Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The start of a new month

Our instructor previously mentioned that she planned to teach a particular lesson for a month, giving us the opportunity to develop skills. I started in late April and don't recall a distinct change at the beginning of May, but that might have been because things were too new for me to notice. It's June (yesterday was close enough), and we started a new lesson. The sequences I'd started to get good at are out the window, and we're on to new and more challenging stuff. Well, maybe not more challenging, but certainly different.

Years ago a friend gave me a four-CD set of ABBA songs. One of the four disks contains rarities and tracks recorded in languages other than English. I've had some instruction in Spanish and French and songs sung in those languages sounded familiar, even if my vocabulary was lacking, but the Swedish tracks sounded like little more than melodic gibberish. Shortly after returning from a half year living in Stockholm I heard one of the Swedish tracks again and was struck by the realization that what had been gibberish now was words and phrases. Intellectually this wasn't a surprise, not after a five-week language immersion class, but the visceral reaction was stronger than I expected.

Thinking about last night's class afterward, I had much the same visceral reaction. I'm starting to see purpose in certain exercises we're starting. Our instructor may have structured last month's lessons with the same sort of planning, but I didn't see it. I can definitely see it this month, and I'm attributing that difference to my "learning the language". At the barre we're doing some sequences that appear to be focused on ankle and foot flexibility and strength. Others seem to work the hips. We've incorporated more torso stretching into the pliés, and there's a bit more attention on arm positioning.

In the center we start learning some new stuff, and picked up some old. Everyone asked lots of questions, and rather than trying to push on with the lesson plan the instructor tried her best to answer every question. We working with with balancé again, which is one of those steps that I've done before but never felt right. After asking several questions and alternating between watching and doing, I discovered a transition I think I've been doing wrong, a brushing motion rather than a lurch, and suddenly it felt more "right" than it ever had before. Tomorrow night I'll see if it "sticks". We started working with waltz turns, which I think just need repetition.

Unlike previous classes I didn't find myself exhausted afterward. I'd like to think this is an indication of improving physical fitness, but it's probably because we spent more time marking the steps than practicing them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are encouraged! It doesn't matter whether you're a total newbie asking a question or a professional offering advice; I want to hear from you.

That said, Blogger sometimes quarantines comments for reasons I can't explain. If your comment doesn't show up immediately it may be waiting for approval. I'll approve almost anything relevant, but I have to notice it first! Spam will be trashed, of course.