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Friday, December 10, 2010


I went to 11 am Pilates at the Old Town gym and the teacher said she would be subbing at the Gold Coast gym, so today I had two Pilates mat classes with the same teacher.  The earlier class was all about balance: we stood on one leg parallel and lifted our knee up at a right angle and then swung our leg and chest out to be parallel to the floor, arms extended to the side.  I noticed how my leg wanted to go sideways instead of straight back.  In order to do this well, you really need to squeeze the glutes.  Also, holding a Swiss ball and standing with legs apart and slightly turned out, we lifted the ball over our heads, keeping the shoulders down, and then squatted as far as possible, holding the ball forward.  Hip flexor action required here.  We also moved our arms to the side and over our heads, like going into a ballet 5th position of the arms.  Nice.

The other class was very crowded and more challenging and traditional, with oblique curls, roll ups, chest lifts and planks.  Hardest part was rolling up through the vertebrae with arms out and up but keeping the shoulder blades pressed down -- have to work on the shoulders.  Done with lunch, going back for a swim...

Didn't swim today -- caught up in Friday in the city commotion.  Hard to stay focused this time of year but it teaches me to stick to priorities, like dance class!  Getting ready now...

Interesting thing I learned in class after we did some barre exercises that went from balance in attitude on demi-toe to passe and then the teacher discussed pirouettes.  The action of bringing the leg into a turned out passe with the heel of the foot forward is what creates the circular momentum, I thought.  It's the torque.  So, if you don't turn out both legs, your turn will not happen...hmm...

My back hurts now from all the squeezing and trying to hold it, so I need to stretch my torso and create more space somehow, but I think what will help this is the rotation of the leg into passe and doing it slowly without jerking, something the Pilates teacher said today -- slow, controlled movements that flow, yes.  The class tonight was not as intense as some other Friday classes, or was this because I was working?  I didn't do everything perfectly, but I think I was working.  So we did cambre in second position to tendu fondu, pick up working leg to 90 degrees and promenade around, passe, circular port de bras, pirouettes.  We jumped more today:  changements with quatre beats, sissonnes side, arabesque, step assemble, with quatres.  Finally, we did pirouettes across the floor, inside and out, and then I walked home and bought a book on the human body with pictures of dancers in it at a bookstore that was going out of business.  It was nice to sit and read and relax and watch the city on a Friday night.

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