"Keep your chin up...big arms," the swim instructor said as I am winding up my day with a good swim. My arms are getting better, I think, so I don't get so tired going through the water. Yesterday at pointe class I practiced my arm positions while waiting for my group to dance. Everything in ballet is important and execution is everything.
Today the teacher said to us after class that when you don't like something it is important to change your energy and think of something good about a bad situation. Just like yesterday's teacher said, you are the one who thinks you can't do something. Your mind is talking to you so that you hear these voices telling you you'll never make it, so you have to trick your mind...
It couldn't have been a nicer day, lots of sun and pretty snow, and a little warmer in the afternoon after I left the dance school. I was presented with a water bottle for my birthday and I brought cake and jam for everyone to eat and we sat around for a while and chatted and also discussed pointe shoes -- the other girl in class had some new Freeds and the teacher was explaining how to darn the toes to create a larger balance area and all the things that ballerinas do to prepare their shoes. I am thinking now maybe I should get some Freeds. I wanted to shop for them today for my birthday but my sister told me not to go anywhere because of the Bears game traffic.
The barre flowed nicely today. Tendus with plies and releves, swing the legs, ronde jambes with fondus and balances; beats, balance in passe; developpes in all directions. I stood on the right side of the barre today to see if my working leg was straight in arabesque and remembered the teacher's comments about using the muscles in the mid-back to create the arabesque line.
Then in center we did tendus to the side, tendu front, pirouettes in 5th to pirouettes in 4th. We kept on doing these over and over and I really tried to have the correct form, although I still felt I could have looked more natural! This was the whole point of doing them so many times, to get comfortable and not make such a fuss. Students do these all the time in class and you need to learn this in order to advance in class, the teacher said. It's true, there are a lot of good students and if you don't work, you won't be able to keep up, so you have to really try and push yourself to do things you might not like. I prefer adagio and other movements and don't really relish pirouettes, but they must be learned. They really are pretty, too.
We did a lot of pirouettes in class and throughout the class I tried not to sit and to stand on my supporting side, like I was taught yesterday. I tried to make my arms look nice, too. The teacher said that it isn't any harder to do something right and it's actually easier, when we did an adagio in center: developpe croise to seconde to arabesque back to seconde, ronde jambes en l'air, coupe pas de bourre. I believe this, too.
We did a lot of jumps without a break, which made me just tired enough to benefit my endurance. This teacher understands about pacing, I thought and gives us exercises that achieve a result so that your body can build on your previous level. It is important not to get discouraged, though, and he is easygoing enough that you feel like you can move without feeling restricted. Strict and yet not confining, and this makes you want to try harder and he is always so encouraging and supportive, so it's okay not to be perfect.
The jumps were 16 changements, then 2 changements, 2 echappes, pirouettes (!) from echappe 4th. Later, when giving the lessson after regular class, the teacher made his student keep on going, saying, "I know you're tired," and this is very smart, I thought, to just keep doing it over and over until your mind finally gives up and your body takes over. Then it was changements with sissonnes and I completely lost my strength and couldn't point my feet anymore, but I finished the steps. Then we stretched.
Now I am ready to tackle the week -- the Bears lost, by the way -- after a very nice birthday Sunday. I love birthdays, I love Sundays, and I loved ballet class today -- all ready to tackle the week...