Fun Monday Class, But The Cold Hurts!

Another fun class day! Teacher reminded us that after this there are only 3 more classes for the semester (this wednesday and next monday and wednesday) and then our final. So sad 😦 !

Once again, the cold was causing me to feel stiff, especially my bad ankle (not the left one that I sprained last July (which is doing great, like new); the right one that I hurt in a car accident 3 years ago).  As soon as I was warmed up it felt fine, and continued to feel fine throughout class – so much that I didn’t even remember that I have issues with it.  Due to the cold (excuses, excuses, LOL) I left my little warm up sweater on the whole class, and I felt so much more comfortable with my body – and by body I mean chest.  If I’d known all along this was what it takes I would have just gotten a warm up sweater the day I got my very first leotard!

At barre, after doing our rond de jambe and fondue combination, the second time around we were to fondue into releve. So instead of just fonduing and straightening our legs (the working leg en l’air), we also releve’d on our supporting leg. Now, I’ve been working on my passe releve from coupe at home, so I thought ‘Oh, I’ve got this’ but it was not as easy as it looked (well, duh, it’s ballet ); apparently the added challenge of straightening my leg away from my body made it so much harder to go up in releve. At least the first time through, by the second time it was a bit better.  Was not able to balance in the releve arabesque (arms in third arabesque) and definitely not in whatever it would be called when you’re in releve with the other leg stretched out in front of you (arms also in third arabesque).

I’m not feeling discouraged, oddly enough; I know I’m a slowish learner and it took me months and months to build up the strength to even passe releve – and that was facing the “barre” (at home, the barre is a countertop or the wall).  Today we did our releve arabesques with one hand on the barre, so it’s expected that it’d be harder.  It felt really fun, though, the beautiful coordinated folding and unfolding movements that look – when done correctly – so balletish (balletic?).

Teacher said that my cambres back are looking “Much better!”. I’ve been really focusing on not scrunching my neck but feeling like I’m pulling my head both up and out as my back bends. It is somewhat challenging, and the first time it felt so foreign. I’m one of those people who tends to look down or hold their head down somewhat – though not in ballet class, more like the rest of the time outside of class – so perhaps the muscles in my neck had not been getting an all-day workout before.  Even though in ballet class I try to hold my head up high, as soon as I leave the studio I continue to catch myself looking down.

In center, after we worked on our usual balancé combination – which I can do well at a slower tempo, quickly not so well – Teacher introduced a new jump.  The first time I head her say it, I thought she said Supersoak and I was thinking ‘Like the early 90’s water gun with a refillable tank you strap on your back?’. But no, it was actually soubresaut, which is a jump from fifth in which the feet don’t change but come together in the air (like a sous-sus mid-air).

The combination was 2 echappes with changement, saut de chat, soubresout, saut de chat, changement, other side.  The good news is I finished with the correct foot in front. The bad news is my soubresauts and changements look terrible: flexed feet in the air (or at least not as pointed as I can), not crossing over on changements.  It was fun though, and I really enjoyed the saut de chats – which actually looked somewhat decent. Also,  I was not panting or out of breath at all; in fact, I was ready for another round. Yay, newfound stamina!

My sautes continue to improve.  Today after the first run through of sautes, Teacher said we were going to do them again to a slower timing, which made some of the more experienced students groan (the rest of us are too new to know a difference).  Apparently done slower they are more of a thight workout, and it may be true because by the end my thighs burned – but in a good way!

Today Teacher broke down pique turns for those of us that had never officially been taught how to do them.  She said to take our leg and sort of rond de jambe it out then passe releve onto it and turn.  I went with the newer students and we went nice and slow, rather than connecting the turns into a series (like chaînes).  Spotting with pique turns is still tricky for me, but I’m working on it.

Pique turns are way easier than pirouettes, in my experience. It could just be that I like the across the floor part of center…

4 thoughts on “Fun Monday Class, But The Cold Hurts!

  1. Ilde

    I’m loving reading about a “beginner’s” experience of steps that I consider like breathing. Makes me think about the technique afresh. Interesting… I was unsure what a “saut de chat” was – I do RAD ballet, and as far as I can tell from looking on the web, we call it “pas de chat”. But even so, there seems to be a bit of a war of sorts about the correct terminology. I reckon, as long as you’re dancing, just enjoy the step, whatever it’s called!

    And yes, I prefer pique turns to pirouettes too. We call them “posé pirouette”. Differing terminology seems to be a thing…

    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      Yes, I think I remember reading that “pas de chat” and “saut de chat” refer to the same move. Somewhere else I read that it’s the same move, but when men do it it’s a saut de chat and when women do it’s a pas de chat. Who knows?
      My second ballet teacher (Strict Teacher) taught from a RAD syllabus. There were some different names for moves (like battement glisse – can’t even remember what that referred to) and the technique at times was a little bit different (like extra jumpy/bouncy balances). My RAD teacher was by far the most strict I’ve had, and I have no idea if it’s due to the style, or the fact that she was teaching from a syllabus (while my other teachers have just kind of made their own lesson plan.)
      It’s funny, because my first ballet teacher ever had us learn all the ballet vocab words we’d be using and told us that ballet has a codefied vocabulary, then I come to find out that it can vary by style or teacher. But I guess a tendu will always be a tendu…


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