Tag Archives: bloody shoes

The Squirrel Burglar strikes again…and “What Would Natalia Osipova Do?”-Answered!

30 Jun

When we last left our hero, his ballet shoe had been cast away in the streets (we assume) of Washington DC.  So I bought a new pair of shoes (Bloch Prolites in white leather, just in case you were curious.  I was tired of black shoes anyway), and of course had to sew in the elastics, which I always use a machine for because it’s a quick zippity-do-dah and the stitches are more durable.  However, the resident squirrel burglar somehow managed to shroud the sewing machine and pedal in separate places.  They’re of course supposed to come apart, but the logic behind storing them in two separate locations can only be rationalized by those well versed in the ways of squirrel burglary.  I managed to find the machine, but no luck with the power cord/pedal.  Naturally the squirrel burglar denied any responsibility in the misplacement of the aforementioned valuables, claiming that the sensible thing to do would have been to keep them together.  OBVIOUSLY.

Abandoning the quest, against my better judgment I decided to try sewing them in by hand, despite a well recorded history of untrustworthy hand seamstering skills.  So of course, I poked my finger with the needle before I even got a stitch in.  However, it wasn’t until after I saw blood shmeared all over my shoes did I realize that the needle had drawn blood.  White shoes, if you’ll recall.  Frantically panicking, amidst making weird “freaking out” noises like I do, I washed my stab wound, and thankfully due to the leather composition of the shoes themselves, the bloodstains wiped off with ease.  Let this be a lesson…squirrel burglars and their trickery are not to be underestimated and that only *I* could manage to bleed all over brand new WHITE shoes that I obviously hadn’t worn yet.  I also forgot to mention this was about an hour before I had class, so I ended up just tying the elastics and doing the criss-cross-wrap-underneath-your-foot-while-stepping-on-the-knot-which-gets-kind-of-annoying thing.

Anyway, so this summer has been abnormal with doing the festival, then drop in classes at Washington Ballet and now drop in classes back at OSU, home sweet home!  Summer class is taught by Karen Eliot who danced with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.  Incidentally, to ensure I got the spelling and her bio correct, I found out that Karen Eliot is also a nom de plume that “anyone is welcome to use for activist and artistic endeavours. It is especially popular within the Neoist movement. It was developed in order to counter the male domination of that movement, the most predominant multiple user-names being Monty Cantsin and Luther Blissett.”  Coincidentally, she has also written a book: Dancing Lives: Five Female Dancers from the Ballet d’Action to Merce Cunningham, and now I’m starting to wonder if Karen Eliot is her real name…but it doesn’t matter (or does it?).  She’s still this diminutive but amazing ballet teacher with super hyper extended everything and a leg line that inspires jealousy.  She’s quite a quirky character as well…last summer she had us do a saut de chat in a grande allegro, and told everyone to take their arms to third, and I joked that Jessica (the other ballet teacher I’ve had many times) always makes the gentleman take their arms to fifth, and Karen put her hands on her hips and said “well I have a wild side.”  Oh snap!

I told Karen of Balletfest ’09 and she agreed that the Royal Ballet is…well, better than the Bolshoi.  Suck it Bolshoi!  I’m kidding really…they’re still amazing in their own right and I loved watching them very much…we just happen to agree that the RB is amazinger.  I bring this up because I was looking for a way excuse to segue into discussing the Bolshoi briefly.  In response to my What Would Natalia Osipova Do? entry, lookie what I found on youtube (AKA, what I had originally paid to see):

So mystery solved.  No Gamzatti variation, just the Petipa/Cecchetti/Ivanov Cinderella variation that is more widely used.  Although she did shake things up a little bit since it normally has the pirouette a la seconde going en dedans (which Shipulina did) instead of en dehors (which is like ridiculously muy mucho easier), but Natalia also does it from a double, and fouettes into a double (that last one being a triple), so clearly what she’s doing is probably harder for most ballerinas.  Ivan Vasiliev seems to be quite a dynamic partner…a bit stockier than Volchkov, although their jumps are probably equal and Vasiliev is a much much better turner (triples a la seconde! Holy Billy Elliot!) although I don’t think his feet are quite as good.  Their coda was much more fun to watch, and although Natalia didn’t do the a la seconde turns like in that Mariinsky festival video, she does do some consecutive doubles with different arm variations.

I know I’m extremely fortunate to have even seen the Bolshoi and you bet I’d do it all over again, same dancers and all, but apparently there’s a chance I may never truly get over Bolshoi changing the castings…I mean the least they could have done was make Natalia one of the Odalisques as a consolation prize, and perform the double tours as seen here (which all other ballerinas normally do double pirouettes):

She’s incredible.  Someday Natalia, we shall rendezvous!