Monday, May 11, 2009


Why am I having trouble taking my barre? Why am I procrastinating?

Barre taking is a discipline that's part of me like my clothing size, shoe size, glove size. The elements of this discipline are apparent in almost everything I do, especially in my writing. Writing, for me, is a form of exercise. (You can't escape what you were when you were a little tyke and I don't want to escape it. How many times already have I blogged, blabbed, bragged about "dancing.")

When I was that little tyke, if I'd could have known what I'd be right now, I'd have picked to be it! So why am I procrastinating, not solving the uncomfortable state I'm in? It's time to do my barre!

Why I don't stand up, turn and walk down my hallway, the hall on this floor that separates our windowed offices in the front of our building? (JC's office is directly across the hall from mine.) The studio is 20 feet away! Go! Get in there!

It's a studio theater. Off-white linoleum floor, 35 feet of tall beveled good mirrors (not fat mirrors), 65 chairs, some stacked on a raked platform where an audience can sit and watch my plays or ballets. Along the wall opposite the mirrors: Wooden double barre -- a low one for low stretches, a chest high one for plies. In the corner, a large TV set (like you'd find in a gym), and a professional treadmill for JC. TV and treadmill can be made to disappear by pulling a curtain. Curtains transform the light white studio into a "black box" small theater.

It's a great space. The floor is somewhat slippery. I wet the soles of my ballet slippers for pirouettes, and damp-mop the floor every so often, with a "slip no more" product.

There's a 5 X 10 foot padded leather mat near the treadmill for floor exercises.

Hey rich lady, you've got everything you need! You don't have to change your clothes, get dressed to rush off to a gym, undress, dress in exercise togs and find a space with other folks who need exercise. (Which I did when we lived in Malibu, and didn't enjoy -- it made my workout feel like a typical gym routine, which is definitely boring! And gym exercises -- especially the routines with weights -- build muscles I don't need or want.)

I lie on the mat and warmup my knees, legs, feet and torso for 6 to 9 minutes. How long is up to me. I go to the "maskers" barre which John built out of pipes, a small barre that I keep centered in the space. I take a 20 -to 25 minute ballet barre, consisting of typical ballet exercises that I've evolved for myself -- what I need to do in order to be able to dance my dance to the Vaughn Williams Music. (I've described this -- one of these days look up "dancing" in the labels, and you'll get the whole story.)

The dance, and how I do sections of it ... all I need to do is perform it. Full out. Inventively, being at the moment on the moment. Ala Zen. ("Zenning?") I can't find a verb for it, but you get the idea. It's never boring, but lately my mind's been wandering while I'm dancing it, and that is a symptom.

What I need to do is change my warm-up. Carefully. The sequence warms me up, but eight of this, four of that, with arms, without arms, bigger, smaller, tilt my head, don't bother with the head ... I need to do it another way, and I've temporarily run out of other ways ......

Ah ha! Use another tape? Use the barre recording I made ages ago, the one I don't use anymore? No ...

So why not turn over one of the CD's that's loaded in the playback machine and do my usual barre sequence to completely different music? Can't I do variations within the sequence? Surprise myself?

I will! Yes! It'll work! It will! It'll distract me during the damn stretches! I be inventing for 25 minutes -- not a robot doing the same old routine.

Wow! Thanks Fran, Sue, JC, JD, and Shareen (my gang). You said "Blog, Em --talk out loud on paper!" I did it! Got a new way to do what I have to do to feel good!.

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