Monthly Archives: September 2015

Basic Beginner Class – Just What I Needed!

After the past week of super hard ballet classes, I decided to take basic beginner class at Adults Only studio. As usual whenever I take this class, I came out smiling excitedly about how much fun I had. It feels incredible actually being able to do things with your body, especially things that you couldn’t do for a long time (On the other hand, as we were leaving I overheard some of my fellow dance students discussing how challenging and intense class had been! It’s amazing what 2 years of hard work can do). I really wish I could take this class on a more regular basis, but at more than double what any single one of my other classes costs to take, I don’t feel like it’s a consistent, reasonable option. Since I’m taking so many other ballet classes at the moment I feel especially guilty sometimes…

Anyway, on to actually discussing the class!

We did the majority of  barre facing the barre. Slow tendus and  degages, even slower rond de jambes, and lots and lots of plies. So I made sure to pay attention to all the technical details, On thing I was working on during the plies was the concept of using up all of the music. I don’t know if all beginners have this issue, or if it’s just me, but I tend to have a tendency during my demi-plies of kind of just dropping down and then coming back up. Not meaning that I’m not engaging my turnout muscles or core, just that they have a very distinctive up/down feel to them. I’ve been corrected before on how we should be using up all of the music, having a slow descent before reaching the lowest point and returning to stretched legs, also slowly.  Well, I worked on that during class as well as keeping my back straight and not leaning forward during grand plies. The slow rond de jambes were a good way to work on not losing any turnout when I pass through first, especially when doing en dedans rond de jambes, as I have been doing during the fast and complex port de bras kind in Intermediate Class.

We wrapped up barre with a fondu combination. It was fondu, close first, fondue, bring it up to passe, fondu,  extend, point, close.  We were still facing the barre, so we did en croix, both sides without resting. I liked how the emphasis wasn’t on getting our extensions really high (something I really like about basic beginner class.) I really liked how we did everything in first – turnout is so much easier in first. I’ll continue to work on my turnout, but it was nice to not have to worry about closing in fifth for one class.

Since I knew it was basic beginner class, I wasn’t dreading center. We started off with basic plies and tendus with arms going from low fifth to middle and a la seconde, then a short balance in passe releve. After that we did balancés, with and without port de bras.  Then balancés and waltz step across the floor, chasse to finish in first arabesque. During this part of class especially I enjoyed myself extremely (though the rest of class was fun, too). The combination was nice and slow so I could just dance without having to worry about trying to keep up.  I really like slow balances, and transitioning from the balaces to the waltz steps went pretty smoothly. It felt so dance-y!

Sautes were just in first, at a nice slow tempo. It was a nice change of pace. Since I finally feel strong enough to do them without sacrificing technique I’ve been disliking basic sautes in first much less. My new nemesis is the dreaded beated jumps…

Later on, I found myself at a family party/large gathering. I watched as the children at party played on the dance floor as the music played. They were twirling and spinning, some of them at times doing other things that looked like rough approximations of ballet steps – thought I saw some changement-looking jumps, pas de chat, and even some tour jetes. Children sure are fearless (though as one I remember having plenty of fear when it came to physical activity). They looked like they were having so much fun and I wished I could join them. I want to play, too! It made me think ‘Is the only place us adults can twirl, run around,  jump and have fun dance class?’ It was a sad thought, to be honest. I hadn’t felt that constrained by my age ever (that I remember).

That probably sounded weird…ehh, I guess I’m in a weird mood

A Rough Week In Ballet-land

So, this past week has been one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in a while, as far as dancing goes. At times – many times – I’ve been feeling like I can’t do anything right at all.  Then I get so frustrated at myself, because even though there’s no rushing it when it comes to learning technique – it needs time, repetition, PRACTICE – why can’t I at least not screw up at remembering combinations? I feel so unfocused when this happens.  I mean, during the combinations my mind is definitely focused on doing the steps, but before the part when we do the combination, I’ve caught myself getting distracted. Whether it be by a classmate’s ridiculously high extensions, the kind of flexibility I’ll never have no matter how much I stretch, so why bother (I realize this is sounding really negative – I apologize), or just by random intrusive thoughts. It’s driving me nuts, but I’m hoping desperately that it’s just a passing phase.

