Well, experiences, really…
In addition to my usual dance classes, this week I took a class taught by a new to me teacher (umm, let’s go with ‘G Teacher’). It was labeled a Beginner level class, but it wasn’t quite as Basic Beginner level as the Beginner class that I’m currently taking. I found it quite fun, but there were a good number of brand-new beginners who appeared lost. One of the other students was kind of helping other fellow students during class.
The barre combinations had port de bras, and it was a different one than the common beginner-level port de bras (like arm in high fifth for tendu devant, arabesque for tendu derriere, etc.). It was pretty though, I remember it involved the arm coming up straightened to the side at some point – I’m having trouble describing it, but it looked so graceful when G Teacher did it. I did a decent job of mimicking it, and the combinations were not particularly fast, so I had no trouble keeping up.
Some of the exercises were on the more challenging side, and I wish more teachers would include stuff like that in their classes. We did these ronde de jambes en l’air with a flexed foot, so that we could really feel our working leg lengthening out. Then after doing it both en dehors and en dedans with both legs, G Teacher had us do it while our supporting leg was in plie! The thighs were really feeling it then, but we were nowhere near done.
Another exercise I remember was grand battements en croix, two at regular tempo, then the third we were to hold the leg up and then slowly lower it back down. While doing port de bras, of course. So, like I said, not really at a Basic Beginner level, more like beginner 2. Good for strength building though.
Center was really fun, though definitely would have been torture previously than the past year. A combination we did was chasse to arabesque, bring the back leg up and balance in retire, promenade, tombe, pas de bouree, repeat other side. I had fun and actually got all the way around some of the times, as promenades in retire are easier for me than in attitude derierre or a arabesque.
Then we did something I’d never done before – we got in partners and we did partner-assisted promenades. Our partner had their hands lightly under our upper arms while standing behind us, we balanced on high releve retire, and then they slowly moved us around. It was such a strange feeling, and the discrepancy in balance from my better leg to my other one was apparent. But I liked it (especially on my good side), and would love to experience it again, and on a larger scale.
So now I’m wondering if that’s even possible. Partnering, I mean. I guess I realized that I would really like to learn partnering, but I know how unlikely that may be – it’s not like the girl-to-guy ratio is anything smaller than 30:1. And I’m not a small girl by ballet standards which also limits the possibilities (both height-wise and amount of force needed to lift me as opposed to someone lighter). Also, the whole thing may be irrelevant, as I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do partnering who isn’t en pointe.
But it would still be nice… At home I tried to get Boyfriend to hold my hand and walk around me as I balanced in retire on releve but he wouldn’t play along. Sigh, that sounds really pathetic… but it’s the truth – it happened – and it illustrates how much I would enjoy even basic partnering without any lifts (though that too would be fun if it wasn’t a physical risk to anyone).Anyway, it was fun to get to try and experience that in this class.
Aside from that, during Intermediate class Teacher really pushed us and I did a couple royales, and attempted the entrechats during our petite allegro. I was pretty pleased about that. Also, during Modern class, when M Teacher had us hold a balance on releve in second, she had us close our eyes to make it harder and I was actually able to hold the balance. Balances in second have always been harder for me than in first (just how in first it’s harder than sous-sus) so that was a surprise, but a nice one.