Variety And Variations

We had some variations as well as a lot of variety in my classes this week.The break from the usual routine was quite nice.

There was a lot of work on releve during barre this week. We did our fondues with rond de jambe en l’air combination up to releve and the grand battements en croix were on releve  as well. This was in Beginner class, and it was optional, not required for the more beginner students. I remember I used to struggle with working on releve at the barre a year ago, so I was happy to see that I was able to do it without my supporting leg feeling like it was going to give out, even after we reversed it. We’re not even halfway into the session yet, so I do wonder what new challenges there wil be in the weeks to come.

We frappes on releve in Intermediate, 3 frappes en croix then 1 beated frapped en croix, then recerse.  On my first side I could do them, sort of, but then when we turned around for the other side I felt like I was just randomly beating my leg around. So I guess for now I can do them as long as I’m facing the mirror.

In Beginner class we had a do-able across the floor combination: 2 waltz step turns, 2 balancés, tendu a la seconde, close in fifth, passe releve (optional pirouette en dehors), change facing for other side and do the whole thing to the left. It was so much fun. The more beginner version of the combination had no turn in the waltz steps. In Intermediate there was a not-so-doable waltz combination. This one had much faster waltz turns (and Teacher’s preferred port de bras throws me off a little bit, because F Teacher’s is more classical and I’m used to it), balances front and back instead of side to side, tombe, pas de bourre, pirouette en dedans, and a bunch of steps that I’m forgetting in there somewhere. I tried my best to keep up, but it was sloppy enough that Teacher suggested I not go in the front row. It was still fun though, because en dedans pirouettes are my favorite.

A different day, for center Teacher decided to teach us some variations (not for a show, just for fun). She picked out some really fast tempo ones, so it was really hard to do the variations, but I kept thinking at least I didn’t fall. Keeping the theme from the last few classes going, there was a lot of work on releve (the original variations are en pointe). My feet were so incredibly sore by the end of class. One of the variations also had stepover pique turns (lame duck turns), which I really enjoy doing (and have come a long way since I first started practicing them at home little over a year ago). While what my reflection in the mirror was doing did not look like what the more advanced students and Teacher were doing, it was so much fun!

I’ve been thinking lately about how I used to wonder a year ago how someone is supposed to cross the gap between what is taught in beginner level class and intermediate. The first time I tried intermediate I was completely lost, as some of the steps had never even been taught to me, and here they were in the middle of combinations. I thought that intermediate class was geared towards people who danced for years as a kid, not to any actual beginners who had been dancing for a couple of years. I thought I would never get to the point whre I would feel even a little comfortable there. After this additional year of taking classes, I think I was struggling with it back then because I hadn’t taken beginner class for enough sessions.By now I’ve noticed that the teacher’s teach different steps each session (since there’s not enough time for everything), but if you keep taking beginner class eventually you’ll have been introduced to all the steps that will be expected to be known for intermediate.

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