Thursday Class: Sometimes Challenge Is A Good Thing

Had another great class, with the level heading more towards an intermediate-beginner level.  I was loving it!

We started our tendus en croix, and Teacher said we were going to do the combination 2 times through, but then she switched it up on us and said “Other side!”.  I think that meant we were to do a soutenu to switch sides but I was caught unprepared and didn’t go right into the soutenu as I should have. When we finished the second side I did a little bit better though.

Rond de jambe combination was a little more challenging (though still very fun to do!): 3 rond de jambes en dehors, chasse outside leg forward, lift up inside leg in arabesque and balance (this was the challenging part, oddly enough, because I’m not used to lifting up the inside leg for the balance, although it is actually much easier to execute than lifting the outside leg), close to sous-sus (this was another challenge; like, do I close to fifth and then releve sous-sus, or close directly into the sous-sus?), cambre devant and derriere, then 3 passe releves, 3 rond de jambes en dedans, chasse derriere, lift inside leg devant to balance, close sous-sus, cambres, 3 passe releves.  I really likes the complexity of the combination, long yet still slow enough that I managed to not get lost.  It was great!  In the end we ended with a superlong balance on releve sous-sus, which is my stablest balance still.

Then came the real challenge, something I’ve never attempted at home before.  I have to admit, it was kind of nice getting that momentarily panicked feeling of ‘Oh crap – can I do this?!’, as long as it doesn’t degenerate into thinking ‘What am I even doing in this class?!’ (it didn’t).  We did our frappes, just 6 a la seconde, then temps lie to the side of the working leg, 6 on the other side, temps lie.  Then Teacher says “Hands off the barre!” and we did it again.  Having never tried barre-less frappes, I was startled.  No time to be startled though, the music was starting!  I think I did the first two a bit hesitantly, as I didn’t want to fall off balance. But then I felt stable and did the rest a little bit better.  It’s not particularly harder than doing them with the barre, just as going the 8-8-4-4-2-2-1-1-1-1 degages without the barre is not much of a big deal anymore. I guess this just confirms that I need to continue stepping out of my comfort level.  Then fact than I didn’t tip over makes me so happy though!

We did developpes en croix with arms.  The hardest part here was staying on the count with the music.  I love doing developpes when I practice at home (usually do them with my fondues, like fondue en croix en dehors, developpes en croix en dehors, fondue en croix en dedans, developpe en croix en dedans), so I have a good general idea of where the arms go and stuff, but actually knowing where everything is supposed to be at each different count, not so much.  From what I remember, Teacher said that count 1 is at coupe, count 2 at passe, count 3 leg is out, and 4 it’s closed.  I think my problem is that I like to really linger on the coupe and up to passe part, so then I’m late on the count. But I just love doing stuff in slow motion, feels so much more graceful and pretty…

Finishing up the barre portion, we did grand battements en croix with arms.  I really enjoyed seeing how high my legs go up, especially in grand battements a la second.  I do womder though, if Teacher is going easy on the corrections for these. E Teacher used to always correct me on my battements, either I wasn’t really “kicking” my leg, or my hips were getting out of alignment, or my upper body was going forward when I grand battement devant (which I’ve really fixed by learning to engage my lats).  Teacher doesn’t really give me corrections on them (she does on a lot of stuff though, so it’s definitely not that she’s ignoring me), so I wonder if E Teacher was just pickier, or if I’ve actually improved on my technique…

We started off center with 1/4, 1/2 and full pirouettes again. A general correction Teacher gave us is to really go for the passe releve instead of slowly getting up there. It was a good reminder, as I’ve heard that correction before but forgotten.  Something funnier that Teacher said was “Keep your arms out in front in a beautiful circle! Don’t hold them against you like you have a stomachache!” I LOL’ed so hard at that (but it’s true – if you pull your arms in close it does look like you have a stomachache!), and even though the holding the arms in close part didn’t apply to me, still I was more mindful of my arms.

Chaines to the right went well, to the left I was not getting my head around quick enough to spot.  I must have a lopsidedly-muscled neck…

After sautes and changements we did 2 echapes, 2 pas de chat, pas de bourree combination.  I think what made this combination tricky was that even though we start to the right, the pas de chats would take us to the left  (since we only did 2 echappes instead of 3, and we pas de chat toward the back leg), and there was a lot of people going in opposite directions and almost colliding. I actually got it right though! Well, I got the directions we were going to right, technique-wise it needs work (of course).

Across the floor we did chasse gallop, saute coupe on right leg, chasse gallop, saute coupe on left leg, again on the right leg, then ballet run for four counts and saut de chat.  It was fun, remeinded me of one of the across the floor combinations we did during my brief stint in IC.  To the right it went well. To the left, I used the wrong leg for the saut de chat, and Teacher had all of us that did the wrong leg go back and do it again after everyone had gone. So intead of a group of 3 it was a little mob of ballet people prancing across the room.  So fun though!

There was time for reverance this class.  I love the adagio-ness of it. Still need to work on my curtsey though, as I do more of a fondue (keeping the back leg straight).

So yeah, as I’ve already mentioned I really love this point in the semester when stuff gets more challenging.  Really wish it could be this way the whole semester through. At the same time, I’m terrified of what they’re doing over at IC (rumor has it it’s beated jumps!). Due to schedule conflicts, next semester (still months away), I may have to take IC if I wish to keep dancing though the school.  Don’t know yet, as I’m having mixed feelings about it.  I guess at least I have time to do lots of thinking about it…

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