It’s Official: I’m Terrible At New Things

Class at New Studio was lots of fun. It’s open level, so the difficulty varies depending on who shows up that day. Everybody that showed up this last time was sort of around the same level, so we were given a nicely challenging  (by my standards) barre and center.

Highlights:

Barre combination with fondues (3 fondu devant, the first with the foot barely off the floor, the second a bit higher, the third as high as we can, bring the leg back around to arabesque, holding it at that height, tendu down and close, reverse starting with fondues derriere) that felt so pretty. I just love fondues! We’ve been working on fondues at Beginner class at my regular school too, doing a similar combination (in this case, fondu devant a terre, then off, bring leg back to arabesque, fondu in to coupe ad reverse, all facing the barre).

We did a similat echappe releve combination to the one from class a few days ago. It was echappe to fourth, close to fifth, echappe to second, close to fifth, echappe to fourth, close fifth, sous-sus, reverse. This time it went much better for me, I don’t know if it was that it wasn’t the first time we did that and I wasn’t feeling completely rusty on my echappe releves, or the fact that NS Teacher insisted that  we use the mirror as we did the combination, making sure to keep our turnout in each position.

We started center with a tendu combination (2 tendu devant in croisse, 2 tendus ecarte, 2 tendus derriere, brush leg forward, failli, pas de bourre, other side) that was really fun to do (I still get a kick out of doing basic tendu combinations because for so long – back when I kept falling over in center – I wanted  to be able to at least tendu in center and make it look pretty).

Another combination we did was 4 balancés, tombe pas de bourre, chasse, pirouette en dehors from fourth, repeat. During one of the pirouettes, I did a 1 1/2 revolution. It was weird, because I know I went around at least once, but when I came down I was facing backwards (which really sucked for getting the rest of the combination done correctly). The rest of my pirouettes sucked. We did 2 pique turns, followed by three counts of chaines, repeat, across the floor after this, and at least those went ok.

Then we did 2 waltz turns, tombe, pas de bourre, glissade, assemble, repeat across the floor. The tempo was much too fast for me – it was time for the pas de bourre around the time I was mid way through my second waltz turn – so I struggled along,but even then I’m grateful, once again, that I can do this kind of stuff without falling over, even when it doesn’t look pretty yet.

We then did cabrioles, which I’d never tried before. They look so impressive when done correctly, but my body just did not want to cooperate. When we did cabrioles to the front, my legs kept wanting to assemble instead. When we did then to the back my body just had no idea what I was trying to tell it to do. I remember when F Teacher taught it to the more advanced students a few months ago (I didn’t try it), she explained it as something like a saute arabesque, then the supporting leg comes up. But even thinking of it like that  wasn’t helping my body cooperate. None of the other girls there were amazing at cabrioles, but I was the worst one. That’s always a good reality check, lest I start thinking I’m actually good – whenever we do something brand new, I’m often the worst.

Beginner class at my regular school went well also. Just as I suspected, Annoying Girl (from last post) does keep it down when F Teacher is teaching, making it a much mre pleasant environment. Barre was a little more fast paced, with more combinations going from one side to the next without stopping (including one where we went back and forth between sides several times, and was so fun). We did ronde de jambes, piques with port de bras, and frappes. I really like F Teacher’s frappe combination for beginners, because it really focuses on foot articulation. I remember back when I first started ballet I could not keep up with it at all, so I would practice it over and over at home until it started feeling somewhat automatic – it took so much time! So I do feel a bit like a fraud standing there doing it all smoothly and confidently

For center we did tendus devant, derriere in croisse, then change to en face tendu devant, a la seconde, chasse to other side, repeat other side, then the whole thing with degage instead of tendu. Nice basic combination, so I worked on making it look as pretty as possible, with epaulement and port de bras.

We did a waltz and balancé combo across the floor, first without turning on the waltz, then with the turn. It kept throwing me off because I’m used to starting from B+, with the upstage leg stepping, and the downstage leg brushing on the first waltz, and we were instead going right to brushing with the dowstage leg from first. So even though in theory it’s easier, since my body didn’t have it in muscle memory it felt harder. This is also a perfect example of what I mean about me still being really slow at picking up new things. (But as i often find myself thinking, ‘at least by now I more or less have my balance, so things – even new things – are not as hard as they were in the beginning’).

