Julian is sad that the weeks are flying by. He’s completed two weeks already and has just four to go. However, they are definitely taking their toll on him. I’d recommend that everyone – girls and boys alike – really get in shape for a summer intensive like the American Ballet Theatre six-weeks in New York. It’s grueling, especially if you don’t normally dance seven hours a day (in humid, hot conditions). It also makes a difference if you don’t normally give 150 percent in your classes but you feel pushed to do so once at the intensive – both by the calibre of teachers and students.
After a day at home sleeping off a night of stomach upset, Julian went back to the intensive only to find himself sick again at the end of the day. He managed to throw up just once and then hobbled through watching the ABT performance of Swan Lake. We did, however, have to take taxis there and back. Once home, he suddenly got hungry and at the rest of the soup I’d made for him and then slept for 10 hours and woke up hungry.
While there we ran into a former Teen Dance Company artistic director, and a current master class teacher, professor at Buffalo State University in New York and choreographer for TDC (who will also be teaching at the upcoming TDC summer intensive), Carlos Jones, and he commented, “This is how you are supposed to feel.” This was after we asked him to come down to Julian’s seat at the Metropolitan Opera House to see Julian, who could not bring himself to move from the spot without feeling sick! (I guess that made us feel a bit better, although we haven’t heard of anyone else feeling this way. Of course, Julian is coming from a very dry climate – California – and Carlos said the humidity would be a tough climate change for him.)
I promised some more accurate information on the levels at ABT. They are from lowest to highest: yellow, red, blue, green, violet, aqua, indigo. Green and below are intermediate and everything from violet and above is advanced. The boys of all levels have men’s history and conditioning classes together. Otherwise, they are separated. So the intermediates, for instance, have partnering and men’s class together.
Julian is actually very satisfied with his level. He wanted to be in green but when he saw how good the boys in green were, he knew he was in the right level. Plus, the boys in green spend a fair amount of time with the boys in blue. In fact, Julian has friends in green, and they all seem to hang out together and help each other and teach each other things. Julian sometimes knows something a fellow green dancer doesn’t know and vice versa, so it works out well.
As for competition, I assume the boys all push to do better than the next, but at least at the intermediate level, the boys are friendly and nice and don’t seem to let competition get in the way of freindship.
Julian really adores his classes at ABT. In particular, he is getting a lot out of the partnering classes. This is the first chance he’s had to really work on ballet partnering. He hasn’t done much “guy stuff” in the men’s class, but he likes the camaraderie of being with all the boys. Technique classes are enjoyable also, and his choreography class, which is a jazz piece set to Elton John music, he says is awesome.
All in all, the classes, while tiring, are improving him already. He says he’s much better after just two weeks in New York.
As for his foot, which is better after one day off this week, the best I can do is to relate what chiropractor George Russell wrote to the physical therapist at ABT:
Julian appears to have a chronic sprain of the left anterior portion of the deltoid ligament of the ankle. It’s tender to the touch and hurts when he lands from jumps. the posterior part and the spring ligament appear fine. He’s pronated and in his barre work I coached him to even the two malleoli and get his weight a little more onto the heel, balanced inside to outside. I gave him a different foot exercise — lifting and spreading the toes, looking at the balanced malleoli and lifted arch in the mirror, and then letting the toes down without losing the alignment. He was doing doming over a tennis ball and resistance band work, which didn’t allow him to pay close attention to form and talar positioning.
Adjusting and icing the foot has helped, as it has in the past. Two days off will help as well. Julian does not plan to dance over the weekend. We had hopes of using the weekends for dance classes, but at least right now, he’s way too tired and needs the weekends to recover.
Tomorrow we go to see Marymount Manhattan and to find out about it’s dance program. We’ll get a tour from a TDC alumni.
Julian will be staying with another dancer and his mom for five days next week while I’m at a conference. I pray he stays healthy while I’m away! I really hate going at this point, but I can’t get out of it now. Hopefully it will all go smoothly. I will instruct him to drink lots of Gatorade and to use the packets of electrolytes that I have purchased at Whole Foods as well as better tasting Emergen-C packets. He’ll get much more sleep at their place, and it’s air conditioned. So, hopefully he’ll be okay. They do go to Broadway Dance Center twice a week to tap, but I told him not to tap if he doesn’t feel up to it. He can just watch. Or he can take part of the class.
Ugh…my nervous, worried mother is setting in. Why did I ever think I could leave him here in the city without being a wreck? If he hadn’t gotten sick this week, I’d probably be fine with it, but now… Okay, positive, creative thinking: It will be just fine. He’ll be just fine. I’ll let you know when I get back in a week.