A studio with a view

Class notes

Last time, I mentioned how my beginner ballet workshop is quite large (about twenty-five people). Well, at our June 26 class we got moved to the studio down the hall, one of the larger studios with tall windows facing Market Street. Our previous studio was fine, just as tall, but there’s so much more room and light here that the former crowdedness doesn’t feel like an issue at all anymore. How can you not be inspired with windows like this?

Dance studio

That Sunday happened to be on Pride weekend, so that means the parade! It was a perfect view of the parade route and the festival in front of City Hall. Though we had to contend with some music and crowd noise from outside, I didn’t mind. It actually made the class feel more energized to me, like, here we are in a big city. Fame!

San Francisco Pride 2011

So class was good. A few new steps and terms: en cloche (literally, “bell”: as applied to a dégagé or battement for example, moving front and back, passing through first position), glissade (sliding step), and various body/arm positions (croisé, effacé, etc.).

Here are some glissades, first simply then with additional jumps (umm, yeah, we didn’t attempt those), from the Royal Ballet’s glossary.

The workshop didn’t meet the next week (July 3) due to the holiday weekend, and though I was tempted to just take a break that day, I went to the open intro class that I’ve been to a couple times before. I like how these two classes sort of complement each other. The beginner workshop lays down the basics, and the intro class steps it up a notch. There are more combinations and jumps. A new one I learned last week is ballonné (I hope I have that right), which basically starts in cou-de-pied, then as you hop, the working leg extends out then comes back in as you land.

Around town

We saw Billy Elliot in San Francisco last week. We’d seen the London production a few years ago while on vacation, and it was great to see the show again and be reminded of how amazing the dancing is. The boys who play Billy are so talented. There is a lot of ballet of course, but also a lot of tap. (I kept thinking, “Hmm, I’d love to learn tap!”) I’m really tempted to see the show yet again before it leaves town in September.

In print

A while back I subscribed to Dance and Pointe magazines, and they’ve started to arrive in the mail. It’s pretty cool, but I will say that, like much of the ballet world, they’re still mostly oriented towards girls and women. I did appreciate the “Next Guys of ABT” feature in the June/July Pointe.

Speaking of magazines, in the July 4 New Yorker, Joan Acocella reviews the Royal Danish Ballet’s recent appearance at Lincoln Center (I was glad to have seen them a couple of months ago in Berkeley) and has this to say:

Bournonville, who is said to have been a superb dancer, emphasized male technique. In his ballets, the men’s steps–beats, air turns, flying jumps, turning jumps–are every bit as hard and as serious as the women’s. In “La Sylphide,” the men do them in kilts, so that we get to see the hardworking thighs. I think all male ballet dancers should perform in kilts.

Amen, sister. (The YouTube clips I came across of the RDB’s La Sylphide aren’t very clear, so instead here’s an early ’90s Alexei Ratmansky as James, though I’m not sure which company this is.) Work that kilt!

3 Replies to “A studio with a view”

  1. Hey Jeff! Awwww I miss that big dance studio SO much. I really hope you are enjoying it! You are taking the Sunday morning classes with Kathy now? Or…?
    How is it going for you with ballet?
    -balletcougar (Jacki from San Francisco)

    1. I’m loving it! Right now I’m still taking the continuation of Liezl’s beginner workshop; the last meeting of the current session is this Sunday. I think I’ll then do Sally’s Intro to Dance some more; I took a couple of her classes on the weeks when Liezl’s workshop wasn’t meeting and liked her so far. I’ll get to Kathy eventually!

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