‘En De-don’t’s, Fun Turns, And Scary Jumps



It was another incredibly fun ballet-filled week. The class tempo level picked up a bit, resulting in lots of calf soreness. Seriously, I think all week my calves felt completely solid, like no give at all when I would press into them with my hands. It was a job for the tennis ball for sure.

G Teacher is really pushing for the whole class to learn the ballet terminology in French. He’ll randomly quiz different people on what step we’re doing, and what direction. I remember he asked someone what direction we were going, and they were like “En de… dont ?”, which is a closer approximation to en dedans that I would have had after three weeks (back when I first started, I thought F Teacher was saying ‘on the dot’, and ‘on the rough’ for en dehors, which I realize makes no sense, but yeah) . Then, when we did  our rond de jambes, I forgot the combination (my own fault, for spacing out when G Teacher was giving it), and rather than stop and look around I followed the person in front. Who, of course, was going the wrong way, so G Teacher corrected me ‘No,  we’re going en dehors’. It was ‘an en de don’t’ indeed!  I made sure to not forget that combination again (for the record, it was 1 4 count rond de jambe, 2 2 count rond de jambes, and 3 1 count, all en dehors, then repeat the whole thing en dedans, then grand port de bras (circular cambre) in both directions, and long sous-sus balance).

We also learned an extremely fast frappe combo: 2 en croix, 1 en croix, soutenu, other side. I’m pleased that my frappes have really improved, especially those tricky frappe derrieres. I no longer feel like I’m going to stomp my toe on the floor. I still think of the “strike” in the frappe being more like striking a match than striking something with a stick – it helps me a lot.

In G Teacher’s class we have a set barre, but some of the exercises are so long that it’s hard to keep track or not mix them up… like is this  the one with the long balance at the end, or not? Or the one that we stop in between both sides, or go right to the next one?

We also worked on fondues (he let a few of us go up to releve) facing the barre: fondue, stainghten in coupe, fondue, leg out devant, fondue, staringten, fondue, leg a la seconde, fondu, straigten, fondu, leg arabesque, fondue with leg out still, pull in it to sous-sus, other side, then repeat whole thing en dedans. I hadn’t worked that much on releve in a while, and it was a workout!

For our rond de jambe turnout exercise at the barre, G Teacher came around and said to me “You should be doing with no hands”, which I then attempted. It was a challenge, but I willed myself to not lose my balance and got through the rest of it without the barre. The exercise, which I think I mentioned a few months ago back when I first took G Teacher’s class, is a slow (16 count) rond de jambe en l’air with a flexed food, first en dehors right foot, then en dehors left foot, then en dedans left foot, and en dehors, right foot. Then you get to do the whole thing with the supporting leg in plie.

We did lots of jumping this week, enough to make up for not jumping the other ones. First up, saute combination: plie releve 3 times, hold plie, 1 saute, hold plie, straingther, 1 saute, hold plie, straingten, 2 sautes, hold plie, 3 sautes, hold plie, 4 sautes, hold plie and slowly straigten for 4 counts. It was a brain teaser, but I happen to prefer slow sautes so I liked it.

Then we had an echappe combination: start croisse in fifth, echappe to fourth changing facing to croisse other side, close to fifth, echappe to second en face, close fifth, repeat the above twice, then 3 changements and repeat the whole thing to the other side. I had a classmate take a video of me, and I was shocked to see the whole thing was 28 seconds. 28 seconds! But when you’re jumping it can feel like half an hour. We also did echappes to second while traveling forward (all the way across the studio), hands on hips, and those were hard!

This week I also went to New Studio, for 2 classes.  One of the days, as I was parking outside the studio, I saw that there was a few advanced dancers there, and for a brief second I contemplated turning around and going home. But I reassesed the situation, and it was more lazy than tired, so I went in. And yes, NS Teacher gave us a more challenging class, like barre stretch with no hands on releve, and super fast degages with port de bras, fondues up to releve and fouette at the barre.

In center our first combination was balancé x2, balance en tournant, pirouette en dehors, repeat. I kept messing up because I would do a chasse into preparation with the pirouette, instead of just going into the pirouette, which was way harder (after NS Teacher corrected me on that I was struggling way more with it).

Another combination we did was cabriole devant, temps leve (1 legged saute in attitude derriere), tombe ,pas de bourre, attitude pirouette en dedans, repeat. This combination was fun. That does not mean I’m saying that it was easy, or that I could even do it right, just that I enjoyed really moving around after doing more beginner classes recently. My main difficulty with it was the cabriole. Cabrioles frustrate me because I don’t even know where to begin. I think I’m scared of falling, so even though I can get my legs to touch in midair, i always bring my top leg back down too, sort of like a really ugly assemble. I always get corrected ‘Don’t bring the top leg down!’ and I feel like ‘I know! But I’m scared!’.

The rest of the combination was so fun though. That temps leve in attitude looked intimidating, but it was actually so much fun, and my attitude derriere has improved so a lot in the last few months. The attitude pirouette was also fun, and because it was en dedans, I actually had a hope of getting around for a single. The most advanced dancer in class was doing maybe 5 or 6 revolutions in all her pirouettes, which was amazing to watch in person. She also has incredible feet. The things we notice!

So yeah, cabrioles scare me. But, this weekend we went to the lake again, and I got an idea. I decided to work on my jumps in the water, that way there was no fear of falling and getting hurt. I managed to work not only on my cabrioles but on my entrechats and royalles. It was very encouraging (not to mention fun!). At least now I know I can do it under conditions of reduced gravity.

2 thoughts on “‘En De-don’t’s, Fun Turns, And Scary Jumps

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