Saturday, February 23, 2019

My first Pas de Deux

Due to conflicts in other classmates' schedules, only two of us were able to attend last evening's repertoire class. Their loss was our gain!

We started as all classes do, with barre. While the nominal purpose of this barre session is to warm up for the rest of the class, with only two of us in attendance we received a significant amount of individualized attention. Jeff really focused on things like using the "natural" position of the leg in second, meaning only as far back as the dancer's turnout permits without rotating the leg inward or shifting the position of the pelvis. He also works us on "feeling" the floor by keeping the ball of the foot on the floor during a tendu or degage until it is forced to lift by the leg's extension, while maintaining contact with the toes until the leg is fully extended.

With barre complete, we did a bit of petite allegro. Every dancer has something they struggle with, and mine is petite allegro. My petite jete and glissade don't feel or look right, and lack speed. A couple of weeks ago I asked my instructor to observe and comment, and she indicated that I'm brushing forward rather than to the side, but that's not the whole story. I find it very frustrating. I'm even thinking that I should find someone who can work with me on this individually.

Then we began reviewing the steps we learned in the previous two lessons. Again, with only two students, there was lots of needed feedback. And repetition. Over and over. And over again. I wish I had counted the number of saut de basque sequences and tour jetes. When my legs felt a bit sluggish I reversed directions, just to even things out. I'm guessing this went on for a half an hour.

With just 10 minutes left in class, Jeff asked if we wanted to have some fun. We'd been joking that this was a Pas de Deux class because it was just two dancers: one male (me) and one female (M). Years ago I'd suggested to one of the senior instructors that the studio host an adult partnering class, and was told in no uncertain terms that this was not going to happen.

Jeff, though, loves partner work and gave us the chance to try just a little bit of it. While M did a pirouette en dehor, I helped her maintain her position with my hands at her waist. With the single turn I merely helped steady her at the end, while the double turn required me to help the last quarter rotation or so. Then we did promenades. The first time I didn't maintain a good circle and moved too slowly, while M tried too hard to compensate which paradoxically robs me of the feedback that I'm pulling her off balance. The second time I did a better job while she tried to help less, and it worked quite well. This stuff is FUN! Maybe we'll get a chance to do more of it later.

After class I felt really excited, but walking felt like I was moving through ankle-deep water. By the time I got home my legs were aching, and even as I laid in bed my lower legs were throbbing. Even now, 12 hours later, though the stiffness is gone, there's a slight throbbing in my legs. I guess I'm just not used to jumping around that much. I am definitely looking forward to our next repertoire class in two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I am finally catching up with ballet blogs, and am so happy to hear about this repertoire experience! (P.S. Thanks for continuing to keep my dusty -- but hopefully to be revived soon -- blog, The Dapper Dancer, in your blog roll. You can delete my Music and the Mirror blog; it's simply a previous version and I no longer own the domain in any case.)


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