These Hot, Lazy, Late-Summer Days…

Well, I haven’t been too lazy to actually do ballet – I’ve been taking class on average 3 times a week.  Just been slightly lazy about the writing about it part, though I have been doing plenty of offline writing.  WordPress has been glitching like crazy on my tablet (which I do all my blogging on), and I’ve lost some stuff that I’ve written before pressing the “save” key – argh! But I do have this obsession with keeping a timeline of my progress, so that, more than anything, compels me to write some more – eventually.

Beginning with things that are going well, I have seen much improvement in my promenades lately.  We did this nice adagio combination in center in class, developpe devant, tendu, close and brush to the back, then brush to the front again, developpe a la seconde, tendu, close, developpe derriere, tendu, close brush front, brush back, balance in arabesque and then promenade. Repeat to the other side. I’ve felt so much more stable during the promenade ever since I’ve been making my foot movements as small as possible – no more super high releves for promenades. Another thing I’ve been extra mindful of is my head placement and my core/upper back connection.  However, while I did get all the way around and not lose my balance, I did notice that my arabesque leg was significantly lower by the end of the promenade than when I first balanced in arabesque.

So then we were tortured worked on this exercise to strengthen our muscles for arabesque. It started out with us laying prone (facedown) on the floor, and pushing up our upper body with our arms (like the cobra pose). Then we had to lift our legs off the floor, trying to lift our thighs all the way off. Then (as if this wasn’t presenting enough of a challenge) we were to let go of our arms and bring them to our sides, and hold the position (I think it was for either a minute or 30 seconds, can’t remember).  We did this five times, before doing a similar exercise in which we stretched on arm out in front of us, while stretching up and out the opposite leg – so right arm, left leg. I’m proud to say that I got through the whole sequence without collapsing – not that there was much distance to collapse, since we were already on the floor.

After this we went straight into a saute combination.  As part of the combination we did turning while doing echappes from 5th to 2nd. It was similar to when we turn while doing changements, though before I had a chance to try it I thought it looked pretty intimidating. Another saute combination we did was 3 changements, pause, 3 changements, pause, 2 echappes and close, 3 changements. I liked this combination because stuff like taking a pause in the middle of jumps – in correct timing – can be tricky for me, and this day I sort of did it ok.

Another petite allegro combination we did was glissade, glissade, assemble to the right, glissade, glissade, assemble to the left, glissade assemble right, glissade assemble left, 3 petite jetes. This combinatio was fine when we marked it, but when we did it it was so fast and I sloppied it up a bit. Also, I was in the first group, so that didn’t help as I was a little nervous.

We also did this basic turning combination: chasse to arabesque, lunge position in 4th, and pirouette en dehors, then repeat with the other leg in front (and turn on the other leg, also en dehors). I was happy because I think I’m getting closer and closer to clean  en dehors pirouettes. But then, these were from fourth, so I guess it’s not something that feels as difficult for me as from fifth.

The hardest thing we’ve done, in my opinion, has to be tour jetes.  NS Teacher started giving out a combination, and it included tour jetes. I think a few of us looked terrified because she was like “Who’s never done a tour jete?” Those of us slowly raised our hands, so we worked on tour jetes by themselves instead. They’re so scary! It was like chasse sideways, then brush out and at an angle with the leg opposite of the side you’re turning to, then brush out the other leg behind you. I was starting to think it was beyond my current skill level for sure, but then at the end of class I practiced a couple of them when the whole class wasn’t watching and it felt less terrifying. I think i just don’t want everyone to see me go flying onto my face!

Another day, only one other person showed up, so it was almost like a semi-private.  There is really no way to hide then! Luckily, we mostly worked on technique at the barre and on our balance.  While my balance has improved so much over the last two years, I still need all the help I can get.

This next week my classes at community college start up again, so I’m excited about that. Yay, full dancing schedule! Possibility of ballet 6 days a week! Of course, how many days I actually do end up going to class per week is going to depend on my soreness level.  Sometimes I have days when I just feel so sore and it’s very discouraging – it’s the closest that I ever get to feeling old.  I still feel really energetic and hyper, but then I stand up and it’s like everything is sore. Makes me feel like I should take it easier, but at the same time I have all this energy and if I don’t work it off I feel so restless – and grouchy.  I still do my best thinking on my feet.  In order to not be excessively sore for ballet I’ve been refraining from running or hiking on class days, and it’s been frustrating. I think I’ll just stop this train of thought before it starts getting really whiny and negative…

Boyfriend and I have been playing tennis lately, which is kind of random.  The new place we moved to has a tennis court, and nobody else seems to ever use it, so we’ve been out there working off some of my excess energy.  Ballet has done wonders for my coordination – surely I wouldn’t have been able to actually get to and hit any balls before doing ballet.  And since Boyfriend is still refusing to take class with me, at least this way there’s an activity we can do together. Well, we’ve been watching Dance Academy on Netflix together lately, I guess that counts. Oh, and we just got tickets to see a production of Swan Lake in about a month and a half. Yay, getting Boyfriend to do ballet-related stuff!

Bun cover, by Danskin

Bun cover, by Danskin

Wrapping up this random blog post, I finally got a little bun cover!

4 thoughts on “These Hot, Lazy, Late-Summer Days…

  1. Trippmadam

    “glissade, glissade, assemble to the right, glissade, glissade, assemble to the left, glissade assemble right, glissade assemble left, 3 petite jetes” I used to love this combination, but I agree: at first it was not easy.
    Tour jeté – I think once you stop being scared they are great. O.k., I learned those as a child, so it is different, but they are one of the few things I miss after leaving ballet for flamenco.

    1. kit Post author

      It’s a nice combination – repetition makes it easier to remember than a whole bunch of distinct steps – but the tempo definitely increases the difficulty! As for the tour jete, while it is scary to learn as an adult, I think a big part of the fear came from the fact that it was so unexpected (my Classical Ballet Technique book had said that it was a move strictly for more advanced students, which I definitely don’t consider myself to be). Well, that and the part where the leg goes out behind you while already having momentum…
      Tour jetes look so impressive when done right though!

    1. kit Post author

      I know! I’m so amused to actually see him paying attention! And as a bonus he’s learning all this ballet terminology!
      Which reminds me, I attempted to leave a comment on your latest post about ballet documentaries, but either my tablet or blogspot glitched and the comment got lost. But thanks for the suggestions – I watched a few 🙂


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