Monday Class: Something A Little Different

First off, I just want to say that as a relatively new blogger I totally get off on my archives by month list getting longer. It’ll probably get old once I’ve been blogging for a bit, but for now I’m still like “Cool! Another month and I’m still at it! Yay!” or something like that…

Today, after we warmed up a bit, Teacher announced that we would do something different for class: we were to get in small groups (2 or 3 students) and make a barre combination for the move Teacher would give us. Our group was in charge of rond de jambes, other groups had tendus, degages, fondues, grand battement, etc. After demonstrating our combination to the class once, the whole class was going to try it out for themselves. The only rules were that we had to incorporate the move given, port de bra, and a balance.

It was fun, and involved coordination, counting, and lots of thinking! Teacher let us hear the piece of music we would be using first, and then we had to fit the moves (with timing!) into the music.  Since we were involved in making our own combination, it wasn’t until it was time to try out the combinations that I got to see what kind of stuff my classmates came up with.  Some of them really upped the challenge factor!

The group doing tendus, for example, came up with a combination that involved temps lie (that move where you tendu, shift weight, plie, shift weight) not just out to second but also forward and back, as well as a soutenu and other side before doing the whole thing in reverse. So yes, that did involve turning 4 times in order to do both sides of it. There was also several of those circular  bends (the kind where instead of just cambre forward you bend towards and away from the barre as well as forward and backward, but in a smooth circular motion).  I would try to explain it better but, honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering it. Repetition helps with ballet and we only did it once. Just know that it was challenging and I was a beat behind throughout it.

The fondu combination involved a balance in passe and then attitude.  There was no way I was able to let go of the barre to balance in attitude, but I did like how it felt so ballerina-like to be hanging out in releve with my leg bent in front of me, arm in high fifth, and teacup feet (feet not sickled, but turned out “so that you could place a teacup on it”).

The grand battement combination was especially tricky, though it didn’t involve any moves that were new to me; it was just the unfamiliar sequence that did it.  We started with 2 (I think?) grand battements, then 2 releve sous-sus, with the second one turning to face the barre. Once facing the barre, it was 3 echappe changements, then a quarter turn to be facing the opposite way from which we started. Facing that way, we grand battement-ed our inside leg (the one closest to the barre) back twice and 2 releve sous-sus. Then, once again, I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly, I just know that at some point we were with the barre behind us as we did our echappe changements.  It was so confusing, but I’m sure if I went through it a few times it would make sense. Teacher brought up how in intermediate classes there is more weight shifting and using of the inside leg, so it looks like I need to make it a priority to work on that.

My own group’s rond de jambe combination was ridiculously easy in comparison – especially since I had no idea that we were going for super complexity. We did a slow rond de jambe en dehors with port de bra, three quick rond de jambes with arm in second, hold for a beat, then slow rond de jambe en dedans with port de bra, three quick ones with arm in second. Then tendu out and back to fifth, releve sous-sus balance, soutenu and other side.  Simple and easy, right? (“NO!” say the brand-new beginners. Ok, simpler and easier than some of the other combinations my classmates came up with. But I may be biased; I love rond de jambes.)

And that was class. Only one more left in this semester.

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