New Studio, New Moves

In New Studio class we’ve been working on lots of new to me stuff, which makes barre more challenging that normal. I really like it though, as it seems that this will make me a better dancer.  I still can’t believe that I’m actually referring to myself as a dancer – perhaps soon I will start to feel like one.

Something I really like about this class is that when we change from one side to the other at barre, sometimes instead of doing a soutenu we do bourree.  This has been the first class I’ve taken that we do bourree at all (not pas de bourree, but just bourree), and I do remember before ever coming to this studio wondering when I would take a class in which we’re taught bourree.  It may have to do with there being several people en pointe in this class, but I’m just glad I get to be in the middle of it!

Another new thing I learned is something called serrie (my spelling’s probably off), which is kind of like these tiny little piques in the front.  Well, like piques but much quicker.  Then, in another combination I learned what is known as flic flac. This move was much more difficult for me than the serrie. Flic flac involved brushing out the working foot, then brushing it back in to the front (in coupe, perhaps?) while turning into the barre, and then brushing it to the back while completing the 1/2 revolution and now facing the opposite direction to do the other side.  NS Teacher came around and worked with each of us on the flic flac, having us do it for her until we got the general idea of it. I was struggling a bit, but she assured us that it’s something that gets easier once we stop overthinking it. As a lot of things in ballet do, apparently – or so I’ve heard.

We also do fondue-developpes, which is how it sounds: part fondue, part developpe. It starts out like a regular fondu, plie-ing our supporting leg, and bringing the working leg to coupe. Then we developpe the working leg, while staying in fondue, only straightening it as we close. These look so pretty the way the more experienced students in the class do them, but for now I still feel a little awkward doing them.

My rond de jambes en l’air, the small kind, are terrible. In my other classes, the majority of rond de jambes en l’air we did were the kind where the leg goes around from the front to a la seconde to the back. In this one we’re also doing the kind where the thigh stays a la seconde and only the bottom half of the leg does a little rond de jambe. I am so not good at those! I feel like it looks like I’m just ramdomly waving my calf and foot around – or perhaps even trying to shake something off. However, I do like how we do lots of extending the leg out and then bringing it back to passe in releve. I’m sure it’ll help with leg strength.

We also worked on echappe releves at the barre, which is something I hadn’t done in class in a while, months at least. It was 4 echappe releves, sous-sus balance, turn in bourree, otherside, repeat twice all with one hand at the barre. Another good strengthening workout for our calves, and I felt so much more stable than my last time doing this.

Once again we did lots of jumping in center, though at least this time I had a more appropriate leotard. The combination we did was 8 sautes in first , 8 changements, 4 changements while turning a revolution, 4 entrechats (!), glissade, cabriolet (to the side), then repeat to the left.  I was good up until the entrechats, which I have no idea how to do, so I think I just jumped to try to keep up with the tempo.  A regular jump with no beats uses up much less time than a beated one, and there was 4 jumps. So I ended up off tempo anyway.  Then there’s the cabriolet. This one to the side looked easier than the ones to the front that I’d seen in class before, but still not easy enough for me to actually do. NS Teacher said that you jump with one leg out, then have the second leg meet the first leg in midair and push the first leg up, and I at least attempted to do it, unsuccessfully.

In general, i think we (meaning the recent influx of beginners from summer ballet session, which I am a part of) slowed down the general level of this class because the first class ever here after summer session ended went much, much faster.  There’s a lot more explaination now between combinations, and now there’s more demonstrations. NS Teacher seems cool with it, which is awesome. Even though the level is still quite a challenge, the atmosphere is more laid back than during my regular semester classes, so that makes it seem much less intimidating. Yet I still feel like I’m learning so much.  I’m so glad I found out  about this place!

2 thoughts on “New Studio, New Moves

  1. asher

    This class sounds awesome! I’m sure you’ll get the entrenchats down — I am beginning to believe in ballet osmosis 😀 For me, the easiest beated jumps are jumps from 2nd to 5th with the beat from back to front, and the royale (like a changement, only with a single best before the change) is second-easiest, so it might help to practice those. I find it helpful to remind myself that I’m supposed to be beating my inner thighs, not my ankles — but that might just be me. I still struggle with the delusion that I am a construction crane o.o

    When you write ‘cabriole to the front,’ do you mean traveling forward with the legs coming up behind, almost as in saute arabesque (this is the one I find easiest), or with the legs coming up in front (this is the one I find hardest, since it’s often done traveling forward as well, which makes landing … weird)?

    Either way, to get the legs coordinated, it might help to use a prop — like the edge of a counter or (once you’re more comfortable, a barre) to sort of catch yourself with your hands as you brush through and your feet take off. I used to do this as a kid long before I had any idea what a cabriole was; it seems like a lot of kids do. You can even do it on a set of parallel bars like they sometimes have in parks.

    That way you can get the feel for what your legs are doing without the problem of having to recover from an awkward landing with only your feet. Not having to worry about balance, I think, makes it easier for the legs to do their thing … or maybe it just makes it easier to get adequate hang time?

    Margie had me doing these at the barre that when I was first getting my cabriole back, and it really helped. My explanation is terrible, though!

  2. kit Post author

    By now I’ve definitely become a believer in ballet osmosis! I improved so much during my summer session when I was taking class so often and for so many hours that I feel like that’s concrete proof. In fact, during summer session we worked on beated jumps from 2nd to 5th, but I found those a little more complicated.
    Yes, I meant the one that’s like a saute arabesque, traveling forward and the legs beating mid-air in the back. The one you describe with the legs going forward sound close to impossible!
    It hadn’t occured to me to try it with a countertop (though I definitely will now!). We learned some jumps at a wall barre in class, but I’m not feeling up to doing that one my portable barre just yet.


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