Wednesday Class: In Some Things Progress; In Others, Not

Once again, my once-a-week (for now) class…

Today we had a full class, or as close full as it gets for ballet class at Evening Studio – about a dozen of us.  One of the students was walked to class by her boyfriend and E Teacher asked excitedly “Are you taking class? We need guys!” He wasn’t.  I have to be honest, when I saw that a guy had walked into the studio building I had thought ‘Cool, there’s gonna be a dude today!’, but no, there wasn’t. We haven’t had one in months!

There was plenty of first time (or first few weeks) beginners though, so once again barre started out easy. I took advantage of the super slow tendus to work on my foot articulation.  The “working through the demi-point” way of putting it wasn’t explained in a way that made sense to me until this past Fall semester (I used to think that as long as the toes of the foot never left the floor, the objective was to point as soon as possible, don’t know how to explain it better, but I used to do it Wrong), so over the last several months I’ve really been working on having my foot articulate, and go through demin-point before reaching the full point. It’s gotten way better, almost muscle memory.

Though barre started out easy, E Teacher did incorporate some more challenging aspects for us that are hovering in the land of uncertainty between beginner and some kind of beginner 2. We did several looooong balances in passe releve, once starting from flat and going through sur-le-cou de pied coupe (wrap-around), another staring from releve sous-sus and then wrap-around coupe to passe releve.  Wrap-around coupe is relatively new to me (about 6 months, my teachers before that just did the regular front-of-the-foot kind), making it not as muscle-memory controlled as some of my other ballet moves, so I loved how E Teacher insisted I do it over until I got it right – well, right-ish.  I like being pushed to do it correctly, or at least to try harder.  The passe releve part is getting easier, I was practically balancing for the whole time, at times just one of my fingers lightly touching the barre, at times slightly letting go.

I kept staring at my feet in the mirror, in something close to disbelief – I was liking them! Not just during barre in tendus a la seconde, either (which is a pretty flattering angle if you’re looking to see some pointing action, in my opinion…) When we did our center combination (ok, it was during tendus a la seconde, but it was center, not barre) I thought it was great how I was able to point my foot fully almost instinctively, without any concern for my balance, or anything. I still remember wishing the day would come when I could do something as simple as this (in center) without falling over – and it’s here! I guess I set the bar somewhat low when making goals, but whatever, it makes it more likely that I’ll reach them. And then I can set new ones…

But besides the not falling over part, I was liking the shape of the feet.  It’s like the months of theraband foot exercises have made it so that my feet not only get stronger but pointing gets gradually pointier.  I like the way they look pointed in the air as well, like during grand battements. Now if only I could remember to point during sautes.  I know I’m strong enough to jump now, it’s just a matter of remembering while being overwhelmed by the fast tempo of the music. Today we went through 8 sautes, 4 echappes, 8 changements twice – without stopping – and I felt so in-shape LOL. Definite improvement.

Since yesterday, while practicing at home, I was able to do a full revolution for the first time ever (!) on my right side en dehors pirouette from 4th, I was hoping we would get to do the tendu-plie-passe-pirouette combination. I did make it almost all the way around, but it wasn’t as controlled as the one from yesterday, which was weird as I had thought starting from 5th would make it more controlled. Of course, to the left I’m still stuck at about 1/4 of a revolution.  I wish we would do en dedans pirouettes as well.  For whatever reason, the first time I ever attempted a pirouette it felt more “normal” to go in the en dedans direction and en dehors felt like I would certainly fall over.

Today we did reverance, which we hadn’t done in a while, possibly last summer. E Teacher just tells us to follow along and it starts out easy, just a pretty port de bras, but then she takes a step, unexpectedly changes direction and suddenly we’re lost! I wish I could memorize how the reverance goes (and practice it!) because it’s totally doable if it wasn’t just sprung on us right then and there. And so pretty, too.

