I woke up late so I missed taking class with Mike but then I found out he wasn't teaching anyway and so I headed to Joffrey Academy. I'm glad I saved my money for this class. We were so packed in our usual studio that Alexei, the artistic director, led us upstairs to the more spacious studios used by the Joffrey Ballet. We were in a huge room with a plaque with Gerald Arpino's name on it. He was the co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet and later became artistic director when Robert Joffrey died.
We started class facing the barre as usual, doing slow tendus and releves and port de bras. Then we did the customary class, starting with demi-plies and grand plies in all positions. Then we did tendus with plies en croix in all positions, followed by degages and then ronde jambes with developpe passe extensions. Throughout, I tried to listen to the artistic director's corrections more than I had in previous classes. He stressed how to hold the arms and head, inclining the head along the arms. Also, he said to open the back and not tilt the pelvis back. Significantly, today he stressed that the body weight should always be centered and not to sway away from this vertical balance and stance. The arms and legs will move, he indicated, but it is always within the body's center of weight.
We continued barre with fondus and developpes and extensions. The teacher mentioned that the ballonne poses we did should have the incline of the body and holding the arms in second position. We did not do frappes today but we did beats around the ankles and then a balance. We did a lot of steps in cou de pied today and this was carried into center. Often, a teacher will give barre combintions that have a reference to the center's activities of the day. We completed barre with grand battements: tendu, degage, grand battements, en croix and then the teacher told us to stretch.
I hastily put my dance bag into a corner while he demonstrated the first center exercise, which was the same as the previous class adagio step: tendu fondu croise, head under 5th position arm, temps leve to tendu fondu croise derrierre; close 5th position, lift other leg to arabesque and bring through passe into developpe efface; 5th position, developpe ecarte, passe, attitude promenade with one hand on hip. Here the teacher said to keep the shoulders down so you feel the balance of the stance. Then, coupe renverse, pas de bourre en tournant, glissades with character arms, to pirouette(s).
Next combination was tendus croise front and back, with pirouettes from 5th position, dehors and dedans. We then did a combination with attitude turns: pique arabesque, faille, step attitude turn en dehors, land in 4th, pique arabesque, soutenu, pirouettes.
After this were jumps: jumps in 1st position, echappes, jump twice in 2nd position with trois beats to end. We did the tricky combination with brises again: changements, brises vole with assembles instead of the chasses forward and back which confused me last time! So we proceeded to the Polonaise in A flat echappes with sissonnes followed by saute ronde jambes en l'air, glissade derrierre coupe back, assemble devant.
Then was the grand allegro: pique arabesque coupe passe chasse grand jete, pique arabesque fouette, fouette again, pique arabesque, chasse pas de bourre glissade grand jete, contretemps pique arabesque step, balance with leg in cou de pied, one hand on hip again, other arm 5th position en haute. We ended class with a cool reverence: demi-plie sweep arms behind back a la dying swan, swoop arms up through 5th position, swoop down, step, courtsey. Everyone bowed to the teacher. I will take this class again tomorrow!
So I went home, made a sandwich and then went to my favorite bookstore, where I found a Latin calendar at half price. Felix annus novus! I love Latin...then I went to yoga class. We did sun salutations: raise arms overhead, dive down to touch floor, get to downward facing dog, down to cobra, bring right leg forward into lunge, bring other leg to meet, stand up; repeat. Oh, first we did breathing exercises where you blow in and out while closing your nostril with your fingers. So we proceeded to triangle pose: stand sideways, bring right foot parallel and left foot at angle but keeping hips square, bend down to bring chest over front leg. Then triangle: lean into hip, bring hand down to floor, other hand raised overhead. Then we sat and, crossed legged, we stretched chest down to floor. Then into corpse pose...then to Pilates, after soaking in the steam room and whirlpool, and running laps in the pool.
In the pool, I tried to do the combinations I had learned in ballet class: pique arabesque, faille, developpe seconde, passe to fondu efface, promenade attitude (that was fun) but I had to quit to get to Pilates class. Pilates was hard! Placing the magic circle between our knees, we pressed our legs in and out while in a bridge pose. We did the side leg series while holding onto the magic circle, trying to bring the leg up and then swinging it over to touch the floor. While in plank position, we brought knee to chest, also, we slid back and forth in plank. Then, standing, we placed the magic circle between our ankles and, lifting the right foot and balancing on the left, we squeezed the magic circle; then we circled our right foot forward and squeezed it, then we swung the leg behind us and squeezed the circle, all the time balancing and not moving on the supporting side. I did it! Then we placed the magic circle on our waist and squeezed the arm into it, then behind our heads, then behind us, squeezing the magic circle. Then we balanced on our toes and class was over. I'm wasted, I remarked to a guy in class...
On the way home, I stopped at the bookstore to finish reading the article in Psychology Today magazine about beauty. Beauty is equated with being a better person, somehow. Beautiful people are more successful. However, it should be kept in proportion so that it is not beautiful to look painted or resort to plastic surgery when obsessing over how we look. The article concluded, beauty comes from within, yes, but don't forget the lipstick, girls. Yes, I thought, striving for beauty is a good thing, as long as it is pursued in a healthy fashion. Time for bed after a chocolate protein bar.