End Of Week 5: Some Improvement And A Whole Lot Of Sloppyness

This week I feel like I caught little glimpses of improvement in between all the stuff I keep messing up on.  It was nice to have little reminders of progress. I had fun during classes, though honestly I am feeling a tiny bit burned out at attending class, specially the same level, that often. I really miss taking a beginner class and getting to work on technique obsessively. But there’s only one more week and I know I’m going to miss going to class, and there will be a month or so until the next semester starts. Speaking of which, it looks like due to scheduling conflicts I won’t be able to take a beginner class, just intermediate, at least through my regular school. I really miss beginner class… though I do love the more complex stuff we work on in this class.

At barre, while I have the general idea of how our new barre combinations go, I still haven’t got any of them down yet. As in, I mess up each one, except perhaps plies and the slowest tendus. Plies have been really fun actually. Specially with the new pretty port de bras we’ve been doing. The faster combinations are not always  a disaster, but  things like closing fifth instead of first, or bringing the arm in through middle fifth instead of going from high fifth right to a la seconde.

But then, we’ve been doing stuff to work on arm-leg coordination and that’s hard! Stuff like taking 8 counts to bring the arm up to high fifth while doing 8 degages devant,and then en croix, taking 8 counts per side to do the arm. Devants ok, but when we do a la seconde we’re supposed to switch (we’re doing them from 5th, not 1st) and that makes it so much more challenging. Reversing it is a mess…

It’s a similar thing with doing the 4 rond de jambes while doing only 1 port de bras. Sometimes I get so confused that I do my rond de jambes to the wrong side.  I get confused because we start the rond de jambes from a tendu a la seconde not first or fifth. And apparently in a split second my brain can’t decide on which direction to send the leg while also trying to do the slow arm. One day I think I accidentally did both sets of rond de jambes en dehors, except I managed to realize it on the last one.

Center has been pretty fun, though if the tempo during average combination was slower it’d be great. Once I actually feel like I kind of know how the combination goes the faster speed is ok, but I’m only that certain about one or two combinations. When the faster group goes though it’s fun to do the combinations in the back and then get to do the slower version and then it feels so much easier than before.

We did an adagio combination with 4 counts ballet walking starting in B+, then pretty port de bras, grand plie, developpe devant and a la second, 2 pas de bourre (right and left), developpe derriere, close in fifth and pirouette en dehors from fifth. And possibly one more step that I’m forgetting… possibly a promenade? I do remember that there are promenades (with working leg either in coupe or attitude derriere), i think en dehors but I can’t remember for certain, in at least one of the combinations we do. I’ve gotten better at them, and once in a while I might actually get almost all the way around.  My arms were absolutely terrible while doing it though.

When we did the left side of this combination immediately after the right (2 tendus devant croisse, arms switch to efface and ecarte, tendu back into a fondu, change facing to the back, 2 pique turns and a soutenu, a form of pas de bourre that crosses over and then under to the other side, bring the back foot to the front through coupe, 2 glissades and chasse to finish in first arabesque) I actually didn’t get thrown off. Of course I messed it up after the soutenu the first time around to the right. Like, I just blanked out about what move came next. I made myself remember the next few times though. I also get confused by all these different types of pas de bourres!

The petite allegro with glissades and jetes felt much smoother towards the end of the week. Like it’s finally starting to become muscle memory after weeks of trying to do them. But I did feel like I was able to do it a little faster, and not fall behind as much. The combination also had soubresauts towards the front and – unfortunately, lol – assembles. Definitely my least favorite jump in ballet this far…

The ballote and saute arabesque across the floor is still most likely hilarious to look at.  I feel completely ridiculous when doing this, and have decided to record myself next time I practice so I can have a rough idea of how bad it looks. And perhaps, give me ideas of what to fix.

Going across the floor diagonally did not go so well this week. We did across the floor 4 soutenus, 4 pique turns, 4 chaines, and chasse to arabesque to finish. The hardest part for me is being distracted by worrying about crashing into someone or someone crashing into me. And the faster I try to turn the more sloppy my turns get, I think.  But otherwise, it was fun. I like combining different kinds of turns, though sometimes I do get confused. Before that we were just doing soutenus across the floor, and I was accidentally doing pique turns instead. I caught myself after only two or three turns, but it was still pretty awkward, like in a people-had-noticed kind of way.

Also, when the saute arabesque, saute coupe combination became more complicated, now to include switching arms to 2nd arabesque at some point, as well as some counts of ballet running mixed in there… I got totally lost. But just kept moving, hoping for the best. I actually like saute arabesque-saute coupe, I just wasn’t able to remember how this new combination went, at which point we switch, etc.  We had a pretty full class this one day and I felt crowded out, so it was harder to mark it. Yeah, that’s my excuse…

At some point F Teacher mentioned that the combinations we work on in class are somewhere in a level 3 or 4 (out of 6 I think?) from the syllabus she teaches at her other studio where she teaches. So that’s pretty cool, doing work that is somewhere out towards the middle of the spectrum. Of course, I’m not saying that I’m actually doing the work – specially center, but barre as well – at a high level, but I’ve noticed so much improvement in my dancing. Also, I’m not discouraged by center because I was thinking about it the other day, and for the first year almost since I started ballet I never practiced center, only “barre”.  So, it would make sense that I would be better at barre than center. I also know that when I first started practicing center it was so awful compared to what was I was doing at barre, but I’ve gotten so much better. And I feel so graceful just randomly chasseing into first arabesque on impulse at home…

4 thoughts on “End Of Week 5: Some Improvement And A Whole Lot Of Sloppyness

  1. meetatbarre

    “The petite allegro with glissades and jetes felt much smoother towards the end of the week. ”

    Oh good…this gives me hope! Maybe one day petite allegro won’t make me want to cry.

    1. kit Post author

      Yeah, one day it just sort of clicked, and my legs just (almost) did what they had to do without my head having to get involved in the matter, lol. It was nice to not have that little split second pause when I go ‘Wait, I do this next, right?’.
      But then they added beated jumps into it and I started wanting to cry again…

  2. asher

    I’m writing this before finishing your post, but I had to say — if it’s any consolation, I have had literally all the same coordination difficulties (including randomly doing both sets of ronds-de-jambe en dehors!) — so don’t worry, it does get better!

    My first intermediate class, there were moments of, “Why can’t I *do* this?!” followed by, “I will never be able to do this!” More recently, I found myself pulling off the many-ronds-de-jambe, one port-de-bras thing without thinking about it, and didn’t realize that had happened until I noticed someone else messing up and thought, “Wait, how come I’m not the one screwing up?”

    I think recording yourself is a good idea. I have been thinking about doing the same, though part of me is really quite afraid that I will look so much worse even than I imagine that I do… 😀

    My theory is that it’s all about cognitive load.

    1. kit Post author

      Thanks, that doesn make me feel better! 🙂
      It’s funny when you don’t realize that you’ve got it until you see someone else messing up and realize it’s not you. I’ve had that happen before, though I can’t quite recall about what.
      It can be scary to record oneself. It’s like facing everything I’ve been trying to avoid in the mirror… but sometimes it actually does look better than how it feels like it would look.


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