Another fun thing we did was a 4 glissade (with alternating leg in front) and sous-sus combo. Glissades are somethign else that took me forever to get decent at (and by ‘decent’ I mean, able to hold my balance and not fall over while landing, but also being strong enough t push off from the one leg), but the thing that was confusng me about these was the switching of the leg. A previous teacher had taught me that glissades never switch legs, so I’d gotten used to that. This whole doing-things-that-are-not-in-my-muscle-memory thing continues to present a challenge to me, so I’m hoping this will make me a better dancer.

While I’ve been loving taking class this often (and my body hasn’t been complaining too much), I’ve been feeling guilty at times about aspects of doing ballet. With this frequency in classes my dance wear’s taking a beating, especially my tights, with most of my pairs getting visible runs by now. I don’t want to just get the cheapest ones I can find (in my case the Theatricals brand from Discount Dance) if they’re going to run after wearing them once -literally – but the times I got the more expensive brand (Bloch), I wasn’t too impressed with the quality and they stretched out relatively fast as well. I’d like something that lasts for a good while without needing to be replaced. So I don’t know yet what I’m going to do, but I feel guilty about all the hidden costs of dancing, I guess. I know this is probably an unpopular topic – dare I say even a taboo topic? – but it’s a reality in my dancing life, and I’m hoping by writing about it I can help sort the issue out. I may just end up switching to leggings for my non-dress-code classes,  but then I’ll miss those unbroken lines…

 

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8 thoughts on “It’s Official: I’m Terrible At New Things

  1. A Writer

    I soooo understand about the expensive dance wear! It’s definitely a problem, and add in my “plus” sized figure (in the dance world, anyway :/) and it’s just frustrating. No bargain bins for me.
    BUT, I do have a tights recommendation: Capezio 1915 full foot tights. I love these things. Discount Dance has them for $11 and change; a little on the pricey side, but they are so soft, they haven’t stretched out, and no runs after 3+ months of use. I only wear them once or maybe twice a week, so I don’t know how they would wear with heavier use. I like them so much I’ve considered buying a black pair or two to just wear – they are way more comfortable and flattering than any of the “normal” tights I buy.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Oooh, thanks for the suggestion! I think I’ll give those a try. While $11, is pricey, the Bloch ones that wore out superfast were about $17, so these sound like they’re worth a try.

      Reply
  2. meetatbarre

    Ugh, I also suck at doing new things. My friend made an observation that often other people don’t know what’s going on either, but they’re much better at faking it than me. It’s like, I really like to understand something before I can go for it…if I don’t really understand something, it’s SUPER OBVIOUS and looks really awful haha.

    My tights are all holey and have runs…I kind of like it though (matches my style in a weird way). Also I’m too lazy / broke to buy new ones. When they get too messed up, I cut them up into tops or other layers.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      YES! That’s exactly what I mean – other people are much better at faking it with new stuff, and I like to know exactly what I’m doing before I do it, so when learning new stuff I dance like it’s my first class ever, haha. It probably does go back to the whole overthinking/overanalyzing it thing…
      I don’t mind the holes in the tights for the most part, and feel a little like ‘yay, I earned it cause I worked hard’ about it, but unfortunately these latest batch of holes is much too close to the gusset of the tights and I don’t want to have a ballet class wardrobe malfunction…
      I was thinking about making them into tops, and I also found some cool articles about ways to reuse old tights/pantyhose (like little potpourri satchels).

      Reply
  3. abc

    I can only recommend the Sansha tights! They come in in one size only, but usually fit all body types. the great thing is that they hold forever! I´ve only managed to get a hole in them once, and it didn´t even start to run but kept its shape. I throw them away when the colour gets too greyish or the elastic doesn´t work at all anymore (usually after 1,5-2 years of wearing them at least 3 times per week).

    Reply

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