Ahhh, promenades… First, of all, I really like the word “promenade”, saying it out loud or in my head. Like, prome-nahhhde, not prome-naid like lemonade (and if you never, ever saw the word “promenade” and thought it was pronounced promen-aid (yes, this was long, long ago, definitely in my pre-ballet days), you’re clearly much more sophisticated than I).
Now, actually doing the ballet step, that’s much harder. And my classes at New Studio include a lot of promenades, both at the barre and in center. Sometimes, in center, I almost get all the way around, but that’s with the working leg in attitude or coupe. The other day in class we did this combination with promenades with the leg in arabesque – actually, started from developpe a la seconde, then bring the leg back to arabesque – and I just could not get around. Ok, who are we kidding – I couldn’t even get a quarter of the way around.
My balance while moving (dynamic balance, I guess, as opposed to static?) with my leg outstretched is not coming to me so easily. When we do promenades with the leg in coupe or attitude I think I make it around – or at least halfway – through sheer willpower. It’s hard! Much easier to just walk (which is what promenade means, to walk, just in case you didn’t know…).
Then the oddest thing happened in class the other day: We had just finished a center combination (in croisse: tendus, rond de jambe, pirouette en dehors from fourth, pas de chat, assemble, en face: tendus (same working leg), rond de jambe, pirouette, pas de chat, assemble x2, other side), and NS Teacher had just told us that for the next combination (tombe, pas de bourre, chasse, pirouette en dehors from fourth, repeat x2), which would be across the floor, we would be going in groups of two. The girl next to me and I were in the fourth group. And honestly, I was a little nervous, as going across the floor in groups of two still makes me at times (specially since NS Teacher had told some of my classmates that she expected double or triple pirouettes!). So my partner turns to me and asks “Do you know where the restroom is?” I figure it’s a bit of an odd time, specially since we just had a long stretch break before center, but I tell her where it is anyway, hoping that she’ll be back by the time it’s our turn. So she walks out, and the first pair goes and I’m waiting… and waiting… and doesn’t come back. Like, at all, for the remainded of class!
I don’t think NS Teacher even noticed. The only reason I noticed was because she was supposed to be going across the floor with me. Good to know in case you ever feel like sneaking out of class, I guess?
As for the combination, it went much better than I had expected, at least to the right. To the left, I got confused and by the end I was accidentally doing the pirouettes en dedans. I’m glad I didn’t just freeze up though (or walk out, lol). Thankfully, someone else went across the floor with me, since their partner decided to sit out the across the floor combination as well. (I did have my introspective moment, in which I wondered if I would be too shy to sit out an impossible-for-me-at-the-moment combination – attracting attention to myself – as opposed to just silently slipping out the door… but no, I’d be worried that I could never come back to that class. )
The dumb thing is, before class I thought that this girl was totally intimidating looking. She had the stereotypical “ballet body”, and she just looked like she would be good at ballet. When we did barre though, I noticed her arms – whoever said you can tell how long someone’s been dancing by their port de bras was spot-on – and felt much less intimidated. I guess this is one of those “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” situations…
… or maybe I should be focusing more on my own dancing instead of my classmates.