A body that is dancing tends to continue dancing unless acted on by an outside force. In the absence of outside forces (spring semester ended on May 6; congratulations, Class of 2011!), we have been dancing a lot and doing a lot of dance-related stuff in the last several days. Since I haven’t had to teach I’ve been going to four ballet classes a week at Madison Studio: my usual twice-a-week “Pearls” class (average age: 11, focused on beginning pointe work and trying to remember which is croisé and which is effacé) plus two adult classes which, despite being ostensibly for beginners, serve to demonstrate that one can never spend too much time working on the basics. All this ballet is having several salubrious effects, including finally loosening up the hamstring I pulled a few months ago and keeping me from going insane as I work on revisions to my book manuscript.
We are still working on our paso doble; on Monday we went over the videos we recorded in our last lesson with Eddie and just repeated, repeated, repeated the steps without even trying to get up to tempo. This video that a friend sent me earlier today demonstrates just how far up “up to tempo” actually is.
No lesson this past weekend, but on Sunday we had an all-studio blocking rehearsal at Madison Studio for the recital on June 4. Having the entire population of the studio in one place at one time was an impressive exercise! It was our dancers’ first time doing their recital piece for any kind of audience and they did great. We also managed to remember our rumba routine despite not having done it for a while. The real high point was running the “production finale” in which every class appears, one after the other, and dances a short additional routine. Lots of us are in more than one class, so there was a lot of dashing from one side of the studio to the other, hurried changing of shoes, and general crowd control. The ballroom dancers also had a good laugh at the “FootUndeez” I wear for the contemporary ballet number I’m dancing in. Yes, they look like panties for your feet. Hence the name. Can we all just move on now? (Okay, they are pretty funny, especially the ones I’ve seen that have a little pink net tutu ruffle around the elastic part.)
After regular classes on Monday (Pearls class, paso practice with Daniel, ballroom class) and adult class Tuesday at noon, the ballroom group reconvened at the studio on Tuesday evening to get pictures taken. The marvelous Keiko Guest (check out the “Fine Art” side of her site for sure, but a couple of those may not be SFW) comes to the studio once a year to take individual pictures of everyone in their recital costumes. She brings along a staff of 3 or 4 people, a small photography-studio setup (lights, background, even one of those fans to make your hair blow around and look glamorous), and more computer equipment than I ever thought possible. In less than an hour we had lined up to wait, had a jolly time getting our photos taken, and looked at our proofs to order prints. The pictures were amazingly good and I can’t wait to get the prints. Ms. Guest is a former dancer herself, so she understands what good lines look like and how to adjust people’s positions so that on film, we look like better dancers than we probably really are! Daniel and I had a lot of fun coming up with poses for ourselves and then inflicting them on our other two couples. The best part was taking some shots of all 6 of us together. She somehow made us all look attractive and dancerly while crammed into about 4 square feet of space on her backdrop.
So it’s been a great couple of weeks, and the beat goes on. This evening we’re dancing at Pinegate with the performance ensemble from Madison, then on Saturday we have a lesson from Eddie. And today we got a call from another retirement community here in town, wanting us to schedule a performance. AND…according to the counter on their website, Gumbo is just 5 days away. I’m pleased to report that the counter is not accurate!