There’s been some memorable class moments though, as well as some things that have been of great help.  At New Studio, we had a sub for one of my classes this week, and some of the things she had us do were pretty helpful.  During tendus, she would have us close to first, and then squeeeeeze our thighs together into fifth. At first it was weird getting used to it, but afterwards my balances on releve seemed much more stable, and my sous-sus much tighter.

We also did rond de jambes with a new-to-me different port de bras.  It was challenging to do, but I liked it. It went something like when the foot comes up to the front the arm goes to low fifth, when the leg goes a la seconde the arm goes to middle fifth (first), when the foot goes back arm goes to high fifth, and when the foot closes the arm goes a la seconde. Reversing it was the exact opposite, when foot goes back arm foes a la seconde, foot goes side arm goes to high fifth, foot goes forward arm goes to middle, foot closes and arm comes down. Well, those were the slow rond de jambes. The quick ones had a slightly faster port de bras – it took two rond de jambes for the arm to make the same port de bras as the slow ones. Like I said, it was confusing but fun.

Across the floor we did these super slow chaines, with our arms up on our shoulders. The tempo was really, excruciatingly slow, just a half turn at a time, staying up on releve. The teacher told us to keep our ankles touching the whole time.  This was one of the hardest things I’ve done recently (I wanted to say “done ever”, but honestly, during my first year of ballet everything was the hardest thing ever). My calves were so sore! Then after we’d gone across the floor twice in both directions we did regular speed chaines, which my legs were too tired to cooperate during.  If I’m having a bad chaines day by this point I know it’s not a good ballet day…

Then we did pirouettes. First 1/4 pirouettes, then 1/2, then full, en dehors from fifth (which are my least favorite – and hardest to do – pirouettes).  As usual, the 1/4 and 1/2 ones went fine, the full ones sucked. And here’s when I heard some new pirouetting advice, which I’ll now share, I guess: the teacher told us that if we feel like we’re not going to make it around, rather than just flop down to the floor, stay in sous-sus so that our muscles are working anyway.  Once I started doing this my turns felt smoother. I guess I realized that I was just kind of letting go, giving up halfway through the turns when I felt my balance starting to go.  For the rest of that class I felt much more confident about my turns, though that didn’t do me any good in Intermediate Class the rest of the week…

At that class we also did a petite allegro that was fun, though a bit on the fast side. It was petite jete, temps leve x2, echappe releves (no idea how many, becuase it was about 3 times faster than I’m comfortable doing), 2 passe releves on opposite legs, 2 changements,  entrechat (yeah, wasn’t happening), pickup pas de bourree. I think our pickup pas de bourres were pretty bad because then the teacher had us practice those over and over. Then we went to the barre to work on entrechats, where I manage to kick myself.  I’m definitely not good at beated jumps, at least for now.

Intermediate class this week was tough.  Our barre combinations have been getting increasingly complex, and with my full dance schedule I haven’t been making enough time at home to slowly go over the combinations. One day I had time, but I was so sore from the two preceeding days of classes that I just lounged about at home on the couch. So that didn’t really count as free time…

We did a lot of switching our working leg between the outside leg and the inside leg (like 3 tendus devant with outside leg, 1 derrier with inside, 3 a la seconde with outside leg and 1 devant with inside leg, etc), and instead of going en croix we would do a totally different thing after derriere, like a pas de cheval, or a passe balance. Oh, and all this was with port de bras, of course, and Teacher wanted us to use epaulment as well. I try, but at some point there’s only so much I can do, you know? Lately Teacher has been correcting me on my fifth position, saying that I need to cross it even more, more!, even though my far-from-perfect turnout makes it look less nice, my feet farther away.  So yeah, during barre I’ve been feeling flustered.

We did 8-8-4-4-2-2-1-1-1-1 away from the barre and with port de bras. We also did 8 degages a la seconde with no barre and with a slow port de bras that took the whole 8 counts to do, and battement cloche for 8 counts.  I have to keep reminding myself that even being able to do stuff like this with no barre without falling over is signs of progress, though as barre progressed the combinations get harder and harder to do. During rond de jambes there was this bending of the upper body going with the port de bras that felt like I was doing it totally wrong (and there was no clear view of the mirror from where I was).  As I focus more on that I start losing my turnout.  I really like rond de jambes, so I’m especially displeased if I’m messing them up. Still, I struggle to keep up…

