Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Successes and Failures

I'm off work this week, and as I did last year I used this opportunity to take some classes I normally can't get to. I had a conflict for the Floor Barre® class yesterday, but I did get to today's Beginner II and Advanced Beginner classes. These are taught by the same instructor who teaches the Sunday and Thursday evening classes, so I figured I wouldn't have any trouble with them. Well, no more trouble than normal.

The Beginner II class was mostly the same as Sunday morning's class, which is what I expected. We're starting to get more emphasis on port de bras during barre. I didn't realize that they also have en dehor and en dedans movements, though it's kinda obvious once you think about it. Unfortunately, adding this to simple leg movements like tendu en crois makes me screw up either the arm or leg movements, whichever I'm not concentrating on. So much complexity to what seems so simple from the comfy seats in the theater. I'm starting to get the hang of pirouettes en dehor from fifth. That's not to say they're pretty, but I'm more on balance and get around further.

We did a combination in the center I want to record: glissade, petit jeté, coupé, chassé, pas de bourrée, glissade, assemblé, échappé, hold until the start of the next measure and repeat. I want to preserve this because I made it all the way through it twice to the right, and one and a half times to the left with confidence. I blame my screw-up at the end going left to the compliment our instructor offered, which distracted me badly. Apparently I haven't quite reached the point of being able to handle a distraction yet. If someone had said a year ago I'd be doing this combination at the speed we're doing it, I'd have laughed.

After the 15 minute break between classes I moved on to the Advanced Beginner class. Although the two classrooms are next to each other and have the same thermostat settings, this one was much colder. I've been wearing mid-thigh length shorts to class, but I may switch to tights to keep my legs warmer and maybe invest in a pair of knit warmers.

We've started to do yet another variation on the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise at the barre. This one has the outside leg doing nothing but degagé a la seconde on the odd counts, and the inside leg doing degagé devant or derrière as appropriate. This one is easier for me to follow, and it certainly gives practice with weight shifts (something this instructor is noted for).

In center I was doing pretty well until the last 10 minutes of class. Apparently we were running late, and the instructor decided to merge the last two jump combinations she had planned. As she walked us through the combination I followed for about the first quarter of it, then realized this was just something I wasn't going to get. When she then demonstrated the timing I gave her a little salute and moved to the back corner of the studio to watch. It was quite impressive, but nothing I could have done even half of. Someday, maybe, but not today.

As I watched the rest of the class I became aware of an ache in my right foot. It felt like I had a fold in my sock under the 4th or 5th metatarsal, but when I took my shoe off there wasn't anything there. My best guess is that it's the edge of the suede pad under the front of my foot. This encouraged me to bail on the last combination too as a precaution. Even now, 8 hours and a soak in the tub later, it's still sore. Maybe it's time to finish sewing the elastics in my backup pair of slippers so I can switch between classes.


  1. I really enjoy reading about your experiences in ballet classes. You make a very valid point about distractions whilst doing a combination; either due to a compliment or something else. I am sure not all teachers are aware of this.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I'm of two minds on this.I find it difficult to understand comments made while I'm in the middle of a combination, whether it's a correction or compliment. Other dancers in my classes have said the same thing to me. But in a class of 20-some, when else is there time? Also, though I'm a naturally self-confident person, I have insecurities like anyone else and really appreciate any reassurance that I don't look like a total dork. In the balance I guess I prefer the distraction, as much as I grouse about it.


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