Two Class Tuesday: Dancing In The Dark

Alternately titled “Gee, I Really Suck At Ballet”. (And I’m exhausted and had no time to proofread, so yeah…)

In B(eginner) C(lass), we did the no-hands tendus and degages and I noticed that I’ve gotten much more stable since last semester.  Possibly as a result of all the core strengthening I’ve been doing.  My balancing has improved as well, as I noticed during our releves in center (in first, sous-sus is much more stable) that I was keeping myself steady, even while doing port de bras.  We did the easy waltz step, both with and without turns as well.

Plenty of sautes, some echappes and changements.  When we switched lines I found myself in the front for the sautes, echappes and changements and that was not cool.  While I prefer being toward the back (so long as I can still get a little “window” of mirror space) during center, I’ll deal with being towards the front, but with sautes it’s super uncomfortable.Felt like I could feel the whole front of my leotard bouncing up and down, and even my little sweater couldn’t disguise it.  The woes of the non-typical-ballerina body!

In I(ntermediate Class) we did a really fast tendu combination, followed by another fast tendu combination, followed by yet another fast tendu combination.  All involving either changing the working leg (like two tendus front with right leg, two tendus back with left leg, then switching it up somehow in a way that if I could figure out how to explain enough to write it down I’d probably have an easier job actually doing it.) or changing direction (like doing croise, efface or ecarte) or a a super slow port de bras to go with lightning fast tendus. It was beyond challenging, I was late often and most likely closed the wrong place – which really did not help if the next move was a soutenu and I had the wrong leg to the front.  But yeah, so hard, definitely feels reminiscent of my first semester when it seemed I couldn’t get one single combination right.

The spot I usually start at barre is facing the mirror for the first side. I’m starting to think this may be a bad move (and, strangely enough, I think I did figure this out last semester, but in my time away from class I appear to have forgotten…) because that leaves me no one to follow.  I just may change this up and start on the side that gets the mirror for the second side and see if things improve a little bit.

So then we’re in the middle of yet another challenging barre combination when, all of a sudden, the lights went out (hence the post’s title). I had been concentrating so hard so that maybe this would be the time that I get this combination right, that at first it was like a stunned pause.  Since the enormous dance studio has no windows it was plunged into blackness, nothing visible except the emergency exit sign, looking farther away than usual.  After a couple seconds – that felt much longer – my classmate’s voices began to ring out and it felt slightly less creepy (Though only very slightly – I did have a few panicked moments of freaking out that someone had cut the wires and was planning to kill us , like “The Great Ballerina Massacre Of 2015” or something. The power was out for minutes (apparently all thoughout campus), and Teacher was just about to dismiss class, when the lights came back on just as abruptly as they’d gone out. Class continued.

Center was pretty disastrous. Just when I’d been getting the hang of the tendu combination Teacher switched   it up – now instead of the 2 tendus and temps lie it’s 2 quick tendus, a degage, and two grand battements before switching to the next direction (derriere with the other leg, and a la seconde in ecarte with the original leg).  It sounds easy written out like that, I guess.  But as my learning style involves lots of sloooow repetition, I was just not getting it.  Can’t say I’m too hopeful about getting it for tomorrow’s class, as I haven’t had any time to practice at all.

There was a glissade, assemble, glissade, assemble, saute de chat x2 pas de bourree, glissade, assemble, changement combination that was about 3 times faster than I could possibly do it.  It’s like, I know how to do glissade, and assembles and pas de chat but doing them quickly and strung together like that it so hard. I’m pretty sure I looked like an idiot.

Then came the saute,  changement, echappe, pas de bourre combination that by now I was too exhausted mentally to even remember.  And this waltz step which is a million times harder than the one in BC.  Seriously, I didn’t even use arms, that’s how bad I had no idea what I was doing.  At least the saute arabesque, saute coupe, saute arabesque, saute coupe, saute arabesque x4 across the floor combination went ok – well, ok by my somewhat low standards.

I feel like instead of focusing on how much I’m sucking I should mention some good things:  I’ m reliably going up into passe releve and actually balancing for a couple seconds in center; I’ m getting around all the way on my pirouettes a good amount of the time, both en dedans and en dehors; I actually ended up facing in the correct direction a couple times (that one’s directly related to the pirouette’s mentioned above).

Given the amount of time I’ve been dancing – or attempting to dance, depending on how I see it on a particular day – and my age, I’m doing great, I’d say.  Comparing, let’s not even go there…

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