Darcey Bussell as Terspichore in Balanchine’s 'Apollo'
Photo by Bill Cooper
After last week´s you-did-well class it was only a matter of time before good times came to an end. It is how my learning curve in ballet works: I make some kind of breakthrough, enjoy the moment, then realize that the bar has just gotten higher, after which there´s the obligatory nothing-getting-better plateau, to be followed by the one-step-forward, two-steps-back, pirouettes crashing and mis-placed placement. Sure, I could put the lingering effects of the snivel on yesterday´s lackluster class performance - but truth be told, I was really just way out of my comfort zone!
Class was a lot more difficult this Friday. The pace was faster and the moves trickier, with the usual demand for absolutely clean technique - combined with some seriously dance-y port de bras. Our teacher gave us a lot of Balanchinean choreography to do, with emphasis on high extensions, speed and elongated lines. You can tell that Madame loves Balanchine´s style, and I sincerely believe that Mr. B himself would have appreciated her talent just as much. She has in fact danced the part of Terpsichore (in the ballet Apollo) and still looks like she could do a repeat-performance on the drop of a hat.
Old me, on the other hand, hasn´t been visited by any dance-muses of late. Instead I feel the need to join my fellow ballet-blogger Adult Beginner in the Happy Sad Happy Sad -song:
Happy we have Madame willing to go out of her way to teach a bunch of adult dancers Balanchine.
Sad I´m as far removed from such artistry as is Helsinki from New York.
Happy my arms are learning to "breathe" and elongate.
Sad they still look readier to swim than to swan.
Happy that my neck is long and that my bun looks credible.
Sad you cannot use special effects in class and paste my head onto a legit ballet body instead.
Happy that I have been called a "good girl" - in class - just the same.
Sad that my "girl"days and frothy-pink-tutu dreams are long since gone.
Happy to be a woman in black leggings learning how to dance en pointe.
Sad that my right foot looks sorry on pointe.
Happy that my left foot has been described as "nice" instead.
Happy I can take my talon á la main and stretch that leg up to the height of my head.
Sad it will never be 6 o´clock.
Happy that my heel has been promoted to a body part of importance.
Sad that the same heel does not wish to face forward and welcome the spotlight.
Happy that there is another class tomorrow.