but it comes into play later on.

We do the barre with the the aforementioned remark being snarkily thrown out about how I must have always been decrepit because the teacher hasn't taken for 34 years and still looks good!

We do the adagio with whiny Carol front and center and then move on to the pirouette combination. The teacher deviated from the norm, and told us to line-up in the back. She clearly says that she wants us to go two-by-two FROM THE CORNER. I heard her distinctly. If she didn't want that, why would she have lined us up in the back? What was it? A parade? No! What the teacher said was lost upon this crowd. The teacher gave the combination and we run through it again. We go back against the barre. "Victoria" (one of the four stooges) was first in line. I was second. I indicated for Victoria to go in front across the floor. I did this to be gracious and to make rabbit ears behind her with my fingers. Anyway, we go to start and I look to my right, and whiny, passive-aggressive, and obviously hearing impaired or language challenged Carol starts dancing at the other end of the studio - right in my path!!! Well, now I can't go because we're supposed to go two-by-two FROM THE CORNER. Victoria is one and whiny Carol is now the other - only she must think we're still in groups! We all continue as best we can after Carol stops flailing about. The music ends and the teacher explains to Carol that we were supposed to go two-by-two FROM THE CORNER. Carol starts sputtering and walking around the entire parameter of the studio saying, "Oh, we were supposed to go two-by-two FROM THE CORNER? I didn't know! I didn't know!"

Just a suggestion, but maybe if she'd stop gabbing and shut her trap, she'd hear the teacher. She gets corrections from T-Rex (the second of the Four Stooges) in between combinations. By the way, I've named them all: Whiny Carol, T-Rex, Victoria and Alpo, cause she's such a lap dog. Yes, T-Rex who can't manage even ONE ballet movement properly has the nerve to give Carol corrections WHILE the class is going on! She had Carol up against the barre and was telling her to suck it in and pull it up. Can't imagine why the group didn't hear what the real teacher was saying! Seriously, how rude are they?

Then we go onto little jumps. Now Carol had told the teacher she wasn't jumping due to an injured knee in the beginning of the class. The fact she was still muttering "I didn't know ... I didn't know" while pinned against the back barre in the back of the classroom seemed to confirm it. Heck, the lights are even turned off when you get that far into the studio. And when the teacher gave us the combination, she just stood with a death grip on the barre and didn't practice it to the music. Wouldn't you have thought she wasn't going to participate? Well, no! She was! I, unfortunately and pretty happily, had moved into her front and center spot where she was standing for the adagio! I didn't feel like moving. I saw her stomp to the second row as if her life was passing before her eyes and nothing would ever be the same! Too bad. You snooze you lose!

Okay, now we move onto the big jumps and Carol again goes against the back barre. She has such a strange look on her face that the teacher is prompted to say, "Is anything wrong?" Carol doesn't say anything, but T-Rex pipes up, "She's having an asthma attack." Great! The teacher wisely says, "Well, why don't you leave and take it easy? I'm thinking the same thing because asthma is horrible and plus I thought her knee was injured so badly that she couldn't jump! If it wasn't, why did she say it was in the beginning of class?!

Somehow T-Rex speaking has jogged something in Carole. Finally, Carole interjects rather angrily, "Yes, the window was open and cold air triggers my asthma." She shoots T-Rex a stern look.

Okay, now did everyone read what I just wrote? Did everyone understand that Carole said that the cold air triggered her asthma and that the window being open caused it to happen? Good because Victoria (did I tell you she was a brain surgeon?) says to Carol and I quote, "Can we do something to help? Like open a window or something? Maybe the fresh air will help?"

I took my open palm and slapped my forehead running my hand down the length of my face several times. I also stuck my pinkies in my ears and twisted them because obviously I'm hearing things nobody else is. I turn rather sharply, but more authoritatively to Victoria and say, "No, we shouldn't open a window because she just said that the cold air triggers her asthma and makes it worse."

Victoria, who really is as dumb as doornail and twice as rude, does not even turn to acknowledge me or my comment. She instead stares fixedly at Carol and again repeats, "Should we open a window? Maybe the fresh air will help?" I'm standing right next to her and wondering idly what the penalty is for throttling someone will ballet ribbon in the state of NY. I decide against it and turnaround facing her directly with my hands on my hips. I repeat in a much, much louder voice, "NO, WE SHOULDN'T OPEN A WINDOW BECAUSE SHE JUST SAID THE COLD AIR TRIGGERS HER ASTHMA AND MAKES IT WORSE!" The teacher obviously heard me because she says that yes, that is what she said.

