Tag Archives: ballet at community college

Something Old, Something New

I mean, something classical and something modern  🙂

The semester has started, so I’m back to twice-weekly ballet classes at community college (Intermediate), as well as classes at New Studio.  However, as if I didn’t have enough dance-related stuff on my plate (can you ever have enough dance-related stuff? Rhetorical question…) with all those ballet classes, I decided to try out something new – modern dance!

The first day of intermediate ballet class went pretty well actually. I felt much less in over my head compared to when I took that level last semester.  A big part of it – at least I think – is that this time I’m not overhyping it up in my mind.  I went in there feeling much less unprepared this time (and less like I don’t belong there), and as a result I felt more prepared. I don’t know, it’s weird…

It had been almost 3 months since I’d taken class with Teacher, and I had missed it.  I mean, my other teachers (especially F Teacher over the summer session) have been pretty awesome in their own ways, and I’ve learned so much from them too, but Teacher’s been the teacher that I’ve taken class with the longest. As such, she has a better idea of what i can do, what I can’t do (yet), and what I need lots of work in. Let the corrections begin!

Unlike last semester, I felt like I was keeping up in barre. I know it’ll get progressively harder throughout the semester, but if you’re struggling from day one (as I was last semester), it’s probably not a good sign. Still, it’s been feeling challenging, but not at that level where I feel overwhelmed and can’t even mind my technique.  Teacher complimented me on my grand plies (regarding the alignment issue – before I used to stick out my pelvis), so apparently I have improved on that. She also mentioned that I seemed more flexible.  There were mistakes, here and there, but in general I felt like I was remembering combinations at barre better than I used to a few months ago. It’s been allowing me to focus more on technique and actually doing it instead of just trying to figue out what’s next (or following someone and being late). I also felt much more coordinated than I did last semester, and my port de bras and even head movements felt less stiff. There’s this one girl that has the most awesome port de bras, and sometimes I feel like I’m learning just by watching her. Ok, I admit I try to copy her, i watch how she moves her arms or head and try to imitate it. That sound kind of weird, I guess, but I’m used to applying everyone’s corrections and this seems like the next logical step.

Center went well, and by well I mean I managed to do everything, though not necessarily well, and at best mediocre (That sounds kind of bad, but I’m actually pretty happy that that’s the worst I could say about it) . We did tendues a la seconde alternating feet with the head motion – head turning towards the side that will have the leg in front – and then pas de cheval, pique sous-sus, passe releve, close down in fourth and pirouette en dehors.  It was not consistent, but I got around on about half of my pirouettes. Of course, then I kept messing up by wanting to finish the way we do at NS class instead of just in fifth position.

We did a 4 saute, echappe to second and 4 sautes in second, then 3 echappes and pas de bourre, repeat combination as well, asnd I managed to point my feet and not trip over my own feet, though by the end I was panting.  so i felt strong but a little out of shape. The second time I took this class though I was already feeling stronger in my jumps.  All that jumping practice I’ve been doing at home has really paid off. During the basic 16 sautes in first, I noticed I was actually in correct timing, which was great because I usually go off into my own tempo around 9 or so. I’ve also been seein improvement in my pas de chatt, specifically the second leg’s foot pointing.

We also did pique turns across the floor, and Teacher was watching me like a hawk.  I got corrected when we went to the right on not going down into plie enough in between each turn, to the left on losing my turnout.  The tempo was also on the fast side, and I hadn’t done pique turns across such a large studio in over a month. Ok, no more excuses…

Then we waltzed, and except for my arms being all over the place (except 3rd arabesque, going through the middle, then first arabesque, as they were supposed to be…) I felt like I was getting the hang of it. I was right – the reason I would get confused before was because I would begin the turn too soon.  So today I focused on not doing that, though it’s my first instinct. For whatever reason my brain thinks that if I begin to turn sooner will make the overall speed of it faster. Clearly that wasn’t working.

Now, as for modern class… first off, I’d never taken a modern dance class before – ever.  So I had no idea what to expect.  When getting dressed I had to fight the urge to put my hair in a bun and wear my pink tights (I did end up wearing a leotard though, under some black leggings and a T-shirt).  The biggest shocker, I think, was the whole barefoot thing.  I felt so naked! My feet are usually covered when I’m in public, even if it’s by something thin like tights, so it felt quite odd having my feet exposed.  I’m hoping I will get used to it.

