Tuesday Class: Sniffle, Sniffle, Plie, Plie

Despite coming down with a monster of a cold over the weekend (which practically had me bed-ridden for a day) that I’m still fighting off, I managed to make i through Tuesday’s class without too much trouble – or coughing or sniffling.   And it was a pretty awesome class, if I do say so myself…

Before our plies we did this exercise facing the barre that we would do in IC: slow tendu (from first), close in plie, slow tendu, flex, point.  I think this was so we could work on our foot articulation especially.  After than we did our plies with full port de bras and cambre front and back, and circular cambre after going through plies in all feet positions.

For the first time in the semester we did our tendus on croix from fifth with arms! It was pretty cool, though the newer students were a bit confused about the arms.  After going through the tendus en croix twice, we balanced in releve sous-sus, my favorite – and most stable – releve balance.  During the combination Teacher came around and said “I want to see you working in fifth, not third. I think you can definitely close in fifth.” It was a good correction, I was like ‘It means she believes in me!’.

(Around this tiime Teacher gave us a lecture on ballet class etiquette: some of my fellow under-the-weather students were leaving the barre mid-combination and then returning also mid-combination (which honestly, surprised me, as in I know better.)  Teacher said “You must wait until the combination is done to return to the barre.”  At this point I realized that I have actually absorbed quite a bit of ballet class etiquette in my 2 years of ballet, and I had a quick reminiscence of how intimidating it is to be a brand new ballet student and not know any of these sometimes unspoken rules.)

Before going on to degages with and without hands on the barre, Teacher had us partner us and do this exercise where our partner holds down our foot by the instep and we’re supposed to “push” their hand off with the force of our degage, to help us to learn to use the strength in our feet. My partner commented/complimented me (well, I’m taking it as a compliment 🙂 ) on my feet and how strong both they are (I guess some people have drastically mismatched feet), though she did say that on the way back in I have to relax my foot so that I have that much power available to me for the next degage.   I was still thinking ‘Yay! My feet are strong!(Thank you, theraband!)’  and this girl is en pointe, so I presume she knows about what’s consdered strong for feet.

The degages themselves felt very stable as far as balancing, even without the barre, and I did try to work on the whole relaxing the foot when coming back in thing. I think I put so much effort on the pointing while in the air part that I tend to forget to relax when the foot makes contact with the foot again.

We did rond de jambes a terre and en l’air with passe releve after each side (like after going en dehors for our rond de jambe en l’air, we closed back to plie and passe releve going up the back of the leg, then bring the foot back down to do rond de jambes en dehors and after that on en l’air whe closed front in plie and passe releve up the front of the leg.)  Something that I’m tryng to work on (since I heard Teacher give this correction to someone else), is making sure the ankle of my supporting foot doesn’t pop up before the working foot, when I passe releve from a plie.  I think I may have gotten this bad habit back about a year and half ago when I first started working on passe releve at home and I barely had the strength to releve on one leg.  Now that I’m much stronger, I can passe releve without a plie (would that be a passe eleve instead?), and keep my working foot’s heel down until the working foot has started going up, but when starting from plie I still subconsciously feel like I need the leverage I guess. I’m working on it…

After a nice long barre stretch, including foot-in-hand stretches and some leg swings we put away the barres for center.

Once again we did our grand battements devant with arms in high fifth and passe releve, then grand battements derriere and passe releve.  The way it was different this time from previous classes was that we didthe same working leg for both devant and derriere before doing the other leg devant and derriere.  It felt a little bit trickier this way. Also, when closing the battements we didn’t stop at tendu but closed all the way to fitth, which also makes it trickier (though I think it also means that I was relying too much on the tendu part).  Overall though, my grand battements in center – yes, even derriere – are absolutely amazing compared to last semester, so I’m feeling pleased about that.

After that, we swiched lines, and I found myself in the front line to do our 4 balancés (with arms), step to arabesque, pas de bourre, other side combination.  We went at a nice slow tempo, so I really enjoyed this combination.  While the arms coordination is really coming along, I’m still mystified by that “lean” to the side that some (I guess, more advanced) people do when doing their balances, the one that makes it look much more ballet-ish.  I think since I can actually do balancés without tipping over it’s something that I should try to start working on…

Chaines went ok. I think I’m starting to form muscle memory about holding my arms up in front of me with my lats, and in turn (pun?) it’s really helping me with my stability.

My sautes were not the best this day. In my defense, I was/am still getting over a cold, and I even told Teacher before class that I may have to end up sitting out the more strenous part of class (but I ended up sticking it out).  I’ve noticed that I actually jump pretty high, but I really have trouble with staying in timing, and of course, pointing my feet.  After  regular sautes in first we did a 4 changements, echappe, 4 changements, echappe combination which was fun (but was I out of breath or what!).  I managed to have the correct foot in front, so that was nice.

After that we worked on ballet running – ugh.  I do NOT enjoy ballet running at all.  It is so hard – like, how do I run while pointing my feet, while slightly bending my back leg (but not the front), while keeping my head at the same level? Not to mention that the whole time my chest is going bounce-bounce-bounce and it’s so awkward with my arms out in second like ‘Hey everyone, look over here at the place where I most definitely want to avoid attracting attention!’. I think ballet running is arguably more awkward than sautes, and I used to think sautes were bad…

We finished up class with 4 chasse gallops (arms in third), ballet run (only for 4 counts though, arms in second) and saut de chat with arms in high fifth.  This was much more enjoyable than just straight ballet running.  I like how I’ve finally figured out how to point my feet while chasse galloping.

Teacher announced that there would be no class on Thursday, so the rest of the week I’ve been on my own practicing.  Since we’ve been working on passe releves quite a bit, both at the barre and in center, I wonder if next week will be when we start doing pirouettes.  Hopefully it will go better than last semester…

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