Back In My Element

… if by “in my element” I mean out of my comfort zone.

Last week’s break resulted in my body getting some much needed rest. When I returned to ballet class this week I felt stronger than before. While I wish it didn’t take me feeling (mild) pain to convince me that I should take a break, I’m learning to accept that this is how things go with me. Perhaps with time I will learn to listen to my body when it whispers, rather than waiting for it to raise its voice.

Every time I take a break though, I always find myself haveing anxiety the night before returning. However, the minute I’m back in the studio I feel this familiar sense of comfort, like I’m home again.

Due to scheduling, my first class back was Intermediate. Yes, I’m taking Intermediate again. I know I said before that I would just stick to beginner class for a while, and I did for several months, but I feel that I’m up to the challenge again.

At barre, I mostly held it together throughout the plies, tendus and degages. During rond de jambes, the second time through there was a slow port de bras during the 4 quick rond de jambes. Ahhh, Intermediate class, I’ve missed you! It didn’t look quite so pretty, but it was still fun. A different day, the rond de jambe combination included a chasse and temps lie. Going en dehors with the chasses forward, temps lie back, makes perfect sense to my brain, but for whatever reason when it’s time to reverse it I find it so confusing. I think I ended up with the wrong leg in front and totally confused.

In general I felt good, like it’s far from perfect but I wouldn’t say I’m struggling, like a year ago. Teacher mentioned that my fifth position is looking much better, so there’s that. And when I let go of my foot in the barre foot-in-hand stretch, my leg can stay extended up there for what seems like forever. Finally, something ballet-related that I’m good at, haha.

Center started off weird. When we marked the combination I couldn’t seem to find my balance, but by the time we started it for reals I was on my leg. I can’t seem to remember the combinations to differentiate between them (I had an extremely busy day, aside from ballet class) but I remember some steps. We did a promenade in arabesque, bring the leg through passe and developpe devant, and I was actually getting around in my promenades. But I kept losing it at the pasing through part, except for the very last time on the second side when I finally forced my body to Get It Together! I also landed several single pirouettes en dehors to the right before I got tired or psyched or or something, and couldn’t seem to do it any longer. I was remembering that trick of staying up in sous-sus (sort of like a soutenu) rather than just coming down ungracefully. Probably bad technique, but less jarring of an effect. A teacher once told me that at least this way you’re still working.

We also did pirouettes en dedans, which I’ve always enjoyed more than en dehors. They were fun, though I wouldn’t quite say that I’m good at these yet. I really liked how the port de bras for these was to bring the arms up to high fifth, instead of middle fifth. Our across the floor turns combination was 4 pique turns, 4 chaines, repeat, chasse into arabesque, and the tempo was much too fast.

Also, while my combination-recalling memory has improved so much in beginner level classes, I sadly can’t say that this ability has transferred to intermediate. Perhaps it’s the direction changes that make it so nonsensical to my brain?

I also took a class with F Teacher, also Intermediate level. Though I’ve been taking Beginner class with F Teacher pretty regularly, I’ve missed her Intermediate level barre combinations. Here’s one I really liked: four tendus devant, four tendus a la seconde, coupe devant, coupe derriere, pas de cheval a la second, close back, reverse, then repeat with two tendus instead of four; other side; repeat the whole thing with degages instead of tendus. In addition to the length, the tempo was brisk and we were using full port de bras, so it kept me on my toes (ha ha). I loved it.

A  center combination we did was 4 ballet waltzes, tombe, pas de bourre, tendu, close fourth, pirouette en dehors, half turn (like a pivot of sorts), pirouette en dedans, chasse into chaines, finish in releve arabesque, tombe, run off .  The hardest part (besides the speed) is that pivot thing because since I never ‘officially’ learned it as an actual step, it’s hard for me to figure it out. I mean, I get it that the point is to change facings for the piroutte en dedans, but I can’t figure out what I’m actually supposed to do. It’s one of those times when my body and I still don’t quite understand each other despite all my progress.

I’m also taking Beginner class (got to take ballet at a level that is still encouraging and in my confort one, after all. It’s funny, when I showed up to sign up, F Teacher was like “You know this is a Beginner class, right?”. No, I won’t get bored, I’ll work on my technique and feel pretty and dance-y in center), rehearsal class, and Modern. Thankfully, not on the same days. Also, I’m pretty swamped at the moment with school and house chores, so it’s going to be a hectic several months. I will try my hardest to keep up with the class notes at least weekly (no other way to evalate my own progress) or if something comes up that I feel I need to write about and I have the time, but if I ever go missing for a little bit, now you all know why. Also a challenge to keep up with reading blogs – when I came home yesterday my WordPress Reader said there was  32 unread posts! When I have several dozen pages of a textbook to read and outline, it’s not going to happen. Especially if I want to keep up my other hobbies, which I do.

I also wrote a private post which can be found here:

If you’ve forgotten the password, feel free to send me an email:  balletandorbust at

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