Week 2: Testing Out My Comfort Zone

As anticipated, class increased in difficulty for the second week of the session. Nothing too extreme – we’re still firmly in Beginner territory – but enough for me to be glad that this isn’t my first ballet session ever. My learning  curve is flatter than that…

I wore pointe shoes for barre for all the classes, which did prove a bit challenging because of the increasing difficulty pushing me out of my comfort zone (which previously was working on two feet). Barre included a fondue devant up to sous-sus – yes, a releve on one foot. I was approaching it cautiously, which besides being incorrect also made it harder. It was my first attempts at releve, not eleve, on one leg. The first day we worked on it I was hesitant and, honestly, a little scared, but by the second class doing this I was feeling more confident. For now, my right supporting foot seems to be stronger.

We were also working on soutenu at the barre when changing sides. This was also new to me en pointe, and a little scary at first but once I got the hang of it I just kept going up into sous-sus, doing a soutenu to the other side, coming down, and doing the same thing again. Yes, it is that fun, I promise. Balancing in 1st, 2nd, and sous-sus, on point is sometimes easier than other times (and easier towards the end of barre once I have my alignment completely sorted out). Definitely not comfortable letting go of the barre completely for echappe releves yet, but I am discovering the perfect amount of force needed to spring up to pointe without it being a jump up. I love the end of the grand battement combination because  when we turn for the other side after the three grand battements en croix everytime we changed direction we would do two quick changements, and when we changed directions it was like changement-changement-sous-sus-soutenu and it was so fun. (I’m pretty sure that was a run on sentence, but but it was out of excitement…)

At the end of last week I set a goal that I would do some bourres en pointe off the barre this week. Initially letting go of the barre was a little scary (is there a theme here?) but I got over it and did some bourres with pretty arms (mostly swan arms, but also going through the positions). Been doing that after barre every day. I also did a completely spontaneous promenade in attitude while wearing my pointe shoes and that amused me. My goal for this week will be to pick up each foot up to coupe while on pointe without the barre. And – maybe this too ambitious, but what the heck – to do the barre soutenu to the other side with no hands. I’d like to clarify that for goals I don’t set any that I think will be unsafe, just a little out of my comfort zone (meaning I’m strong enough to, but just being a baby).

For across the floor we had a couple new combinations (walk x4, passe balance on flat, developpe devant, walk x2, pique arabesque, plie, pas de bourre), including a waltz combo that included a pirouette en dehors from fifth for the more difficult version. Pirouettes from fifth suck for me, so I wasn’t feeling too confident by then. But then in the back I was able to do some pirouttes en dehors from fourth in which I even stayed balanced on releve after making the turn. Then we did chaines across the floor, and I (re)discovered that it’s even harder to do just chaines across the whole studio than to do them in a combination because it’s more of them in a row.

For jumps we did changement x4, echappe x2, changement x4, pas de chat, coupe, pas de bourre, soubresaut. Teacher then changed the final jump to entrechat, and once again, there went my confidence. Ugh, beats are still something that have much to improve on. I did get a correction on front leg losing the turnout when landing, so I have a concrete thing to pay attention to.

Across the floor we did chasse gallops x4, ballet run, grand jete. While I am by no means great at grand jetes, I’ve noticed that they’re not as awful as they used to be (especially with my right leg in front). There’s hope yet…


2 thoughts on “Week 2: Testing Out My Comfort Zone

  1. imitationballerina

    I’m thinking of asking my teacher if I can wear some old pointes at barre. I am hoping it will make me feel more comfortable in them.

    It’s so annoying how much the mind makes an impact on how well you dance. I often get scared of certain things on pointe, and it doesn’t end up helping! In fact, it does the exact opposite!!

    I think that is an area that kids have quite a bit of an advantage. They seem so fearless.

    1. kit Post author

      Yes, I’ve noticed how much the mind has an impact on dance, especially since starting pointe. I’ve noticed with a lot of things (more like *everything* except slow eleves) when I get scared and not give it my all not only does it make it harder but it would probably increase the possibility of injury because of the hesitation. It seems like with pointe and each new thing I’m learning the feeling is that you have to go with it with full 100% or why bother. Which is terrifying away from the barre…
      I completely agree about the advantage in being younger and fearless (though I was an exception, a scaredy-cat ever since I refused to learn to crawl). One of my much younger – though still an adult – classmates who is starting pointe also is quite fearless, and more willing to try steps in the center, while I hold on to my barre security blanket. I’m trying to not let it get to me too much…


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