Monday, July 24, 2017

Is this dancing or swimming?

It's been a bit hot and humid here the last week. A "heat wave" here is defined as three or more consecutive days where the high temperature is 90F (32.2C) or above. It's been that hot since last Tuesday, though the official high yesterday only hit 89F (31.6C) Sunday so technically the heat wave is over. Yeah, right.

Tuesday night's class was sparsely attended, which made for an active class. I asked about the adult pointe class and Susan said enough people had expressed interest to justify a class; now she has to figure out when and where. I asked her to let me know, as I might want to sneak in and watch just to find out what a pointe class is all about.

Once again I over-did it at barre and got WLS (wobbly leg syndrome) during centre. I mentally kicked myself for this, as my balance is getting really quite good and I wanted to show it off in centre. I didn't sit out any of the exercises and felt pretty good about being able to pick up the combinations.

Saturday was crowded, with 29 students crammed into the mid-sized classroom. The thermostat on the wall said it was 76F (24.4C) but it felt hotter and with all the sweating bodies the humidity was swamp-like. I brought both water and Gatorade with me in an attempt to stay hydrated and I think it worked reasonably well. My experience is that Gatorade tastes awful unless I need the electrolytes, and then it tastes oh so good. It's about twice as strong as most people need so I always drink water too.

I was determined not to over-do it at barre, so I resisted the temptation to do more on demi-pointe than necessary and didn't push for the highest possible extensions à la Seconde which seem to cause me trouble later in class. This seems to have worked and my balance in centre felt much better. I think I'll stick to this plan from now on.

About half-way through centre I decided I really needed a break. My shirt was wet from the tops of my shoulders to my waist and the hand towel I keep with me was damp all over. I sat down for the demonstration and first pass of one exercise, while watching carefully to learn the sequence. As one group finished and the next about to begin, an upside-down face appeared in my view asking if I was okay. I laughed, made googly eyes, and said brightly, "Hi there!" Rach, you're darling and one of my favorite classmates.

I figured that was my cue to get up and rejoin the class. I'm slowly getting the hang of one of the combinations that seems simple but my feet don't want to follow: jeté, jeté coupé, coupé, jeté, assemblé. I have trouble switching between the jeté and the coupé and back again. Dunno why, but it's getting better with practice. I might even get the port de bras eventually.

After class I ran into another student while walking to my car. She asked how long I'd been taking ballet. I jokingly answered "about 90 minutes", the length of the class we'd just taken. She got the joke, and then I said, "about 5 years" but then I realized that's not quite true. I started back in May 2011, so it's been 6 years. I used to say that with pride, but now I feel like I should be better than I am after all that time. Anyway... she just finished the 5-week Intro to Ballet class, but none of the Beginner I classes fit her schedule so she asked permission to take the Beginner II class instead. Of course she's feeling horribly lost, especially since this class is just a hair down from the Advanced Beginner classes. I reassured her that it wasn't just her imagination that this was a tough class and she shouldn't feel discouraged.

I thought about going to class Sunday morning as well, but I somehow hurt the little toe on my right foot and even walking was uncomfortable. There's also a sore spot on the medial aspect of my right tibia an inch or so below my knee. A therapist friend of mine suggests that could be excess tightness in my upper calf muscle, so I'm trying to stretch that out rather than make it worse.


  1. Last week I skipped ballet class all week due to the heat and humidity -- and went swimming instead. Today I returned and certainly paid for my time off. Returning to class after even week-long breaks make me feel like I am climbing out of a hole.

    1. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. I try not to skip classes because my alternative is usually not physically active.


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