Tuesday Class: Definitely A Better Day

Had another fun class, feeling much better from last week ūüôā

It was one of those I-love-ballet-class days…

Tendu combination was complex enough to make it more interesting than usual with slow tendus with lots of articulation, tendus at different speeds, and using arms for tendus en croix. Can’t remember exactly how it went, but it may have been the slow tendus en croix, then quick tendus en croix with arms with some plies in there. ¬†During it I kept up really well, and I was glad, though I wish I could remember exactly how it goes so I could practice it at home.

Rond de jambe combination included a passe releve balance on flat after 3 en dehors a terre and 1 en l’air, and then a passe releve (attempt at) balance after the same number en dedans. ¬†From there we were to bring our foot down into sous-sus, then cambre front and back. ¬†I love this kind of stuff, since this is the kind of stuff I practice at home. It’s great to actually get to do stuff like this in class and get corrected on possible ways I’m doing it wrong and stuff. ¬†Ok, that and I love having an enormous mirror to watch ¬†myself sort of doing ballet in right in front of me. ¬†If I had mirrors like that at home I’d be so motivated to practice every single day even more than now. Anyway, it was a nice combination.

During the barre stretch and foot in hand stretch part of class I didn’t have to worry that I was showing off by keeping my leg up, as there was this really advanced male dancer took class with us, and there his is one barre over with his foot up over his head. It was pretty cool to watch him do barre though, so flexible and graceful.

We used arms for our grand battements en croix, which made it funner – and of course, more challenging. ¬†Muscle memory is nice to have though, and using arms is something I’ve gotten used to by now. ¬†When demonstrating, Teacher told us where the leg goes relative to the arm when doing grand battement a la second, and I think she said behind but now I’m not ¬†so sure and I wish I’d written it down faster. ¬†Behind is ¬†where I do them to anyway, but it’s nice to know if you’re doing it right. ¬†Some teacher had said it didn’t matter whether it went behind or in front, and that had seemed odd. Like, rarely in ballet is something just left up to where ever the dancer feels like it, I had thought, but maybe I’m wrong…

During pirouettes, Teacher identified the reason for my crappy pirouettes (though ok quarter and half pirouettes): I was not spotting at the end. ¬†She said I start out spotting ok, but then lose it – which was news to me, as I didn’t even realize I’d been managing to spot¬†at all. ¬†Spotting almost makes sense when doing across the floor turns, like chaines or piques, but for stationary turns I just can’t seem to get the hang of how to spot. Does this mean that when doing across the floor turns I wasn’t really spotting? Was I just pretending¬†to spot? ¬†So confusing, though I’m sure I’ll have fun figuring it out.

We did the full pirouettes from 4th instead of fifth, which used to feel easier in the past. By now we’ve done so many from fifth that they’re both feeling around the same difficulty. I haven’t practiced my passe releves from 4th in a while, now that I think about it…

Ballet running practice was next.This time we ran with our arms in third, which is a million times less awkward for me than with arms in second for obvious reasons. ¬†I’m pretty sure that did not have any effect on my ballet running though, as it remains terrible. It looks so pretty when done right, and there’s a couple classmates who’ve really got it down. ¬†This one lady in particular is so entertaining to watch do pretty much anything (I’ve mentioned her before as the lady with the perfect attitude derriere), but especially her running and grand jetes. She is amazing.

Sautes went much better than last class. I caught myself starting to speed up the tempo, and forced myself to slow it down. ¬†Working on taking each individual jump at at time, just focusing on pointing those feet, landing with the feet in something at least resembling the position they’re supposed to be in. All this stuff that i could be focusing on, instead of just getting high off the floor as many times as quick as possible. ¬†If I keep it up I’m sure my body will eventually figure out what we’re doing here…

On another, sort-of-related ¬†note, I’ve been working more on my toes, trying to activate all the muscles that spread the toes out, or stretch them out. ¬†I’ve been thinking of taking before nd after pictures of what happens, to see if there’s any improvement. ¬†Maybe see if any improvement in my ablity to stretch out my toes results in an improvement in my dancing. So we’ll see if I get around to that anytime soon…

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Class: Definitely A Better Day

  1. asher

    Sounds like a great class, especially your teacher’s observation about your pirouettes! I tend to do the thing where you spot partway through and then lose it somehow when I’m tired, but never really thought of it that way before.

    As for grand battement: now I’m curious! I’ll have to query our various instructors about leg-relative-to-arm in grand battement; I’m curious as to whether Margie (who is from a solid Vaganova background) would have different thoughts than Claire (who I think hails from the Paris Opera school of thought?), etc.

    I’ve heard both Margie and Tawnee point out that it rather depends on your turnout — like, if you turn out to first, and then draw a straight line out with your toe, that’s where your natural second is, and your grand battement should lie in the plane of your natural turnout (which allows you to work to the maximum height of your extension). Over time, that means it can evolve as your turnout improves (or, you know, gets worse, but we all hope that will never happen).

    For me, though, I notice that in practice it somewhat depends on where the battement originates — if it’s coming from 5th derriere, it may hit its peak behind, rather than in front of, my arm; coming from 5th avant, on the other hand, it’s likely to peak just in front of my arm. Coming from first, I usually make a conscious decision to apex in front of the arm, solely because I think it looks cleaner, somehow. On the other hand, that can lead to moving the arm back to accomodate, which then throws off all the balance (I have had to work so hard on correct arm placement, because stupid gymnastics).

    If I’m really tired, though, it’s a toss-up. I have kicked myself in the hand a few times ._.

    I still owe you an answer on your toes question from Denis! I keep meaning to ask him when I’m sufficiently conscious to explain what I mean, and then totally forgetting. I will try to do that tonight.

    1. kit Post author

      That is a great point about it depending on the turnout. Teacher is always on us about making sure that we tendu (and degage, and grand battement) in a straight line from where our turnout is and not force it too far back artificially and to tendu to the same exact spot regardless if coming from devant or derriere. I’ve noticed that trying to force it can lead to an ugly sickled foot shape, like the legs trying to go but the foot doesn’t know what it’s doing (or where it’s going). In the end, it comes down to real turnout. Need more turnout! lol
      Anyway, I am curious if it changes depending on what school of ballet it is. I had planned on asking Teacher again after class, but of course, I forgot.
      Mine go behind the arm, I noticed today (which hopefully doesn’t mean my arm placement is horrible wrong).
      Wow, I can’t believe you’ve kicked yourself in the hand before, hopefully you were ok. A kicking leg can exert a lot of force… and usually it’s enough to have to watch out for being kicked by others.
      No worries on the toe question. When it happens it happens ūüôā

      1. asher

        Gah! I was going to ask Claire about it today, and I forgot too. We are the Champions of Forgetting!

        I have, thus far, not injured myself by kicking myself in the hand, fortunately ūüėÄ

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