After all this, with Carol still in the room and T-Rex attending to her, the teacher gives the big jump combo. She says two-by-two. I can see the Four Stooges plotting something. They huddle and then T-Rex asks again how they should go. Victoria is first in line and I'm second and the teacher says rather angrily, "Two-by-two! Or two and three! Or one-by-one! I don't care, just go!"

Carol rushes by me and cuts in front of me and goes across the floor with Victoria. That leaves me with Alpo and T-Rex. They know I hate going with those two because they don't move more than an inch - even in big combinations. I wave Alpo ahead of me indicating for her to go in front of me. She smiles and T-Rex goes to my side sort of blocking me in. I put my foot out as if I'm going to go with them, the cue comes and they take-off and I just stand there. They're stunned. They finish and then I take my solo! I do the same thing on the left. And then on the right ... and just to make it even ... on the left again! Four solos in one night!

And I should hastily add that I am not unsympathetic to Carol, it's just I really do not believe her half the time ... and that's the time she's talking. If I had a dime for every time she said her back was out and then attempted cambre after cambre I'd be rich.

It's great to feel you can pick up so easily. I'm in an advanced class with a teacher who doesn't speak much English, and I really have to listen and pick up quickly in that one. It's only once a week but it's doing wonders for my "alzheimers" issues.

Now if only I can keep the right alignment in the combos, I'd be fine... *sigh*


Oh, well I didn't say I could do them aligned! That's totally different!

Keep an eye on that knee. You may have done a slight twist during an exercise, or overtaxed it while stretching or something. I had something similar on Wednesday. The pain went away and hasn't returned but it was still a concern. I'd not had knee issues before and don't want them now. I expect it grew out of working so hard in the pointe class earlier in the evening.


Yeah, thanks. I don't know what it was, but I took another class today. It's a pseudo ballet class and doesn't have a barre. The teacher is back from a summer hiatus. She gives such amazingly challenging combinations that I'm huffing and puffing way before the clock runs out! She also gives a lot of jumps which I need!

And it was soooo nice having students in class today that just want to take class!!!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 05:24 PM
You're lucky to have had a class today. All the studios I go to and most of the ones I don't didn't have any classes this weekend. That said, I'm feeling a bit under the weather (womanly stuff) so I guess it's not such a big deal.

Really, you could write a book and make a fortune with these stories!! :)
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Guyenne
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 06:50 PM
So, nycsylph, who would you pick to play Whiny Carol, T-Rex, Victoria and Alpo in your "fictional" movie? Are their parts worthy of a Trocks performance?
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 07:25 PM
Serendipity42 -

You never know about those stories. I feel a screenplay coming on!


Guyenne wrote:

So, nycsylph, who would you pick to play Whiny Carol, T-Rex, Victoria and Alpo in your "fictional" movie? Are their parts worthy of a Trocks performance?


Guyenne -

What a good question! This is fun even thinking about!!!

I went to the Trocks website, and without a doubt found the double of one of the Four Stooges. Paul Ghiselin as IDA NEVASAYNEVA IS T-Rex!!!! That jaw, that cruel mouth! The only thing I wonder is if s/he squints and blinks. T-Rex does this all the time. She squints, narrows her eyes at you and just stares!

I'd have to think about Carol, Alpo and Victoria.

Thanks for this! I suppose I should think who would play their parts so when the screenplay is finished .... ????

Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By luceroblanco
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 07:59 PM
Odile, I cannot believe grown women behave like this in your ballet class.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Attitude1407
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 08:19 PM
Oh my, you got me started on something with the Trock dancers... I looked up their website and found a dancer who looks JUST LIKE the most evil character from my old studio!! She's the one who started all the trouble, the jealousy, the resentment, all of the nonsense that eventually got me pushed out. I had noticed that she was very masculine-looking, besides being big -- she dwarfed my ex-teacher so badly that they looked almost comical when they danced together, and when he caught her in a fish dive, her weight nearly yanked him to the floor. Now I see that she looks identical to one of the Trocks!! Check out Christopher Lam, a.k.a. Nadezhda Bogdownova:
www.trockadero.org . . .

Also, here is the link to Paul Ghiselin, for anyone who wants to see:
www.trockadero.org . . .

Between the two of us, Sylph, I think we could come up with an incredible cast of characters!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Attitude1407
On Sat Nov 28, 2009 08:29 PM
luceroblanco wrote:

Odile, I cannot believe grown women behave like this in your ballet class.