But then, we did frappes on releve.  It was horrible – horrible, I tell you! It was 3 devant, hold, flex, and point; 3 a la seconde, hold, flex, and point; 3 derriere, hold, flex and point; then doubles en croix, reverse the whole thing – all on releve! Focusing on not losing my balance with all the fast motions, there’s not enough brain power to devote to actually doing a nice frappe with a pointed foot and to the correct place. So hard! On the second leg (my right foot, my weaker foot), I actually fell off releve during the reversing – there was only so much the barre death grip could do. This was definitely not one of my finer ballet moments…

Center started with an adagio, which I kept forgetting the order of steps the first day we did it, but my memory was much better the second day. It was 2 steps ballet walk with port de bras, pique sous-sus. 2 balances, soutenu, chasse into arabesque, promenade, developpe devant then a la seconde, chasse, pirouette en dehors from fourth, tendu, pirouette into a temps lie, repeat other side. As I got better at remembering what step came next I got better at doing it, but it was still a pretty challenging combination.

Across the floor turns was 3 pique turns, soutenu, chasse, chaines, all of this happening in the space of 8 counts. It’s hard enough to do this at a slower speed, but that fast it was so messy. I started not getting all the way around during my pique turns while trying to do them faster, which gave me a crooked trajectory across the floor. The hardest part is that after the last chaines we are supposed to go back into doing pique turns.

Petite allegro was also much too quick and involved the dreaded beated jumps. Unlike what F Teacher had said (and how I had started to teach myself) Teacher said that a royalle opens up before it beats and changes. This is considerably harder thanjust doing a soubresaut and closing in back. So I guess I can’t do a entrechat or a royalle then. The combination was changement, changement, echappe, close, 2 pas de chat and pas de bourre, royalle, other side.

Across the floor jumps was a little better, perhaps because I do enoy this part of class more than petite allegro. It was saute arabesque, saute coupe, saute arabesque, saute coupe, tombe, pas de bourre, glissade, pas de chat. While actually doing the jumps was a little bit easier this week(instead of stumbling around and randomly putting legs in different places after the first 4 jumps), my timing was off. After that we did it again (yes, the whole class had to do it again because I was off) and as long as I go in the back and see the others doing it I have a better chance of staying on timing. Once again, ballet is so hard!

Also, Teacher said she will push me because she knows I can do it. She belives in me more than I believe in myself, it appears. She said I’ve already improved so much (and I totally have, at least from those early days of not even being able to plie on flat without losing my balance) and to not get discouraged. It’s not hard to get discouraged when there’s extremely good dancers there though.  Sometimes I feel that no matter what I’ll always be a beginner level dancer, due to the fact that I didn’t grow up dancing. I mean, I can do a lot of steps, and back when I first started I would have loved to be able to do this much (and I still do), but when there’s a step I don’t know yet I tend to mess up horribly. This lack of natural grace combined with being a slow learner really gets me down.

To end on a good note, I noticed during my last class of the week that my balancing in second position and fourth position releve have been really improving. And I managed to get the second arm in high fifth during a balance at the barre in passe releve, instead of my usual quick tests of letting go before I quickly put my hand back down. I’ve been working on my turnout in second(mostly in the form of standing in a wide second while making sure to turn out from the hips, so that my knees are also facing the sides not just my toes) randomly at home.  When I take Modern class I also feel like I have a big ballet advantage over people that are also taking the class for the first time.  We do plies, tendus and releves, and I continue to forget to not do ballet arms. Since we don’t use a barre at all I do think that it will help me for center in ballet class. We’re also going across the floor, doing something that looks like chasses, then shifting out weight to only the front leg, or turning.  I’m still having fun with it, but I don’t know yet if I’ll be wanting to continue the way I did with ballet once the semester’s over.

