I slept too long for the morning ballet class so I decided to go downtown again. On the way, I stopped at the bookstore cafe and had a cinnamon latte while I read a foreign fashion magazine. My mother loved to read fashion magazines and I think I learned to read by reading fashion magazines and comic books even before I went to school. I had started to drizzle on the way out and now it was wet and rainy outside.
The nice thing about dancing is that you can do it anytime and forget everything, including the weather. The teacher today was a Pilates instructor and I shared a center barre with a dancer friend and she showed the combinations at our barre. She began with plies and port de bras and I was amazed at her turnout -- not only were her feet completely turned out but her hips and legs were, too, just like in the old ballet manuals I have browsed. It must be all her Pilates training, I thought.
A lot of dancers were confused by her combinations because she wasn't the regular teacher and she told the class, what feels right is the best way. I also noticed her port de bras was not as extreme as mine but rounded and feminine; another teacher often tells me I am too extreme with my turnout...
We did lots of leg swings and fast degages, fondus and ronde jambes en 'lair. There were a few combinations where we did fouettes at barre and chasse pas de bourre en tournant away from barre into balance arabesque. Arabesques and pirouettes for Christmas, please!
So we proceeded to center after a short break and started our class with temps lie and ronde jambes a terre with pirouettes. Then we did the same steps reversed and did inside pirouettes. Next was adagio, where we did a fondu with the working leg in attitude forward and developpe into extended croise leg to ronde jambes en 'lair, fondu pas de bourre en tournant, swing leg into arabesque, plie, balance, balance, detourne, chasse forward to circular port de bras.
Then we started jumps with jumps in 1st position, second position, changements, jetes entrelace, glissade assemble with sissonnes. Last was grand allegro: developpe ecarte chasse faille, developpe ecarte other side, balance en tournant, pique turns dehors and dedans; repeat. It was a nice, dancey class and my stiffness from the rainy day had vanished.
So I waited patiently for the bus to take me to the pool and, after some Indian food (cooked veggies comprised of potatoes, carrots and peas with spinach goulash -- I love Indian cooking) at the Whole Foods hot bar nearby. There was a girl handing out ginger tea, perfect for my chilly bones. By the time I arrived at the pool, my jacket was so wet I dried out with a towel...yes, it had rained all day.
Once in the pool, I saw that cold water was being pumped in so I was too chilled to swim. I did laps with leg kicks and ran up and down the lane and practiced side steps and developpes. I also tried arabesques and plies underwater and stretched my legs along the side, noticing how the water aligned me correct and trying to memorize this feeling where my bones and muscles felt square.
Then I fell asleep in the steam room while stretching. When I woke up from my cat nap, my achy body felt much less stiff. I am thinking that this winter I really need to take advantage of my gym membership by using the hot baths and classes in yoga and Pilates and also maybe just soaking in a warm tub. Now I'm home, cleaning my apartment and watching the old classic James Stewart classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."