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!
Also, there’s a private post if those of you with the password (same one, as always) want to check it out at https://balletandorbust.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/whatd-i-get-myself-into/
If you don’t have the password, send me an email at balletandorbust at inbox.com. Don’t be shy, LOL, I have some exciting news!