Lots Of Jumping, Some Improvement, And A Ballet Dream

After the weird landing on my right foot mentioned in my last post I took a night off class – and I felt so guilty! It was weird, the feeling quilty. I mean, I’m taking class more often now than ever before so surely there’s no harm in taking off just one day. On the one hand, I kept telling myself that it’d be good for me to let my body rest and recover. On the other hand, I was like ‘I’m not that badly hurt, I’m sure it’ll be fine’, not to mention I felt so uncommitted for not going (yeah, I’m obsessive…). But then, I did have a headache… oh, and I had another weird issue: when getting dressed for my first class of the week, I was rushing it and as I pulled on my tights I noticed that they were ridiculously tight on one side (I may have put them on crooked), so tight that they were creasing into my upper thigh. Well, I told myself that it’ll  be fine, that they’ll stretch – that’s what tights do! So I went off to class like that, and my tights – and thigh – was feeling uncomfortable but other than pulling at the crease in between combinations I just dealt with it. Fast forward to the next morning and my thigh is so sore, extending my leg forward, even bringing it up without extending (bent knee). I’m doing much better by now, but lesson learned – if the tights are creasing into your flesh, don’t wear them! I’m really hoping it’s that those pair of tights are irregular and not that this means I have to go up another size in tights (I’ve already gone up a size since I first started ballet 2 1/2 years ago. When I started, I seriously had no meat on my thighs or butt whatsoever. Since my legs are so long they still look so scrawny though, even with all the added meat-age).

Classes in the latter half of the week were challenging once again, with that rare mixture of improvement and am-I-ever-going-to-get-better-at-this going on.  At barre we did lots of frappes… with port de bras – another first. You might have been wondering “Frappes get port de bras?”. Well, I know I was. It was every bit as hard as it sounds. We did (single) frappes, 3 of them front, side, and back, then 4 double frappes a la seconde. Then reversing it (back, side, front, 4 doubles a la seconde). The whole thing twice through – with arms! Oh man, my supporting leg was dying from being on it for so long, and my working leg was going everywhere as I tried to concentrate on actually coordinating my arms with my leg. It was a mess!

We also did lots of echappe releves at the barre yet with no hands on the barre. To add to the difficulty we were doing them in this weird pattern that I wasn’t aware of, instead of just open-close-open-close. It was something like open-close-open-close-open-hold balance -close-open-close-open-hold balance or something.  It was so hard and we did the whole thing twice. At least I didn’t fall, I guess?

In center, Teacher actually told me “good job!” during our tendu combination, specifically my ecarte position. Also, oddly enough, I was getting around on my pirouettes (from fourth, en dehors) consistently, at least enough to not trip me up for the second side of the combination.  I think NS Teacher’s advice on not trying to get around, just going up and it will happen is working, because I’ve actually been getting around and not flying off balance. In the combination (after the tendus and degages devant, derriere in croisse, and ecarte a la seconde) we were going up to passe releve, closing back in fourth position, and preparing for the turn. It was actually pretty smooth, so much better than the first time I attempted Intermediate class like 6ish months ago.

We did waltz step turns across the floor, 2 of them, then pique arabesque, soutenu, chasse, chaines.  It was fast, but to the right it was going ok. To the left, to begin with I started a little too late (and Teacher corrected me on it, but I had no idea how to fix it), and then one of my classmates and I collided in our chaines.

The petite allegro combination was fast and hard to remember. Something likes saute, echappe, changement, changement, pas de chat, echappe, pas de bourre, changement, other side. Yeah, I kept forgetting which jump came next, but I do appreciate how Teacher says “If you don’t know, just keep jumping!” It does help me feel slightly less inadequate as I just bounce on along. At least I’m still building jumping muscles, you know? Which probably explains the outgrowing of those tights…

Class at New Studio was also very jumping-oriented as well.  One of our combinations was 8 sautes in first, 8 in second, 8 changements, echappe, close, changement, changement, balance in sous-sus, bourre turn, other side repeat.  I was panting and sweating after that.  She then gave us a similar combination which i can’t remember exactly, but I remember it had a lot of changements and echappes as well as petite jetes.  I’ve realized by now that the only way I can get stronger at jumping is by actually jumping more, so even if I mess up at the combinations I’m just glad to get a chance to keep jumping.  It’s also got to be good for my overall stamina, since I remain worried about that. I haven’t really been running much lately as to not stress out my knees and right ankle too much, so other than practicing jumping I haven’t been getting many ways to get that heart rate up.

Before the jumping we did an adagio combination (developpe derriere, brush through front while switching arms, brush back again, promenade in arabesque, penchee, tombe and pickup pas de bourre, other side.  I still haven’t got the pickup pas de bourre down, so it messed up my transition to the other side. I think this is one of those steps that I’ve got to spend a lot of quality time with at the barre. I remember when I was first learning regular pas de bourre (the kind where the foot goes to coupe in the back) two years ago, how I practiced them over and over at the barrre until the pattern became a muscle memory thing.  I got to get on it and do that with these other pas de bourres as well.

