Lately I’ve been hanging out (well, I guess you don’t really hang out in ballet class. I meant “stand near and occasionally shoot nervous glances at, as well as even hide behind…”) more with the beginner students. You know, beginners who are taking ballet for the first time ever (since the beginning of the semester), as opposed to all of us in BC – with our various skill-levels and histories with ballet.
I like it, takes off the pressure (which may not exist outside of my head, but to me it’s real) to do any better than my own personal best. Trying to be good enough for IC was just not working out for me, and ever since I’ve decided to just take BC it’s been so much more fun. Being around all the first-time beginners reminds me of that time when I just couldn’t wait – or even imagine – being able to do beginner-level combinations in center, or even barre for that matter. Back then I would watch the other students doing even a basic barre (like what we did today), and they looked so graceful and fluid and lovely and I wanted that. Not to blow up my own ego, but I’d say my basic beginner-level barre looks passably graceful, fluid and lovely, at least to someone with undiscerning eyes.
Shared the barre with a ballet beginner, and we had a short chat while stretching before Teacher showed up. While she is a ballet first-timer this semester, she told me about her dancing background: no ballet, but all through high school she was on a dance team and they rehearsed for 5 hours a day. Oh wow, during high school I mostly sat on the couch reading books (lol, pre-internet) and stuffing my face with pizza. Yeah, I really need to remember that even all of us first-time ballet beginners do not start off at the same place. Nevermind that for me it’s been 14 years since high school, and for her like 2…
We did plies with one hand at the barre, yay! It was nice to get to incorporate some port de bras into it. Cambre forward was introduced (to the people who haven’t taken this class before, I mean) and I remembered when I first started out how I was like ‘I’m totally gonna do that one day!’ and at the time my legs were so weak that I felt like I was going to fall over while trying it. I’ve really come a long way ballet-wise, and will definitely be thinking more about that than how far I still have to (hypothetically) go.
Tendus and degages were still facing the barre, though the second time around each combination we did it with no hands on the barre. Once again, as I said at some point – many times – last semester: so glad that Teacher was not my first ballet teacher ever; if I’d had to tendu and degage with no hands my first semester I would have cried (and fallen over, repeatedly).
But then we did a passe, 2 rond de jambe en dehors, balance in second arabesque, cambre forward, 2 rond de jambe en dedans, balance with leg out in front (straight, so it’s not an attitude, but don’t know what to call it) combination with one hand at the barre. So I guess there was a good variety for barre work this class.
We did a slightly different – though very similar – balance combination in center, this time doing a really slow and pretty port de bras (which was mostly just bring up our arms from low fifth up to high fifth then open, one at a time, while looking at our hand, then both arms together, but it looked pretty) before 4 balances, tombe, pas de bourree, other side (which meant starting the port de bras with the other arm instead). The balances had a nice slow tempo, and Teacher said it was ok to do arms (which I find super helpful) or not. I love slow tempo balances, as it gives ample time to really point those feet and coordinate the arms. When we do faster balances I always feel my feet look sloppy, the back foot not getting enough time to point, the front one coming too far forward.
My chaines to the right were horrible today. I just could not get my head to spot fast enough, and Teacher noticed and corrected me on it.. To make matters worse, I was feeling a bit ill already before class, so I think I was subconsciously keeping myself from whipping my head around super fast. To the left they were better, as there was just no way they could suck more that the right side ones.
We did way too many sautes and echappes. I was really starting to feel ill by this point, lol.
Fun across the floor: one glissade (the gallop, not the slide kind), one grand battement, all the way across the floor alternating legs, with arms (out to second for the glissade, up in high fifth for the grand battement). Which (to a beginner like me) sounds incredibly hard – I mean, when Teacher first demonstrated what we were going to do it looked so freakin’ hard – but it was actually not that bad and turned out (oops, a pun – my actual turn out was probably terrible to nonexistent…) to feel like actual dancing. Once I marked it and realized it was actually possibly (as opposed to my clumsy fumbles in IC) it was so much fun. We didn’t do this particular across the floor last semester as far as I remember – time to read some archives!
This last combination was extra fun, made me feel like skipping to the car 🙂