Monday, 26 April 2010

Corsets Again

Apologies for my absence. I am now released from my corset and trying to get back into a routine. The routine seems more constricting than the corset somehow. After twenty-five years of conforming to schedules and whalebone, I lack the required self discipline.

Anyway, I have discovered that corsets are certainly no more comfortable than they were several years and quite a few pounds ago. It is hard not to panic as the final layer goes on and the seam is stitched into place. The correct procedure is to breathe out, so that there is more room to tighten the laces, but that is not as easy as it sounds. How voluntary is breathing? It is difficult to deliberately stop. The exercises that you use to increase your lung capacity as an actor discourage the practice of high, shallow breathing; it is bad form. Just as ballet training stops you from turning your toes inwards, an actor's training forces you to engage your diaphragm. It was my old ballet master who saved the day though. In times of trouble, an incomplete pirouette perhaps, or a wobbly arabesque, the cry would echo through the studio as you attempted to regain your poise, "Where will you be when the war starts?" A little overwhelming for a ten year old, but inordinately useful as a tool of comparison in times of minor crisis.

The corset is laced, the dress fastened, the seam sewn. The small battle of the ribcage is won. I shall worry about the war when I've learned how to dress myself.