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Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday morning

Pilates class with an old dance buddy turned Pilates instructor.  Not exactly your traditional Pilates class, but with some dance moves thrown in.  As I entered the studio everyone was already doing head circles, tilting the head in different directions, shrugging the shoulders, shoulder circles.  Then we lay down and started the Pilates 100s, the obliques, climbing the legs, leg circles, and just basic crunches.  I noticed in the mirror how my back was too rounded, including my head...

We did side series leg lifts, circles, and beating the feet together.  Then we stretched in straddle, rolling up slowly, stretching forward with one leg in "passe" position over the other; then a small releve, moving down to the floor slowly and with control, something we did in ballet class yesterday, not plopping down.  Just before I hit the floor I could feel my thighs working, or perhaps not working, as it was not nice and smooth.

Then the girl I had been talking to before class who was a dancer showed me some shoulder cuff related reformer moves.  Sitting in yoga position on the padded seat, I took a side strap and put it over my hand and proceeded to pull the strap into my chest and away, with elbows in.  It felt good to be able to feel my sides move and I discussed with this teacher how I need to open up my body more in order to achieve more movement.  Movement, I truly believe, is the key.  Then with my legs in front of me, the straps draped over my arms like "evening gloves," the teacher said, with elbows bent and my arms forming a box in front of my face, I moved the straps in and out and could really feel my "wings."

Now I will go to ballet class today and remember to open my back and arms!  It's not just all legs and torso is so important because, as the reformer teacher said, this will open up the whole body and improve the posture...

Then I went for a swim and hurried home to get ready for ballet class with a really strict teacher who told the adults in her class that they weren't concentrating on the combinations and that, as adults, they should know better.  Then she turned to one of her regular teen students and said, you're not using your muscles at all.  She told me not to dance with bent legs, but besides that, she didn't really correct me.  It was a nice class and I was happy that she thought I did okay.  I walked home, opting not to go to yoga tonight. It is so nice to walk home after ballet class because everything seems prettier.  The snow, the night sky, the houses, it is so sweet after class.

Barre:
1.  Stretches pulling out from the barre, bend down with flat back, roll up; then roll down and come up with flat back.  Degage forward, pull away from the barre, with straight back leg.  Stretch torso sideways, arm moving along barre, really close to barre.
2. Plies with port de bras.  Tendus forward, back, sideways, fondu battement front to seconde to passe down; ronde jambes with penches.
3. Frappes en croix, side.  Fondus with developpes, stretch leg forward and to side.
4. Leg stretches on the barre.
5. Grand battements with passes en croix.


Center:
1. Start with left foot in 5th position, tendu on right side, then plie pas de bourre with left leg to chasse pirouettes.
2. Adagio: Developpe a la seconde to faille to developpe fouette third arabesque.
3. Allegro: Pas de basques with arms, pique turns ending in fondu forward, pas de bourre pirouettes en dedans, character click.
4. Chasse pas de bourre grand jete.

It was a well rounded intermediate class and lots of emphasis on correct execution.  We spent lots of time mastering the fouette into arabesque and then rushed through the jumping before it was time for the next group to enter the studio.  I watched the other ballet class that was starting across the hall and marvelled at how easily the teen girls where able to tendu and balance on pointe.  I must try this class in the future but I am happy taking the intermediate class with a teacher who is really helping me with my technique.  All of these teen girls attend class every day and have much more experience and I must be patient and learn better basics like they all had to.

I spoke with a friend later about why it is so hard for adults to feel confident in class and she said to stop thinking.  I agree.  Children don't think and it is easy for them to balance and not worry about posture.  It is when they start to think that they forget how to play.  It is easy for them to hold a balance in arabesque or passe and do turns, like it was normal and everyone can do it.  Perhaps we are all born with these abilities and then thwart ourselves, unfortunately...

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