Back At It (For Now)

I was reading over some of my old posts, like c. late 2014 kind of old, and i realized something – actually, several things…
1. I’ve come so far, so incredibly far. I mean, its hard to explain accurately without photographic or video evidence just how terrible i was at ballet when i first started, or even back when i first started blogging. The average new-to-ballet classmate is already better after a few weeks than i was after a year and a half. Sad. But at the same time, it was this very disadvantage that made me work harder… so it was a blessing in disguise… I’m a huge believer in blessings in disguise…
2. I love writing about ballet, if anything for the sole purpose of being able to come back and *read* what i wrote about ballet. I continue to be my own biggest fan… perhaps this makes me egotistical, but I’m past the point of caring about that…
3. I’m a bit sad that I haven’t been doing much writing about ballet for the past year or so… unfortunately, in the not-too-distant future i may be on a dance hiatus, but for now i will cherish the time I have and do my best to hold on to the memories…
4. (bonus point) i read something on social media that went something like “if you quit now you will be back where you started, and back when you started you would have done anything to be where you are now”… Ok I’m probably butchering the quote but something along those lines and reading over mg old posts I’m just like “yes! Exactly!” and i am so incredibly grateful that I didn’t quit, that i believed in myself… I dont know if i ever even believed that i would get to this level that I’m currently at, but it’s nothing short of amazing for me
(Side note: i was having a long talk with one of my teachers and she calld me a “success story” as an adult beginning dancer. That felt like wow…)

Anyway, all this talking (writing) about my current level, and no actual descriptions of where I’m at… so, where am i?
Im currently taking about four ballet classes a week (2 int/adv, 2 beginning), plus two beginning modern classes. Int/adv is difficult, but I don’t feel in over my head. Barre and center are so much fun. The kind of combinations we do in barre are similar to the kind of stuff in Kathryn Morgan’s advanced barre on youtube, for reference. I actually attempt the pirouettes at the barre, and my balance on releve on one leg lasts several seconds on a good day.
Center is so much fun! Combinations like tendu devant croisse, grand battement, grand battement on releve, close in sous-sus, land in fourth, pirouette en dedans, tendu derrière croisse, grand battement, then on releve, pirouette en dehors, tendus and grand battement a la seconde, pirouette a la seconde, soutenu, other side. Or balancé front and back, en tournant, waltz en tournant, tombe pas de bourre, pirouette en dehors, pivot, pirouette en dedans, soutenu, temps lie back, pique turns x2, step over turn, chaînes, chasse to releve arabesque, faille, run off. Consecutive pirouettes from fifth en dehors in center – and i can actually do them. Grand allegro- sissone, faille x2, glissade assemble, brise x4, glissade pas de chat, sissones en croix (so hard! So fast!), run and fouetté. Im not saying it’s perfect, but I’m doing it!
Beginning class is also lots of fun. I like to challenge myself by doing the barre with my hand either lightly on it or not touching at all. Even though it’s beginning, our teacher lets us use port de bras and epaulement, so that keeps it fun. In center we do lots of waltzing and balancés, tendus and pas de bourres. So fun to continue to work on the basics.
There’s things that I don’t really expect much improvement on though, like turnout. I mean, i can do clamshells with resistance until forever and all the pilates turnout exercises in the world and while the muscles get stronger and stronger, the flexibility in my hips is set. I can hold my turnout, but it’s not very good. Same as my splits. I’ve made peace with this fact, but it’s so frustrating when a know it all teenager who’s being doing ballet since they’ve been walking comes along and harasses me about it. So hard to remain civil about it…
Modern class is lots of fun in a different way. I’m finally at the point where i don’t feel like doing ballet when we have to improv! I’m actually enjoying the opportunity to move my body in new and unique ways. Floorwork has definitely become less scary, though my transitions from the floor to standing could still use work – I’ll blame my disproportionately long legs. But going from standing to the floor is ok, because I definitely have the upper body strength. And I finally figured out how to do a body roll without lookign like I’m having a seizure.
As far as pointe, I don’t have a pointe class to go to, but i keep working on it at my home barre, and occasionally at work, taking advantage of the studio time. The floor there is marginally better than the floor at home, so i do a little bit of center. Not much though, because the floor there is still not optimal for pointe and i like to play it super safe. My barre pointe work has gotten better though, I continue to get stronger and more comfortable. I love the feeling of being on pointe, love how my shoes hug my feet, love how it feels so magical to lift up and out, no longer making contact with the floor. I think I mention to all my friends how it doesn’t hurt, how the pressure of standing up on releve for a long time is arguably more “painful” than being up on pointe. It seems like this is a taboo thing to say because everyone always goes on about how much it hurts, but this is my experience and, like I’ve said before, if i can’t express myself truthfully on my own blog then where? Anyway, I’m sure its just because my shoes are a perfect fit for my feet, not because of me – I still continue having a low tolerance for pain.
Anyway, this year i am not performing, which is another blessing in disguise… I will explain that one later, eventually . I will say that at first i was very upset about this development, but the support of my dance friends has really helped me out. That’s another thing, I’ve made some amazing and supportive – not to mention talented – dance friends. And the other day one of my friends mentioned that she’d heard one of the faculty members discussing how much they’d enjoyed my piece that I choreographed this past summer. I found myself surprised and pleased about that.
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who expressed their condolences in reply to my last post, I really appreciate it.

4 thoughts on “Back At It (For Now)

  1. Trippmadam

    Turnout: I had natural turnout. It did not make me a better ballet student. Actually, I was not bad, but there were fellow students who did not have good turnout, but danced much better than I did.

    (As I get older, I seem to lose my turnout, but then I do not really need it for flamenco.)

    1. kit Post author

      That’s good to know. I can see the importance of using the turnout muscles to hold whatever turnout one has, but other than that I’ve made peace with what I have


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