• The effect of a dance studio on a Regular Person

    Since working on Dancing Stars I’ve started to notice something interesting about the way “regular people” (non-dancers or non-habitual dancers) react to being in a dance studio space.  For as long as I can remember, I have regarded a dance studio as one tiny step–at most–below a sacred space.  In fact, in the Afro-Haitian dance classes I took in college we actually had a little ritual to do with a bowl of water when entering and leaving the studio.  But until just recently I thought I was the only one who slightly fetishized the studio experience: all that open space, all that potential, all that blankness somehow serving as a  frame for the concentration and repetition and work and progress of dance.

    Then I noticed that Daniel’s partner Kathryn (substituting in recital for Ashley, who is on injured reserve) stuck around for an extra 20 minutes or so after she was finished rehearsing.  She didn’t really need to be there; in fact, she had a date with her husband.  But she stayed to watch us run through La Fille Mal Gardée.  And then I remembered the time when Jack just randomly started doing cartwheels in the studio.  He said that ever since the first time he’d been there, he had wanted to do cartwheels.

    Dance studios are special.  It’s pretty cool.

    ETA: What if there are no non-dancers?  Just former dancers, dancers, and future dancers?

6 Responsesso far.

  1. Sadie says:

    As a former dancer, I can remember being five years old and walking into the studio and wanting to take up all the space at once. I liked being at the barre(?) and stretching and doing pliers(?). During tap practice, I would walk all the way around the studio making as much noise because I loved the sound of the shoes hitting the floor and echoing off the walls.
    I don’t blame Mr. Walker for doing carwheels. I love to do them when I’m outside in a big open area.

  2. lauraet says:

    Yep, there is something special about an open-but-contained, semi-private space explicitly designated for moving around in.

    Before last year I had not done a cartwheel in at least a decade. It’s fun to try to do them slowly so that you almost stop at the apex.

    “Barre,” yes. And “pliés.” Since you asked.

  3. Sadie says:

    This might be a stretch but I feel the same way in a pool. I’ll swim back and forth and back and forth from one end to the other over and over. I can do flips and twists and all kinds of things I cannot do out of water. I’ll even start at one side and swim the perimeter all the way around. Fun stuff.

    CarTwheels are fun, but that sounds slightly painful and a bit dangerous . . . I’ll give it a try!

    I knew there had to be an accent in there somewhere. I tried to look it up but not knowing how to spell something in a different language and it not translating into English (at least not that I could find) makes it difficult to do so.

  4. lauraet says:

    Sadie, is there any chance you are killing time before your trip by commenting on my website?

    “Plier” is “to bend” or “to fold” so “plié” is the past tense. For reasons I only partially understand, most of the ballet-French terms that are verbs/participles are always rendered in past tense.

    The trick to the slo-mo cartwheel is to think to yourself “Stop!” as you are going over. I can’t literally stop & hold it there but if you’ve got a good, upright, straight-legged cartwheel you should be able to slow it way down pretty easily.


  5. Sadie says:

    I think of your website as a learning experience. So, if learning is killing time then I guess it’s possible.

    I leave in the morning. So I won’t bother you again until August.

  6. lauraet says:

    You know you are welcome to “bother” me anytime! And if you learn something in the process, so much the better!

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