Last night I had a dream about our upcoming-ish recital/performance thing.  It wasn’t quite a nightmare, but it was one of those dreams where stuff goes wrong.  Like delays on the way to the venue, and not being able to find the costumes once there, and stuff like that. I vaguely remember something about the parking lot being muddy and needing to be carried up a hill to get to the venue – weird, right? Then on the way to the stage I caught a reflection of myself and all my performance make-up had washed off or something (or perhaps I hadn’t put any on to begin with?). I do wonder if this dream is telling me that I’m feeling horribly unprepared for this – or maybe I’m just having stage make-up anxiety. I don’t usually wear make-up -at all (gasp!) – but I know for the perfomances I’ll have to, so I’m stressing just a li’l bit.  Of course, I’ve already decided that it’s worth it in order to perform.

Also got a private post for all you guys that have the password at

If you don’t have it yet, feel free to email me

Forgetting Combinations and Intimidating Dancers

At class at New Studio there was a new group of dance students this week. It was intimidating because they all  looked  like dancers, the kind that know what they’re doing.  It was funny because once we went out to center the group of regulars (I guess I’m kind of a regular here now) kind of huddled together on one side and the new people stood together on the other side of the studio. NS Teacher made some kind of crack about it, something like “What, are we going to play dodgeball?” and that broke the ice a little.

After a short barre, center started off with an adagio, and I completely messed it up (so sad, I love adagio). It was developpe devant, brush back to arabesque (and here is where the messing up began. I thought we were supposed to switch arms when we brush back, but I guess not in this case), promenade, penchee, and pas de bourree with picked up feet, then other side.  My pas de bourree with feet picked up (not in coupe, but it looks like it’s higher, and the foot goes in the front) is something that I need to work on, so for now I just get confused.

There was a really fun combo that began with 2 sissones (one to the right and one to the left for the first side, opposite for the second side), then 3 changements, 4 changements turning one way, 4 changements turning back the other way, and a balance in sous-sus. I really liked this combination (and not just because we all did it together instead of in small groups).  With the exception of the arms (bringing them up from a low position to high fifth while doing the changement turns) it went ok.  My sissones have gotten better, wish I could say the same about my assembles!

Across the floor we did developpe devant of the upstage leg (which I think was supposed to be taken to releve, but I was kinda flustered and NS Teacher didn’t specify), tombe, pas de bourre, chasse, pirouette en dehors from a deep fourth position lunge, glissade, assemble, and ballet run away.  When NS Teacher first gave this combination I was so overwhelmed! Kind of feeling like ‘ok, after the developpe what happens?!’ But after the first groups went I started to get a better idea, and by the time it was my turn it wasn’t so bad. I mean, my assembles suck, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, but the rest of the combo was fun.  I hadn’t done a tombe from developpe devant before and it felt less scary than it had sounded.  I even got around in the pirouette.

I think the presence of all these new students made NS Teacher amp up the difficulty of our combinations. Though the new students looked intimidating at first glance, once we left the barre and went out to center it was evident who was an experienced dancer and who wasn’t. Ah, center, where no one can hide (including me)! As it turned out, with the exception of one lady they were not very experienced ballet dancers. That lady was really good though. She could do triple pirouettes effortlessly, one after another.  She would also ask the teacher about all the little details of how she wanted the combination done.  It was so intimidating! Like, here we are trying to remember the combination and not fall over and she’s asking these ultra specific questions.  It was hard not to think she was showing off, but I tried to stay positive.  I really hope I don’t come across like that when I take class with students who are more beginner level.

As for class at regular school, we seem to be slowly picking up the difficulty level.  It’s not feeling completely discouraging and overwhelming, but I’m definitely being challenged.

Barre was not too bad – though it had it’s moments! There were lots of long balances on one leg on releve (which I didn’t let go of the barre for a long time, but it was still challenging on the strength-building aspect), as well as on 2 legs. We did echappe releves with no barre and those were rough.  It also was not a good frappe day.  I managed the singles ok, but the double frappes were all over the place.

