A friend of mine invited me to join her for a class at one of the places I took class in the fall of 2012. Being a total sucker for an invitation from a pretty girl I said yes. It's interesting comparing this class with the ones I've been taking.
The biggest difference is that this school has one level of adult beginner class, versus the three levels at my current school. This means that this beginner class has folk who really are starting from scratch up through folk who have been taking classes for several years. Barre is much slower paced, as the instructor runs around providing a lot of individualized instruction. Fortunately the classes are smaller than I'm used to (this one had 14 students). I got a suggestion to open my stance wider when doing grand pliés in second. I barely broke a sweat in barre tonight, compared to last night's barre that left me (and my handy hand towel) dripping.
Center work was fairly easy. I didn't have trouble catching my breath until after an allegro sequence which, because of the small number of students, ran pretty much continuously for four repetitions. When we finished I was surprised to realize we'd done no turns other than soutenu at the barre. In fact, the thing I struggled with most was muscle spasms in my sides (mostly serratus anterior, I believe, in case you're keeping score). I'm not sure if I'm dehydrated or if it's the back-to-back classes that I'm definitely not used to.
I guess I've come to accept that I really am competitive. I want to succeed, and to me, succeeding means improving. I want to get better and I'm not satisfied staying in one place. There are a couple of students in this class I remember from a year or so ago, and I don't see that they've progressed since then. I felt like I was pretty much at the top end of this class, along with one or maybe two of the others, and I started wondering whether I'd fit into this school's intermediate class. My friend seems a bit frustrated that she's not improving as she'd like, and I think it may be because she's taking classes that are not really challenging her. That's not to say that there isn't anything to be learned at this level, but I think you progress faster when you're challenged enough to be out of your comfort zone. Maybe I'll try to nudge her out of her nest. :-)