This morning, I felt restless, so it’s good that I had a ballet class. It was a combination Beginner/Elementary class, except that it wasn’t. It was really an Elementary class in which the teacher showed more of the moves. (As opposed to just marking them for you.) It was perfect: difficult because I no longer have the strength and flexibility I used to have, but I remembered all of the vocabulary. My body remembered how to move, what a développé or a grand battement felt like.
(My pirouettes? Terrible. But I can still jump.)
I’m feeling it now, the fact that my muscles did unaccustomed things this morning. But I think I’m going to get used to taking classes fairly quickly. In some ways, I’m in better shape than the last time I took ballet.
One of the nicest things about the ballet class is the live accompaniment. The teacher tells us how she wants us to move, and the piano player starts playing whatever is appropriate, a waltz or polonaise. Once you’ve had a class with an actual piano player, it’s difficult to imagine dancing to music that is recorded, rather than produced on the spot so the teacher can change the tempo in the middle.
So I had a productive morning, and then, still feeling restless, I went to Concord and wandered around the antiques shops. I bought a wicker chair. It needs a little cleaning, then some paint. After that, it will belong to Ophelia. Here it is, with some pillows I sewed for her, ages ago:
And then I went to Helen’s and had a slice of apple pie with maple walnut ice cream.
I’m still feeling restless, even as I write this, but it’s time to get back to work. I have so much to do before the end of October. Most importantly: defending my dissertation. So today I’m going to sit down and strategize about how to study for the defense. I think I’m going to start by reading some books my first reader recommended, and then go through the dissertation, looking at the most important sources again. And thinking about what sorts of questions I might be asked, which will almost certainly have to do with the greater significance of the project. (Professors being who they are, you know.) I have a nice fresh notebook to makes notes in.
And then there are all sorts of other things to work on. I tried to remember when I had handed in the dissertation, and couldn’t. It feels as though it happened ages ago. And yet I think it was only last week. Somehow, I don’t think my sense of time is going to go back to normal until it’s all over. November is going to be such a relief.
So, I’m going back to work, to do all the things I need to get done. But before I do, I’m going to leave you with a short clip from one of my favorite ballets, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. This is how to make ballet beautiful and frightening and relevant.