Class itself was fun, different from ballet, but at the same time I can see how my ballet training has made me stronger. Unlike ballet, we did not start off at the barre. We worked both in parallel (6th position), and turnout. At some point Modern Dance Teacher told us to go to second position from first and I tried to tendu to second out of reflex. With my bare feet it did not exactly work out – more scraping than sliding. How do people that do ballet class barefoot with no socks or tights manage to tendu I wonder? We also did a lot of stretching, sort of like ballet stretches but without the beautiful port de bras or the ballet hands. For across the floor we walked, first at a steady tempo, then aternating between a normal speed walk for 4 counts, a super slow walk for 4 counts, and a really fast walk. Once it appeared we had that down MD Teacher has us changing directions for the different tempos. I know it sounds like it was so easy compared to ballet, but coordinating the arms and legs took some work. However, I noticed that I was picking up the combination somewhat quickly, which I’m totally giving credit to ballet for.

Overall, modern dance class was fun. I’m not sure yet if I’ll continue with modern after this semester, but I wanted to give it a try – you won’t know until you try, right?  I’ve read that ballet dancers train in other styles as well, so I’m hoping it’ll help me become a more well-rounded dancer.

I’ll try to write down some combinations (from ballet and maybe even from modern) once we settle into some sort of routine and I can actually remember them longer than it takes to just do them.

Also, I am so incredibly sore right now. I just wanna lay here on my foam roller now while simultanousely rolling out my calves with a tennis ball.

I Made It!

An update, as promised.  As soon as I came home though, I noticed that we had company, and now it’s late so this’ll be a little short.

Ok, I made it into class… that’s winning the first battle, right?

As I approached the studio, I noticed the door was shut. If I hadn’t obsessively checked that I was, in fact, enrolled in the class and it started at that hour  I would’ve probably taken that to mean that there was no class (and therefore I can just maybe sneak off quietly…).  But I had, so I took a deep breath and opened the door.  There was all these people there! Well, about 15-20 but they already had barres set up so the initial sight was somewhat intimidating.  I took off my shoes and pants (I had dressed at home), then looked for a place to join at a barre.  I saw a couple people I recognized from Teacher’s class and hurried over there.

Barre combinations were complex, but nothing I felt I couldn’t handle. Hopefully I’ll get some exact combinations written up on here once I’ve taken class enough times to remember. So yeah,I can’t remember move-by-move any of the combinations right now (which just shows how complex they were?). I do remember that we did a lot of going from side to side with soutenu without stopping, lots of releve cambres, long passe releve balances, fondues and developpes with port de bras. I want to say it was a little bit either slower or easier than Teacher’s intermediate class (or maybe I have improved since then?) I will say this though: I was sweating by around halfway through barre. It was nice to feel challenged but not overwhelmed.

Then it was time for center, and I was a bit nervous. There was a tendu combination; quarter and half pirouettes en dehors from fifth; sautes, changements and echappes, saute arabesque and saute coupe across the floor; a waltz, 2 balances, passe releve and pirouette across the floor. Probably other stuff I’m forgetting as well.

Overall, it went nowhere near as horrible as it could’ve been.  Yeah, I messed up all the combinations, but I’m not feeling too bad over it.  It didn’t help that where I was standing at both barre and center made it a bit hard to see when the teacher (F Teacher) was giving out the combinations. I’m not going to make excuses though… Good thing there’s plenty of good dancers to follow throughout the long combinations, though if we do the same ones often I hope to remember them soon. F Teacher told us she expects us to work hard, that she will treat us as though we were seeking to be doing auditions and stuff. Perhaps I’ll come out a much better dancer.

It’s getting super late and I’m too tired to make more sense now.  But I had a lot of fun 🙂

What An Ego Boost!

After taking my written ballet final, while I was walking back towards the parking lot – for the first time in months neither tired nor sore, as there was no actual ballet class – a group of students were asking me about the terminology, mostly checking if they’d gotten answers correct, I guess. As the group broke off to just a couple remaining classmates, we got to talking about ballet class.  “Are you going to take ballet next semester?” I asked. I love seeing familiar faces in class.

They both replied that they might, or if not they would at least try a different style of dance. “Maybe it’ll be a little easier. But you’re pretty good though,” one of them said, “I suck at ballet..

