Thursday Class: Hot

We had no class on Tuesday – though I did enjoy a nice practice session at home – so Thursday was my first class in a week.

The weather got hot (finally – it was feeling more like fall than late May), making it harder to stay cool, especially towards the latter part of class.  This may have been the first time ever in ballet class when I’ve actually found myself sweating.  Out of breath, sure, has happened many times (especially back before I started running), totally sore, also yes, but never actual sweat. Of course, I was wearing my little sweater (they call them warm ups for a reason…) but I’ve just gotten so comfortable taking class with it on that I can’t imagine doing it without. So yeah…

We did a new combination with our rond de jambes: 4 rond de jambes en dehors, then brush the foot through  first to the front en cloche, then back, then front, hold, close, 4 rond de jambes en dedans, brush foot through en cloche, then end with foot behind and balance in 3rd arabesque. It was a nice combination, a bit challenging on moving the leg en cloche in correct timing. Actually, the timing of the rond de jambes was a little faster than usual, which also added to the challenege. The balancing part was ok, I balanced better on my second side (right leg), which was a little different than what I’m used to. In general my balancing was strong this class. It’s so unpredictable – going into class I never can guess ahead of time if it will be a good balancing day.

We did frappes on croix, then soutenu and other side.  It was a little tricky, closing from a frappe right to a releve sous-sus for the soutenu and then on the other side having the foot flexed and ready to frappe.  Also, it was 4 frappes in each direction, so there was the whole don’t-swich-the-first-one thing to think about.  It was fun though, I like doing stuff that is somewhat tricky so I can pat myself on the back that I can even do it at all. I remember my attemps at doing frappes my first semester – horrible!

Around the time we put the barres away for center, several dancers who sometimes take the next class (Intermediate) came it and began to warm themselves up in the back.  I have a strong suspicion these dancers are either pros or ex-pros, and I think one of the guys is en pointe.  Anyway, our first center combination was our 4 quarter pirouettes, 2 half pirouettes, and 2 full.  We start facing the front, quarter turn to the side, then quarter turn to the back, and I see one of the possibly pro dancers doing some ridiculously flexible stretch on the floor with his legs up by his ears (and he was wearing a sweater tied around his waist, with the arms placed strategically on the area where his dance belt is/would be. And then I noticed the other pro male dancer was sporting the same look. Is this a thing? For extra coverage while stretching? I though dance belts were designed with modesty in mind? Does the fact that I even noticed make me out to be a total perv? Not that it was distracting in the least… LOL).  We quarter turn twice more, and now we do our half turn to the back.  This time he’s in a completely different, also ridiculously flexible stretch, this one involving sort-of circling his legs out along the floor and bringing them back up rapidly.  By the time we’re on our second full pirouette – well, my attemps at a full pirouette – he’s down in completely perfect splits.  It was just like ‘Wow!’ because we have some people in class who are somewhat flexible, and even I myself sometimes get considered a flexible individual (especially by non-dancers, LOL) but these dancers (and this guy in particular) are just on another level.  It amazes me. I mean, I’ve watched youtube videos of pros taking class – actually, I love watching pros taking class videos – but seeing it right in front if you just makes it so real.  It was so intimidating fumbling through the pirouettes (and the rest of class) knowing they were there. It’s not like they were watching us or anything, they were mostly focused on their warm-up, but I still get embarassed. The whole concept of “That girl sucks at ballet – why does she even bother?” combined with my special brand of anxiety over being observed.  I guess I still feel so out-of-place at ballet class, unless everyone is on a very beginner level.  I don’t have much confidence in my dancing abilities, though I still have fun with it and continue to try.

When we did chaines from corner to corner I went in the last group.  It was not the wisest decision. First of all, there was only 2 of us (which in itself is not a problem, in IC we even went completely alone), but the other girl is really new (first semester) so, understandably, she turns really slow.  When we got to the other side we were supposed to finish by chasse-ing and then balancing in 3rd arabesque.  It’s usually no big deal, just a quick balance and then get out of the middle of the floor and get in line for the other side. The problem was that I had to hold my balance for much longer, since I finished crossing the floor much quicker and had to stay while the other girl finished and Teacher corrected her on her turns and chasse and arabesque. Holding the balance for longer, especially after all those turns (especially to the left) was certainly a challenge.

