Honestly, all weekend I was concerned that I may have to miss class today…
Last week, around Tuesday or Wednesday, Boyfriend showed up and home with the symptoms heralding the beginning of a cold. Last Thursday during class (not ballet, but academic) my lab partner kept sniffling, so I knew it was a only matter of time. What do you know, I spent all Friday, Saturday, and Sunday sick as a dog (seriously, where did that expression come from? My dogs are extremely healthy and even when they aren’t feeling at their best they still don’t really show it, I handle being sick more like a baby than a dog.) Luckily, I don’t stay sick for long – I credit my healthy diet full of vitamim C – and my worries of missing class were all for nothing.
I slept in until 6:15, instead of my usual 6 a.m. sharp on ballet class days. Figured since I already had my freshly washed leotard and tights set out from the night before I didn’t need a whole hour to get ready before leaving home. Or was it because I was feeling lazy and a little under the weather? Yeah, perhaps more of that than it being a carefully thought out plan. And this is barely week 3 out of 14 of having ballet during what feels like the wee hours of the morning. Good thing once daylight savings time hits I can lie to myself that I’m getting up an hour later to get through it (which works great because it actually is an hour later).
Despite heavier-than-usual traffic, and damp dreary weather, I made it to class with time to spare. Had a quick snack/breakfast of plantains and honey in the car and then speedwalked to class. Did some stretches on the floor then a few warm-up plies and then it was time for class to begin.
At the barre we did our usual plie and tendu exercises. Once again Teacher had us let go of the barre completely during our second run-through of our tendu exercise. Unlike the first moments of panic the first time, I’ve found that I enjoy it. It’s like a way of forcing me to engage my core and find my balance instead of overrelying on the barre. We also let go of the barre for the degages, which also went much more smoothly than the first time.
Once again I was corrected on my ankle overpronation (rolling in) while standing in flat. I like how this teacher is really on top of that. I’ve been working on the ankle overpronation issue but it’s good to be reminded when I forget until my body finally commits it to muscle memory.
My balances at the barre today were pretty good, though we didn’t do anything too advanced. Just balancing in releve and passe in flat. But I did feel more stable than last class, so I was pleased.
As for the exercise in which we tendu our working leg back and then swing our leg through first position into attitude devant and then swing back through first position to attitude derriere and then back front, etc, that we did last week, this time I made sure to notice what exactly was my malfunction in performing it. You know, the whole not being in timing thing? Turns out I was right, I was doing it too slow. When Teacher counts out the timing I can keep the timing and swing my leg on the counts, but as soon as she would just have us keep timing in our heads my timing would fall apart. It’s like the timing that she counted was too fast for me to naturally keep up with it, but if I make myself hurry up I can do it. It’s a strange feeling actually, or maybe (unless I consciously attempt otherwise) I’m just always moving in slow motion?
We must have done over a 100 sautes, no lie. First we did four sets of 8 at the barre ( that’s 32 right there). Teacher wanted us at the barre so we could focus on our feet, specifically on pointing them while in the air and landing correctly, toes first then the rest of the foot. We were allowed to hold on to the barre for balance, or for really beginning students, to actually use the barre to push up if the jumps didn’t have enough power. I’m not a first-time-taking-ballet kind of beginner, but my jumps are definitely not one of my strong points, so I was getting help from the barre. It was pretty cool to really get a feel for how it feels to point the feet while in the air. Oh, and we did the 32 sautes twice, so that’s 64 so far.
In center we did several 8 counts of sautes as well as several 8 counts of sautes and ecchapes (which I apparently forgot how to spell). So while I don’t have the exact count (though it could be 112) of how many times my both my feet left the ground completely, I am willing to bet it’s over 100!
While my feet pointing needs some work, I’m glad that at least I can do the arms while doing sautes and ecchappes (spell?). I remember the first time I took ballet not only could I not point my feet, I also couldn’t coordinate the arms or even stay within the same square foot of space on the floor while jumping. So, I know it’s slow, but it’s progress and I’ll just take it and be grateful. Sometimes, when I see other (beginning) student’s beautiful jumps and get sad, I have to keep reminding myself that before I started ballet a year and 8 months ago I had seriously not jumped in like 20 years. Always have to remind myself to keep it in perspective.
The center combination that involves tendu a la seconde, plie, close to first, repeat other side, with port de bras and then releve, balance, while bringing up the arms, actually went well today. I did not lose my balance even though my arms were moving. At some point I felt a wobble coming on and I remembered to tighten my core as hard as I could and that stabilized me. Yay, I’m learning!
No ankle or foot pain today at all, going on seven weeks since I sprained it.
And even though I had been worried about any of my cold symptoms popping up – especially during all those sautes – I managed to not run out of breath and I only coughed once. Of course then I coughed the whole way home, but who cares – I survived another awesome day of ballet!