It didn’t take long for me to realize that the learning curve for ballet, at least as far as it applied to me, was sloooooow. At times it didn’t even curve but just flatlined. Still, I was motivated and pushed on through.
When I first started, I hardly had any turnout to speak of. When I would plie I would check to make sure my knees were somewhere over my toes, but at first my body wasn’t having it. I would just do plies in first and second positions, as I realized anything more than that was just too ambitious for me at the time.
I would also practice this thing which I’m not sure what it’s called because the teacher would say the name in French, but it involved bending forward while keeping your legs tightly together and straight (Edit: it was a cambre forward, or port de corps). My first time attempting it, my legs were neither together nor straight but seeing the people in the class who could actually do the move, and how beautiful it looked, made me determined to practice it at home until I got it right. Good thing I wasn’t holding my breath on that because it would be months of practice before I could even get my legs to stay straight and together, much later until I actually kept my back straight and touched the floor.
And then there were tendues which, as long as I had the barre for support, were actually possible. I’m not saying I did them well, but at least what I was doing could sort of resemble what I was trying to do. I still did not have the strength to actually point my foot though I didn’t even realize it at the time. In fact, it wasn’t until the first time that I really pointed my foot that I realized that I had never truly done it all the way before. But as we stood there at the barre tendu-ing it felt like we were actually dancing!
Overall, I wasn’t completely discouraged, though at times a bit frustrated. I had noticed by this time that I seemed to have a very difficult time balancing. The second I took my hand of the barre I would lose my balance. I wish I could say that I didn’t let this bug me, but I would be lying. It did totally start wearing on me, affecting my self-image and making me think that I completely sucked. Which is not true, we just all have different strngths and weaknesses, though it’s hard to think about it rationally when upset.
And all this before the dreaded center part, which is another post since I have no idea what word length is allowed on here…