So, I’m still taking class (Adult Ballet, no level specified) at New Studio, my third week there now, and class is as challenging as ever. However, I think I’m starting to get into the groove a bit. Or at least with all the stuff I’m messing up on I somewhat have an idea of why or how I’m messing up… and that’s good, right? I figure it’s improvement to be able to at least recognize what the issue is.
As far as barre goes, I’m starting to get the hang of the general pattern barre combinations go in this class. The port de bras is different from what I’ve gotten used to in all my other classes, more… I don’t know… dramatic. In all my other classes we would just do arms in high fifth or a la seconde at barre, but here there’s definitely more going on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely beautiful to look at, it’s just been giving me a bit of trouble. But like I said, I’m starting to feel much less lost. I also get confused because when we fondue or developpe devant, our arm opens out to second instead of high fifth, and that’s taking me more to get used to than I would have imagined. And the tempo for our plies is so fast! While the slow plies we did in summer session were a heck of a workout (and I think my turnout muscles definitely grew), I’m now finding it hard to stay on timing with these quick ones.
At the end of each barre combination we take a long balance on one leg and NS Teacher comes around and gives some very hands on corrections, which I really like. Hands on corrections are the best, in my opinion, because sometimes I hear a correction and think I’m applying it but my interpretation of it and what my teacher wanted are not the same thing. With hands on corrections there’s no room for ambiguity, and that helps me a lot.
The barre stretch portion of class is pretty hardcore as well. After we plie and bend towards the leg, NS Teacher has us lift the leg off the barre 8 times before finally having us just hold it up on the ninth count and then bring it to arabesque. It’s challenging, but I’ll bet it really helps with the leg strength. Last class I took though I noticed that everyone else uses the high barre for their stretches (except for me). That motivated me to start using the high barre when I stretch at home. Perhaps I was just being lazy? I mean, I am able to stretch with the high barre, it doesn’t hurt or anything, so perhaps I should be pushing myself harder instead of just coasting by in the comfort zone.
Now, as for center combinations, they are challenging! Or is it that it just seems that way because of the port de bras? I don’t think I have done any correctly all the way yet… but I do feel like I’m getting closer that when I first started coming here. I do feel a little alarmed when she says 2 at a time for across the floor. The worst part is that there’s not enough room in the back to mark the combination extensively before it’s my group’s turn. This usually results in a mess, lol. There’s one thing that’s been going through my mind though: I’m so glad that this class is not the level I started at when I was brand new to ballet. While my across the floor combinations need work, at least by this point I don’t often fear losing my balance on basic moves. I mostly need to work on timing, remembering combinations, and the (unfamiliar)port de bras. And pirouettes, of course. When going to the left I keep switching to en dedans pirouettes instead of en dehors beacuse the tempo is just so quick that I do what comes more instinctively.
Last class we did an extended petite allegro – lots of jumps! One of the combinations we did 8 sautes in 1st, echappe to 2nd and 8 sautes in 2nd, 8 changements, then brush out (I guess like a very small glissade that doesn’t travel?) and petite jete x2, and 3 quick jetes, then whole thing again to the left. Next we did a combination with 8 changements en face, 8 changements while turning to the right (8 changements = 1 revolution), 8 en face, and 8 changements while turning left. Since in the past I’d done only 4 changements per revolution, I completed my turn way too fast. However, I was super proud of myself that I didn’t run out of breath during the whole petite allegro segment (though I suspect I was not on tempo by the end).
Also, it was a bad idea to wear my spaguetti strap leotard – now I remember why i don’t wear it to my regular classes with a dress code. During the middle of my changements I had to adjust it really quick because I was scared everything was going to pop out! But that was pretty awkward, and I worried everyone noticed in the mirror when I hastily yanked up the top of my leotard. I resisted the urge to adjust during the second combination, but I was pretty anxious about it.
After class, NS Teacher spent some time after class going over the across the floor combination with a few of us, and I actually did some decent almost-pirouettes (from fourth). Meaning, I got around all the way, kept my foot in passe (retire) devant for the whole revolution – the only thing missing was that perfect landing with the arms in arabesque and the leg stretched out behind me. Also, and this is somewhat of a big deal for me, when we tried the combination for her I actually didn’t mess up in the freezing up way I do when I know for sure a teacher is watching. She even said “Good!”. I tend to freeze up and make a big mess of things when it’s my turn and I feel on the spot, so this is a big step for me. It made me wonder if I’m actually feeling comfortable in this class…
Don’t know yet if I’ll still be going here for class once semester starts. I’d like to (since I’m starting to feel at home, and all), though if I do, and still go to Adults Only studio, I’ll be taking class 6 days a week – wow! Last year I never would have dreamed that I could even have the possibiity of taking class six days a week! New Studio is much more affordable than Adults Only studio, but I love how in Adults Only studio we get to drill the basics in basic beginner class. Well, we’ll see what my schedule looks like once the semester starts, but I am excited about the ballet opportunitites.
In other news (home practice), I totally did a royale! I was praticing soubresauts, and I remembered that F Teacher had said that a royale was just a soubresaut that changes feet before landing. While doing my soubresauts I was feeling pretty strong, and I was really enjoying the feeling of my thighs coming together in mid air, like jumping up into a tight sous-sus. So I decide to just go for a royale and I did it! Then did it like eight more times just to believe it was really happening. Still no luck on an entrechat though… (Funny ballet history factoid: King Louis XIV invented royales because he couldn’t do entrechats… they even named them after him! )