Beginning Of Week 5: Still Struggling With Speed

For the first time in what seems like forever – but actually just several weeks – I had a ballet practice session at home (my first at out new place!). Since I haven’t had the opportunity to go to a  basic-beginner level class in over a month it was a nice change of pace. Breaking down each movement to a manageable (for me) speed definitely helps me feel less frustrated. I love taking the time to focus on what I’ve improved on or how much stronger I’ve gotten, than focusing on how very far I am from actually being somewhat good at ballet. My plies are deeper now as well, which was a nice surprise. I can’t wait until I have my little private studio set up!

Class continues having it’s ups and downs, as we begin week 5.  At barre, I took a couple of the more advanced options available. One of them was to do the slow port de bras while doing 4 quick rond de jambes (instead of just leaving the arm a la seconde).  I’m not saying I did it correctly – in fact, I was corrected on my leg not going all the way around – but I’m trying to step a little out of my comfort zone.  Hey, it’s better than being thrown out of the comfort zone in center! I also did the releve option for this passe and developpe combination we did (passe devant, bring it down the back, passe derriere, bring it down the front, developpe devant with arms, bring leg around to a la seconde, touch foot to passe both devant and derriere, close front, tendu close back, and reverse the whole thing) and I liked how strong I felt going up in all those 1-legged releves..

We had this center combination with grand battements and pirouettes both en dehors and en dedans.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: pirouettes en dedans feel so much more “natural” to me than en dehors.  When we do en dehors (both from fifth or fourth, though from fourth is a little easier)  I feel off balance or afraid of falling or something. But when we do en dedans, I feel like I can go into it with no fear at all.  Not surprisingly, since I go into them fearless I actually make it all the way around and land with the correct foot in back.  At home, since I finally made some time – and some room – to practice, I was actually doing somewhat cleanish pirouettes from fourth en dedans, one after another (I had to make sure it wasn’t a fluke). Are en dehors pirouettes considered easier, or is there another reason why they are taught first, I wonder… or is this just part of how my body and I seem to learn everything backwards?!

We did chaines across the floor, but a big difference was that we were doing them in timing.  Fondu and prepare on count one, chaines across up to count 6, finish in chasse to first arabesque on count 8, and be ready to do the whole thing again.  Since I start messing up when I try to chaines very quickly, it was hard to keep up. It was a lot of fun though. I definitely enjoy the feeling of turning more than jumping. Well, leaping across the floor or jumps that involve traveling are really fun, but just jumping up and down, not so fun… possibly because I’m not very good at that.

When we do our sautes, F Teacher has us split up into two groups, the guys and the ladies.  Why is it that the way the guys do it (slower tempo, higher height) is so much easier for me than the women’s version?  I mean,  when I jump at a slower tempo I get to really focus on pointing my feet, and getting my heels down, landing in a deep pile, all that good stuff.  And in order to feel like I really point my feet I kind of like to jump high (so I won’t stub my toes on the floor?). But the women’s version is much quicker, which then translates to sloppy jumps for me. F Teacher corrected me, saying that we’re not going for height, but quickness. But when I try to not jump as high I have a difficulty pointing my feet. On top of that, I land somewhat clunky.  I guess it’s time for a lot more practicing…

Glissade and jete are not hard, just much too quick the way we do them in class. I can do them… about 4 times slower than we’re supposed to.  Now that I’m getting some time and space (space-time?) to practice at home I will be working on increasing the speed a bit more.

A new thing we did was ballotte.  And it was, in a word, hard.  I’d never tried to do this before, and mostly I was glad that I wasn’t falling over! Though I’m sure that I looked even more ridiculous than I felt, lol. We went across the floor doing this, and the music was so fast!  There was a more advanced version that combined saute arabesque with the ballottes.  Though it was difficult, I feel like it’s the kind of thing that will improve with practice.

We were all having so much fun that class went over the scheduled time. Not that I was complaining – I love having an enormous studio to dance in!

4 thoughts on “Beginning Of Week 5: Still Struggling With Speed

  1. Adeline

    En dedans is indeed more natural. Ask any non-dancer to turn and they will do a pirouette en dedans. When you turn en dedans you’re going toward your front foot, it’s like walking. With pirouettes en dehors, it feels like you’re going backward 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      Yes – that explained it perfectly! It is kind of like walking, whereas en dehors feels like throwing myself backwards. Scary!
      When I had to choreograph my first dance final and I was even less of a dancer than now, the turn (the bad form makes me hesitant to refer to it as a pirouette…) I did was en dedans, though at the time I didn’t even know en dehors existed.

  2. Olivia

    Uh the ballotee. Just learned it and by learned I mean looked like a crazy person. Each week gets better but those curve balls of new material- ack! 🙂 So glad to hear you have some space, I know you will love it.

    1. kit Post author

      New material is tough! Wish I had a heads up whenever new material will be introduced so I can at least youtube the step and prepare myself mentally…


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