Thursday: Ugh, What A Day…

Don’t worry – there is a happy ending (ballet class) in there…

Day started off like any other (recent) Thursday: I got up early, packed up my school stuff, ballet bag, and food for the day, and headed off for my long day at school.  I get there, and there is absolutely no parking, as apparently there’s some kind of event going on at the school. Had to park clear across the street on the opposite side of campus as any of my classes in the overflow parking lot – how annoying.  Go to my morning class without incident, and I’m back in my car having lunch when it starts to rain.  Did I mention that I have no umbrella, raincoat, or even a plastic bag to hold over my head in the car? (Well, I had my ballet bag, but the point was not to get my ballet gear wet.)  By this point I’m more than a little irritated…

So I start my long trek to my second class of the day, and I’m trying to walk at a brisk pace to minimize the level of soaked that I’m getting (though I think I remember reading somewhere that if you run in the rain you get wetter than if you had walked the same distance. Well, either way, it was cold, and I didn’t want to linger outside for too long.).  I don’t know exactly how what happened next happened – one second I was walking quickly along, the next I’m flying through the air.  The good news is I didn’t land on my knees, or sprain an ankle. The bad news is than I found myself on my derriere in a shallow puddle.

(It’s ok, go ahead and laugh.  I’d be laughing too if it hadn’t been so embarassing (which is probably why it’s funny.)

I got up as quick as I could manage, without slipping and falling again.  Now besides my entire hood and front of my sweater being soaked, so was the back of my pants. Goody. Trying to preserve whatever was left of my dignity – and so grateful that I hadn’t worn even more light-colored pants – I walked (at least I wasn’t limping) slowly to the nearest restroom. Washed off my hands and spent about 15 minutes drying off my clothes under  the warm air hand dryer (and it worked! Best idea ever.).

A few hours later came ballet class. Well, after another soaking by the rain on the way back to the car, which was still parked across the street on the other side of campus. By this point my behind felt a little sore, but I chalked it off to the cold, and since I could walk normally I went to class. (Besides, Teacher had spotted me earlier, so ditching was not really an option.  And I didn’t want to go to class just to observe.)

We started barre and my body felt fine, no soreness or any stiffness out of the ordinary.

For tendus we used arms (yay!), 1slow with articulation, 2 regular speed en croix. I love it when we use arms!

After 8-8-4-4-2-2-1-1-1-1 twice, we immediately went into lots of releves and eleves, then echappes without really having an opportunity to rest. I wasn’t tired from my calves, just glad we were facing the barre so there was no pressure to hold a balance. It’s like one of my strong points in dancing is my strength, but my weakest point is my balance.  I’m still using my core but on some days I just can’t find a good balance (at least in first, sous-sus is no big deal.)

We did 3 ronde de jambes a terre and 1 en l’air, then fondue passe balance, second time around with passe releve (attempt at) balance.  I tried letting go of the barre for a couple seconds, but so far my passe releves in center are much better than those at barre.

We worked on frappes again, different combination: 3 frappes, on the thrid one instead of closing back we did 2 piques and then close with a flexed foot to do the next side.  It was fun.  I really enjoy doing piques, and when we do a combination that is not super slow and I still manage to it ok (like the correct foot going to the correct place at the corrrect time kind of stuff, not necessarily that everything was perfect) it is a big ego boost. I really need to focus on what I’ve improved on so that i don’t get discouraged.

After barre stretches and leg swings, the last thing we did at barre was grand battements and 3 changements. Around this time I realized that jumping freaking hurt.

Luckily, Teacher announced that we were going to start off center with the same adagio combination from last class (3 pas de cheval, 2 balancés, tombe, pas de bourre, bring back leg to passe and developpe devant, releve sous-sus, chasse towards the side of the leg in front, repeat other side), and since I (sort of, at first I forgot that the releve sous-sus comes after the developpe) remembered the combination  I got to be in the front line, so people who weren’t there last class could follow. It was a little nerve-wracking, but I managed not not mess up too much.  My timing was a little off, but then, I think we were all off on timing.  It was so much fun though – I love longer combinations, especially when they consist of moves I can do.  A few months ago and before I think that level of combination would have been disastrous, to be honest.

After that we did our 4 quarter turns, 2 half turns and 2 full pirouettes combination.  The quater and half pirouettes continue to be fun – and doable – but the full pirouettes are so hit or miss.  I’m convinced the spotting is a bigger issue here than a stable passe releve, especially since lately I’ve been balancing on passe releve in center for around the time it would take to complete a revolution (though at barre my passe releve balance isn’t doing too well, as I mentioned earlier).  I work on keeping my arms connected to my core, going up in a really high passe releve and it works out fine for the half and quarter turns, but when it comes to doing the full pirouette I overcompensate and end up using too much force.  Some of the times I got all the way around I landed with my legs a little overcrossed, or apart from each other. Definitely something to keep working on, but considering how much more I sucked at pirouettes and passe releves a few months ago, I’ve improved.

