Two-Class Thursday: Still Sore

End of the second week of class.

My thighs were still sore from Tuesday’s classes (and I’m sure my Pilates classes may have had something to do with that as well), so I was hoping we would go easy on those slow 4-count grand plies during B(eginner) C(lass) – no such luck.  We also did lots and lots of releves and eleves (going up with a plie and without plieing beforehand, respectively) so our calves could be as sore as our thighs.

Barre combinations included tendus and degages without holding on to the barre. I remembere last semester I was so stressed out about these. Six months makes quite a difference apparently…

We went across the floor with our waltz step, and then added a turn to it.  Definitely felt less scary than last semester, or all the other past semesters for that matter. First Teacher didn’t really teach how to do this, just said “Ok, you’re going to be doing a waltz step, yes?” and since most of the class was like “Ok!” she didn’t go into it further. Strict Teacher was actually pretty horrible about my lack of an ability to pick up the step quickly, kind of treating me like I was an idiot because I couldn’t get it right away.  But by now I’ve been practicing it – or at least had it in my body – for almost a year, so it’s starting to feel more effortless. Now I’m actually having fun with it, letting the arm movement carry my upper body side to side, as Teacher said it should.  Feels so lovely, so dance-y…

Thankfully, in I(ntermediate) C(lass) we didn’t do much grand plieing. Just the standard 2 demi plies, 1 grand plie, cambre forward and back (side when in second position) plie combination.  Our port de bras for the plies was confusing me, though now that I’ve (slowly) gone over it at home I see that it’s nothing new to me (we were starting with a low arm, going out and in during the first demi plie, then up to middle fifth and out during the second demi plie). But in the spur of the moment I just blanked out a little bit.  I think it was the perceived pressure; somehow I ended up in the barre that was up front and in center and I felt really on the spot. While in BC I’m happy with a spot up front – mirror space! – in IC I feel like I should hide a bit.  At least until I don’t completely destroy the combinations…

Speaking of destroying the combinations… where do I even begin?! The fast rond de jambes with the slow port de bras are still not looking good.  If anything, doing attempting to do the arms confuses my body so much that then even my rond de jambes get sloppy. We did a tendu combination at barre that involved angling our body differently – epaulement, I guess? – and it was so confusing. The only thing I remember out of all that is that in ecarte you look up at your hand. And then, during the beated frappes I totally slammed my foot into the floor – ouch. Beated frappes just don’t make sense to my body yet. At all. But by now at least I figured out that the reason I was confusing myself was that I’m used to frappe-ing out however many number of times and then tendu back in, but in this class we frappe front, a la seconde, and back without ever tenduing – and then we do the beated ones.  Also figured out that another reason I mess up is that I’m used to doing stuff en croix, but in IC we usually just go avant, a la seconde, and arriere, and then do something completely different for the fourth thing.  This is taking my body some time to get used to, and I still remain a somewhat slow learner…

For center we did the same tendu combination, except now Teacher told us to do a different port de bras. It was close enough to what we’ve been doing that it went ok for me.  I’ll be honest though, I feel like I am a bit out of my league. Like, here Teacher is telling us to be concerned with the way our hips are facing our “audience” and I’m still like ‘Yay! I didn’t tip over during those tendus and I can’t believe I can chasse and yay my pirouette almost went all the way aroung!’  I feel like there is this huge gap between what you learn in BC and IC, like how do you learn the stuff that comes after BC leaves off?  I mean, it seems like in IC it is assumed that the students know certain things but we weren’t taught this in BC!  I’m having lots of fun doing, I mean attempting to do the more complex combinations in IC, but I feel so overwhelmed!

We did the same 4 balancé, tombe, pas de bourre, en dedans pirouette combination, which unfortunately I hadn’t had time to practice at home at all, but with different port de bras (the first two with arms at middle height, the second two with our arms up high).  We did it in two separate groups so it was like ‘Great! Spotlight on my terrible dancing!’  The strange thing is though, I was having fun, just super-aware of my bad dancing. I couldn’t help smiling while attempting the combination (and falling out of my pirouettes, or completely botching the arms, or being a count behind, or any other mishaps.) – I know I’m not good at this, but I’m better than I was before and that means a lot to me. I refuse to punish myself over my far-from-perfect dancing. No, just no; as I have no intentions on ever doing this for a living I just don’t see the point in coming down so hard on myself.  Dance is supposed to be fun, in my opinion…

In pique turns across the floor, I got a correction: apparently, I don’t come down off releve in between pique turns.  I hadn’t even realized that I was doing that. Great, another bad habit that I have to break…

Our petit allegro combination was 4 sautes, 4 changements, 2 echappes, pas de bourre, echappe, pas de bourree, repeat.  I kept getting confused on the pas de bourre from the echappe, and the tempo was super fast (duh, that’s why it’s called allegro, but I guess I’m more of an adagio kind of girl).  Our across the floor jumps (grand allegro? or is it still petit?) combination was saute arabeque, saute with foof in coupe x2, saute arabesque x4 while switching the arms from one side to the other.  Yeah, I’m not even going to pretend that I knew what I was doing with the arms there…

There was this dancer though – possibly one of the regular students in the class but I’ve never seen him before – who was just absolutely amazing. When he jumped it was like he flew, seemingly catching some hang time, his body making perfect lines in the air, and he was doing beats with some of his jumps. It was so enjoyable to watch him, so hopefully he’ll be taking class with us again.

On Friday I finally got some time to go over the combinations from class on my own and at my own pace at home.  Something that helps me as I practice the move is to say the name of the move to myself as I do it, to remember the sequence of moves better. I’m getting it – slowly – and it’s enough to keep me from getting completely discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, I am feeling slightly discouraged, at times feeling like I have no business in IC.  I think what I’d had in mind was that it would be like BC, but just slightly harder.  I feel like in BC we were learning how to do the moves whereas in IC we’re supposed to know how to do the moves and we just get corrections on all the moves we should already know.  Sometimes I feel almost like I’m back at square one, feeling lost with terminology I don’t understand (yet) and unfamiliar body motions.  It’ll make sense, I’m sure, but for now I just feel exhausted.

2 thoughts on “Two-Class Thursday: Still Sore

  1. Trippmadam

    Don’t worry. After so many years of dancing I still sometimes feel like an idiot when I do not get a new combination immediately.

    1. kit Post author

      Oh cool, that makes me feel better. I was starting to feel that my slowness in getting combinations was screaming out “Beginner!” LOL


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