Week 3: Exhausted, But Happy

Oh my gosh.

We reached the point in the moving process when I found myself without internet access for 4 days. Four whole days, lol. No youtube ballet video watching, no blogging (reading or writing), no random websurfing – though in fact, I hardly had any spare time at all. Practically the only times I wasn’t doing something moving-related (up until right now) was when I was sleeping, eating, or in class. It was interesting though, being without internet … sort of reminded me of being back in 1999 or so (we didn’t get internet at home growing up until 2000) and it was kind of nice, though I missed all my ballet-related internet stuff.  I did get good use of my Classical Ballet Technique book to get my ballet fix during that occasional rare rest moment…

Anyway, this was week 3 that just ended of my ballet summer session, the halfway point.  F Teacher said she is going to change up our barre combinations next week, and we’re going to start working on speed.  I’m a little nervous – when things speed up I tend to get a little sloppy.  However, since the worst part of this whole moving thing is over I hope to be able to get more practice time in.

She gave us a few glimpses into a faster barre: before 8-8-4-4-2-2-1-1-1-1 facing the barre (which reminds me, I really have to practice at home so I can remind myself that I can do it with no barre, since we don’t do that in class) we did this thing where we would degage out three times really quick, then two slow ones (it was incredibly hard!); super fast beated frappes after the regular speed beated frappes; this soutenu at the barre when we turned en dehors instead of towards the barre as I’m used to.

Since I’ve seen some progress in these last several weeks, especially in my beated frappes, I’m not feeling horrible discouraged – though when I do arms at a faster speed they tend to get ugly. Particularly my arabesque arm…

I’ve also started to let go of the barre for slightly longer periods of time for the passe releve and passe coupe balances, though I’m not yet getting my second arm in middle fifth. F Teacher said that we have to see it in our mind before we do it, sort of will ourselves to do it, I guess. I got to remember to try that…

One day we did this adagio center combination to one of my favorite pieces, Mozart’s piano concerto 21, 2nd movement.  The combination was a bit long, here’s what I remember: ballet walk four steps, then turn and ballet walk 2 steps before ballet run for 2 counts ending up in a sous-sus releve balance. From there, grand plie (you know, without falling over…), straighten up and tendu devant, shift weight to fourth, go into  a deep forward lungue and port de bras cambre forward, then from fourth push up to passe releve, sous-sus, and passe releve again from sous-sus.  The music was so beautiful, but since it was hard to remember what step came next it was not the amazing experience it could have been. I hope we do this combination again though.

We also did promenades during a different center combination (that I can’t remember), with the option of having the foot in coupe, or the leg in attitude derriere.  I find it easier to promenade on my left leg, but promenades are something that definitely needs work. Still, “needs work” is a definite impromeven over “I keep falling over”.

I think I figured out the problem with my assembles: it’s a jump off of one foot!

We did this drill at the barre in which we brush out our back foot while plie-ing our supporting leg, then quickly close front into releve sous-sus. So far it’s not impossible, just takes some mind-leg coordination. Then, instead of closing into sous-sus we jump and close in the air. Why does it suddenly become so hard?!

I think the short answer is that I don’t have enough strength on a single leg yet. But other jumps from one leg, like jetes (not grand jetes, just regular) I don’t feel particularly weak. Saute arabesque and saute coupe, both also off of one leg, feel ok as well, at least the jumping part, though my arm placement can get a lopsided by the end.  Then we did these one leg jumps called lemps leve and those were super hard. I know more leg strenght certainly can’t hurt, but I wonder if there is anything else involved here, like something I’m overlooking.  Well, in the meantime F Teacher said next week we will be doing more one-legged releves at barre, so that’ll help, right?

During the developpe partner leg stretches, when we developpe and our partner pushes our leg up higher and higher and then we try to keep it there and lower it down controlledly, I was again complimented on ym leg strength for keeping the leg up there. But why can’t that leg stength translate over to strength for jumps?! It’s either different muscles, or different methods of training the muscles, but which, I don’t know yet…

We also did floor barre one day.  I’ve done floor barre at home before, following a youtube routine, last year when I sprained my ankle and couldn’t do any weight-bearing ballet.  It’s a lot more intense when you’re in class that by yourself for sure. Though I walked out of class totally ok, if anything less tired since we’d done shorted center, the next morning I was so sore! It was really fun though, and I think we’re going to do it again at some point.

Floor barre started with us working on turning in and out, pointing our feet and engaging our turnout muscles. From there we went on to tendus and plies while being on the floor, using the floor to guide us into maintaining proper alignment. We also did cambre, coming up off the floor while bringing our arms up into high fifth. When we we up from the floor all the way to a sitting position with arms in high fifth and the slowly back down I was soooo glad that I’ve been doing Pilates. There was no way my abs would have been capable of doing that previously. Anyway, floor barre is a great conditioning exercise for ballet, though it didn’t feel like doing ballet. F Teacher said we will have an accompanist during the next time we do it, so I am curious if it will feel more balletish then. If so, I’m sure it will be an amazing experience. If not, still a great workout, like a cross between ballet and Pilates.

Balletwise, it was a good week 🙂

Now, off to continue getting myself reacquainted with the internet. And sleep, of course…

2 thoughts on “Week 3: Exhausted, But Happy

  1. wedoballet

    Yay! Glad your move went well and you’re back and posting 🙂
    A thought about the jumps, which you may take or leave… I’m stuck on the couch at the moment so living vicariously through thinking about YOUR dancing.
    Power in jumps is less about leg strength than about *efficiency* and *alignment* of the push. Maybe try watching yourself sideways in a mirror as you jump and see how you’re stacked up… primarily where are your shoulders relative to your hips, knees, ankles, balls of feet? I recall that because of your chest size, you’ve said you feel you need to lean back. I find it helpful to think of pulling my belly-button up and to my spine (like to the lower back ribs). Mess around with exactly how far forward you need to come (it will feel crazy) and tighten your core, and the jumps should feel a lot lighter.
    I admittedly cannot relate to being top-heavy in that way (I buy sportswear in a Boys 12-14…), but it CAN be done… there is a lovely, very pregnant professional dancer in my classes at the moment. She still aligns herself forward. To get the push through the floor to propel you into the air, you need your skeleton stacked up. Otherwise your power just escapes.
    Oh my goodness, this is long and bossy… sorry… I really miss class and it’s only been five days!

    1. kit Post author

      Thanks for the tips. I had a feeling it would have to do with alignment…
      I’m really curious to see my side-alignment in a mirror while jumping, as it hadn’t occured to me to check on it before. I found that I needed to lean back to balance on releve (though as my core has strengthened I’ve been gradually moving away from that), but during jumps I was more concerned that I was bringing my torso forward in the landing while sticking out my butt- which may or may not be related to taking off for the first jump but is definitely related to taking off for my next jumps. However, I may have been sticking out my butt (arching my back) during the preparatory plie, which is definitely bad alignment. That may be the root of the problem…
      I’ve seen pregnant dancers before and they’re so inspirational. That made me get rid of all notions that I can’t do it ONLY because of my body shape, rather than lack of years of training and hard work.
      Don’t worry about the long and bossy, lol. I can imagine how much you miss class – feel free to continue dancing vicariously 🙂


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