In center, we did the standard tendu devant, tendu derriere in croisse, tendu a la seconde in ecarte type of combination.  The difference in this class’s combination was that after our tendus we did 2 grand battements in each direction, and after the last direction we did a passe releve balance, bring the leg down behind in fourth, shift weight to front leg and point back foot with arabesque arm, then pirouette en dehors from fourth.  Compared to my first attempts at this combination a few months ago it felt much smoother.  My transitions from tendu devant to tendu derriere, and to ecarte especially. Ecarte used to feel so unnatural to me, but it’s slowly but surely getting into my muscle memory. Not only that, I once again surprised myself by getting around in the pirouette, though to be fair it was from fourth.  As for the grande battements, when we were marking the combination I wasnt fully engaging my core and I almost went flying to the side. Once we did the combination “for reals” though it was much better.

We did across the floor waltz turns, pique arabesque, chasse into chaines.  I’ve been working on speeding up my waltz turns ever since I figured out the problem was that I was turning too soon in the sequence.  To the right it went ok, but to the left I pique arabesque’d onto the wrong foot and it was all confusion from that point on.

After our 16 sautes in first and second, we did a petite allegro combination. 2 changements 2 soubresauts, echappe, pas de bourree right, echappe, pas de bourre left, repeat the majority of the combination except the second time around do 3 entrechats instead of the second echappe and pas de bourre. I still can’t do entrechats, so I either jumped around, or forgot (not on purpose – I swear) and did the echappe pas de bourree. Then afterwards we were all practicing entrechats and I landed on my foot a little weird. Not enough to get injured, but enough to make me reconsider trying entrechats again without the barre until I get stronger. Oddly enough, I don’t feel too discouraged because I see that my sautes have come a long way but it took a lot of time. So I just have to force myself to be patient…

Actually, if there’s something that does make me feel discouraged, it’s my slowness at remembering brand new combinations. We had some choreography thrown at us – nothing too difficult (a few chasse gallops one direction then a grande battement  out of the back leg, chasse gallops the other direction and a kick out the other leg, then something like soutenu, ballet run, tombe, pas de bourre, pirouette from fourth) – and I totally blew it. I’m upset at myself because I know that it wasn’t that the steps are too difficult for me (except my hit-or-miss pirouettes), it was that I forgot what came next after the second set of chasses and kick. So I was trying to follow someone and then I was late on the timing. But since we didn’t have the combination ahead of time there was no way I was able to practice it on my own.  I’m feeling a little down about this, but I’m trying to tell myself that it’s for the best – I would have probably mssed up on the pirouettes anyway if I had to do this combination reliably  . ..

Modern dance class is still going well.  We’re still doing lots of stretching, and plies, and now we’re doing tondus. We’re doing them mostly in parallel, so it’s a different feeling from what I’m used to. We also do this thing where we point our foot really fast in the air (also in parallel).

Across the floor we’ve still been working on doing walks at different tempos, as well as this walk where we stay in plie, pushing off with our back foot.  Sort of like a turned in, badly done chasse. While all this stuff has felt really easy for me, I know that I have ballet to thank, both for the leg stregth and the body awareness. It’s also really hard for me to resist doing ballet arms or hands when we coordinate our arms with our movements. Ballet is just so much more beautiful to me (but so much harder, too).

I’ve been having fun though, except for all the core conditioning exercises we do. The floor hurts – though I do wonder if this is on purpose to prepare us. A lot of modern dance pieces I’ve seen at school do include a lot of work on the floor. I could do without any floorwork. I don’t mind doing core conditioning exercises al all, but couldn’t we use a gym mat?! But that’s not the majrity of class, so in general it’s still a fun class.

A Class Story, And Some Class Notes

This is really random, a story – or more like just a happening – that happened in ballet class about a year ago.  It’s been kind of swirling around my head, ever since I got my new shoes, so here goes. It’s a little gross though, so if you’re weak-stomached you may want to skip on down to my class notes.

