Tuesday, July 21, 2009


She gets me focused. Click -- you'll see why I turn on on her show. while I'm doing my daily barre ritual.

I discovered her in Malibu when I was taking my barre in the log cabin's living room. I turned on the television while my barre tape was playing.

Energetic, vigorous, fearlessly proud of herself, she was just what I needed to stay energetic, vigorous, fearlessly proud of myself.

My barre tape is a patched together "classical" barre that I'd made from an Alicia Markova recording. Markova's voice, her Russian accented commands --"Za perrep - parr- ration vone ... stwo ... " with a dubbed-in Em voice. Throughout the tape, my voice states the name of the exercise, how many repetitions to do, when to pause and do a stretch.

Judge Judy lambasting a plaintiff, demanding clarity from slurring, sloppy, selfish defendants, speaking her mind -- I love it when she calls someone's stupidity stupid.

Watching her show helped me in Malibu. In New York, where there are more distractions, it's an even bigger help. Even when I mute the television, it's a silent movie keeping me going.

Yes, it's the same barre tape, the same routines somewhat varied -- I adapt them to whatever space I'm using. (When I was performing on the road, in hotels/motels I'd hold on to a dresser, or the back of a chair, or a kitchen counter.)

Yes, it's boring -- it's drudgery. But once you've started into it, you get into the groove of doing each step, each movement as correctly as possible.

The problems, the often foolish messes people get into, are perfect dramas to listen to, while you're checking for the thousandth time, a foot, a knee, an arm position. And the lady herself, in her black robe and white lace collar -- her steely concentration, her flashes of annoyance, impatience, boredom, and her wry asides to Bert, the guard, keep me perked up.

I guess that's why exercise gyms have television playing non-stop. You need something to divert you from doing that move again, and again, and again.

After my warm-up exercises are done, and I head for the TV to put it on mute (can't have any diversion when I'm dancing to the Vaughn Williams music), I sometimes pause (briefly) to find out what happened to a weepy defendant or furious witness ...

There are other judges -- Joe Brown and Marian Milian are fun. But there's no one as compelling -- no one except Judge Judy gets my attention, my spirit, my dancer-writer self involved and affirms me and my show -- the daily performance I do alone in the studio.

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