Then came the jumping. We did sautes (16), changements (24), echappes and pas de chats.  I had really been planning on focusing more on my technique for my jumping this class, making sure to not speed up towards the end, forcing myself to point my feet, really just work hard.  Unfortunately, due to my fall it was taking all my concentration just to get through them.  With every jump I felt more and more sore.  I was silently praying that Teacher wouldn’t notice me where I was hiding in the back, and i wasn’t jumping up with full power, trying to minimize the impact on the way down.  This may sound really dumb, but at times I was thinking ‘I feel like a real dancer, dancing through the pain (but of course with horrible technique).’ I guess saying that is an insult to dancers… Well, anyway, I made it through.  In hindsight, if I’d known how much it was going to hurt  landing jumps I would have probably not gone to class…

Thankfully, by the time I got out of class it had stopped raining (temporarily), so I managed to crawl in to the car somehow (by now it hurt to lower down to a sitting position).  Drove home, hobbled upstairs (Boyfriend helped me carry my stuff upstairs, how sweet), Boyfriend examined me for bruising or swelling (there was none), rubbed some of that arnica massage oil that I made last year for my sprained ankle all over my lower back and bottom, and  went to sleep.

(And yes, I learned a lesson in all of this: I now have an emergency rain coat and hat in the trunk of the car in case any more situations like this occur.  As for learning to watch where I’m going, I’m still working on it.  But how was I supposed to know it would be extra slippery where I stepped?)

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better now, 2 days later.  And in a few hours Boyfriend and I are going to go see a live ballet by a local company.  Can’t wait!

15 thoughts on “Thursday: Ugh, What A Day…

    1. kit Post author

      I’m feeling much better 🙂 . Soreness almost completely gone, yay.
      We went to go see a local production, by a small company based a few cities away. Don’t want to completely give away my location, but I will say it was a classical ballet that has been adapted into a cartoon for children by a certain corporation that also has theme parks (my first introduction to the story, actually). Oh, and it’s not Sleeping Beauty.
      It was amazing! Almost the whole entire second act was solos and pas de deux, one after an other. Saw some unique lifts that I hadn’t seen before. I also liked that there was a little big of body type variation in the corps dancers, and they all danced very well.
      We – well, more like I – had wanted to go see this last year but they had sold out, so it was great to catch it this time. What a fun night!

      1. Sarah

        Sounds like a great night, was it maybe Cinderella? I recently went to my first ballets (Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty), and was just amazed by it all, the costumes, the music, the lighting, it was just such a fantastic experience, and they make it all look so effortless! I noticed quite a variety of body types in the swan corp too, quite a few large chests and general larger body sizes, which was good to see.

        Glad to hear your bottom’s feeling better too 😛

      2. kit Post author

        No, it wasn’t Cinderella either… but it was awesome either way!
        They really do make it look effortless! I do wonder if I’d never tried ballet if I would have been able to appreciate how even the “easiest looking” stuff is really, really hard. I mean, grand jetes, tour jetes, fouettes, they look obviously hard, but even stuff like running or walking is hard in ballet. I love just watching the corps bourree en pointe while doing port de bras as well. Costumes were amazing, and I think they said that they design all their own stuff, costumes and scenery.
        Were the productions you saw with the variety small, regional companies too? I like knowing that there are companies out there who won’t only take dancers that are exact clones of each other, bodywise.

    1. kit Post author

      Thanks! I tried clicking on the link a couple times and it says an error occurred, though. Can’t tell if it’s a glitch in my end…

      1. annabelletroy

        May just be the link…Easiest thing is just to read my latest post, Jane Eyre is Nominated, it explains award and you will see your site listed on this post. If you want you can follow directions, and nominate fifteen other posts, etc; but you don’t have to. It is mainly just a shout-out to how much I have enjoyed your posts!

      2. kit Post author

        Ok cool, found it. Thank you very much for the shout-out, I enjoy your blog very much as well! 🙂 My schedule is pretty backed up, but I will see if I can get around to doing some nominating!

  1. Sarah

    “They really do make it look effortless! I do wonder if I’d never tried ballet if I would have been able to appreciate how even the “easiest looking” stuff is really, really hard. I mean, grand jetes, tour jetes, fouettes, they look obviously hard, but even stuff like running or walking is hard in ballet.”

    I know! Before trying ballet, I thought it looked like it might be quite an easy, low impact activity, just lots of graceful, gentle movements. I couldn’t have been more wrong! It is so, so, tough, physically and mentally, it really makes me appreciate how talented professional dancers are, that they can make it look so natural and don’t huff and puff during jumps! The companies I saw were both Russian, and I’d say 90% of the dancers were short to medium height, with quite stocky, athletic body shapes, and maybe a third to half of the women had a visible chest (which always makes me feel better!). I think I’ve gone off the idea of the very thin, tall ballerina, even for playing Odette, after seeing a programme called ‘ Nureyev and Friends’ were most of the dancers were quite fit and strong looking, I found the dancer playing Odette, who came on near the end, a bit jarring to look at, she was so tall and thin, I just couldn’t see any muscle definition in her arms or legs, I just kept wondering how on earth she’d have the energy to get through a whole ballet! She was still very beautiful, with a lovely long neck though 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      Yeah, it’s funny how even a barre routine is way harder than it looks. Before I would’ve thought ‘Can’t be too hard – they have something to hold on to.’ Was I wrong or what?!
      I enjoy seeing a more athletic or even muscular look on dancers (and seeing a visible chest makes me feel better as well), as opposed to the extremely thin “typical” ballet dancer body. I have seen some dancers before who look so frail, no visible muscle at all – as well as the extremely thin and bony but WITH visible muscles – and I’ve wondered how they manage to have the strength to dance a whole ballet. But I guess some of it comes down to it being their body type, as foreign as that is to me. I’ve always had a somewhat thin neck, but ever since I’ve started ballet it does appear longer and more graceful. I think ballet does every body some good, regardless of their body type.


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