First Class After The Break

I eased back into my ballet class routine with a class at New Studio. Since there was a  few beginner level students, NS Teacher went  easy on us at the barre – at least until we got to the frappe combination. It was beated frappes en croix, petit battements, and some form of a kick (like a fast developpe, or a grand battement beginning from retire) and holding the leg extended a la second, repeat, then fondue, pas de bourre turn, other side. To the right side I was feeling like I was at the very least keeping up on tempo, but on the second side I got lost and started doing the petit battements when it was the second round of frappes. And when I realized my mistake I wasn’t able to figure out where to jump in to start. So it was sloppy, but the fact that the first side was much better is reassuring.

In center, we worked on pirouettes for a good while. We did 4 to the right, then four to the left, en dehors, from fourth with the working leg foot in front. This is a less common preparation for me than the working leg foot in back, so I was surprised to find that I not only got around a full revolution, but I also didn’t use an excessive amount of force, like I do with pirouettes from the other preparation. It felt less powerful, but somehow effortless. Then after doing a couple I started to psych myself out and couldn’t do them anymore. I think I was throwing off my alignment, and putting too much weight on my back leg (the supporting leg), trying to generate more force. Which, I’d just realized, was counterproductive. Of course, I kept doing it anyway, because it was apparently too hard for me to trust myself, even though I had proof that the other way worked.

Across the floor was fun and mostly doable (meaning I can memorize the combination and attempt the steps in the correct order, not that I can make it look perfect). We did tombe, pas de bourre, chasse pirouette en dehors, repeat. Nice and basic, though I still struggle on landing the pirouettes cleanly. Then we did (saute arabesque, saute passe) x2, pique arabesque, chasse backwards, tour jete, soutenu, balance in sous-sus, run away. The biggest contrast from one side to the next for me was the tour jete. To the first side it feels like if I were to practice it I could improve, as if I just need to commit the movements to muscle memory and then push myself. To the second side, it feels like I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I didn’t freeze up in the middle of center, but I don’t even know if I used the correct leg first. It was still fun thought, and watching the more advanced people in this combination was entertaining. The more beginner students did an easier version of the combinations, omitting turns and going at a slower tempo.

Also, I wasn’t in the most beginner group there was – though not in the most advanced either, obviously. It’s a weird place to be, not quite intermediate level, but not one of the more beginner students. I spent a long time doing the easier version of the combinations in the beginner group, and I feel like if it wasn’t for my teachers in the past suggesting that I try the harder version, I would probably try to do they easier one until I get it right. Which isn’t going to happen. But I have noticed that I tend to stick to the comfort zone more than others. I’m always awed by how well other beginners do  given their time dancing. I mean, I didn’t even attempt pirouettes until I had been doing ballet for a  year and a half, so to see someone get a full revolution (with bad technnique, but still) on their second class ever is something different. I’m just impressed that they’re fearless enough to do it, I guess. While I’m more of a take it slow person – I wouldn’t have even attempted a pirouette if I hadn’t known that I was at least strong enough to passe releve. Which I definitely wasn’t when I first started ballet…

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