A Better Ballet Week

All things considered, I had a pretty good ballet week. A few really good classes, and no extra stressful classes, not to mention the occasional moment when I really felt like I knew what I was doing.

My first class of the week was Basic Beginner class, which is one of my favorites, mostly because center is somewhat do-able for me to the point that it’s really fun.  We did balancés, walts step and chaines, one at a time and then combining them all into a combination across the floor. So fun! I seriously feel like getting to take a fun class like this makes up for all the days of hard work that doesn’t seem to be paying off. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I really like that in this class there’s not a big emphasis on having a super high extension at barre. While my flexibility has increased so much since I started ballet, and has even increased more recently, I don’t think I’m going to be having my foot all the way up over my head anytime soon.

In Intermediate Class, barre was quick and difficult. Not impossibly hard, but hard enough to make me a little sloppy, or close in back instead of front, stuff like that. Lots of changing to the inside leg as working leg, and different port de bras from what I’m used to. I did notice that at some point I stopped getting confused about the direction in the super fast rond de jambes. Actually, our rond de jambe barre combination is a little different from what I’ve been used to. After our rond de jambes a terre and en l’air, we do this thing where our leg goes up from attitude devant to a la seconde really up high and it comes down in back (reversed after rond de jambes en dedans). This is one of those moments when I feel inadequate about my mediocre extension.

Center started with a tendu combination: tendus in croisse, temps lie, switch sides and repeat, ecarte tendus and degages, then I don’t remember but there was both kinds of pirouettes (en dehors and en dedans) in there. And I managed to do a few decent ones en dehors. This one time I just tried it without really thinking about it too much, and it was one of my cleanest ones. My en dedans pirouettes are stronger than en dehors, so in those I’m not as worried about making it all the way around, just focusing on technique. They’re so fun though, and remind me that turning in ballet class feels so much better once you’re more confident you can get all the way around and somewhat lost the fear of falling over.

Then we did an adagio: 4 ballet walks, developpe devant, chasse, promenade, pirouette en dehors, forgot the rest unfortunately… but it was nice and slow. The part that sucks is the promenade, as Teacher wants us to do a really high arabesque for it and it throws me off balance completely. But other than that it was fun.

Across the floor was soutenu x3, tombe pas de bourre, pirouette en dehors, 3/4 soutenu?, pirouette en dedans, soutenu, chasse, chaines, finish in releve arabesque. Let’s see, the soutenus we fun, and of course I like pirouettes en dedans, but the combination is long enough that I was stressing out about remembering how it goes and what’s next. It was so pretty though.

Petite allegro ( [glissade, assemble]x3, jete, changement, soubresaut x2, pas de chat x2, pas de bourre, sissone is still waaay too fast. I think it would benefit me to go through the motions slowly and get a feel of which step goes after which, and then speed it up. As it is, I get lost after the last assemble, and then try to resume in timing during the pas de chat. I really wish we could do it in two groups at different tempos so I could actually try to keep up. In the meantime, I’ve been practicing both assembles and sissones at home, so it can feel more instinctive (I seem to have forgotten how I learn the best by practicing the rough idea at home, then working on improving it at class with corrections, as opposed to trying to learn it right then and there).  Especially the arms for the sissones, those take some work to get used to – need to keep remembering to open them the way I’m traveling.

The [saute arabesque, saute coupe] x2, tombe pas de bourre, glissade, saut de chate/grad jete combination felt much better the second day we did it this week. I could almost feel how it would go if it actually was done right, is the best way I can put it. It’s usually the glissade after the pas de bourre that messes me up.  Part of it was that when I think “glissade” I would usually think of the kind that travels sideways, the petit allegro step. A few days ago I asked Teacher about it after class (it’s funny, I was remembering the other day that when I first started taking class with Teacher a little over a year ago what I really liked about her was that I could ask questions after class if I didn’t understand something. It’s been so helpful!) and it was then that I figured out it was a forwards travel. Still, my body is not used to performing that movement yet, so when we go to the left I hesitate slightly (I think this is what leads to me jumping off on the wrong foot for the leap after).  To the right, like I said earlier, I almost felt like it how it would feel to do it. My glissade is a little sloppy (what were my arms doing?) and my leap lands a little clunky, not to mention that I don’t know how to finish after that. But I did a series of connected jumps, more or less, and it feels good. I’m really glad class ends with this (or reverance) and not petite allegro. That way I can have nice memories to think about on the way home.

Another thing that happened is that I forgot my little warm-up sweater when I went to class one of the days, and I didn’t realize it until I was inside the studio (I got dressed at home and just grabbed my slippers and threw them in my purse) .  I hadn’t taken class without my sweater in quite a while, and though it felt so strange at first, I made it through class just fine – in fact, I had a really good class. I was starting to worry that I use my warm up sweater as a crutch (I wear it because then I can tell myself that it somewhat disguises my chest and any incidental bouncing), so I felt pretty good about making it through a class without it. To be fair, it was a class not through my regular school, where I feel even more like I have to hide my body.  So, it’s a small victory, but it’s something. On the other hand, had I realized in the car I wouldn’t have gone inside. It would feel like taking class without my shoes (which happened about a year ago before I started packing spare pairs of shoes. And I only did barre – I was scared of slipping during center on my tights.). It sucks, as pretty soon there will be a day when I’ll have to take class with no cover up over my leotard, and I should prepare.

2 thoughts on “A Better Ballet Week

  1. Basia

    You sound so much more light hearted and joyful in this post… That’s awesome, and it’s reminding me what it’s all about. I’ve been off for a month now, and won’t get back to ballet till the end of November. The headaches are still there, but getting better. So after my short holiday, I hope to get back into the grove… And maybe even post about my ballet adventures, rather than hijacking your comments section! Lol!

    1. kit Post author

      Aww, thanks 🙂
      Yeah, I’ve been trying to have more fun with it rather than dwelling on my limitations. I didn’t want to spend the actual class miserable because I can’t do certain things, only to realize afterward that it’d be really fun if only I wasn’t focusing on what I can’t do right (yet).
      I’d be so cool if you write about your ballet adventures! In the meantime, feel free to hijack away, lol!


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