Thursday, October 29, 2015

Going "old school"

I was working at home today and really didn't feel like driving 40 minutes each way to class. So I decided to check out my old ballet studio, the one I started at back in the spring of 2011. It's about 5 minutes from my house, or 10 if I hit all the lights. Most of the folk I knew there were gone, save one woman who helps teach kids classes during the day and still takes the adult ballet class.

This was the first time I'd been on a wood floor in close to three years, and I'd forgotten how slippery it is. I dampened the suede pads of my shoes just a bit to make them stick better and that seemed to be all I needed. Clearly my balance has improved (let's hope so!).

I'm used to 90 minute classes, and this one was only scheduled for 50 minutes. The barre combinations were incredibly simple compared to what I'm used to, and my tendus and dégagés were snappy and in sync with the music and I didn't screw up the patterns. On the other hand, trying to stand on one foot on demi-pointe for 4+ minutes straight while doing tendus and frappés with the other is more than I can do. I also attempted the first barre stretches I've done in years, and I think I managed to avoid tearing anything.

The problem with such a short class is that a nice, 35 minute barre warm-up leaves only 15 minutes for anything else. We did all of three exercises in the center. The first was like a series of half chaînés crossed with pliés in second; easier to do than to explain. The second was grand battement devant across the floor. The third was the same as the second except that it went front, side, back with little turns between so the leg continued in the same direction as the body rotated.

And that was about it.

I guess I got some exercise, and it was kinda fun to not be struggling to remember a long combination. But I don't think it'll become a regular thing.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Paying for it now

Despite realizing that I really need to make at least two classes a week, and three would be better, I haven't been able to do it. Some I blame on work, some on other commitments, and occasionally just because I didn't feel like going. But oh, am I paying for it now.

Last night I got schooled in the proper motion of the foot in a tendu. I don't have great arches to begin with, and even less flexibility in my ankles. But I tried. I really did. And I think the instructor understands my limitations. But I really worked at it.

When I got home last night I crawled into bed, wrote up last night's post on my laptop, rolled over and passed out. I even forgot to plug in my phone to charge. This morning when I woke up the first thing through my mind was, "Oh bloody hell, my FEET HURT!!" Not in a way that suggests I've injured something. But the medial longitudinal arches of both feet hurt.
And they still hurt. I guess I really was working my feet last night. I'm glad I don't spend my work days on my feet. Now I'm gonna scare up some ibuprofen.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

World Ballet Day

Today is World Ballet Day. Professional ballet companies around the world have been presenting performances on the 'net, starting just west of the International Date Line and moving west as the Earth rotates. In DC, the Kennedy Center had this showing on a big screen, and I heard rumors of free ballet classes. Of course, some of us had to work.

My contribution was to attend the Advanced Beginner class this evening. As I entered the facility I came upon a volunteer selling 50/50 raffle tickets to benefit the school. As I filled out a ticket, the volunteer attempted to be polite by asking if I had a child in the school. "No," I said. "I don't have kids." She looked perplexed by this, perhaps confused by the bag slung over my shoulder with the school logo on it. Come on, people! Adults take ballet classes. Even men.

In this class I often take a position at the end of the front-most portable barre, mostly to make it easier to see the instructor's demonstrations. Today that spot was already occupied, and I ended up front and center. This brought me a significant amount of attention from the instructor regarding everything from the level of my hips to the height of my demi-pointe to the order in which the parts of my feet touch or leave the floor during a tendu or degage. This attention is not exactly unwelcome, as I am actually there to learn and improve as much as I am there to get exercise. I'd like to think it means she thinks am, or am capable of, improving, and am thus worth the effort.

Again, it's hard to tell whether this class was easier than some others due to the mix of students who chanced to brave the rain this evening, but I didn't feel quite as lost as some other times. During one sequence in center I sat out the first run though while I slowly figured out what others had picked up immediately, but I joined in for the second run through, and had it mostly figured out for the third. I guess I've moved from being totally lost to merely being slow on the uptake. That'll have to do for the moment.