Tuesday was another two-student class. Summer has really taken its toll on attendance. Two of the regulars are out for medical issues, and others are on vacation. Rumor is we're gaining a new student next week.
Barre work was mostly the same. We have one exercise that does a sequence of stretches in 6th (parallel), then each leg opens to tendu, turns out, and closes to 1st before repeating the stretches in first. I don't have much turnout (about 45 degrees in each leg at this point) and I've always stood and walked with my feet parallel. In the mirror last night I noticed that what my muscles said was parallel was actually turned out a bit, and I felt a bit of stretch the other way when my feet were actually parallel. I hope that means I'm gaining turnout, but it also means I need to stretch in as well as out.
We're starting to do dégagé away from the barre. That's hard on the balance, especially if you've taken Benadryl for allergies. I didn't fall over, but there were moments when I had to put a lot more weight on the working foot than there should have been. After we put the portable barre away we tried doing rond de jambe. That didn't work so well for me, especially not while supporting with the left leg. Yet something more to work on.
Last Thursday we got a peek at "Part C" of the petite allegro sequence. Trying to pick this apart using Gretchen Ward Warren's Classical Ballet Technique, it goes something like this:
- Standing on the left foot with the right behind (attitude à terre), bring the right foot forward, across in front of the left, and fall (tombé) onto it. End up in what GWW calls fondu sur le cou-de-pied derrière with the right leg supporting.
- Pas de bourrée dessous de côté (under, to the side) to the right.
- Pas de bourrée en avant (forward). This ends up in what GWW calls fondu pointe tendue devant. For the rest of us, that's with our weight on our bent right leg, with the left foot pointed in front touching the floor.
- Piqué onto the left foot and execute one tours chaînés counterclockwise.
- Chasseé en avant with the right foot in front.
- Slide the left foot through 1st to 4th.
At some point while practicing Part C I realized I'd just done a couple of tours chaînés without getting off-balance. I think part of it is just the repetition, but also the instructor told us to keep all the steps in the sequence small and tight. I may have been stepping too far out, and that may have been throwing me off.
When I was in high school I was part of the gymnastics team. Not as a gymnast, but as a videographer. We recorded each of the practices and competitions so that the coach and the gymnast could look at an exercise and review every position and every motion on the monitor, rather than trying to remember what had happened. I believe it was one of the reasons we were state champions year after year. I almost wish we had recordings of these classes for the same reason, and as a way to look back and see the progress we're making. Or maybe not.