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Friday, December 17, 2010

It doesn't feel like Friday...

Such a busy day!  I went to the professional ballet class near my apartment and didn't do too badly; I concentrated on form.  After my earlier experience in this class and a swollen ankle as a result, I have been more mindful of my feet.  Sometimes I feel that the others snub me because I'm not professional like they are, but I danced well today because it's Christmas and when there was a gap in the first line center, I stood there, next to the class ballerina, muttering under my breath, I don't care.

Like a teacher once said in class there, it doesn't impress me if you can, say, do the splits and so on.  So, at barre, we warmed up facing the barre, doing tendus out to the ball of the foot, then placing our whole foot down, and sliding it into first position, with a demi-plie -- en croix.  Then we balanced in first position toward the barre.

Similarly, now in traditional barre position, we did slow tendus to 5th, 1st, then in normal time -- en croix -- with port de bras forward, back, sideways and around.  Whew -- what else is left?  Then we did fondus developpe, plie, ronde jambe leg to next position, etc.  I tried to engage my glutes when my leg was behind me, in order to keep a neutral pelvis, something I am learning from Pilates.

We did frappes with flexed feet, frappes with pointed feet, and then frappes with wrapped feet.  Everyone thinks the wrapped foot position is hard but to me it feels good and I can do it well because I have enough turnout...we stretched our legs against the barre with demi-plies and also did a barre exercise where we did a port de bras ecarte and then plied into second position, shifted our weight forward to stand on one leg and then did a little promenade to the other side.  Grand battements were one slow, two fast, in all positions.

Then we did a slow adagio movement:  developpe a la seconde, promenade in second position, passe to attitude, promenade in attitude, straightening into third arabesque, pas de bourre en tournant to pirouettes to pose with third position attitude arms.  Next were tendus front, back, side, pas de basque, pirouettes en dedans to fourth position to pirouettes en dehors.  The teacher said, just as in barre when we slid our feet into first position, the movements of tendu must end in correct positions with the quadriceps touching, otherwise there is no use of the inside legs.  Later, after class, when I practice pique turns, I could see that I was not using my inside leg to rotate around myself and the movement looked weak...

So, we worked on jumps, warming up with jumps to 1st, 2nd, changements, echappes with changements, sissonnes simple sideways and back and forth.  Then we did brises, jete, pas de chat, beats in cinque, brises vole with pas de chats.  I still can't beat my legs together all the way in brises.  The grand allegro was temps leve in attitude to grand jete, moving across the floor, then forward, then across the other way to pique arabesque assemble en tournant, chasse coupe arabesque, fouette attitude alternating to chasse pas de bourre glissade grand jete.

The teacher told me that I wasn't spotting and so after the class reverence (1st position, cambre forward, back, tendu fondu port de bras) I thanked him for his comment, remarking that I was so busy holding everything that I also held my neck too tightly.  Then I stretched, listening to the other dancers talking about their dance engagements, avoiding me because I wasn't a dancer like they all were.  Oh, well, some dancers can be catty like this -- it's part of the competitive life of dance, I guess...

So I went to the gym and swam in the warmed water, dried off, and rushed to Pilates at the Halsted gym.  I was torn between taking a Pilate class or a yoga class and, since I had taken a morning ballet class, there weren't many more options at night.  It turned out that the Pilates class was taught by a yoga teacher, and we did some yoga stretches at the end and, lying on our stomach with arms stretching back, we lifted our chest and legs off the floor.  I still can't do pushups, which were after this...but class started with the abdominal series and alternating our legs and making circles in the air.  Challenging for me tonight were the leg kicks forward and back while lying on our sides without movement in the torso; it is so easy to warp the body, but I really checked myself in the mirror.  The last thing we did were heel lifts and I kept "dancing" and the teacher said after class that I needed to engage my glutes.

I also remembered from yesterday's class, while standing sideways by the mirror, how far my pelvis needed to come forward and not to "sit," or as my other teacher told me specifically, Dorothy, you can still hold your middle.  Everyone left the mirrored room which had ballet barres built into the walls and I felt like dancing but I opted to roll on the black roller instead, noticing how, when lifting my legs, I wasn't keeping my back on the floor.  Press that belly button down, the teacher had said.  It was good to stretch out my IT band against the roller.

So, end of day, at the bookstore reading a new book on ballet history that has finally arrived here...

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