HAHA! You should have seen some of the classes at my old studio... I had two stooges, plus the queen stooge, "Nadezhda". The two stooges were in their late teens or early 20's, and Nadezhda was mid-20's, supposedly a former professional. The two stooges were always whining, babbling, having meltdowns, and so forth, very much along the lines of the senselessness that Sylph described. Nadezhda spurred on their insanity with her snide prodding and snickering, meanwhile, she shamelessly threw herself at the teacher like a hooker. When she wasn't doing that, she was floundering around the room, forgetting combinations, crashing into walls, and whining about everything. She never, ever lasted more than a half-hour en pointe. Once, when the class was doing chaines across the floor, she plopped herself down in the middle of the floor, tapping her toes together, complaining that she thought her toes were bleeding. The teacher had to tell her to move off to the side of the room, out of the way. As an assistant jazz teacher at the studio, I dealt with a 7-year-old autistic child who behaved better than that!!

Ugh. The behavior of some people astounds me.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 29, 2009 08:24 AM
Attitude1407 wrote:

I had noticed that she was very masculine-looking, besides being big -- she dwarfed my ex-teacher so badly that they looked almost comical when they danced together, and when he caught her in a fish dive, her weight nearly yanked him to the floor.


Oh, my god! I read this and nearly inhaled my coffee up my nose! I'm sitting here drinking it trying to wake-up and this line just got me to laughing out loud! I can sooooo picture it!

LOL!!!!!!

And the link to the picture is priceless! Evoked a second gale of laughter replete with snorting!!!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 29, 2009 08:39 AM
Attitude1407 wrote:

luceroblanco wrote:

Odile, I cannot believe grown women behave like this in your ballet class.


HAHA! You should have seen some of the classes at my old studio... I had two stooges, plus the queen stooge, "Nadezhda". ...

... Once, when the class was doing chaines across the floor, she plopped herself down in the middle of the floor, tapping her toes together, complaining that she thought her toes were bleeding. The teacher had to tell her to move off to the side of the room, out of the way.

Ugh. The behavior of some people astounds me.


Okay, now I'm really laughing! And you brought up an old memory. Way back in the day, I took at this one school and there was this dancer named Bonnie. Anyway, Bonnie was the teacher's pet! She threw tantrums, sat in the middle of the floor and did everything she could to disrupt the classroom and focus all attention on her needs ... and her needs? It seems that like the Prince searching for Cinderella, there was not a pointe shoe in the land that this girl thought was good enough to be on her feet! She'd buy pair after pair and berate them for one thing after another. She'd accuse the inanimate objects of derailing her attempts at doing piques or even doing a releve into arabesque. I, being the young scholar scientist asked the salient question. I said, "But don't you need to be able to do those things off of pointe before you can do them on pointe?" I was met with icy stares from all parties and crickets chirping in the background.

She would make incredibly snide, snarky, horrible remarks with the teacher's approval until one day. I remember it clearly. I had had enough. I hadn't said a word for over a year with this chick, but I had had enough. I said something I won't repeat here. I'm not proud of myself, but she well deserved it. She never came back to class again!

A couple of years later I was taking pointe class with Madame Youskevitch. For some reason, she was teaching class at the ABT studios. Anyways, I'd never been there and walked into the dressing room. There were lockers blocking the dancers who were already in there. I heard this horrible screeching noise and realized it wasn't a condor circling a dead carcass, but the high-pitched whine of someone that was humanoid .... most likely female.

My ears adjusted to the noise and I heard someone complaining about ... pointe shoes!!! As she went on and on about nothing ever being right and how her feet were so special that someone should custom make something for her and that the shoes didn't enhance her the enormity of her dancing skills and it was a shame because she could transform the world of ballet with her extraordinary expertise if only she could find a shoe ... something in me clicked. It seemed this was oddly familiar. I saw a pointe shoe fly across the room and hit the wall. I knew it could only be ....

... I ran around the corner of the locker and there sitting - ready to toss the other one - was Bonnie!!!!

She looked and me and I looked at her and I burst out laughing. It was the last I saw of her. I looked for her name on the programs of ABT and NYCB everytime I went, but never saw her listed under Prima Ballerinas.

I can only think it was due to her not finding the right shoe!

wink wink
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Attitude1407
On Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:48 AM
ROFLMBO!!! Sylph!! Please PM me to tell me what you said to her. :D :D ;)
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 29, 2009 02:10 PM
Attitude1407 wrote:

ROFLMBO!!! Sylph!! Please PM me to tell me what you said to her. :D :D ;)


Attitude!

You're not thinking of using my line now are you?!!!

I know you are!!!!

Don't know if lightning can strike twice.

