Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A new exercise

I can only imagine the frustration an instructor must feel when teaching a class of rank beginners. She asks for passé and gets some sort of yoga pose. What to do? The answer is to channel it in a productive direction.

"Everyone sit on the floor. Extend your legs in front of you. Sit up straight, bend your knees, turn your legs out and put the soles of your feet together. Now straighten one leg. Using your hands, lift the heel of the other foot so your toes are touching your shin just below the knee. This is passé. Lower the heel so it rests on your shin; this is what you're doing. Now lift your heel away from the floor again. Feel the different muscles it uses? See if you can do it without using your hands."

All this time I'm thinking, "That's easy for you to say! You probably have been dancing ballet since you got out of diapers, have 180 degrees of turnout, and are seriously flexible. I'm none of the above." But I can feel a little bit more rotation than before, and it is a different set of muscles. Muscles that are so unused to being activated that they spasm in sympathy with the knot in my calf that's been threatening to cramp.

All in all, a learning experience.

Later, after we put the portable barres away, we did more balance work. Standing with our hands on our hips, we did a mix of tendus and dégagés. I don't know why, but putting my hands on my hips makes me feel totally off-balance. Then we moved on to pliés, both demi and grande, and relevés in first. She announced that she was quite pleased with how we were doing that, so we would make it harder by doing it in fifth. If this had been a traffic stop, the next step would have been a breathalyzer test.

She did allow as how everyone had trouble with this, which is why you never saw it on stage. Somehow that didn't quite make me feel all better, though.

I guess I could practice...  Naah.

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