Wednesday Ballet Overload (In a Good Way!)

The day I made it to two classes. Hopefully not the only day…
Wednesday morning class

Before class, I ran into a girl that had taken ballet with me last semester. I asked her if she wasn’t taking it this semester, since I hadn’t seen her in class. She replied that she was actually taking intermediate but she would be taking this class too. It was pretty cool because I had the opportunity to ask her about intermediate. What’s it like? How is it different? She said it’s faster and the teacher calls out the moves, which you are expected to know (in French, of course). Less demonstration and explanation, more calling out the names of moves and doing them! Sounds like fun, hopefully someday for me. Or will I be in “beginner” level class forever?

Once again we did the slow tendues in which it takes two counts to point our foot. I’m starting to get the hang of staying in timing for the slow ones instead of rushing ahead. This time the teacher had us leg go of the barre during the slow tendues instead of the degages. Quite a bit easier!

We did plenty of releves, in first and in second position, and then balancing. While balancing we put took our arms from middle fifth to high fifth and then brought them down to second as we lowered from our releve. To be honest, I’m still finding balancing while moving the arms to be difficult. If I keep my arms still, whether in middle or high fifth, sometimes I feel like I could literally hold the balance for minutes. When there’s arm movement though, it all falls apart. Perhaps it’s an engaging-the-core issue? I hope so, I hope it’s not just the screwy center of gravity issue coming back to haunt me. I thought we had gotten past that.

We also did one-legged balances on flat, with our working leg (foot?) in coupe and then in passe. Since we weren’t moving our arms during that it went ok.

At barre, the main correction I received was regarding my arches. I was letting them fall again. Oops. I’ve been wondering if doing ankle strengthening exercises would help me strengthen whatever muscle it is that needs to be stronger so I can consistently keep them lifted. I can lift them, but them I forget.

For center, after learning my lesson last week, I made sure to stand somewhere where I could see everything the teacher did. This weeks combination was different but still involved port de bras, tendu a la second (right foot), plie, tendu to first (left foot), releve while bringing the arms up. Easy-to-remember combination, but the balancing while releve with the arms was killing me! My lack of balance can sometimes make me feel so ungraceful!

We went across the floor doing our 3-step-fondue-releve-releve-walk (seriously don’t know what to call this!), this time incorporating the arms. It looked so pretty! Well, the people who were doing it right, at least. I was having some coordination issues with the arms and the walking-releveing-fondueing so I won’t say it looked pretty while I did it, but it could have been so much worse!

Next we incorporated a turn into our 3-step-fondue-releve-walk. Something like this: 3 steps to turn (while fondue, releve, releve) and then 3 steps in a straight line (while fondue, releve, releve), the 3 steps to turn (fondue, releve, releve), etc. until we reached the other side of the (HUGE) studio. It sounds way more complicated than it was, I swear. We started with our right side and then did the left.

You know what’s the weird thing? I’m not a lefty – I write with my right hand – but for some reason it’s always easier for me to turn to the left than to the right, whether it be chaines, pirouettes, pique turns, and I can 1-legged balance way better on my left foot (even though it’s the ankle I hurt 6 weeks ago). I can throw better with my left arm than right as well. Boyfriend has a theory that I’m really a lefty but my mom “forced” me to use my right hand, lol. Could be possible, I guess – my little sis is a lefty and my mom did totally try to force her to use her right hand.

We also did a lot of sautes – great way to work up a sweat! I hadn’t done this many sautes since before spraining my ankle. No pain at all, awesome! I don’t remember if I mentioned this before in a post about a different class, but at some point (when I wasn’t thinking about it too much) I figured out the concept of letting yourself land into a plie. It’s something that every teacher has said, but hearing the words and actually doing it are two very different things. I was corrected in my sautes though, because even though I leave the floor with my feet in first position I land with them slightly apart – though not enough to be full-on in second position. But I am getting the hang of pointing my feet while in the air, so I’m still feeling pretty content with my jumping progress.

So I left class happy but with my legs feeling like wet noodles – probably due to all the sautes. Tangent: where does the phrase “wet noodles” to describe tired legs even come from? Wouldn’t it be worse if they felt like dry noodles, you know, stiff and easily broken? I’m picturing horrible bone cracking over here.

Oh, and I picked up my theraband, so I can get my home foot stretching and exercising on!

This cool oversized rubber band thing is cool.

You can do stuff like this with it.

Evening class
After triple checking my purse for my wallet – and the $10 specifically – as well as my shoes and snack, I headed out for my evening ballet class. I hadn’t been to this studio for a couple weeks, due to a rainstorm and forgetting my wallet, respectively.

Today’s class had seven students (including two who had never done ballet before) and it was the first time with no guys. There was a pregnant lady, though, who was 7 months pregnant. That got every one talking about that youtube Royal Ballet class video in which a visibly pregnant dancer takes class, as well as other instances of pregnant ballerinas they have seen or known. I thought it was a cool topic because it’s something I would like to do sometime in the next several years ( have a baby or two), so it’s good to hear I may not have to completely give up ballet during some of that time.

This video! If you haven’t seen the video before, the pregnant dancer first makes an appearance at around 15-17ish second into it, near the left side of the frame.

We did this class’ usual plie, tendu, and degage exercises. During the rond de jambe with port de bras part, for the first time I felt like I kind of knew what I was doing when it came to the port de bras, though I still have a ways to go. But last time we did this combination I literally had my arm out when it was supposed up be up, or in front when it was supposed to be out, so at least today I felt like I was following along. I’ll take whatever small accomplishments I can get!

Today in both of my classes we did this exercise I’ve never done before that involves tendu derriere, then swinging the leg forward in to attitude, then back through first and swing back to attitide derriere, then back through first, etc, for 16 counts or so. I find it hard to keep in timing while doing this exercise, but I wasn’t self aware at the time enough to figure out if the problem is that I’m going too fast or too slow. My legs are longer proportionally than my torso, so I have wondered before if my long legs make it so it takes longer to do things like kick or walk. Physics and trigonometry would say yes – rotational inertia, and r, and the longer r is the longer time it takes for a point to travel the same distance, r stands for my leg length, etc.

My sautes sucked – it was my second class of the day, after all, so I can give my self a break. Yes, my legs were landing in plie, but my feet were refusing to point. I was also not getting very far off the ground. However, I was in timing and when we went to a la second and then did changements I didn’t completely mess up. So that’s cool.
Overall, a great, but tiring, ballet day. I think my calf is started to feel the slightest twinge of wanting to cramp.

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