Went back to my pointe class this afternoon. Had gotten up early and was doing a lot of things. Got home and looked at the time and wondered if I could make it to pointe. I wasn't sure how I felt so I tried on my shoes and they felt pretty good.

Got there and slipped them on. My legs are so much stronger, but that inner thigh to the heel thing - not so much! The box was cutting right into my foot (didn't wear my lamb's wool - why? don't know!) When I got there, I was expecting whiny Carol and Victoria, but they have vacated the pointe class and now haunt the teacher's class that hasn't taken in 134 years! Must be a vampire that one.

Anyways, they are such brazen little hussies in that teacher's class on Friday when it's just the Four Stooges. In a real class, they were all the way pushed in the back and whiny Carol was hanging onto the barre for one combination. It was on flat foot for God's sake! If you need to hang onto the barre when it's a flat-footed combination, you are definitely in the wrong class!

I stopped for a moment and watched them shunted in the back of the room like old shoes just like they watch me. I smiled.

I'm so happy about pointe though. When I left I did feel that inner thigh thing and my heels. It's coming along. Very, very, very slowly, but it's working!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By odile53
On Mon Nov 30, 2009 05:08 AM
OMG--what antics in your classes! I'd give anything to see this in action, the worst we ever have is some teenager who thinks she's the next Gillian Murphy. The teacher quickly disavows the little miscreant of this notion.

It's a great class because the ONLY thing that counts is a work ethic! Our teacher doesn't care about talent that is unaccompanied by a strong work ethic. Her rationale is that if a dancer isn't willing to work his/her butt off, no matter how talented they are the talent will go undeveloped. And nobody else can provide the motivation for this. My teacher will work hard with the fattest and klutziest newbie who struggled into a pair of tights if the dancer means business. She will ignore the class diva who skips class without good reason, talks through barre, and looks like she is just putting a halfhearted effort into class. Repeated offenses earn someone a private and kindly but no-nonsense talking to, and in the three years I've been here, a couple of disruptive people have been invited to take class elsewhere. Anywhere else!

So, send these bozos up here to Frostbite Falls!

a) The cold air will take care of whiny Carol.
b) Between my teacher, the retired linebacker, and me, we'd either shape up the rest or just stomp them!

And the cool barre will laugh their butts off at them!
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Nov 30, 2009 08:50 AM
odile53 wrote:

OMG--what antics in your classes! I'd give anything to see this in action, the worst we ever have is some teenager who thinks she's the next Gillian Murphy. The teacher quickly disavows the little miscreant of this notion.

It's a great class because the ONLY thing that counts is a work ethic! Our teacher doesn't care about talent that is unaccompanied by a strong work ethic. Her rationale is that if a dancer isn't willing to work his/her butt off, no matter how talented they are the talent will go undeveloped. And nobody else can provide the motivation for this.


Exactly! Your teacher is correct and I've really never seen a really talented person not working their butts off. Sometimes it just seems they're not because everything looks effortless! It's just an illusion. If you notice, they're the ones paying attention to the teacher, doing the combinations perfection and practicing in-between combos. They even stay after class and try to get in extra time to practice.

I've never seen any of them eating, giving each other corrections or disrupting a class! And in NY, sometimes you find yourself taking class with some pretty big names in the dance world ... well, used to anyway.

So, send these bozos up here to Frostbite Falls!

Oh, god, how I'd love to! Just get a big ole box and pack 'em up! They'd be a Christmas/holiday present for your teacher! She could sharpen her teeth on them!

a) The cold air will take care of whiny Carol.
b) Between my teacher, the retired linebacker, and me, we'd either shape up the rest or just stomp them!

And the cool barre will laugh their butts off at them!


Too funny!

Oh, and one other thing about yesterday. Now the teacher that gives pointe is the teacher that I used to go to. She's not the vampire teacher that goes along with them. She's actually pretty smart and I thought smarter than to fall for whiny Carol's tricks, but if you'd been following this thread (and I don't know who could at this point), she's the one that started pandering to whiny Carol. She'd give whiny Carol all the attention and corrections because whiny Carol told her that she wanted to be good, but had no confidence!!! Egads! This teacher started getting on me and giving me these ridiculous comments about really picky, picky stuff - not corrections mind you - just basically insults. That's why I stopped going to her class and switched over to the new teacher who we'll call Norma. Let me see, this old teacher we'll call Flo. Okay, so Carol had her wrapped around her finger and she was devoting all sorts of valuable class time to helping this lummox achieve the impossible BUT now this vampire is back at this school. The vampire has a daughter - a very famous daughter - that was a prima ballerina at one of the two big companies in NY! Yes, one of those two companies! She got momma vampire a job there teaching company class and I don't know what happened, but momma stayed there about a hot two or three months and got booted out of there! I think it was because her daughter retired. I haven't checked the cast listings, but I think that's what happened. The only reason the vampire was there was because of her daughter's insistence and prima ballerinas do have some clout. Obviously not enough clout to keep a lousy teacher on to teach company class!

