Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 1, Miss Victoria of Kirov

I have this theory that we work extra hard in ballet class just as a means to get to the end - reverence. I love reverence. To me, reverence feels like no matter how physically painful, humiliating, or crap the class felt, one can still stand in front of the mirror and bow graciously to the imaginary audience. It's a part of class that makes a dancer feel so beautiful, graceful, and calm. Each time I bow or curtsy during reverence, I really do think, "Thank you (insert teacher name here), I learned so much from you today."

Then I definitely look at the mirror and swoon over my fake audience, loving that they paid magic money for tickets to watch me stumble through class. I imagine that it must be like Czerny's Etudes - performed by cripples! So that's what the end of each class feels like.. a grand bow in the grandest of theaters to the grandest of audiences. I'll suffer through anything to get there.

So, week 1 of our intensive starts. Apprehension mixed with excitement hangs in the air as we eagerly await the first technique class from a newish teacher (some of us have had her before, so she's not completely new), Miss Victoria. Miss? That's right, Miss. Just using a formal and polite title in front of someone's name is enough to smack the obedience back into you, y'know? So in walks Miss Victoria, full of grace and composure as one would expect from an ex-Kirov principal. "Hello, I'm Miss Victoria. We're going to start class a little differently from how you're used to with a reverence."

*Record screech* What? We're starting with the reverence? Huh? What do I have to work towards then? What if the rest of the class goes the way it normally does (falling, tripping, failing, flailing) and I have to end on that note? Does this mean that my imaginary audience left early? In my head I could hear the awkward coughing in the non-existent theater, the rustling of purses and programs being gathered up as quiet feet shuffled through the aisles trying to inconspicuously reach exits.

The music starts, and she shows us her routine reverence, the music ends. The music starts again, we obediently get into position and start our curtsies, the music ends. The music starts again, we curtsy again.. and again. Apparently, when there is no spectral audience, the real person standing at the front is a lot less forgiving and a lot more demanding. You can imagine how the rest of the class went after that.. it's no wonder we got the inflated part of ballet over with in the beginning. Of course ballet involves both physical and mental prowess, but after a week with Miss Victoria, I think my brain either expanded or melted a little. I've never had to think so hard about all the information and tiny details in something as common as a pirouette and tendu, or as easy reverence for that matter.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Thank god for iMovie letting me pick only the less-crappy bits of my 50 second variation. Of course, I imagine that no one's ever satisfied watching themselves, but I swear it's not the dancer's heavy sense of self-criticism. After having worked on this variation 4 times this week, the glaringly ugly parts of it have been pointed out to me by my teachers and peers. The low quality recording only reminds me of what I need to fix. Here's to hoping that the next time I post a video I'll be much improved! I'm not holding my breath though.