Friday, April 10, 2009

Learning to Turn Again

For my entire dancing life, I've been draw to the piroutte. The ability to do multiple turns has been the quest for me and is partly why I still love to take dance classes. It's a nuance. It's an action that requires me to execute five or six things at the same time--and then another two or three things during the turn. I can have it one day and lose it the next.

Well just recently--after years of training--I've come to realize that it's not just about hitting a position. Nor is it just about relaxing and engaging muscles in a particular formula (believe it or not, I just learned that a year or two ago--at least the relaxing part). It's also about physically "jumping" into it. The relaxation I take when I bend my knees right before I jump into the air and the stretch of my legs while "in flight" are the same actions necessary to launch and maintain multiple pirouttes. It's a complex series of engagements and movement that comes naturally, but something I can't replicate if I'm thinking about it.

I tested my theory last night in ballet class. I put a mental image in my mind of this low-hanging branch. While growing up in Honolulu, I remember jumping up onto this unusual, trunk-sized branch that extended out from a huge monkeypod tree in a park near my house. I didn't analyze or worry about the jump, I just focused up at the branch and my body did what it needed to do naturally. So I thought of that branch, leapt and executed a pristine series of turns.

My mistake was thinking that a piroutte was about hitting a static position and grabbing onto it as if I fell into a swimming pool and needed to hold my breath. A piroutte is really a motion. A moving, living thing. For all these years, the object of my quest has not been the Maltese Falcon, but a live bird.


Blogger Zak Landrum said...

Oh...that we never get too old to learn what it is we need to learn!!! Laura

9:00 PM  

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