First Almost-Private Among Many Other Things

The weather is colder this week, but something still makes me think of Italy all the time. And sometimes Brittany, where we went in 2011 or Turkey, where I went as a child. The leaves are still green on the trees and there are roses in the garden, but I know that autumn is coming and that makes me feel melancholy. Time seems to go faster and faster. I wish I could slow it down a little…

After yet another phase of depression and eating too much and sabotaging my weight loss, I am back to normal and back on track. But I don’t want it to be like this every single month! I had my appointment with a gynaecologist where I told her about my weight loss and the weird mood changes I have, and that it seems to be related to hormones. She said that it was unwise to interfere with hormones at the moment, when everything seems to finally normalize as I approach a normal weight. So I won’t have to take the Pill, which is a kind of relief… But she wanted me to see a psychiatrist and maybe take antidepressants. I don’t want to. I’m not really depressed. It’s only a few days here and there, and the rest of the time I’m myself. I know what depression feels like, I was depressed during my adolescence and had to take antidepressants. They made it more bearable, but they also seemed to numb other emotions. I remember when I decided to stop taking them and joy suddenly became much more… joyous. Every emotion seemed nearer and more real. I don’t want to lose that just to be less miserable during the few bad days. And I don’t think it will help with overeating, because it didn’t help before. Moments of deep joy and excitement actually help me most with my weight loss, they inspire and motivate me. If they are numbed, food will seem all the more alluring, I’m afraid. So I don’t know what to do… I think I’ll ask Mrs. H to see her coworker who is a psychiatrist and talk to her, and then decide further.

Now, on to a more positive topic: ballet. I took my short break and returned to classes with a little more strength, and I didn’t stop classes when I was depressed. Last Saturday, we had CBT again and we did a beautiful révérence with a part of the port de bras from Serenade. You know, the beginning, where the dancers hold up their palm as if to block the light. I’ve never seen more than snippets of the ballet, but I love that part. CBT used to dance the lead role, and when I asked her about it, she told us anecdotes of working with Balanchine. I love the fact that you can be a part of ballet history in this way, learning from people who learned from or worked with legends. Then on Sunday, we first had the class with Gorgeous French Teacher. The studio we rented is only a few houses down the street, a small quaint room with a good floor in an old grange, but enough for our needs. We began the barre and by the end of the 90 minutes, we had only come as far as dégagés and pas de chevals. GFT drilled us with difficult arm coordinations. I was hopeless in some of them at first, but we took the exercises apart, doing only arms first and then only legs, doing the arms while walking around, doing the legs lying on the floor, etc. It wasn’t a ‘full class’, and maybe some people would be disappointed, but I think it’s wonderful to have a chance of working on details and quality. GFT said that many teachers she knows just come, give a class with a few corrections, take their money and leave, and the students are happy because they get to feel like real dancers, doing turns and grand allegro etc. But she said she would feel as if she was robbing us, giving such a superficial class, and she liked teaching us because we understand and appreciate her approach. After class, I went home and had lunch and sat on my chaise longue for a moment, resting. But soon it was time for the other class, the semi-private with Mandy and June. I was a little nervous. June’s foot is still hurting, so we worked at the barre again. We put up the portable barre so we could face the mirror and Mandy poked and pulled at us for 70 minutes. Again, we only got as far as rond de jambe à terre. Pulling up, pushing down, turning out, stretching, rotating, pulling with all our strength… it was HARD work. Mandy was very demanding, correcting the smallest wobble of a shoulder or release of a toe. Afterwards, we stayed for the open Sunday class to work on the new corrections. I was tired, but my feet were hurting the most and after a final long stretch I was really exhausted.

On Monday, I had a free afternoon, so I went shopping and then spent two hours on the chaise longue, reading. My legs, buttocks and hips were stiff from the day before, but not yet really sore. I went to class in the evening, taking the basic class before my own class with Franca to work on the corrections from Sunday. It was hard, but I was happy to see that despite my many faults, I HAVE made progress and come a long way since I started (more or less exactly five years ago). The beginners still have to learn so many things I already take for granted. I’m so glad I started when I did, and didn’t wait until I had lost weight. Even if I couldn’t do many things, I am much better than if I had started now. On Tuesday, my hips and legs were really sore. Nevertheless, I took two classes with Mandy again. The second was a basic class, but only one student turned up, so it was a little like a semi-private again.

I don’t know what it is, but I seem to have discovered a new level of working in the last few days. My passion and ambition are once again at their height. My body may be tired and sore, but if my passion is there, nothing can stop me. Earlier, I used to stop after a strenuous exercise where my strength gave out. Now, as soon as it’s back, I try again. I used to go home after the first Tuesday class or only do half of the second class because I was worried about getting enough sleep. But if I’m really organised and disciplined as soon as I get home (shower, drink, unpack, pack, go to bed right away), I can have seven hours of sleep even if I stay in class until ten o’clock. But it’s not only more classes that help you improve, it’s how hard and how well you work in those classes. I have decided that I want to push myself even more. I want to become as good as possible. Not to show off, but because I want to be able to express myself, and the freedom to do that comes from technique, and technique comes from work. I want to be able to let go and have my body remember the steps and automatically do them beautifully, while I can sink into the music. It sometimes happens, like in that class with Samantha where the music bore me through a series of tours piqués and I automatically turned and spotted. It felt like flying. Total freedom. I want that. And I want to be thin and jump high and move quickly and dance on pointe.

There is this drive inside of me, this pull. It is very strong again right now. This time, it was awakened by the classes and the music Mandy played on Sunday, for one of the last combinations. I have since found out that she has it from Samantha and that it is from the same CD where the ‘effortless piqué’ music came from. Mandy put on the music for one of the last combinations and suddenly, I was swept away. I was almost crying because it was so strong. I couldn’t think consciously about technique anymore, I couldn’t feel embarrassed and hold back anymore, I just had to dance. I don’t have words to describe it. Sometimes, I almost resent such music being played in class, because it is too near, it touches me too deeply. It is somehow… something… too private.

Yet without that, I would never have found this gorgeous music. It is by Ludovico Einaudi, the album is called ‘In a Time Lapse’, and the piece Mandy played is ‘Life’. They are aptly named.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
This entry was posted in Ballet, Health, Moment, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First Almost-Private Among Many Other Things

  1. RO says:

    Ohhhhhh Ludovico Einaudi… how I love this composer!! We had a choreo on his music this year with our demo, it was gorgeous. It was called “Il giorni” I believe.

    I hope you will stick to this inner drive and passion you have. We all have our ups and downs, that’s human nature. As long as you know how you feel you can act upon it. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, but sometimes we do!

  2. The Dancing Rider says:

    What a joy to read. To hear you say that you just had to dance. I love that.

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