Aww, thanks! “I’ve been doing it for two years. My first semester was hard. It gets better, I promise.”

“But I can’t even balance, or turn…”

“My first semester I couldn’t balance in center even just standing there,” I stopped walking and momentarily assumed second position. “I couldn’t tendu without falling over, couldn’t switch from one foot to the next. I couldn’t even balance on both feet at the barre in first!”

“Really?”

“Yes! I was horrible, couldn’t do anything at all. I felt so clumsy, like, why am I even in this class. I never got to do ballet as a child at all, so it was all new to me,” For a moment, I got the idea to refer them to this blog. But no, I like my anonymity…

“You know, I’m gonna take this class again! I can get better!” one of them exclaimed.

Awesome! We need more beginners that make it past the first-few-months stage – the worst stage, the most discouraging, in my opinion. And I think it’s so cool that some of my classmates actually thought I was (somewhat) good at ballet.

As for summer class, Boyfriend’s like “Just sign up already! You know you’re going to end up taking that class anyway.” Hmm, I’ll take that as being supportive, I guess. The boy knows I often need a push in the right direction…

Thursday: Last Class Of The Semester…

… and I am still having ballet class withdrawal! 🙂

It feels like the semester came to an end much too soon.  At least that’s how I feel about ballet class, about other classes (and super long school days) not so much.  In fact, other than ballet, I feel like I’m overdue for a break! Well, now I have a couple months to relax on my own. Plenty of time to excessively practice ballet, watch some ballet videos, catch up on all the other hobbies in my life…

It was a good last class. After we did our plies, Teacher divided us into small groups, barre by barre, to work on a combination featuring a specific move, teach it to the class, and then do it all together.  It was a pretty small class, so there were only 4 groups this time. Same as last semester, my barre was in charge of rond de jambe.  I’m wondering – coincidence, or can Teacher tell how much I love doing rond de jambes.

It was funny, as soon as Teacher told us our assignment the other two girls on the barre just kind of looked at me like “Do you have any ideas?”.  Do I? Of course!  I went with a similar combination to the one I usually do to practice rond de jambes at home – though much shortened.  Actually, when I said “Ok, this is what I do at home…” they kind of looked at me funny.  Yes, I am just a tad ballet-obsessed, guilty! LOL

I kind of wish I had known ahead of time we were going to be doing this.  While the combination we came up with was fun, as soon as I got home I started getting all these cool ideas about challenging combinations we could have done.  Not necessarily impossible ones – after all, Teacher told us to keep the combinations to moves we did during the semester – just more complex, like add a chasse front after finishing en dedans, a chasse derriere after finishing en dehors, or something.  Regardless, it was fun working in a little team and coming up with a combination.  This may sound bad, but I was really glad that in my group I was the person with the most ballet experience; last semester, there was a girl in my group who may have had more experience (or at least about the same), and when we were trying to come up with the combination it felt like we were sort of butting heads.  I’m not that skilled in interpersonal communication, so it’s at times hard for me to work in a group.  I think in the end I just let her decide how we were going to do it. This time, I got more creative license, as the other girls were just saying “Ok” to everything.

(Great, now I made myself sound like a control freak.  I assure you all, most of the time I don’t speak up and just end up letting the other people/person decide…)

Anyway, all the combinations my classmates and I came up with were at least somewhat challenging. Here’s what I remember:

– sorta basic tendu combination involving tendu to demi point, then point, then demi point, then close.  En croix, going en dehors with arm staying out in second, en dedans using the arms.  It was different, kind of shocked my body’s muscle memory a bit. It’s funny how I think nothing of doing arms with tendus en croix, but that muscle memory somehow failed me when we had to do en dedans first.  Muscle memory is such an odd thing. Something I will surely be reading a lot about now that I have some more free time.

-1 tendu and 2 degages en croix with arms, followed by 8 echappes releves. The tricky part involved the echappes. It was something like two at regular speed, then hold a balance on the third one.

– frappes en croix with arms, again with different tempos, like 2 fast, pause, then the other one.  At the end there was a soutenu (without holding on to the barre, the girls specified) and other side.

– tendu devant, fondu, bring foot up to passe, developpe pausing at attitude, straighten leg, tendu, close, repeat a la seconde, then derriere, then a super long balance in attitude devant.  This was personally my favorite combination.