Now that the vampire is back, Victoria and whiny Carol have dissed her on Sunday. They were taking the vampire's class and weren't in Flo's pointe class. Here's the rub: the class was over and I told Flo what an excellent class she gave (she really did. There were so many different levels in that class and she gave everyone something by adapting movements - not easy!) She stopped for a moment and thanked me and said and I quote:

"Yes, I try to give someone for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e! After all, this is not ONE person's class!"

I actually applauded when she said that and said, "That's right!" She walked out of the classroom to my clapping.

I was wondering if something had happened and this was truly meant the way I took it. Did she catch on to whiny Carol? And did she catch on BEFORE they jumped ship to the vampire's class? And after all the attention Flo poured onto whiny Carol?

It was just interesting and I wondered what prompted that remark.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By Attitude1407
On Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:36 AM
nycsylph wrote:

You're not thinking of using my line now are you?!!!


No, don't worry! I'm long gone from that studio anyway. I'm just curious to know what you said. ;)

Hmm, those are some interesting developments in the saga... Let me just warn you, though. Just because Flo made that remark and may SEEM to have caught on to Whiny Carol, don't get your hopes up. If she fell for Carol once, she can do so again. I've seen it happen over and over again... Many times, "Nadezhda" said or did something nasty and my teacher acted like he was angry with her, but then a short time later, he went right back to kissing her ass. Hopefully the stooges won't go back to Flo's class and you'll keep a good class with Flo, but always be on guard anyway. People too often change, usually not for the better.
re: Ouch! Took first pointe class in 20 years tonight!
By odile53
On Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:15 PM
I'd like to think that Flo caught on before the four stooges jumped ship. I've taken from quite a few teachers, and they can usually see through just about anything, at least, eventually.

In any case, it's great that she can teach to several levels in one class. I think that's probably the most challenging thing about adult ballet, especially open noncurriculum classes. I certainly don't have that kind of teaching talent, which is why I only do the beginner pointe class (anyways, I don't have the time to do more classes, and I only got asked to take it over because my teacher can't demonstrate anymore since she had foot surgery.) I don't know that I'll ever have that kind of teaching talent. In those open classes, a teacher has to really be able to assess each student instead of assuming a basic compendium of knowledge and ability, and then plan a lesson that will challenge each student without being ridiculously unattainable.

Sometimes, I was in classes where someone was taking a large number of classes, or had several siblings also taking classes. On a couple of occasions the teacher pandered to students such as these, probably for the economic issue, but it was pretty rare. And it was ludicrously obvious to the rest of the students, who did not produce a big enough revenue stream individually to be able to detract from that.

My current teacher reminds me of my first teacher (who was herself a student of Balanchine's) in some ways, mostly the insistence on the work ethic. The funny thing is that my current teacher herself was a student of my first teacher, and we occasionally get a good laugh about one or the other of us "channeling Miss B.!" Man, don't I wish all teachers were like that--challenging, tough, insistent on excellence, but at the same time kind, supportive, and concerned.

What an absolute hoot about your old pointe shoe throwing "friend," and it's amazing that after all that time she hasn't changed one little bit! I'd pay about five dollars to watch her getting fitted, and bring popcorn along for the show!

Yeah, send them down! I think Greyhound fare is about $50 from the city to here! We'd have a field day with 'em! And I promise they would have to be in front of the "fat mirror" (we have a warped mirror that adds fifteen pounds to everyone,) and not allowed anywhere near the cool barre!

My late cousin (a guy) was one of the storied few who made it to ABT for awhile, and then left and branched out into modern and jazz. When he was at ABT he told me that the principals and soloists used to refer to the corps as the snakepit because of the level of fighting, backstabbing and backbiting. Sounds like your four stooges would be right at home (if they actually could dance without any paramedics being involved!) Fie on them! And a big sprinkling of driveway gravel in their platforms for them, and may their tights always run!

And yeah, you should contact the Trockaderos about this gang. I saw them live in Toronto a couple of years ago, and I'd bet they'd eat up this material. Come to think of it, wasn't there a short ballet called "The Lesson?"
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