May 2, 2011

Got Any Elan?

Definition of élan: enthusiastic and assured vigor and liveliness.

Lately my ballet classes have been far and few between, whittled down to a meagre one or two per week. Work trips, Easter holidays, dodgy ankles, you name the it, I have not danced because of it. It is really unacceptable, especially when you´re a ballet geek like me! Last week I finally managed to take three intense classes in two days, to make up for a week of not-dancing. Three days later, my right calf keeps still cramping up. Not to mention the out-of-shape panting I did in class, earning a raised eyebrow and an expression of amused pity from my teacher.. 

Just a few months ago I thought of myself as vigorous beyond my years (there will be no number on this subject, not ever), and sure enough, I could easily keep up with kids half my age. Now all I feel is a slight panic setting in.. What if I can´t haul myself out of this rut? What if it´s all down-hill from here? Which is utter rubbish of course. Has to be! After all, I have been here before, and I´ve always managed to bounce back! So, as soon as I return from my upcoming work trip (last before fall), it´s back to three weekly classes, running on days-off, then classes times four and maybe even more! I mean I´ve got the enthusiasm, evidenced by a serious habit of ballet-blogging and tweeting, and I posses the (sometime) liveliness too - provided there´s enough sleep and or coffee.

All I need is the "assured vigor" - piece of cake, right? And rest assured that there will be plenty of cake in Germany. We are leaving this Wednesday, on a refreshing 7:30 morning flight, and will return on Mother´s Day next Sunday. Of course I had to do some googleing, and was surprised to find out that Essen is quite the dance city. There is the Folkwang University of Arts, which has a renowned contemporary dance program (think Pina Bausch), and then there´s the boarding high school of performing arts Gymnasium Essen-Werden. I read somewhere that their classical ballet program ranks among the top 5 in Germany! In addition there are a number of dance festivals and even competitions. I checked out the schedules, but performances for my time slot were sold out already. I did, however, find one dance school (RAD) which offers one adult ballet class after 7 p.m. Any earlier won´t do, since this trip is work, not pleasure! 

Anyway, I will be packing my dance gear just in case. There is of course the distinct possibility that after a hard day´s work I will crave nothing more than a comfortable place to hoist my feet up. That and a cold Weizen (local beer).. Well, vigor can wait another week. After which I will be working my sorry butt off - with joy and enthusiasm and all the liveliness I can master. Gotta get me some of that élan!

P.S. Comments are as usual most welcome, though I might not get back to you before May 9th.

Picture above post: Katie Williams, ABT, "Ballerina Crossing". Photo copyright of Gene Schiavone.


  1. Woow that first pic is awesome!!

  2. Yes, Gene Schiavone is a genius dance-photographer!

    Also, it´s good to warn motorists about ballerinas grand jetting across streets ;)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...