About Me

Monday, January 10, 2011


"You have beautiful legs," the ballet teacher said. Try to pull up more, just pull up the thighs, it's not a big movement. Up and in. Ballet class with the young girls was fun. The teacher told the girls to learn to use arms correctly. She scooped up her arm and then brought it down over her head, saying, it's natural, isn't it? She corrected the girls, saying, you girls are all standing crooked. When we did fondu attitude into ronde jambe en l'air, she walked up to one tall, gawky girl and said that both legs extend at the same time, so that the working leg helps straighten the other leg, like a rubber band effect, I thought. Also, she said, don't take all day going through the movements. She is quite a stickler for tempo and I remember how she used to tell me to move it. Surprisingly, all she said was to pull up my legs. "Good, Dorothy," she kept saying.
One thing I remember from the serious look on a student at the Joffrey Academy was, even though people laugh and grin in class, class is not funny. Good dancing is not funny. So I carried this attitude into class today. In center, the teacher said to the girls to do a pas de bourre like a dancer, not just fall all over. It's true, it's good to be a little more serious. It always makes you look more gracefully, too, rather than standing there and grinning.
So in class we did tendus with plies into 1st and 5th -- the teacher put her hand between my legs and said, "you're not using your muscles. It's true. She's always so correct, being taught by Russians. We did frappes with fondus and ronde jambes with extensions. We did a leg stretch at barre and then battements and soon it was time for center. The center was very graceful and ladylike, with tendus to sou sou and pas de cheval into second position, to passe, to pirouettes. We worked on jumps, warming up with jumps in 1st and 5th, changements, echappes to 4th and then echappe releve to end. Then we did the adagio: 3 pique turns, chasse pas de bourre grand jete. A basic, effective class with lots of corrections.
Earlier in the day I attended a Pilates class and the teacher there focused on the back muscles, saying to really feel the back while we held the magic circle between our hands. We used the magic circle between the legs, too, for bridges, moving the hips up and down, and squeezing the magic circle. The girl next to me was grunting, although I was the one having pains while she did strong planks and I could not budge my back off the floor. Think about the execution, the teacher said, so even though I can't do planks from a straight position, just making the effort makes a difference, so that at ballet, when turning, I was able to be straight by engaging my core.
Then after ballet was Noah's impossible yoga class: he helped a couple of very flexible girls do the position where you are in a camel and then you bring your head down to the floor and eventually lie on your back with your knees bent under you. He helped them come back up by lifting them from the back and I thought, next he will say that it is possible to just come up by yourself. His classes start out with simple poses but then become impossible near the end. One older lady just sat there and watched the end. But, tired as I was, it's good to bend and I'm sure my body will thank me in the end, like still having beautiful legs...


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  2. sorry, the first was a typo. i said, with all of those classes, you must be in great shape!