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A few days after I last blogged, the street renovation was all done — and a beautiful job of stonemasonry it is, with three different courses of stone on the sidewalks and a real cobblestone roadbed.
It now looks like this part of town was built in 16th-century Tuscany.
It’s really quite bumpy to drive on, actually.
But it looks great.
Well, we’re not actually dancing in the street, but to get through the construction to class we have to do a bit of leaping
and walking the plank
and maybe a little chassé temps lié.
We’re back baybay…we’re five classes in, in fact, and U. is starting to crank it up.
Ahh, so great to have it back.
The only weird thing about ballet lately is trying to get into the building for classes. The historic building next door is being restored and all the streets surrounding the block have been caged in and completely torn up… and I mean completely. The road bed is gone and there are ten-foot-deep closet-shaped holes bristling with pipes and cables all up and down KW Street.
So to get to class from some far-off parking spot you have to wind your way through a maze of caged-off dirt paths and edge along building walls on the cut-back sidewalks for ages and ages, it seems. It’s quite the obstacle course.
Makes it all kind of edgy and theatrical, though.
Heh heh, we don’t do anything with a calypso beat in class (but we once did back in the day).
Image: Dane Shitagi, Ballerina Project: Alex — Manhattan Bridge, 2010
We had our last class three weeks ago… U. and Nolia (and sometimes GJ) go home to Russia every other summer and this is the one.
It was crazy hot.
The only remotely “zen” thing about the class was that we had a five- or six-month-old baby, G., watching us from his basket, next to his mom at the barre. Two or three of us, but especially U., would occasionally waft over to him and coo at him, trying to get a response. U. was able to make him laugh really hard.
So this is the zen thing: why is a five-month-old baby laughing so hard? What’s so funny, G.?
I’ve been meaning to note for a while how interesting it was that U. set turns into almost every exercise at the barre and in the centre this year. Like she knew I wanted to work on turns, though I’ve never said a word.
So for the last seven months or so, we have had turns in the jeté, ronde de jambe à terre, ronde de jambe en l’air, adagio, grande battement and several port de bras stretches at the barre, and, in the centre, in the fondu… and again in the grande battement, for which we actually do an Italian fouetté (above).
A few Tuesday nights ago, the class consisted of Celine Dion (who usually goes to an earlier class), Kohawnie, Kaleesha, GJ, Pocahontas and me. (Swannie, Andromeda, Snow White and Mary Poppins weren’t there that night …and actually haven’t been in a while, come to think of it.)
U. renames everyone at will. When you’re new, you might get something generic — like “Blond” (which I got when I first started taking her classes at the university) or “Small” or, if you’re wearing dance clothes that stick out in a sea of black, “Blue” or “Purple.”
If you keep coming to class, U. will naturally learn your name, but she’ll also give you a sobriquet if you look like a celebrity or even a well-known fictional character.
These are amazingly accurate: Celine Dion really does look like Céline Dion — she could pass as her double. Snow White and Mary Poppins really do look like Snow White and Mary Poppins. But, more than anybody else, Pocahontas looks amazingly like the Disney Pocahontas. She’s a frigging live version of the animated character. You’d swear she was the model for the animators.