I’ve now been to Advanced modern class three times and have had some time to settle in. It is very different from both Monday and Friday mixed-level classes in several ways. Here are some things that struck me as very different:
- The technical difficulty of the Advanced class is somewhat limited. It requires a solid balance and reliable turns, but I’ve encountered most of the floorwork and jumps in my mixed-level classes. Friday class has much more difficult moves. This is probably due to the age of the teacher. Grace is older and teaches a more classical version of modern dance. Beans, who is very young and athletic, does lots of nearly acrobatic moves. Last Friday, we complained that we weren’t able to do a new move and Beans laughed and said that that was the point and that if we were able to do everything on the first try, she’d have to rethink her choreography.
- Where the Advanced class is more difficult, is in the pacing. Beans and Carrots show every exercise in detail and explain the finer points when first introducing it to the class. Grace shows the shorter, simpler sequences once. For example, when we do grand allegro, she will start the music, demonstrate the three or four jumps that constitute the allegro warm-up du jour and as soon as she’s finished, we have to start repeating the sequence in groups of two or three.
- The Advanced is my first class where the teacher isn’t perfect. Grace has recently been severely injured (a muscle tear) and she does not have the best balance or the highest arabesque. But as we all know, perfect technique does not necessarily make a good teacher. She makes up for it with the natural grace of someone who’s been dancing all her life. She is also very considerate with the students, insisting people only do an exercise for as long as they are able to prevent injuries and disapproving of classes that leave you sore.
- While Grace may not be perfect, her students more than make up for it. Most of the people in her class are so good it’s scary. On Monday, I almost feel like one of the cool kids. On Friday, I’m slightly below average. On Wednesday, I’m definitely rock-bottom. I knew the class would be good, but holy shit, they are amazing. I like watching better dancers though: you may notice some finer points of technique that the teacher didn’t correct you on yet.
This week will be the last class before a two-week break in all my modern classes. Both schools teach lots of kids and have few or no classes during the school holidays. The school where I take Advanced offers a kind of intensive: two classes every evening and every student can attend as many as he or she likes. This is a capital idea, especially since my Monday and Friday classes will not be taking place. However, I’m getting a new tattoo on Wednesday at it will all depend on how quickly it heals. Fresh tats are basically open wounds and you really don’t want to roll on the floor with them.