During our 4 balancés, tombe, pas de bourre, then other side combination, Teacher corrected me on my turnout. I tend to lose some of my turnout while moving, especially moving quickly.  It’s so hard to apply a correction when you’re in the middle of motion!

Jumps were definitely better today. During the 16 sautes and then 16 changements, Teacher told us “Much better on the timing!”, and being honest, it was usually me who was screwing up the group’s timing.  I’ve gotten much better at not speeding up towards the end, and actually staying on the same timing as everyone else.  I was trying to focus my attention more on making sure my feet were landing in the correct position and pointing in the air, not just jumping for the sake of jumping.  Like, being really deliberate in telling my body what I wanted it to do.  When we did 3 echappes, pas de chat, pas de bourree Teacher actually complimented me on my jumps, and I was looking in the mirror and the jump did look really powerful. Possibly the best echappe I’ve ever done!

Left class feeling pleased with my improvements (though frustrated by the areas that show no improvement). Feeling sad over the (rapidly) approaching break for the summer though. Teacher mentioned that there will be a session of IC taught over the summer, but it won’t be taught by her so I don’t know if I’m up for it.  I really dislike this aspect about me, but if I can’t feel at least comewhat comfortable it’s hard for me to relax enough to concentrate on what I’m doing.  If I don’t feel comfortable with the teacher I don’t know if I will just make a great big mess of things.  On the other hand, it is  almost daily and affordable ballet classes. Arg, what to do?!

8 thoughts on “Thursday Class: Hot

    1. kit Post author

      You are completely right. Unfortunately, I have this way of complicating even the smallest decisions. That said, I’m still completely indecisive…

  1. Sarah

    Is there anyway you can pay per class, for the summer course, rather than for all of them at once? At least then you could give it a go and if it’s not for you, you don’t have to go again and you haven’t wasted money on a whole block of classes? I asked my teacher if she’d consider running classes over the summer and she said yes! But only for June as she’s away on holiday, then she’s working on a performance 😦 Still better than a 3 month break though, so can’t complain 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      No, it’s through my school, so I’d have to sign up for the whole (short) term. Financially it’s a really good deal, around $40 for the term (around 25 classes), so even if I only attended a few classes it would still be much, much cheaper than going through a private school. More than being worried about the cost I’m concerned that if it’s too hard for me I will be completely miserable, and since Teacher’s Intermediate Class was very challenging I do worry that I’m still not ready.. Also, since I dropped IC before, I don’t know if there’s any repercussions from the school by withdrawing from the same course more than once (I think I should go by the office and ask next time I’m there…). The other thing is that it i being taught by First Teacher rather than my current teacher. So I’m worried it’ll be awkward. I realize that the things I worry about seem very irrational to the average person, but I am a bit of an oddball…
      That’s great to hear that your teacher agreed to hold class during June! Definitely better than a 3 month break 🙂

      1. Joyce

        Asking the office to see if there is a withdrawal penalty sounds like a good idea. $40 may be a good deal for 25 classes, but it is not worth paying $40 to be miserable!

      2. kit Post author

        I believe if you drop within the first week (out of 6 total) it’s a complete refund. After than it would be a W on my transcript (which I already did for my first time taking – and dropping – IC).
        I asked Teacher about it today, and she said that it will be more of a Beginning-Intermediate class than straight Intermediate, and she encouraged me to sign up. Said F Teacher likes to do a nice long barre, and there will be people there who are more “beginner” than me. Today I’m actually feeling like I may just go for it!

      3. Sarah

        If it’s going to be more of a Beginner-Intermediate class you should definitely give it a go, it sounds exactly what you’ve been wanting, that missing class in between BC and IC, and $40 for 25 classes is an absolute bargain! Unfortunately it looks like my teacher won’t be taking classes during June after all 😦 so I’m going to give the Beginners Plus class at my other studio a try, which even the thought of is terrifying, but I can’t go three months without a proper class, even if it just involves me floundering around at the back for a while!

        Can’t wait to hear how your summer class goes, good luck 🙂

      4. kit Post author

        It does kind of sound like that elusive in-between class, doesn’t it? I am leaning more and more towards going for it!
        That’s too bad about your teacher, but I’m sure Beginners Plus will probably serve as the in-between class for you as well. Know what you mean about going three months without class… ok, I think that about convinced me to try out this Beginner-Intermediate class.
        Thanks, and good luck back at you! 🙂

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