14 June 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan moves between Apollo and Dionysus

On June 2nd the Spring session at the Academy ended.  We had a great last class and afterwards I spoke to Jennifer (our teacher) and apparently it is possible for an adult to join pointe and advanced classes!  When I first started I was under the impression that those classes were only for the kids.  It will be a long time before it is even a possibility, but it is nice to know it is there.

Last week I started summer beginner classes through the local parks & recreation. I was a little apprehensive because their definition of adult is 16+ and I didn't relish the prospect of taking class with slim little teenagers.  That didn't happen, and the structure of the class (or lack thereof) kept me from paying much attention to my classmates anyway.

The class is taught by Doris, a tiny lady with seemingly boundless energy.  Since this was a beginning class, she gave us this introduction, "Okay, this is first position, this is second, this is third (but nobody really uses it), this is fourth (again, not used much), and this is fifth.  If you can't do fifth, third is okay.  Got it? Good!  Now go stand at the barre for grands battements."  Seriously, from there she led us through increasingly complex exercises done at breakneck speed.  She offered few corrections or instructions on posture, turn out, and breezed through arm positions.  When students looked confused she told us not to worry about it since this is just for fun!

I was the most experienced student in the class after my semester at the Academy and she asked me what I thought of the class.  When I mentioned the speed and lack of emphasis on posture (not in a negative way, but as a difference from my previous class) she declared that she thought her way was better.  I didn't necessarily agree, but said that there is probably a place for both. Heck, maybe moving so fast will improve my memory for combinations just out of survival instinct!

Tonight the summer session at the academy begins, so I will henceforth move between their appolonian discipline and rigor and the dionysian speed and lassiez-faire of Doris' classes. Should be interesting!

Updated on 4 July to correct my Parks teacher's name. I'm rubbish with names.  Faces...I'm great, but names just slide out of my brain the moment I hear them. This is a real problem since my university sells itself as "a place where all your professors will know your name" and I have to warn them at the beginning of class that I won't.

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