Sunday, October 27, 2013

Playing Hooky

I skipped class this morning. Why? The regular instructor went out of town to see a favorite former student perform. Although the substitute instructor is one of my favorites, I'm using this opportunity to catch up on all the stuff I should have been doing around the house instead of spending huge chunks of my weekend days in dance classes.

I really need to win the lottery so I can give up this "work" stuff.

Yesterday morning's ballet class was pretty good. No scary voices appearing from behind me and no corrections by name (not that the latter is bad). But when the instructor reminded the class about droopy arms — which I'm sure included me — I immediately corrected and smiled like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar, and our instructor laughed. I don't know if there's a cause/effect relationship there, but it felt like it.

I managed to hold retiré relevé for several measures without touching the barre. I'm not consistent at it yet, but it's another small step forward. The big difference seems to be the strength I'm developing in my toes, which lets me shift my weight a fraction forward and minimizes the amount of movement of the rest of my body necessary to maintain balance.

In the center we did a new adagio combination, and I felt like I did a pretty good job with it. That's always satisfying. We also did another new combination of turns: two piqué tours followed by four chaînés emboîté tours, then three balancés (forward, back, side) and a step to the other side to tendu in preparation for the next combination. Most of us hadn't done chaînés emboîté tours before (I'd never heard the term) so we practiced them a bit. Fun, and not as hard as I expected. I need to improve my spotting, though.

Suspecting we'd see that challenging allegro combination afterward, I put a minimum amount of effort into the jumps. Sure enough, that's what came next. I'm still having trouble with the ballonné: it starts with the weight on the front foot, and it's hard for me to get my weight onto the back foot fast enough to release the front. I think if we did it at about 3/4 speed I could do it OK. I guess the speed with come with practice.

Stretch class yesterday afternoon was good, but this morning I'm definitely feeling the after-effects. My hip flexors are quite sore, attesting more to the stretching they got rather than the work they did in yesterday morning's ballet class. I'm really convinced this is a case of the pain being worth the gain. I'm really wishing I'd kept up with this in the '80s, and wasn't fighting 30 years of sitting at a desk.


  1. Hi there! I'm trying to work on stretching every day but I think this whole sitting at work business is really not helping. The only time I get exercise is ballet!!! I think it's ok to take a day off every now and then :) How many classes a week do you take on the weekends?

    1. Hi there!

      Spending too much time sitting is one of my real problems. Standing fully erect, all the muscles in my lower abdomen, my hip flexors and my adductors tighten up. A position like retiré relevé causes all sorts of stresses and strains that shouldn't be going on.

      For the last couple of months I've been taking one 90 minute ballet class each weekend day, plus a Stretch class either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Allowing time for travel, warm up, clean up, and down time between classes, and this costs me between 3 and 5 hours in the middle of the day.


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