If there was one obvious issue I’m having in ballet this week (but not to worry, there’s more than one), it was timing.
Not just the timing during combinations, like not rushing through, but also at the beginning of the combinations – the counts for preparations. It happened more than once that I attempted to start the combination too soon, and it was awkward and made it so that when the real start of the combination happened I wasn’t ready . Like, we were all starting in B plus, and I thought it was the preparation counts so I did my arms preparation port de bras and prepared to step onto my foot when I realized no one else had. So then by the time I got back into B plus to start, they had already started. It was a little frustrating, because I could see that it seemed that I was not focusing, but the distressing part was that I couldn’t really do anything about it. My internal clock seemed to be running on fast, and unless I’m super familiar with the music I think I totally count the counts rather than go by just hearing the music, so everything was being affected. I was trying to just not beat myself up over it because it seemed like it was one of those off days, but I was feeling really self-concious about it – like by ths point in my ballet training I was supposed to know how to stay on the music or something. I’m feeling a little ashamed of the fact that I still rely on counting quite a bit. It could be worse, I know – at least I don’t count aloud or even move my mouth along as I count silently (I’ve seen both of those things before during class, especially when G Teacher filmed our class so we could watch ourselves and see what we needed to work on). But I can’t help feeling like an impostor because I count to dance rather than just dance…
I really do thing some of it had to do with it being an off week though. Ever since my summer ballet session ended I’m down from about 10 hours of ballet class per week (not counting rehearsing, or crosstraining/conditioning) to three hours, plus practice sessions at home (during which I did Kathryn Morgans Classic Ballet Barre, Easy Center, and Classic Center from youtube). The home practice is important to keep my muscles strong, but not having a teacher present may make it easier to slack off. I try my hardest to self-correct, but that sense of urgency, of I-better-try-my-hardest-or-teacher-may-yell is not there…
At my classes at NS, we mostly did similar combinations to what we’ve been doing recently, which are at a good level for me – kind of complex, but not too long. We had an adagio combination with developpe devant, a la seconde, derriere, promenade in arabesque, promenade in attitude, allogen, faille, run off. It wasn’t anywhere as clean as I was able to do last week, but still better than I had been doing for a while. Also, we started in croisse, but facing right, so first it was on my harder-to-balance leg. I think that played a part in it.
We also had some combinations with en dehors pirouettes, and I think my pirouettes were a little better than I remember. At home I’ve been working on preparing for pirouettes and just going up into passe and bringing it back down to fourth, and it may have been helping. I figure in order to have a stable pirouette I need to be able to stay balanced on retire in releve for longer, so I’ll work on that and the full pirouettes can happen later (like in class).
We’ve also been working on our strength for extensions during barre stretch at NS. After doing the standard plie and cambre barre stretches, NS Teacher has us lift our leg off the barre and bring it to arabeque, then attitude derriere, the attitude a la seconde, and extend a la seconde. My extension by that point is about 10 inches lower than when I had first taken it off the barre, so I see some room for imrpovement there.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been attempting the Classic Center video instead of only the Easy Center. I’d mentioned a cople of months ago that I was going to be working on it, but during my summer session I didn’t have any time to do any videos at home. So, I revisited it this week, and it seemed like it’s gotten much more do-able. I’m still not at the point that I can just watch it through once and remember the combinations, but it only took several repetitions and I could actually do it and remember. Of course, I’m only working on the first three or four combinations for now (after doing the Easy Center video), but I’m going to continue to work on it. I really enjoy doing the Easy Center video because it’s completely in my comfort zone, but I’m trying to push myself a little harder so it’s not so shocking when i return to class at my regular school.