Our group’s combination was 1 slow rond de jambe en dehors with arms, 1 rond de jambe en dedans with arms, two rond de jambes a terre en dehors, 1 rond de jambe en l’air en dehors, close, 2 rond de jambes en dedans a terre, 1 rond de jambe en l’air en dedans, fondu, up to passe releve, sous-sus and soutenu other side.  It was ok, very similar to last semester’s combination, definitely not as complex as it could have been.  Everyone looked sufficiently challenged though…

It was a good end to the semester.  Afterwards I had a thought that this is a “team effort” version of the short dance that students in other dance classes have to choreograph (like my first semester ever).  We weren’t tested on this, but it was a good way for Teacher to assess if we’ve learned the ballet vocabulary, as we were supposed to use ballet terms while explaining the combinations to the class. A recurring theme I noticed in the combinations was a mid-combination tempo change.  I guess if one thing was learned it was that a change in tempo makes for a much harder combination!

What’s next for me ballet-wise? We will soon see…

Last semester’s creative barre combinations class:

https://www.balletandorbust.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/monday-class-something-a-little-different/

Tuesday Class: Rough Starts, Good Endings…

Had another great class, though it did get off to a rough start.  It wasn’t until about 15 minutes before class that I realized that I had not packed my extra sports bra (I could have sworn I grabbed it, but apparently I packed the wrong thing), which was making me not look forward to the jumping part of class. Also, my favorite – and enormous – bathroom stall was occupied so I had to change into my ballet gear in the most cramped quarters ever.  By the time I made it into the studio quite a few of the students were there, though the barres were not set up yet. I wasted no time in setting up a barre at my favorite mirror spot. Chatted with my barre-mate about the possibility of taking Summer class…

Barre started easy enough: two demi plie with arm in low fifth going up to demi-seconde, then eleve and open arm, grand plie bringing the arm all the way down, and cambre, in first, second and fifth. We also did the circular cambre port de bras that either is done right and looks awesome and is done wrong and looks terrible, at the end.  Tendus combination was a little trickier. Mostly becaus it involved a lot of flexing the foot when out in tendu and tenduing only to demi point first (to work on foot articulation, I guess).  It also serves to make sure we are really on our supporting leg and not using our tendu foot as a “kickstand” as Teacher says, I suppose.

Rond de jambe combination was sort of complex. We did 4 rond de jambes en dehors, fondues, then balance in 3rd arabesque, 4 rond de jambes en dedans, fondues, balance with leg out in front and arm in high fifth, close, releve sous-sus, soutenu and other side.  It was fun, though the girl on the next barre over and I kicked each other’s foot during the rond de jambes.  I love how ballet class is all you-don’t-say-anything-and-just-keep-going about little accidents like than, because it seems so different compared to how it seems people are quick to react over little things like that in the  “real world”. Or something…

The hardest part of barre was definitely the 8 echappes without holding the barre and a long balance out in releve a la seconde before finally coming back down.  It felt wobbly and  unstable, but could have been worse.

Wrapping up barre, we did the partner developpe stretch. We were holding on to the barre behind us, then developpe as high as we can and have our partner guide our leg up even higher, as high as we can. The they would let go and we would try to hold it up there for as long as possible.  Besides devant and a la second, we also did derriere, having our partner push up our leg as we went to penchee arabesque.  I think I can get my legs up higher now than the last time we tried this, especially my left leg which is usually tighter and less flexible.  After this, as we had our water break before center, a couple of the students asked me about my stretching routine. Do I stretch everyday? “Yeah, kind of. Like 5 days a week?” How long have I been stretching? “Since starting ballet two years ago.” I also made sure to mention than I’m not naturally flexible, that as a kid I couldn’t even touch my toes.  It’s been hard work every step of the way. I’ve always been more impressed by people who’ve worked hard to accomplish something as opposed to having a facility for it.  Perhaps because it makes it seem like anything can be possible if you just work hard enough/want it bad enough, and sometimes I need to think something reassuring like that…

Teacher had everyone go along the wall barre practicing steping out from a pique on to a passe releve.  Pique out the right leg, put right foot down in demi point, left leg in passe (and then the opposite to the other side of course). But she had a couple of the students from IC do pique turns instead – and she had me join them! I instantly wished that I’d practiced pique turns more recently than last weekend, but they went ok. At least to the right.  My spotting to the left still needs work, though I did manage to pique turn across the whole huge studio. I still believe pique turns are a million times easier than pirouettes.

