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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?!

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