Ever have one of those days when it feels like your day got flipped a whole 180 and you’re left wondering what the hell went wrong? If not, consider yourself lucky, and if you care to see what that is like, read on.
Original half of the post (up until the beginning of evening class part) was written way earlier and has not been edited since.
Wednesday morning class
As morning class ended, I was so high off ballet happiness that I practically floated to my car. If only after every class I could feel this way – but then maybe when I do it wouldn’t feel so special… Food for thought. But seriously, I was in such a great mood that I didn’t even notice traffic on the way home. More evidence for our thoughts influencing our reality, I guess.
What was so great about today’s class? Let’s see, not only did plenty of things go right but, more importantly, nothing really went wrong.
During the plie and tendu exercise with port de bras, Teacher very enthusiastically said “Good, K (insert real name)!” Then as we did our tendu and degage exercise without holding the barre I felt more stable than I had when we previously tried it. I may be closer to finding my one-legged balance (while moving the other leg) than ever before. Then we did a coupe, passe and ronde de jambe exercise, again without holding the barre, and that also went without a single wobble. Teacher also complimented me on my releve-sous-sus balancing with arms in high fifth, which for once I did without legs shaking. The theraband exercises are really paying off!
One thing that struck me is that when I hear Teacher say “Ok, put away the barres!” when it’s time to go to center I actually don’t get this impending doom feeling at all anymore. Or maybe that was just today. But I have realized that I actually enjoy center, which would have been inconceivable as little as 3 or 4 months ago.
We practiced different ways of ballet-walking across the floor. My pas de cheval walk is feeling more stable every day, and I’ve finally overcome my fear of looking at my reflection in the mirror at class while in center. Before there was just this constant fear of it looking so horrible – wrong arms, wrong posture, wrong lines, wrong everything – that I wouldn’t ever want to attempt doing anything ballet related in front of anyone again. We also did this other walk that just involved tiptoeing but pointing the feet when they are off the ground and slightly crossing in front.
Then came ballet running. I’ve written on this blog previously about my difficulty with ballet running, which is aggravated by my fear of drawing attention to my chest. Luckily – see, today’s class was awesome – the guy that made the comment about breast-weight a few semesters ago was not in class today. Or else I would have felt so uncomfortable, and it would have potentially ruined this so-far-perfect class day…
I know it’s irrational to let one person have such an impact on one’s mood but to feel publictly called out about an issue that I feel is out of my control (body type) is really embarassing me for me. Also, sometimes some of the more advanced students have this mean-girls, sort of catty behavior and I just try to fly under their radar. Thankfully, that was mostly a first semester phenomena and I have seen way more diversity the following semesters as far as body shape and size, age, and even ethnic background which is really cool. I love diversity in ballet!
Today I wore my black tights, which had been a little tight (pun?) in the waistband area last time I tried them on (2 months ago), giving my torso a sausage-like appearance. The good news is that they felt a less tight around the middle. The bad news is that even though I rarely wear them – only one time last semester – they appear to be really stretched out or worn in the legs. So strange, because I don’t think I’ve worn them a total of 20 times since getting them. Oh well, they’re just my emergency tights anyway.
Rather than doing sautes (like I said, today’s class was perfect! ), Teacher spent the last few minutes of class teaching us different ways to bun our hair. Some of the girls’ hair tends to fall out during turns so that’s what brought on our bun tutorial. Last semester, Strict Teacher taught us how to do a ballet bun, but today I also learned other ways of doing it. Looks like a ballet-hair blog post is in the near future…
Why, oh why did I not just stay home and call it a day after morning class? I know, because I’m a ballet addict. But seriously, I should have just taken the night off and celebrated or something.
We had a sub. That in itself would not be a problem, escept fot the fact that it was a girl that I took class with during my disastrous first semester taking ballet! A girl that I remember often giggling as we beginners stumbled and collided through across the floor combinations. I’m not really comfortable giving too many specifics on this public blog – and it somehow seems immature of me to completely trash some girl a dozen years younger than me – but I will just say that this girl is not very nice and I don’t think I would have even liked to take class with her again. Certainly not have her as my teacher.
Unfortunately, I was already situated comfortably at a barre with the other students by the time she walked into the room. I’m much too shy to take such bold action as to walk out on class. And, like I said, I’m a ballet addict. So I decided to stay for the class.
She asked the group how class was usually run. Out of the 10 or so students, no one spoke up except for the 2 most advanced students. So she gives us this long barre combination that includes grand plies in fourth! Of all the times I’ve been going to this class ( I’ll later check my archives to update the exact number), about 9 classes or so, we have never so much as stood in fourth. We had at least several students who don’t even know how to tendu, but since the 2 most advanced -one of whom is really advanced, possibly even an ex-pro – were the only ones who were not too intimidated to say anything, we went ahead and tried the combination.
It went horrible. I was unable to find my concentration, and while I wasn’t completely messing up, I know I could do so much better. There was no way I could just focus on what I was doing when I kept having flashbacks to my first few months of ballet. I mean, I remember back then I would try to get a barre spot somewhere where she would never be in a position to see me. That’s how intimidated I felt! So out of nowhere I felt like someone who’s only been taking ballet for weeks or something.
It didn’t help that her variations of barre exercises for the more advanced students were way too advanced for me. This is going to sound so bad, but the last couple of weeks I’ve almost gotten used to being among the more experienced people in class. Mostly because the more “beginner” version of the move is too basic, like not using arms at all or something. Well in this class it was like all or nothing: either you held your arms out in second the whole time, or you can do things that I’ve never seen in class in person before. Like stuff the pros do in class on youtube.
The craziest thing is that thanks to the newfound strength in my legs, I was actually able to hold all my releve balances. Every single one. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with the whole teacher fiasco I would have been thrilled.
Center. Ah center, I think we have a love/hate relationship. Earlier I was singing it’s praises and now… I just don’t know anymore.
We did that pas de cheval walk that I’ve become quite proficient at. Of course, she did give me a correction: to look up. In morning class I know to look up because I just look straight ahead into the mirror. But at this moment I was, however slightly, reverting to first semester behavior.
The more advanced students were supposed to do the walk for the first half, and then ballet run the rest. The idea of ballet running – and bouncing – at this movement were more than I could bear. So I huddled with the beginner students, waiting for my turn.
What cheered me up – and really kept me from wanting to cry – was these two adorable little girls, probably around 3 or 4, outside the studio windows who were trying to dance like us. It made me smile.
She gave out a combination that apparently the advanced students were familiar with, while the rest of us stood there dumbfounded. She told us to just leap or do something. I managed to produce a couple mediocre jetes, and I forgot my arms completely. So I guess it was below-mediocre jetes.
Then we did sautes. On my first one I pointed my feet more than I’d ever seen them point during a jump before. Unfortunately, after that I was either tired or didn’t want to bounce – or both – so I never got that height or pointing again. For the advanced version, she like, fluttered her legs in the air or something I’ve never seen in person before.
There was no reverance. Boy, was I ready to get out of there though! Classes like these make me wonder if I’m better off just practicing at home instead.
The little girls were still dancing outside as I walked out. They were putting on a “show” for a passerby lady by that point. Too cute!