We went over the balance, step to arabesque, pas de bourre, other side combination.  Teacher wanted us to work on bringing our arabesque leg up even higher.  That made balancing harder, of course. Something to work on at home…

While sautes seem to continue improving, changements are still leaving much to be desired.  My feet frequently land in the wrong place, or I land a good 6 inches to the side of where I took off from.  After this we did a new jumping combination. We jumped out to second, then pas de bourre three times total, then pas de chat twice, then start the whole thing to the left.  It was fun to attempt, but as I’m still lacking in speed it wasn’t looking too good. It reminded me a little of one of the combinations from IC, and I think I did do a better job at it than I did when taking IC a few months ago. And, to my surpirse, I completely forgot about the missing extra sports bra…

Then it was time to practice ballet running.  Since I was missing my second sports bra there was quite a bit of bounceage going on, but since we were all running at the same time I felt camouflaged.  Teacher told us to make sure our arms were not wobbling whele we ran, so it was nice to work on the stuff I can control and keep from bouncing. It did feel a little silly to be running around in a circle.  It wasn’t until hours after class when I realized that when Teacher has kept mentioning that we were running like a corps de ballet she actually meant this as a serious exercise.  I think I’d had a dumb grin on my face the whole time we were running.

We did the 4 chasse gallops, ballet run for four counts and pas de chat combination.  Teacher didn’t correct me on pointing my feet during the chasse gallops, so hopefully that means I was doing them right. They did feel strong though, and I could actually feel the part where the ankles touch in sous-sus in midair.  It was as good a way as any to end class (though you know how much I love reverance)…

Only one more class left in the semester.  Sad 😦

Thursday Class: Hot

We had no class on Tuesday – though I did enjoy a nice practice session at home – so Thursday was my first class in a week.

The weather got hot (finally – it was feeling more like fall than late May), making it harder to stay cool, especially towards the latter part of class.  This may have been the first time ever in ballet class when I’ve actually found myself sweating.  Out of breath, sure, has happened many times (especially back before I started running), totally sore, also yes, but never actual sweat. Of course, I was wearing my little sweater (they call them warm ups for a reason…) but I’ve just gotten so comfortable taking class with it on that I can’t imagine doing it without. So yeah…

We did a new combination with our rond de jambes: 4 rond de jambes en dehors, then brush the foot through  first to the front en cloche, then back, then front, hold, close, 4 rond de jambes en dedans, brush foot through en cloche, then end with foot behind and balance in 3rd arabesque. It was a nice combination, a bit challenging on moving the leg en cloche in correct timing. Actually, the timing of the rond de jambes was a little faster than usual, which also added to the challenege. The balancing part was ok, I balanced better on my second side (right leg), which was a little different than what I’m used to. In general my balancing was strong this class. It’s so unpredictable – going into class I never can guess ahead of time if it will be a good balancing day.

We did frappes on croix, then soutenu and other side.  It was a little tricky, closing from a frappe right to a releve sous-sus for the soutenu and then on the other side having the foot flexed and ready to frappe.  Also, it was 4 frappes in each direction, so there was the whole don’t-swich-the-first-one thing to think about.  It was fun though, I like doing stuff that is somewhat tricky so I can pat myself on the back that I can even do it at all. I remember my attemps at doing frappes my first semester – horrible!

