About Me

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Class at Lou Conte (they are having a food drive and you get a discounted class if you bring something):
-Demi, stretch foot, demi, stretch other foot, grand plie, releve balance, circular port de bras -- all positions.
-Tendus en croix all position with demi plie; press foot through 5th position.
-Tendu fondu front extend to side, demi-plie, tendus 5th; tendu back extend to side, demi-plie, tendus 5th; tendus in 5th en croix, port de bras into barre, cambre down front and back, balance in 5th position.
-5th position, tendu front to 5th, 2 quicker tendus; repeat en croix.
-Same with degages
-Ronde jambes, tendu fondu front back front, ronde james, once around off the floor, fondu battement attitude front, extend, repeat en croix, then fondu tendu front, passe, arabesque; circular port de bras.
-Fondus en croix, developpe ecarte, fouette to attitude, extend penche.
-Frappes front, side, batterie, back, side, batterie.
-Grand battements front, back, side, repeat double-time.
-Developpe releve efface, chasse pas de bourre en tournant, pique arabesque, fondu, pirouettes en dedans, detourne, chainnes, chasse pas de bourre, pirouettes.
-Adagio:  5th position, beat cou de pied, temps leve back each side, fondu tendu, arms to 5th and cambre forward, then back reverse arms, extend to arabesque, to attitude promenade, fondu efface, pique arabesque, inside turn to arabesque, pas de bourre en tournant, pirouettes.
-Jumps:  glissade alternating, glissade jete temps leve coupe assemble; repeat other side.
-Grand allegro: pique arabesque, pas de bourre en tournant, chasse pas de bourre, glissade grand jete, glissade assemble, contretemps, pique arabesque, tour jete assemble, chainnes, inside pique turn, releve arabesque.

It has occurred to me that, at barre, everything feels strange because we are constantly working turnout.   I mean, we stand in these unnatural open position, like our bodies are pressed against two pieces of glass, as they say about alignment in yoga class.  With that in mind, I tried to think of my body in this two-dimensional existence instead of being three-dimensional and struggling with my muscles.

And, in center, the reason I constantly dump my torso when landing from something is because I'm not using my back, hamstrings and gluteal muscles.  The dancers in class today were all exceptionally talented working dancing girls and watching them has helped me correct myself in center significantly.  I was fortunate to attend this intermediate, but very professional class.

Now to try and get to a free Pilates class at the South Loop gym...

Well, the bus ride did not permit time to get to Roosevelt Road, so I got off at Union Station instead and went upstairs for Amanda's Pilates class.  Turns out she dances with the Seldoms and I'm scheduled for a  free private lesson with her next week.  It must have been fate.

The class was all about keeping the pelvis stable and I talked to Amanda after class about this, since this area is so important to dancers, a la Elvis Presley, lol.  But not for classical ballet, as a Russian teacher once remarked, "Hips never move."  I told her the class was going well for me except for the rolldowns, one vertebrae at a time, where I felt no flexibility in my waist area and it was like a gob of flesh instead of pliable bones.  This was when we did the exercise that required us to swing our legs over our head and touch the floor with our feet, then roll back down to the ground.  The variation was touch the floor, open the legs apart and roll down.

We started the class by lying on our backs and stretching our fingers and toes.  Then we did the arm pushes with Pilates breathing, legs in V position with ab crunches, pulling straight legs back and forth, and rolling like a ball.  There was a variation of this where we touched our forehead to our knees and really compressed our stomach, and then flung our legs and arms out.  The crunch into the ball position was painful; I can elongate but I cannot compress, and compression is necessary to better elongation.

I asked Amanda what exercises I could do to loosen this tight hip joint area and she said to do the clams we did in class, leg circles in the air to work the joint, and lying sideways and swinging the leg touching the floor in front with the toes and then swinging the leg in an arc to touch the floor in back with the heel.

I liked the sideways exercises the best.  Lying with legs stacked parallel, we swung our top leg on either side forward and back while keeping our hips square.  Then we did developpes and reverse developpes, or envelopes. We also moved the top leg forward and then up and down, which is okay for me to do in a  position where my legs are at a 45 degree angle from the torso and not straight with the torso, as this puts too much pressure on the back -- it was an old jazz class exercise and it was always so painful for me that I stopped attending the class, since my back is not strong enough to support the weight of my legs like this.

As for strength, Amanda and I spoke of the buttocks, periformis and hip rotators and I understood that it would not overdevelop the buttocks to make them strong unless my alignment was incorrect.  As long as I kept a neutral spine and avoided working just my outer body, it would actually help me because then I would be working the inner muscles properly.

As it was late, I opted to go home and call it a day, or should I say, night?

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