“We call it passe when talking about the position, but this was an actual real passe,” Teacher said as she demonstrated a real passe, “passe means ‘to pass through’. The position is actually retire, but I use ‘passe’ even when it hasn’t passed through.”
“What does ‘retire’ mean?” a student asked her.
(And no, it’s not pronounced like retire, it’s pronounced re-tee-ray, or possiblie even more French-sounding, for anyone who’s never heard of it.)
“I’m not sure,” Teacher said. She turned to us, “Do any of you know.”
Withdrawn, I thought. It means “withdrawn”. Withdrawn, like me. More silence.
“No one?” she asked. “Well, I guess that’s your homework; look up what ‘retire’ means.”
Why did I not answer? If asked, I’d possibly respond that I don’t like to show off (But that’s not quite true. I don’t show off, true, but that’s because I don’t feel I have anything to show off. But if I did – if I had even a fraction of the majority of my classmates’ (in IC when the story took place) ballet talent – would I? It’s easy to say you can turn it down when it’s not being presented to you…). But a truer reason is that to me it is so sad to be the person who can correctly answer the most ballet terms yet sucks the most at doing them.
(True story: I’ve mentioned here and there how my first semester in BC was a total disaster – kind of how IC is going, I guess – as far as the dancing goes, but I seriously got like the first ever 100% on our ballet terms and history of ballet test. And that’s the day I realized that although ballet class for me is technically at a community college, this class has absolutely nothing in common with regular college classes. Here, study habits and flashcards were not going to help me…)
I suppose you can tell by my cheerful tone that IC was a booming success? Lol, NOT.
During plies, Teacher told me that my hip alignment (tucking my pelvis) was looking better, at least better than the last couple of weeks. We weren’t holding our grand plies down forever, so that may have helped. Overall easy barre.
In center, we did balances, the easy waltz step with turns, chaines, sautes and echappes, and finished up with chasse gallops across the floor, My post de bras with the balances is getting more fluid. The chaines were feeling solid, especially to the right (weird, I remember when left was my better side). In sautes, I have a diffficulty staying in timing. While my sautes have inproved considerably since I started working out last semester, they are still not some of my best moves. While doing chasse gallops I kept thinking about how much easier they are with running shoes on (as I usually practice them out on the field after finishing up my run) than in ballet slippers.
Very challenging and quick set of barre combinations. So glad that BC essentially functions as one super long warm up, as there’s no way I’d be able to jump right into that straight off the street. Kept getting confused as to what direction we were going, which leg was in front. Or multitasking with the port de bras. During one combination that involved both degages and piques, at some point I was just flinging my leg to the side, neither pique-ing nor degage-ing. I caught myself though, but it was just so hard to stay focused on everything that was going on. It’s like either I obviously mess it up (like wrong leg, wrong direction), or I mess it up in more subtle ways (like the whole bad alignment, sticking the pelvis out, and not leaning my upper body forward thing). I think I managed to get the plies combination correct at least…
Center. New tendu combination, 2 tendues a la seconde with epaulement alternating legs, 4 degages a la seconde also alternating legs. Forgot the rest of it, but I do remember that I didn’t completely mess it up. I was actually getting the whole “turning your head towards the leg that will be in front” thing, improvement since a few weeks ago (and that was at barre).
A combination, possibly the extremely-difficult-waltz-step one, included promenade in center, leg bent back in attitude. No idea which direction we went in, too busy thinking “What?! Holy crap!” when Teacher was giving out the combination. After the promenade the leg was to go through passe (retire) to a front extension – I guess a developpe, but a quick one – then not really sure what happens, and then chaines off into the sunset (or the corner of the studio). On the left supporting leg (right leg in attitude) the promenade went surprisingly better than I expected – not that I had expected much. On the right supporting leg I couldn’t really find my balance and the direction we were supposed to turn and the direction my body wanted to turn were not matching up.
Never thought I’d promenade in center; last semester I couldn’t even promenade at barre. I enjoyed that part of the combination. As for the rest of it, I was always behind, and at times moving random. The waltz step (that I had been feeling proud of myself for practicing at home and almost getting it right plus arms) was being done about three times faster than I could keep up with.
Petite allegro (glissade, assemble, x3, pas de chat x2, pas de bourree, changement, other side) was making a little bit more sense as to what I was supposed to do. Actually doing it was another matter.I smacked my foot on the floor doing – rather, attempting to do – one of the assembles. Instead of the changement, Teacher gave the option of doing this jump, called a royale (spelling?) that looked so light and fluttery. Looked so pretty, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be taking that option. Then Teacher said we were going to be doing more beated jumps during the semester and I groaned on the inside.
For most of the combinations I was just hoping to hide in the back, away from Teacher’s watchful eye. I am beyond corrections, it’s just like “Hey, it’s terrible, all of it! Where to even begin?
Why did I even sign up for IC? WHY?
(I know why, but I’ll save it for a later post…)
I do like how I can do BC level stuff a little easier and more out of reflex/muscle memory. I don’t like how at times – many, many times – I have no idea whatsoever what I’m doing. I especially dislike being the worst dancer in class. Not that I’m even good in BC either apparently…