Tag Archives: gurgling


15 Aug

I took a facebook quiz, “Which dance choreographer are you?” and got Petipa, which I’m ok with.  Based on the questions, I’m guessing Petipa and Balanchine were the two ballet choreographers, and I always thought I identified a little more with Balanchine because he was so musical, was ok with plotless ballets, and every time I hear a good classical song and wonder if a ballet was done to it, it always turns out that Balanchine been there, done that (Gottschalk’s Grand Tarantelle, some Tchaikovsky symphonies among others).  In theory (since I’ve never actually choreographed a dance before) I figured I’d be somewhere in the middle, with Balanchine’s musicality and Petipa’s use of classical lines.  Although the quiz result read (and I paraphrase): “You (Petipa) are fussy.  You also make epic ballets.”  I never pictured myself ever being able to choreograph something epic, but then again how much trust can we put in a quiz that couldn’t spell “plié” correctly?  Although, I’m not one to talk because I was leafing through Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet (you’ll read why later) and much to my horror I found out that “the death wish” is actually “rivoltade” not “revoltade.”  FOR SHAME!  To the stocks with me!

Anyway, during barre yesterday, I kept hearing some kind of technologized music, and figured someone forgot to turn off their phone.  It kept going on throughout barre and it turned out it was mine; except it wasn’t my phone, it was my iPod.  I don’t have noise cancelling headphones, which are either too clunky or they’re the ear bud kind and I hate those, so I have cheapie headphones that allow pretty much anyone to hear what I’m listening to.  Which doesn’t bother me, even if it does bother other people but there I was, trying to pay attention to the frappé combination Karen was giving us, and I could make out in the distance Shostakovich’s Romance from the Gadfly Suite, when it occurred to me I was the imbecile who forgot to turn of all electronic devices before entering the studio.  The icing on the cake was the fact that I even forgot to silence my phone too, although luckily that one didn’t sound the alarm mid-barre.

Meanwhile, we got this petite allegro from the other side of the mirror in Wonderland, which might be one of the most awkward allegros in the history of mankind…or rather that I’ve personally encountered (minus anything and everything Bournonville).  It went entrechat quatre-entrechat quatre-entrechat trois-petit assemblé, entrechat quatre-entrechat quatre-entrechat trois DEVANT (who even knew there was such a thing?!?)-petit assemblé, glissade devant-assemblé dessous-jeté dessous-jeté dessous-coupé-assemblé dessus-royale.  I am seriously not kidding when I say that it took me about half an hour to write that out, because like most people, I’m used to the default glissade, assemblé and jeté, whatever they are…I’m not willing to spend another half an hour trying to figure it out, as much fun as sifting through Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet can be.  It actually is fun though, because you can happen upon a random page and learn that the “pas de sha-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh,” known as the “gargouillade” to normal folk means “gurgling” or “rumbling.”  And you can also go cross-eyed trying to figure out some of more obscure steps, like the “gargouillade volé” which we could refer to as the “flying sha-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh.”  How zesty!  But the point is, a little over a year ago I made a conscious decision to not hate petite allegro, and once I changed my mentality I improved rapidly; however, today was like a throwback to ye olden days when I would cross my fingers and hope for the best (literally…screw the port de bras!) and the first time in a while when I couldn’t at least complete it to one side.  But that’s the kind of kick in the pants one needs every now and then (and ballet is more than happy to oblige) to remind us that no matter how far we come, there’s always more to learn.

In other news, I was having trouble just holding an arabesque and the most bizarre image came to me when it was time to promenade.  Now I’m about to reveal to what extent a geek I am, but in fourth grade I watched Return of the Jedi virtually every day of my life, and a few things I picked up from the movie and internalized for eternity were some words in the Ewok language, such as “atcha!” and “yub yub.”  My favorite however, is the battle cry they do which goes a little something like “AIYEEEE HAAAAA!!!” and if you can get some saliva going and rattle the dangly thingie in the back of your mouth during the “HAAAAA!!!” you’re pushing for 100% accuracy.  Anyway, for whatever reason, it occurred to me that Ewoks were about the right height  if I ever needed someone to hold up my leg, and I kept picturing a team of Ewoks bursting onto the scene, screaming “AIYEEEE HAAAAA!!!” and hoisting my leg up for me as I went into the promenade.  I think it worked, because I stopped wobbling so much, and if an Ewok battle cry doesn’t get your adrenaline going, maybe nothing will.  Imagery works!