Monday Class: Taking It To l’air

Week 7 of the semester. Time truly does fly when you’re having fun…

Today, during barre, we did something I’d never done in class before(or at home, for that matter): ronde de jambe en l’air , which to those not ballet-French fluent means in the air. Previously all my ronde de jambe experience had been a terre (on the ground, with the toes of the leg you’re ronde-ing not leaving the floor).  So today,  as Teacher explained our next moves, I was surprised to hear that after we had already done our slow and then faster ronde de jambes we were to lift our leg off the ground and do one ronde de jambe en l’air.  It went pretty well, I’m guessing the muscles needed to do this are the same as doing it a terre.  We also balanced with our leg both behind us (after doing them en dehors) and in front of us (after the one en dedans).

Another new thing today was a turn at the barre called a soutenu (spelling?), which – I’m not sure about this though – may be a slower version of the barre turn we did last semester called a demi-detourne.  The soutenu involved being up on releve sous-sus and then sliding the back foot (Teacher said some teachers teach to do the front foot, but she prefers the back. It looks smoother.)  out a tiny bit, just enough to let the front foot’s heel pass by as you turn – of course towards the barre.  Then after the turn the feet close to gether again.  It may be possible that my very first teacher taught us the soutenu but at that stage in my ballet training it was way over my head.

The demi-detourne, on the other hand, was a much faster barre turn. That one involved turning while doing the sous-sus, but at the same time spotting and somehow switching the feet.  I’m sorry, I can’t for the life of me explain it, but it was one of those things that was easy once I got the hang of it.

All my balances at the barre today went well, even while balancing and moving the arms at the same time.

In center we did a port de bras combination that involved a move called a “tem lie” or something like that, which we practiced at the barre first. Yeah, something that’s not in my ballet French vocabulary! The move itself was simple, something I’ve been practicing at home for a while: from fifth tendu to second (the front foot), plie while in second and shift weight to the other foot, close fifth (without switching feet) , tendu front foot again, weight swift plie, then ronde de jambe to close (now the feet switch!). Repeat other side.  I managed to not mess it up, yay!

We then did the other kind of chasses – the galloping kind where the feet don’t switch, not the “skating motion” ones where the feet do switch.  Teacher corrected me that she wants to see my feet – I’m assuming the front foot, but maybe she means both – pointing more while doing these.  Also, she told me if I use my plie I can get more power to my jumps. I feel like an idiot because I nod and say “ok” but I worry that when it comes to doing it I forget the corrections.  How I wish we could record class and use the footage to “study” later!

Today was not a turning day! I was having so much difficulty turning to the right especially.  My chaines to the left are stronger but even then they felt kind of off.  It didn’t help when one of my classmates’ trajectory took her straight into a collision with me.  We were both ok but after that I was over turns for the day.

My sautes sucked today, what else is new!?  The worst part is that I have no idea why – I’ve still been doing my Theraband feet and ankle exercises, my legs have gotten more powerful, and I’ve actually seen my feet do what they’re supposed to (point!!!), so I just can’t think of any explanations for it.  Perhaps I have a mental block over it or something, but this is really bugging me.

We then practiced jetes.  Since this was the first time Teacher introduced jetes this semester we did that exercise of jumping over some gym bags on the floor.  It reminded me of junior high when we had to jump over hurdles in P.E. class and I was terrified of not clearing the jumps and falling – which of course then I did. No, not during class today, 20 years ago in P.E. class!  Today I confidently ran up and jumped, even remembering to do my arms in 1st arabesque.  It felt nice, even! Being airborne, for however short a time is exhilirating.  Now, to work on straightening my legs while jete-ing, especially that back leg.

During jetes, one of the guys in class jumps so high, it’s like he’s flying.  That prompted some spontaneous applause from the class.

2 thoughts on “Monday Class: Taking It To l’air

  1. asher

    Very cool! Sounds like a good class (and I know what you mean about mental blocks – I am working through my own pertaining to adagio on one leg!).

    Rond de jambe en l’air is one of my favorite things! And soutenu turns are so pretty!

    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      Yeah, mental blocks are weird – sometimes the only way to overcome them is to not pay attention and then it just happens when you stop trying. Which I think is what you and eveyone else has been saying about Just Let It Happen!
      I knew I enjoyed them a terre, hadn’t had the opportunity before last class to do en l’air, but so far they’re fun.
      Soutenu turns are pretty indeed! I can appreciate them at this point in my “training”, at a few weeks in, not so much.


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