Around the time we put the barres away for center, several dancers who sometimes take the next class (Intermediate) came it and began to warm themselves up in the back.  I have a strong suspicion these dancers are either pros or ex-pros, and I think one of the guys is en pointe.  Anyway, our first center combination was our 4 quarter pirouettes, 2 half pirouettes, and 2 full.  We start facing the front, quarter turn to the side, then quarter turn to the back, and I see one of the possibly pro dancers doing some ridiculously flexible stretch on the floor with his legs up by his ears (and he was wearing a sweater tied around his waist, with the arms placed strategically on the area where his dance belt is/would be. And then I noticed the other pro male dancer was sporting the same look. Is this a thing? For extra coverage while stretching? I though dance belts were designed with modesty in mind? Does the fact that I even noticed make me out to be a total perv? Not that it was distracting in the least… LOL).  We quarter turn twice more, and now we do our half turn to the back.  This time he’s in a completely different, also ridiculously flexible stretch, this one involving sort-of circling his legs out along the floor and bringing them back up rapidly.  By the time we’re on our second full pirouette – well, my attemps at a full pirouette – he’s down in completely perfect splits.  It was just like ‘Wow!’ because we have some people in class who are somewhat flexible, and even I myself sometimes get considered a flexible individual (especially by non-dancers, LOL) but these dancers (and this guy in particular) are just on another level.  It amazes me. I mean, I’ve watched youtube videos of pros taking class – actually, I love watching pros taking class videos – but seeing it right in front if you just makes it so real.  It was so intimidating fumbling through the pirouettes (and the rest of class) knowing they were there. It’s not like they were watching us or anything, they were mostly focused on their warm-up, but I still get embarassed. The whole concept of “That girl sucks at ballet – why does she even bother?” combined with my special brand of anxiety over being observed.  I guess I still feel so out-of-place at ballet class, unless everyone is on a very beginner level.  I don’t have much confidence in my dancing abilities, though I still have fun with it and continue to try.

When we did chaines from corner to corner I went in the last group.  It was not the wisest decision. First of all, there was only 2 of us (which in itself is not a problem, in IC we even went completely alone), but the other girl is really new (first semester) so, understandably, she turns really slow.  When we got to the other side we were supposed to finish by chasse-ing and then balancing in 3rd arabesque.  It’s usually no big deal, just a quick balance and then get out of the middle of the floor and get in line for the other side. The problem was that I had to hold my balance for much longer, since I finished crossing the floor much quicker and had to stay while the other girl finished and Teacher corrected her on her turns and chasse and arabesque. Holding the balance for longer, especially after all those turns (especially to the left) was certainly a challenge.

During our 4 balancés, tombe, pas de bourre, then other side combination, Teacher corrected me on my turnout. I tend to lose some of my turnout while moving, especially moving quickly.  It’s so hard to apply a correction when you’re in the middle of motion!

Jumps were definitely better today. During the 16 sautes and then 16 changements, Teacher told us “Much better on the timing!”, and being honest, it was usually me who was screwing up the group’s timing.  I’ve gotten much better at not speeding up towards the end, and actually staying on the same timing as everyone else.  I was trying to focus my attention more on making sure my feet were landing in the correct position and pointing in the air, not just jumping for the sake of jumping.  Like, being really deliberate in telling my body what I wanted it to do.  When we did 3 echappes, pas de chat, pas de bourree Teacher actually complimented me on my jumps, and I was looking in the mirror and the jump did look really powerful. Possibly the best echappe I’ve ever done!

Left class feeling pleased with my improvements (though frustrated by the areas that show no improvement). Feeling sad over the (rapidly) approaching break for the summer though. Teacher mentioned that there will be a session of IC taught over the summer, but it won’t be taught by her so I don’t know if I’m up for it.  I really dislike this aspect about me, but if I can’t feel at least comewhat comfortable it’s hard for me to relax enough to concentrate on what I’m doing.  If I don’t feel comfortable with the teacher I don’t know if I will just make a great big mess of things.  On the other hand, it is  almost daily and affordable ballet classes. Arg, what to do?!

Thursday Class: Sometimes Challenge Is A Good Thing

Had another great class, with the level heading more towards an intermediate-beginner level.  I was loving it!

We started our tendus en croix, and Teacher said we were going to do the combination 2 times through, but then she switched it up on us and said “Other side!”.  I think that meant we were to do a soutenu to switch sides but I was caught unprepared and didn’t go right into the soutenu as I should have. When we finished the second side I did a little bit better though.

Rond de jambe combination was a little more challenging (though still very fun to do!): 3 rond de jambes en dehors, chasse outside leg forward, lift up inside leg in arabesque and balance (this was the challenging part, oddly enough, because I’m not used to lifting up the inside leg for the balance, although it is actually much easier to execute than lifting the outside leg), close to sous-sus (this was another challenge; like, do I close to fifth and then releve sous-sus, or close directly into the sous-sus?), cambre devant and derriere, then 3 passe releves, 3 rond de jambes en dedans, chasse derriere, lift inside leg devant to balance, close sous-sus, cambres, 3 passe releves.  I really likes the complexity of the combination, long yet still slow enough that I managed to not get lost.  It was great!  In the end we ended with a superlong balance on releve sous-sus, which is my stablest balance still.

