Ballet, Hike, Eat, Repeat…

…how I spent my wednesday!

wednesday morning class

At barre we worked on releve sous-sus, with the added challenge of an echappe and changement after every three releve sous-sus.  I was so glad that Strict Teacher introduced me to the echappe and changements at the barre last semester, because it’s not such and easy concept to grasp at first.  And just to clarify, I’m not referring to echappe and changement jumps, but the ones where its like releve-ing except that you also open your feet out to second and when bringing them back to fifth you switch feet.

At the barre my balances were stable when we rose slowly, but for some reason when springing up to releve sous-sus I was either overcrossing my feet or something and not finding my balance. Later on when we did releve sous-sus in center my balance was better, so I feel like it’s a barre-specific issue. Like maybe away from the barre I know that there’s no safety blanket so I know I better squeeeeeeze as hard as I can to balance?

Our center tendu combination involved four tendus to the side from fifth, tendu the front foot and close back, alternating the feet and a pas de bourre after the fourth one. Releve sous-sus balance and then repeat other side.  Simple combination, I like it when it’s something do-able. Such a confidence booster!

Yesterday I realized why I had been messing up my chaines on monday’s class: I was overcrossing my feet, instead of always keeping them in first. It’s so dumb because I know better, but I was glad that at least now I know why they were going wrong.  Also, I get freaked out because when a lot of us are chaines-ing at the same time the likelyhood of a collision is higher and it makes me want to rush them so I can get out of the way.  But with rushing them comes losing control of the turns. So I really don’t know what to do about that, I guess I have until monday to figure it out.

We worked on the galloping chasse some more.  Today I got to ask more specific questions about the mechanics of the galloping chasse, which was  helpful.  Previously I had just been learning them through imitation, so I didn’t really know all the little details. For example, Teacher said that we’re supposed to plie our front leg and use it to push off, the back leg lands first, and both (hopefully pointed) feet are supposed to come together midair.  Easier said than done, haha.

When we did our sautes, I noticed that during the first set of eight my feet were much more pointed than during the second set. So it may have something to do with endurance, as I pondered in my Fitness Goals Update Post.  While the feet were looking better for sautes, when we did our changements I found it much harder to point them.  I’ve noticed that it’s harder for me to find the power for my jumps when I’m sauteing from any position other than first.


My old hiking buddy friend, Lindsey, who moved out of town earlier this year, contacted me earlier this week.  Since I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t do any hiking this past summer (due to my sprained ankle), I was thrilled to hear than she wanted to do some hiking during her short visit.  So what if I had just finished a hour and a half ballet class!

We decided to take on one of our old favorite hikes, a small mountain located nearby (though not the one I live by. There’s plenty of mountains to choose from around here.) that I still hike at occasionally.  It’s a short hike and not very difficult – more like a two mile uphill walk through sandy terrain.  It was fun though, and I was reminiscing the beginnings of our friendship and all the good times we had had there over the last several years.

By the time we had hiked back down we were starving.  Lindsey offered to treat me to sushi and there was no way I was going to pass that up!  Sushi is one of my favorite types of food, and afterwards we were still feeling energetic.  During our meal we discussed how much fun hiking was, so when she brought up another spot she wanted to show me – involving a waterfall! – and asked me if I was up to it I was all for it.


See? A waterfall!

Our next hiking spot was farther, involving a drive on the freeway as well as some more scenic driving along a winding two-lane road that was lined with evergreen trees. It was so beautiful, and the air felt so clean!  At last we reached our destination and parked.


I love foresty looking mountains!

The view was amazing, so different from the desert climate of the mountain near home.  It was also so much cooler, which was nice on what had at home been a hot sunny day. We were at around 1500 ft higher altitude than where I live, so that’s why, I’m thinking.  It felt great to be surrounded by evergreens in every direction, definitely a rare experience for me.  The air smelled so fresh!


One of the mini waterfalls that made up The Waterfall

We made our way over to the Waterfall Trail.  Starting off with a rocky dried-up riverbed, it soon turned out to be more of a climb than a hike.  It was an all-body activity, using mostly leg strength of course, but at times also upper body strength.  On the way up at times I used my arms to pull myself  onto or over a boulder many times.  At some point I expressed concern about the way down and announced to my friend that during my Obsessed With Mountain climbing phase I’d read that most mountain climbing fatalities occur on the descent.  She assured me that it was fine and there was a trail while sloped around the mountain that was and easier hike. This was just the more direct way of getting to a higher elevation.

