I wanted to stay home and rest and take my medicine but something made me get up and start putting up my hair, get dressed and go to the bus stop to early class with Mike. The wind was howling through my windows but, once outside, having fortified myself with coffee from my apartment building grocery store, it wasn't that bad of a day. I drank my coffee on the bus, looking outside the windows at the park and, suprisingly, the next bus on my journey was right there and I arrived with plenty of time to chat with a friend.
Back to the daily business of dancing, as my teacher last night said, when the pointe class girls applauded after the teacher helped one girl achieve a more pointed and arched foot by telling her to bring her heel down. "Don't applaud for that," she said, "applaud if someone does 8 pirouettes on pointe, 32 fouette turns with 10 pull-ins, and lands in the splits. Everything else is just the daily work of a dancer."
True. So at barre today, since I lack the stability to turn out without torquing, I faced quarter to the barre and really examined my legs from the back to make sure they were rotated and straight. I thought, at least I have achieved the correct alignment and know how it should feel; that is, how can you expect to do a step if it doesn't have any relationship to your body? Hmmm....so, we did lots of stretches after tendus: tendu front, ball, foot, ball, foot -- massage the floor with the ball of your foot; then en croix the same. Tendus side, then en croix, push legs into the floor, yes. Tendus in 5th, chasse pas de bourre to the other side of the barre. Ronde jambe to Scott Joplin rag, with arms, chasse forward, fouette, ronde jambe working leg, pas de bourre.
Some of Mike's barre combinations are even pretty. Oh, yes, first was plies with undulating arms and port de bras in 4th position. Then we did developpes: tendu front, drag foot to you, then developpe; fast frappes with beats, and finally, grand battements, with 4 counts before each battement to do fast tendus devant, seconde, and derrierre, which is always a challenge to try and point the toes in the back.
After a short water break, we started center with balance balance, detourne, chasse plie arabesque promenade half turn, fouette attitude, pirouettes en dedans, pirouettes en dehors from 5th, arrive in 4th; ready for other side. Mike stressed to stretch the torso and arms in balance and to spot the turns. Actually, everything should be spotted which is a change of direction, I thought.
Then we did some fast turns: 2 piques, one pique lame duck into pick up passes to chainnes and pose arabesque, swing leg to prepare for other side. Later, after class, I tried these in slow motion, and saw that I couldn't do them well because my alignment was off. Mike said to do them on a diagonal but everybody was doing them sideways and I followed the crowd. Important to listen to the teacher, I thought. Why come to class if you want to do what you want? Might as well work out in the basement, really. It's always best to be respectful of the teacher and not just go along with other dancers, even thought they are more experienced than you, because they are human and make mistakes, too!
This will be my homework, I commented to a dancer after class, telling her I could never do fast turns well because I have trouble turning in general. Better to practice until they are right, I thought. Then, back to class, we jumped for a while: temps leve arabesque, which later became cabriole, glissade, 3 brises, glissade grand pas de chat. Now the company dancers are rehearsing to some pretty Russian choral music...off to the gym...
Drying off from my swim surrounded by the children who take swim class here, so I'm sitting on the floor stretching my legs one more time. I wanted to go to yoga class but since I am not really completely well, this is enough for one day. People say how can I do so much, but after reading about a 91-year-old woman who is in fantastic shape because she exercises regularly, I can see that the more you do, the more you can do; however, as an old doctor told me, with prudence and balance...still thinking about ballet class not long ago, as I stood a quarter into the barre, I noticed how I had more thigh power (thigh power!!) if I cross my thighs over more in 5th position and how much straighter my legs looked when I really squeezed them together...hmmm...
Also, after swimming, I thought, if I lift my arms more, my torso gets a better workout...if I think of more to say, I will return to my page again, if not, mañana, camaradas.