More Of The Same …

Honestly, reading over last week’s progress-report post, I feel like nothing new or particularly exciting or different happened in my classes this week. So this may seem a bit repetitive. Sometimes repetititve is good. Besides it’s realistic; we can’t make huge leaps of progress every single week (though that would be nice!).

The cold weather continutes to bother me when it comes to dancing. I don’t want to be one of those people who complains non-stop about the weather, as I see it as pointless to complain endlessly about something that is out of one’s control. So, I won’t complain, but I’ll just mention that the cold makes dancing more difficult for me. As far as my legs go, I’m doing pretty ok with wearing leggings over my tights and legwarmers for barre, then losing the leggings for center. But the problem is my feet – how to keep them warm? It’s my feet that are concerning me mostly, because even though I try to pull my legwarmers so that they’re covering the tops of my feet, I still find them getting cold. And when my right foot is cold, it starts to hurt (from my car accident years back). I’ve thought about wearing socks over my tights, but don’t want to  stretch out my slippers. So that’s what I’m dealing with right now…

This week was another difficult week in Intermediate class. I’m not too worried because I know as the end of the term approaches, class does tend to increase in difficulty. Barre has been throwing me off. Were were doing our tendus and degages in this pattern that was alternating outside leg, inside leg, and during class I was just not getting the  hang of it at all. I think the part where I completely lose it is when instead of just alternating outside and inside going devant and derierre, the outside leg goes to a la second and switches to the back (or the front, depending if you’re reversing the combination). Now, in class I had no idea that was the issue, as I was just lost by that point. It took me going over it slowly – very slowly – at my home barre one day when my class was cancelled and I gave myself a class at home. Teacher said that it is a common pattern that comes up, so it’s good to learn it and recognize, so I’ll be working on that.

A correction that keeps coming up for me is that I need to cross over my fifth position more. To the back when I close it’s fine, Teacher says, but to the front it doesn’t close as much as it should. The problem is my bad turnout (especially my left leg, which turns out much less than my right), which leaves little room for the other foot  to slide in front of. When we’re going at a slower tempo it’s much easier, as I found out during Basic Beginner class, and I’m able to close in a good tight fifth position from tendus devant, but when I’m closing from a la seconde it’s less likely that my front foot will get all the way closed. Like I metioned, this happens specially on my left supporting leg.

My imbalances in flexibility and mobility from my right to the left side have been somewhat discouraging to me lately. It’s not a tiny imbalance, but enough for my teachers to notice. NS Teacher also mentioned something recently about my left side hip being so tight. I stretch out both sides all the time, but I do wonder if there is a limit as far as my body will go, but the odd part is the discrepancy from one side to the other.  I’ve also taken what feels to me like the next step: I’ve been aware ever since I started Pilates a little under a year ago that one side of my body is tighter, from my abs to my hip flexors and hamstrings, and that this may be posture related. Not so much when I’m standing, but when  I plop on the couch to write on my laptop or watch videos on youtube, I’d noticed that I rarely sit up, but sort of lean or slouch to one side for long periods of time. This then causes muscular imbalances in my body and makes me lopsided. So all this week I’ve been forcing myself to sit upright, hoping that it will eventually become a habit. I’m also hoping this will balance out my left and right sides, and this will show in my dancing.

At center we worked on attitude turns some more. This week we worked on them both with attitude front and attitude derriere, both en dehors. I found that it’s much easier for me to do them with attitude front, and attitude derriere feels somewhat scary and off-balance. We also did the balancés en tournant, which still feel really clumsy and awkward. Since it’s a turning step, I haven’t been able to get a good look in the mirror of what I’m doing (and, do I really want to?!) but going from feeling alone, they feel totally wrong. The waltz step while turning is getting better though, at least at a slower tempo (like Basic Beginner class speed).

