Tag Archives: squirrel burglar

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!

Day 2 of Marden’s Venga! boot camp

17 Jun

So today was supposedly a Beginning/Intermediate class, however it was pretty much exactly the same as yesterday’s Intermediate/Advanced class and he probably isn’t aware that the students might be different or he doesn’t care.  One of the other dancers in the class yesterday mentioned that when she took class with him fall quarter there were no “levels” per se, just “his” class.  Since I was there for the first day it didn’t matter one way or another, so SPLENDID!  Unfair advantage perhaps, but now that my brain is catching up to my body I was able to do the glissade-assemblé-glissade-assemblé-glissade-brisé-brisé-assemblé combination.  This in retrospect (and in writing) isn’t so bad.  I was just rusty, or it’s a sign that I’m getting old.

See, now I always make fun of myself for being “old” at the ripe age of 25 and then when Marden forgets something or makes a mistake he too uses the “I’m old” excuse.  Come to think of it, so does my mother, but as an Asian mother (or as I sometimes refer to them, squirrel burglars, based on their ability to hide your possessions from you) she picks and chooses when to use that as an excuse, and yet she denies any responsibility when I tell her she forgot something, such as the location of one of my belongings she has hidden.  At any rate, Marden even went as far as preempting one of the students and the accompanist who know him well, forbidding them to mention this apparently ghastly number.  Although when he demonstrates a massive tour jeté or a triple pirouette in attitude, I have some serious doubts about his concept of “old.”

I suppose this may have something to do with his lengthy career in dance, because it seems as though dancers are mostly led to believe that their careers will only last for so long.  Obviously it’s true to a certain extent, and I’m guessing the measurement is roughly equivalent to dog years.  After years of training once one turns professional at around 18-20, they have what, 15 or so human years (which is average for a lot of dogs) to dance and then their careers are done?  Although I can’t quite picture myself being a professional, as someone who started in his twenties, that makes me what, dead already?  Just put me doooooown (I jest of course, because for whatever reason, I still find dance worthwhile to do and learn, and if I’m willing to work hard at it, why not?).  Besides dance needs all kinds of students, especially adult students for 3 reasons:

1. More students = more money (and dance needs every penny!)

2. Some children, tweens and teens are brats.

3. The mongrels from #2’s parents are brats.

You’d be surprised how many dance teachers would rather teach adults instead of kids.  Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Today’s Venga!:

So yesterday’s grande allegro consisted of a series of 3 saut de chat, a pique arabesque, followed by two tour jeté, a soutenou and ending with a, surprise, attitude pirouette.  Today’s was mostly the same, but he changed the attitude pirouette to a regular pirouette en dedans.  Surprise!  Except, that turn was followed by a step into a pique attitude turn en dehors…HA!  We venga after all!