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

11 thoughts on “Basic Beginner Class – Just What I Needed!

  1. Basia

    Yeah, just what you really want from a ballet class – fun, joy and happiness. I guess that’s the bonus when you’re not trying to earn money from dancing like the professionals.
    But we end up putting so much pressure on ourselves to do better that some of the joy and childlike enthusiasm is squashed by fear of not succeeding (Kit, you especially in the last month or two from reading your blog)
    I love leaving a class with a smile, that’s the non professionals pay-cheque I reckon.

    1. kit Post author

      I admit that I do tend to get overzealous about my ballet-ing, especially regarding improvement. Some – perhaps most – comes from taking classes from teachers that expect us students to progress. I think if I just took the occasional open class at a beginner level I’d feel more laid back about it. What can I say, I’m impressionable (unfortunately)!
      Back when I first started, and was horrified by how I couldn’t do ANYTHING in class, I told myself that if I worked really hard I would improve, and then I could take it easy. But then the more I improved the more I sought out improvement. I need to remember more often to just enjoy the improvement that has already happened!

      1. kit Post author

        Yeah, I used to read through the old ones a lot, but lately I’ve been so pressed for time that they best it gets is reading the Learning Curve page. And, while I do feel somewhat awed by how far I’ve come, I think it’s the whole taking-class-with-people-that-are-impossibly-good thing that’s getting me. I KNOW I need to not care, but the overachiever in me just can’t help getting competitive. But it’s a competition I can’t win, so then I get down…
        I need to stop it.

      2. meetatbarre

        It won’t let me reply to your reply to me, so I’ll put it here.

        I sometimes have to tell myself that other people being worse doesn’t make ME actually any better! The reverse is true too. Their being better doesn’t make me worse. I am where I am, and the only thing I can do is keep working.

      3. kit Post author

        That’s some wisdom right there.
        I agree, which is why I get extra disappointed in myself for getting caught up in it. Ugh, I hate to admit it, but I do like the feeling of being one of the more advanced (dare I say “better”?) students in a particular class. It’s like for once in my life I can tell myself that I’m not completely terrible at something, as long as no one that is an awesome dancer comes along and dashes my ballet dreams!
        Also – and this just occured to me literally right now – when there’s really good dancers in class, I don’t dance at my best because I feel awkward, like they’ll judge me by my body. It’s only when I’m one of the more advanced dancers i the group that I feel relaxed, and in turn this helps my dancing. That probably sounds dumb… I will keep your comment in mind next time and see how it goes 🙂

  2. Basia

    I was in some sort of zen trance this afternoon…. so excuse my previous drivel LOL!

    But, I totally get you!

    I’m in a rather strange place at the moment… I’ve been ill lately and haven’t gone to class for almost 3 weeks now -lots of headaches. I’ve seen a neurologist and so now she’s said take this little preventative pill, but you won’t be able to go to class because you cant drive after taking one. So I’m in a fix. Don’t know whether to let teacher know I’m not going to be around for a while or what.

    The thing with ballet is that you can’t not commit fully, because it’s not like any other interest (eg scrap-booking) because its not only your commitment, but also your teachers. If you don’t take it seriously, then how can they take you seriously??
    So I don’t know if a month off is going to ruin everything…
    Of course I know that’s over the top, but as you said improvement and progress are key, and so is my desire to be the best I can be, and so is my desire to get feedback from teachers. If they sense that their efforts will go to nothing, then you stop getting corrected – and rightly so!
    My home studio is in front of the TV so it’s not really conducive to ballet, but then I’m thinking why is that stopping me?? Argh!!

    I’d better stop…
    End totally random totally uncalled for rant.
    Thanks for listening (reading)

    1. kit Post author

      Oh, that sucks! Hope you feel better soon.
      Whenever I hear about how someone else can’t physically get to class, or is injured, or anything like that, I feel so bad for my own whining about class. Like, at least I got my butt in there, and I have my health, so I need to stop complaining!
      I’m taking class multiple times a week, it’s what I’d been wanting for so long, so I need to just enjoy it instead of stressing over when will I improve.
      I feel you on being unmotivated to practice at home sometimes. It can be so hard for me to schedule in some practice time, and I tend to put it off if it’s not scheduled… so yeah…

      1. Basia

        Oh that does make me feel better thanks….I was feeling guilty for not being committed enough to do home class anymore. I think it’s the headaches they just suck the fun out of everything. But, it will get better I’m sure and I’ll be back!!! Yay for being positive 😀
        Ps I might email you to get info on how to put a password on my blog so I can put up faceless photos of my progress. That should be motivating ☺

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