We were at the barre, facing it, and I think I was at the second barre from the mirror (relative to where I was facing). To my right there was the side wall of the studio.  At some point, while looking down towards the floor (probably tucking in that stupid drawstring), I noticed some movement.  It was an insect of some kind walking along the wall towards the front, a beetle perhaps, something substantial  and hard to miss, unless you’re completely focused in class (as I should have been before, apparently).  Well, it starts deviating from it’s path along the wall, and my barre mate and I are kind of like “Ewww, I hope that thing doesn’t come near us when it’s sit on the floor stretching time.” (in silence – all about the facial expressions and body language!).  So, it passes by our barre and by this point in class we’re practicing releves, just going up and coming back down, with and without a plie.  The insect/beetle/whatever it was keeps walking and right when it gets to the barre in front of us the student there comes down from releve – right on it. My barre mate gasped, quietly enough to not draw any attention. To this day I don’t know if the lady in front of us ever found out. She was wearing pink, cloth, split-sole slippers, so I always wondered if her shoes were ruined, the fabric stained, and if she ever knew why. It’s just been bugging me lately…and I sort of know her, so sometimes I get this crazy idea to mention it to her. I won’t, off course.  I think that’d just be mean. Perhaps we should have alerted her,… but I feel like in ballet class you don’t talk to your classmates out of respect to the teacher.

What would you have done?

The latter part of the week was much better dancewise, thankfully.

During class with Teacher, I focused more during barre combinations, and managed to avoid making dumb mistakes involving using the wrong leg or closing back instead of front. I got corrected on my rond de jambes though, the timing specifically. When doing them fast I tend to get overzealous and go too fast. Teacher just calls out “Listen to the music!”. I need to work harder on that, because I get so caught up in technique things like keeping my leg straight and turned out and stuff. Must work harder!

Center felt much better as well. By this point I’d memorized enough of the adagio that I could focus more on doing it instead of trying to remember it. One of the things that I figured out is that the promenade does not do a whole 180 revolution – we start from croisse right and then promenade until we’re facing croisse left.  That makes holding the balance so much easier! The deep lunge circular port de bras cambre thing is still feeling precarious, but I think I could get more range of motion once I stop worrying about falling over. I really do like this combination, but then, I’m usually partial to adagios.

We did this chaines combination that was different from the one last class, but just as hard: chasse a la seconde and then chaines for either 4 or 8 counts (I forgot), then repeat. My whole across the floor group was not on timing and by the end I had no idea if it was the chaines or the chasse portion of the music. Needs work for sure, but I think this may be a little out of my skill level for now.

Teacher told us that our saute arabesque, pas de chat x2, saute coupe, repeat across the floor was looking much better than last time – yay.  To the left I messed up a little but to the right it did feel smoother. After class I practiced it to the left for a few minutes.

At New Studio, we started with a shorter barre than usual so that we could do an extended center. I wasn’t feeling super stiff during barre, surprisigly.  I remembered to slide my feet into a smaller second position when balancing on releve and my balances were much more stable. Since NS Teacher is always telling us to slide our feet close to the body’s midline when we releve on fourth, I was hoping she wouldn’t mind. When I remember to do this in fourth my balances are much better, I’ve noticed. I can actually do the balance in fourth  with arms in third arabesque when I bring my feet in more towards the middle.

Extended center translated to a lot of pirouettes, from fourth with the leg in front and from fifth. NS Teacher taught us this little trick for holding our arms when doing pirouettes. She said to keep our arm ourt in front, and the other arm that comes to meet it should be the only one that moves.  She said as proof that our arm stayed in front we should “hit” our hand with our other hand. I tried it, and got around (and these were from 5th!). She also told me to stop focusing so much on getting around, to just focus on going up with correct technique and it’ll happen.

Across the floor we did this combination that was saute arabesque, failli, and then a turning balance, repeat all the way across.  The turning balance was like a turn while taking little steps, with the arms going up one at a time.  They were fun, and less scary to do than they looked. I though of this combination as the opposite of the chasse, tour jete combination combination we did last week.

We also did this combination that was assemble, chasse backward, assemble, developpe upstage leg, chasse forward, assemble, sous-sus balance, repeat other side. NS Teacher chastised me for following another student instead of remembering the combination. I was having trouble remembering the seemingly easy combination because off the direction changes. Oh, and the fact that assembles are one of my weakest jumps and I was focusing more on that than doing the combination.

The saute combination was 8 in first, 8 in second, 8 changements, balance in sous-sus and bourre turn around, then repeat the whole thing.  It was pretty fun, and I liked that I didn’t mess it up too bad (or at least as bad as the across the floor combination).

Hope next week’s a good dance week!

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