I did a couple of pirouettes en dehors from fourth to the left that were almost decent (meaning I got all the way around, and closed the right foot i the right place), and a few en dedans that were all right. These were all in the middle of a combination, because whenever we just practice them I tend to psyche myself out and mess up, either using too much or not enough momentum (well, it’s probably not that it’s not enought – our floor is pretty slick – but I’m doing something wrong. It may be related to spotting. But the point is I don’t get around most of the time.) Spotting is difficult for me during pirouettes still, but for chaines and other traveling turns it seems easier. Not always though…

Petit allegro during Intermediate class definitely didn’t get any easier, thought thankfully there were no ballottes. Instead there was an echappe from fifth to fourth, while turning the body from en face to croisse, then some beated jumps. I always get lost at the part where the echappe to fourth happens, so from that point on I just try to catch up but I’m behind. The echappe to fourth is just so incredibly difficult for me at this point. I think the foot that was in the back is the one thhat come to the front, so I just can’t figure out how to do that without tripping on myself. I tried practicing it at home, and even there it felt horribly clumsy. Right now that my foot is acting up from the cold I want to take it easier on the jumping, so mostly I’m just practicing really slow sautes with correct form to keep up my leg strength.

In other news, I found out that during January there’s going to be a ballet session at my school of almost daily class – and it’s going to be Beginner level! While I have been taking Basic Beginner class almost every week, it’s been months since I’ve taken a session of Beginner class though my school and I miss it. I’ve been taking only Intermediate for the last few months (with the exception of the Basic class I mentioned), and I feel like I would benefit from the slower tempos of a beginner class in order to work on the details. And if it’s everyday, it’ll really help to cement it into my muscle memory. I can still go to Adult Ballet class at New Studio as well, so I’ll have a full ballet schedule. Yay!

7 thoughts on “More Of The Same …

  1. Basia

    Totally understand the issue with alternating inside/outside… Argh!
    Some days I nail it and other times I stuff it up completely.
    On the posture thing: I revamped my entire non ballet class posture. At work, when standing and walking since I first started, and I have found great improvements in class and get less headaches too. I still have my hips tilting forward, but I feel that a couple more months and I’ll be standing straight without thinking about it. I’m also engaging my glute muscles to get turnout randomly throughout the day…seems to be improving my turnout. Would sound odd to the normal person who doesn’t think about ballet 24/7 lol

    1. kit Post author

      Haha, or other times I do it right (alternating legs), but I doubt myself and have that ‘Wait, did-I-or-didn’t-I’ moment which then throws me off for the rest of the exercise!
      I’ve noticed while standing and doing non-ballet stuff my posture is much better – I find myself pulling up and engaging my core and stuff. Sometimes I even randomly go up on releve and balance while standing around. It’s the sitting on the couch part that has been really setting me back. I’ve been forcing myself to not slouch to the side for about a week straight now, and it’s so getting to me. But imagining that slowly my pelvis is getting less unaligned and I’m becoming more balanced helps me push through it.
      As to the thinking about ballet 24/7, it’s funny, because this weekend my mom was asking me at random “What are you thinking about?” and I was always like “This combination we did in ballet class!” or “This one step from ballet class that’s kind of hard!”. It was hilarious!

      1. Basia

        Yeah, actually it was painful for a month when I adjusted my posture sitting at work. My back hurt a lot, but now it’s not an issue.

  2. meetatbarre

    Hey there, I’ve been away and am just catching up on your blog 🙂

    I also am pretty imbalanced in terms of having a stronger side and a more flexible side. Some things that help me are doing an extra set of stretching on my less flexible side and stretching my less flexible first (because people tend to stretch the second side a bit less it seems). I also mark on my more flexible / less strong side (my left), instead of defaulting to marking on my right.

    1. kit Post author

      Those are really good ideas!
      Sometimes I do the stretching on the less flexible side thing. I first got the idea to do that when I would get so disappointed about seeing that I almost have my right splits, but when attempting the left I have a long way to go. So I figured I would do the left first and then celebrate when I got to the right! However, I hadn’t thought about also stretching the less flexible side for a LONGER time. I’m gonna start doing that for sure.
      Hmm, I’m also going to start paying more attention to which side I’m marking with, and make sure to switch it up if necessary. It’s funny, because the other day I took Basic Beginner class, and since almost everyone starts on the wrong side so they can see the mirror, I got to start on the wrong side for half of the combinations.It was interesting, for sure!


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