Nothing says “Back to School” like an alarm set for 6 a.m. after a nice long, lazy summer vacation! I’ve been ready to get back to taking more than 1 ballet class a week though, so as much as I enjoyed the break, I’m ready to go back.
To ballet class, at least. I’m a feeling a bit more ambivalent about the rest of the back-to-school stuff, we’ll see.
I’ve been stressed out this weekend, worrying mostly about getting a spot in ballet class. I wrote back around registration time about my eagerness to get back to ballet class. Unfortunately, I ended up caving in to pressure and attempted to sign up for academic classes first, so I ended up on a waitlist for ballet rather than guaranteed registration. Since this semester ballet class is with a new teacher, I had no idea what her policy was on adding people. So today I made sure to be there on time regardless, in case people got cold feet and didn’t show up (there’s been a few each semester).
Turns out my worries were for nothing (I love it when things turn out right!). The teacher was cool and let us waitlist people into the class. While I did take all my ballet stuff today, I didn’t change into it because I know from experience that the first day we don’t usually do much – if any – dancing. But just in case we did some stretching (which we did), I wore some comforable yoga pants. The girl sitting next to me had the same socks as I did so that was pretty funny.
My ballet gear: leotard, pink tights, emergency black tights, slippers, hair ties, hair nets, bobby pins, homemade lotion for my elbows, brush.
The teacher passed out the class sylabus (sylabi?) and I was pleased to see that there is no class midterm, only a final at the end of the semester. It is such a relief! Ballet midterm is super intimidating – or at least it has been the past few times I’ve taken this class. She didn’t discuss the final, but I wonder what it will entail: will we choreograph our own piece as we did with one teacher, will the whole class learn the same dance and then perform it one at a time as we did with another, or something completely different?
We got out some mats and we did some floor barre exercises. I like that the semester ballet classes start out this way because we can work on identifying different muscles that we may have not known we had. We practiced turning our legs in and out and pointing our feet while sitting down. We lay on our sides, bent our legs and brought the top knee up and down. Easy at first, but then I really started to feel it. Then we picked up both feet, keeping them together, and brought the knee up and down again. Fun!
The teacher had therabands, which I’ve never used before, and we did different stretches with resistance for our feet to practice articulating. We also stretched out our legs (I believe specifically she said our hamstrings), also using the therabands. These theraband things are nifty – I’ll probably look into getting one for home use.
The teacher reminded us that we will be learning the correct French terminology for all the moves we’ll be learning (which of course I already learned the first time I took the class). We then stood up and went over basics, for anyone who had no ballet experience. We reviewed the positions of the feet, the positions of the arms. I am so happy that I don’t feel completely lost about the arms anymore. I’m not saying that I got it down, but I remember as recently as the start of last semester (February 2014) I had no idea what I was doing when it came to arms. Now at least I know that the elbows are supposed to be rounded, hands no higher than elbows, shoulders down. Actually executing it correctly rather than intellectually knowing, that’s another story.
My classmates are a diverse bunch, different skill levels, body sizes and shapes, though probably all younger than me (unless someone has an anti-aging secret they’re not sharing, lol). I recognized some people from past semesters. The guy from when I was just starting out, who referred to certain parts of a woman’s anatomy as “weight”, is in the class (yay, awkwardness) as well as a few people from last semester. This semester, it looks like there’s only two guys in the class, down from last semester’s seven.
Since technically we get college credit for this class, there are written assignments – good thing I love to write! Our first assignment is to write out our dance experience and goals we have for the semester. Which will probably end up getting posted to this blog…