Before class I tried to befriend someone.  There was a new girl in ballet class who had a tattoo of something uncommon that I used to – and still am, I guess, just to a lesser degree – be into, so I complimented her on it.  She grunted back “Thanks,” barely looked at me, and didn’t say another word.  I was like, ‘Ok, maybe she’s shy, or awkward (like me). Maybe the tattoo is a sore subject. No big deal…’ and resumed stretching, but then this other girl walked in and the girl I had tried to talk to started discussing her tattoo with her. I felt like such an idiot, and made myself feel better by the end of class by the fact that her ballet technique was absolutely terrible (or at least worse that mine).  Now I feel like a total jerk, having to put down others (in my head, not aloud, of course) in order to feel better about myself. (And what if she’d been super good at ballet? Then what?!)   But I have this horrible social anxiety and it is so rare for me to reach out to people at all, for fear of rejection, so when I do and rejection happens it really sucks.  Sometimes I feel like I am truly unfriendable – and unlikeable (if not dislikeable) – I’m just so socially-awkward and different.

I think I need to stop trying to have a ballet friend and maybe when I least expect it it will happen…

9 thoughts on “Wednesday Class: In Some Things Progress; In Others, Not

  1. beginningballet

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I love how you know all the ballet terminology!! #goals

    Also, tattoo girl is dumb. Ain’t nobody need that negativity in their life. I would 100000% be your friend! You are super cool.

  2. Ilde

    Maybe Tattoo Girl felt threatened by you… you are a more experienced dancer, after all! Seriously though, don’t force it, it’ll come. And in the weirdest, most unexpected form – my two ballet friends are 10 years and 18 years younger than I am! Yet ballet binds us. I’m usually so focused in class that I don’t really speak to others, and these very two friends have told me how they used to be scared of me and avoided me! So don’t worry, it’ll come.

    1. kit Post author

      That’s some good insight. You’re right; I am more experienced (not to mention “officially dressed” for ballet – as this class has no dress code) – so as strange as it is to me she may have felt threatened. Such a werid feeling – I just can’t believe it that anyone would be threatened by me, Miss Introvert, when there’s happy fun extroverts being themselves all around and often I feel threatened by them. Social interaction is such a strange phenomenon!
      Ok, I will stop trying to make it happen, work some more on my ballet technique, and it’ll happen when it does 🙂

  3. Sarah

    I can’t totally relate to what you’re saying about making a ballet friend. I’m a very introverted and shy person, but when I started ballet I thought I’d make an effort and try to chat to the other girls in my class, but it was really difficult, nobody really wanted to make conversation. I thought maybe it was just me, but then I started at a new ballet studio a few weeks back, and it’s the same there, absolute silence before and after class, and no eye contact at all! It’s almost as if people seem a bit embarrassed to be there. Is this a ballet thing? Or maybe just a beginners class thing? Is it the same at your class?

    1. kit Post author

      Yes! You’re definitely on to something…
      When I first started ballet (2 yrs ago) I was in a more “social” phase and I tried to make coversation with some of the girls. They weren’t really into it, so I gave up, figured since they were much younger they wanted friends their own age (but they weren’t really talking to each other either (except for Best Dancer’s in-crowd)). But then at my Evening Studio there’s women of all ages (18+) and the vast majority aren’t very friendly either. However, I’ve noticed that when the class right after comes in (I think it’s hip hop or jazz) those students are much more interactive and social with each other. So that makes me think it’s a ballet thing. Perhaps the people drawn to study ballet are not the most outgoing people out there – I know I’m not. Perhaps extroverts gravitate towards other styles of dance. I have picked up some of that embarassment you mentioned as well, especially from brand new students, they one that stand around awkwardly before class instead of heading to a barre and stretching.
      I’ll be honest: more advanced students intimidate me, so I usually try to reach out to beginners, figuring they may be feeling overwhelmed and be happpy for a friendly person. That’s why I was so surprised that this girl was so unfriendly towards me.
      As for it just being a beginner class thing, I guess I will find out once I’ve experience intermediate class in a few weeks.

  4. daktulos

    Oh man, it stings when you try to reach out and are rebuffed. It’s nice to have friends in a class. It can make it a totally different experience. I’ve been in so many classes where I felt totally alone. Sometimes it’s peaceful and meditative but it’s also nice to have someone to smile at at the barre or to go from the corner with.

    1. kit Post author

      Yeah, I’m hoping eventually I’ll get to have a ballet friend. I’d love to have someone to carpool with and hit up open classes with or even just talk ballet..
      Luckily, I’ve been making friends in my Pilates class, so at least I’m not too worried that it’s me, LOL.


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