Then came the real challenge, something I’ve never attempted at home before.  I have to admit, it was kind of nice getting that momentarily panicked feeling of ‘Oh crap – can I do this?!’, as long as it doesn’t degenerate into thinking ‘What am I even doing in this class?!’ (it didn’t).  We did our frappes, just 6 a la seconde, then temps lie to the side of the working leg, 6 on the other side, temps lie.  Then Teacher says “Hands off the barre!” and we did it again.  Having never tried barre-less frappes, I was startled.  No time to be startled though, the music was starting!  I think I did the first two a bit hesitantly, as I didn’t want to fall off balance. But then I felt stable and did the rest a little bit better.  It’s not particularly harder than doing them with the barre, just as going the 8-8-4-4-2-2-1-1-1-1 degages without the barre is not much of a big deal anymore. I guess this just confirms that I need to continue stepping out of my comfort level.  Then fact than I didn’t tip over makes me so happy though!

We did developpes en croix with arms.  The hardest part here was staying on the count with the music.  I love doing developpes when I practice at home (usually do them with my fondues, like fondue en croix en dehors, developpes en croix en dehors, fondue en croix en dedans, developpe en croix en dedans), so I have a good general idea of where the arms go and stuff, but actually knowing where everything is supposed to be at each different count, not so much.  From what I remember, Teacher said that count 1 is at coupe, count 2 at passe, count 3 leg is out, and 4 it’s closed.  I think my problem is that I like to really linger on the coupe and up to passe part, so then I’m late on the count. But I just love doing stuff in slow motion, feels so much more graceful and pretty…

Finishing up the barre portion, we did grand battements en croix with arms.  I really enjoyed seeing how high my legs go up, especially in grand battements a la second.  I do womder though, if Teacher is going easy on the corrections for these. E Teacher used to always correct me on my battements, either I wasn’t really “kicking” my leg, or my hips were getting out of alignment, or my upper body was going forward when I grand battement devant (which I’ve really fixed by learning to engage my lats).  Teacher doesn’t really give me corrections on them (she does on a lot of stuff though, so it’s definitely not that she’s ignoring me), so I wonder if E Teacher was just pickier, or if I’ve actually improved on my technique…

We started off center with 1/4, 1/2 and full pirouettes again. A general correction Teacher gave us is to really go for the passe releve instead of slowly getting up there. It was a good reminder, as I’ve heard that correction before but forgotten.  Something funnier that Teacher said was “Keep your arms out in front in a beautiful circle! Don’t hold them against you like you have a stomachache!” I LOL’ed so hard at that (but it’s true – if you pull your arms in close it does look like you have a stomachache!), and even though the holding the arms in close part didn’t apply to me, still I was more mindful of my arms.

Chaines to the right went well, to the left I was not getting my head around quick enough to spot.  I must have a lopsidedly-muscled neck…

After sautes and changements we did 2 echapes, 2 pas de chat, pas de bourree combination.  I think what made this combination tricky was that even though we start to the right, the pas de chats would take us to the left  (since we only did 2 echappes instead of 3, and we pas de chat toward the back leg), and there was a lot of people going in opposite directions and almost colliding. I actually got it right though! Well, I got the directions we were going to right, technique-wise it needs work (of course).

Across the floor we did chasse gallop, saute coupe on right leg, chasse gallop, saute coupe on left leg, again on the right leg, then ballet run for four counts and saut de chat.  It was fun, remeinded me of one of the across the floor combinations we did during my brief stint in IC.  To the right it went well. To the left, I used the wrong leg for the saut de chat, and Teacher had all of us that did the wrong leg go back and do it again after everyone had gone. So intead of a group of 3 it was a little mob of ballet people prancing across the room.  So fun though!

There was time for reverance this class.  I love the adagio-ness of it. Still need to work on my curtsey though, as I do more of a fondue (keeping the back leg straight).

So yeah, as I’ve already mentioned I really love this point in the semester when stuff gets more challenging.  Really wish it could be this way the whole semester through. At the same time, I’m terrified of what they’re doing over at IC (rumor has it it’s beated jumps!). Due to schedule conflicts, next semester (still months away), I may have to take IC if I wish to keep dancing though the school.  Don’t know yet, as I’m having mixed feelings about it.  I guess at least I have time to do lots of thinking about it…