Friday, November 15, 2013

Faster than a speeding bullet!

I went to my second Advanced Beginner class this evening. Traffic was a mess, again, requiring an hour to travel what is usually a half-hour trip on the weekends. This is why I try to leave 75 minutes before class: instead of being late I was changed and started warming up with 5 minutes to spare.

Barre was OK, and I only had trouble with one combination. It's one where the outside foot does dégagés en croix while the inside foot does a single dégagé at a regularly irregular timing. Sometime between now and Sunday I'll have to figure out how that works. I did make one mistake in energy conservation, though. We were given the option of doing some parts on demi-pointe or on flat and I did a bunch of it on demi-pointe. That might not have been the smartest idea, as it took a bit out of me later. Oh, and I still hate petit battements.

In the center the combinations weren't all that long or that complex. But oh are they fast! I'm having trouble remembering what comes next in time, and not getting the transitions and weight shifts done. Because the combinations are short we do get to repeat them several times, and I feel like I'm getting more and more of the sequence every time through. The instructor is being quite encouraging though, saying she does lots of the same combinations and that in a couple of months I'll either be quite annoyed at the repetition or have quit in frustration, with the former being preferred. Ok, that's fair.

One thing we did that I greatly enjoyed was a tour jeté. I sorta remember these from my first ballet lessons back in the 1980s. Back then we were dancing on smooth wood floors and I was only taking one class a week, so on occasion I'd have trouble getting my foot underneath me for the landing and would face-plant rather ungracefully. With better flexibility and a comparatively sticky Marley floor, that's less of a concern. This combination ends with a piqué arabesque, followed by a turn, a couple of linking steps the other direction and the tour jeté. I don't know if I did the linking steps she called for because after the arabesque the ancient muscle memory sorta took over and I did whatever it was we used to do in preparation, kicked that leg up high, turned in the air, and stuck the landing. It was either so wrong the instructor decided I was still figuring it out, or right enough to not warrant a correction. It felt right to me, and given that it's been almost 30 years since I've done one that felt very satisfying.

I'm probably going to take Saturday off, so my next classes with be the 3-hour B2/AB combination Sunday.


  1. We now call a similar degage combination "4,3,2,1" because that is the count on which you use your inside leg. Outside for three beats then inside for the fourth, etc. It took me a while to figure it out and once I did it all came at once and seemed so simple! Of course, that doesn't mean I have stopped messing it up, sometimes...

    1. Yes! That sounds like the same combination we do.

      I've done it right a few times, but if I think about it I screw it up. I just need to commit it to muscle memory so I can stop thinking about it altogether.


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