Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Training Notes

On the way home from circus classes last night, waiting for the N (always waiting for the N), Chris and I saw a caterpillar dangling from a tree on a thread, slowly and painstakingly climbing and spiralling its way back up, winding its cocoon up around itself as it did, I think. I haven't tried to verify this by identifying the species and its cocoon-building habits, but upon close examination it was, tiny step by tiny step, hoisting itself back up towards the heavens.

Naturally, this led both of us in one direction, and the discussion of various Cirque Du Soleil caterpillar acts. There's a caterpillar act in Varekai, and one in Ovo, that we could think of. We decided ours would be better. Chris took a picture of the caterpillar as the Muni arrived.

I have been frustrated, lately, by the seeming impossibility of putting together and polishing an act with only one practice session a week. Last night was particularly bad; I wasn't able to get through even the small pieces of my act that I try to string together. Everything was more difficult because I hadn't slept well on Monday night, between staying up late grading and waking up early for class. But that was no excuse, I wanted to say. Putting together an act I could be proud of is increasingly seeming like a Sisyphean task - each week I fight against the atrophy that has occurred in the past seven days.

I'm at a difficult point with my training, in certain respects. I've been training for longer than all but a very few of my classmates, and I think that shows in my comfort on apparatus. But I don't have the time to train more than once a week, and that shows as well in my weakness and lack of flexibility. On the one hand, it might be helpful for me from a training perspective, if I want to perform, to drill the basics until I can do them absolutely effortlessly, with perfectly straight legs and pointed feet. On the other, if this is just for fun, why do I care if my toes are pointed and my legs straight? If it's just for fun, I might as well just goof off (or the equivalent) each week, doing tricks I enjoy, learning new ones occasionally.

I am having, in short, a problem of focus. Why am I training? Why am I taking these lessons? Do I have a goal - performing - or am I just there to get a good workout and crack jokes with the other students? And what do those different goals mean; what is their implication and significance?

Chris was surprised, and saddened, when I mentioned that maybe I should just give up on putting together an act. Or at least he seemed so. My coaches have agreed that that is the next place my training should go. It is certainly a hurdle, but it seems like such a big one: to go from one pose or a pose and a drop to an entire dynamic five minute act. And while I know that I have to work in small steps, even those small steps seem to come-and-go with the week. There are times, such as now, when I don't feel like I'm moving forward. From one point of view, that's okay; I had a generally enjoyable time last night, and what more could I want? From another, that's a shame.

Enough introspection. I'm stuck here writing this because I can't log into the website and finish my grading. This is infinitely frustrating to me. Every other website I've tried has worked fine; only the one where the problem sets are sitting, almost completely graded, is clogged. And it has been for the past hour and a half. I want to finish grading and go home and maybe make it to a yoga class. Instead I'm sitting, hitting the refresh key every couple minutes and hoping that this-time-it-will-work.

Isn't TAing fun?