We climbed until we reached a tree that now lay across the river. After crossing it, we found a flat rock on the banks of a small lake and sat there awhile, just enjoying the stillness.  Such a relaxing moment!

We had brought food, as well as clothes because we had talked about possibly going swimming. For some reason it slipped our minds both that the temperature would be cooler and the water would be freezing cold.


A view up The Waterfall. We actually climbed up this! I’m kind of impressed.

After enjoying the moment for an indefinite amount of time, we slowly started to make our way down.  Once again my upper body strength came into play at times. At some point I was sliding down the side of a  boulder and I used my right arm to grab on the side of it and stop myself.  There were also so many moments when I was glad that I had worn pants, despite my Lindsey’s insistance that the weather was too hot for pants.  There were some moments when I slid down on my behind, using my arms to steer myself along and my feet to slow me down. It was an all-body effort!

I love plants! They will grow anywhere, they always find a way. Here's a plant growing out of rock.

I love plants! They will grow anywhere, they always find a way. Here’s a plant growing out of rock.

Then once at the bottom, we had to cross the dry riverbed.  According to my friend, if it starts to rain the river is flowing within minutes.  Pretty scary if you think about it, glad today it didn’t rain.

A beautiful multicolored rock I came across

A beautiful multicolored rock I came across

I had such a great time though! I can’t wait to do this again. Too bad my friend lives hours away and I don’t have any other one else to hike with. While I hike at the other mountain we were at earlier often, this is a whole different level of hiking. There was no phone reception out here! For sure wouldn’t want to go out here alone with no possibility of calling for help.

The only kind of bears I saw - carved ones in front of a roadside restaurant.

The only kind of bears I saw – carved ones in front of a roadside restaurant.

Evening class?

As we made our way back from the mountains to the city, we noticed the horrible traffic. Oops, hadn’t counted on that.  So I actually didn’t arrive back home – and I didn’t take my ballet gear with me earlier, so there was no going there straight option – until about 5 minutes after I was supposed to be at the studio.  Well, it’s probably for the best anyway – I have some studying to do (which I should have been doing instead of having hang out time). But it’s not everyday that an out-of-town friend comes by to visit, so it’s all good.

The fact that I’m still not tired makes me think that I’m doing a good job of getting in shape. Totally feel like I can keep up with 18-year-olds!  What a great day. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Ballet, Hike, Eat, Repeat…

  1. asher

    Love the hiking pictures! There is something really special about pine-forested mountains.

    I am glad you mentioned the difference in you balances at the barre and at center – I’ve encountered a similar thing recently; long balances in passé relève or coupé relève are no big deal at centre, but not so great at barre. I have about fifteen hypotheses about it, but they’re all guesses.

    I suppose I should ask one of my teachers. For some reason, that idea didn’t occur to me til just now. I will try to remember to ask tomorrow morning.

    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      I’m really curious as to what they’ll say. My hypothesis for now revolves around using the barre as a safety blanket, or safety net, if you will. Like so many other things its probably mostly mental, if we have shown that we’re technically physically able to pull it off under some circumstances (center).

      1. asher

        I asked Tawnee about this after class today. She said that the mental thing could definitely be part of it, as can the position of the barre arm.

        This makes sense for me; I’m forever leaving my barre arm a little too far back and compensating by doing weird things with my shoulders and hips.

        I’m going to have to experiment with this tomorrow. I had a couple of really nice, long balances today at center (passe releve and coupe releve; also a random a la seconde balance in my kitchen :D), so I’m going to try to replicate them.

      2. flowergirlkit Post author

        I can totally see how the position of the barre arm could have something to do with it.
        Is an a la seconde balance when you releve from second position and hold that balance? Or is it one-legged (like tendu to a la seconde and then releve and balance on the leg that’s not tendued while the other foot comes off the ground ?

      3. asher

        Good question! The random a la seconde balance was tendu kind on one foot. The releve in second position I find myself doing all the time when I’m standing in line for just about anything 😀

        I had forgotten that we did yet another balance a la seconde similar in class today — rise to sous-sus, coupe, then extend to balance a la second. For whatever reason, that’s about 600 times harder for me than just tenduing and rising straight up into a balance a la seconde. Tawnee described it as “mean,” but said she makes us do it because she cares ^-^

      4. asher

        Last night, at the Giant Ballet Party, Denis looked around and said, “Wow, I can totally pick out all the dancers in this crowd.”

        He was right, too. Standing in turnout, absently tendu-ing, and random releves are apparently all symptoms of ballet addiction 😀

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