I had to go swimming and I did my laps as I watched the now ever present swim instructor talk about straight legs, pointed feet, and straight long arms. Sounds like ballet...then I soaked in the steam room, whirlpool and sauna, much needed after tugging at more things in storage. My storage locker is looking cleaner every day. There is something rewarding about domestic chores and having a nice home and I know I will spending a lot of time there now that the puppy is coming...
I was ready for ballet class this morning. I got up earlier than usual, another thing I will be doing for puppy, and so I had my coffee at home in my new coffee machine and then I walked out the door and then the rain started and it rained all day. After class I went to my storage locker and brought some old clothes home, walking into the wind in the pouring rain. But since I swim all the time, I'm used to being wet.
So I worked diligently on holding my back up in class. Last night as I was examining myself in the mirrored closet walls at home, I tried bending a little bit backward in the waistline to accentuate a curve in my lumbar spine and, thinking that this looked rather attractive, I chose to stand this way at bar. I noticed how much easier it was to do the bar balances in passe, arabesque and pirouettes that the teacher likes us to do at barre; however, the pinch in my waistline was relentless and the pressure on my nerves in the sacroiliac area prevented me from pointing my feet as well as I usually do.
I asked the teacher how to use the feet in the fast tendu en croix combination he gave and he said to think of making the leg heavy coming in and that it was a matter of using the inner thighs and the proper body alignment more than just the feet and I thanked him for his advice. Still, I could not point my feet today, or get into the tips of my toes. It is really true about the inner leg and I have been doing it incorrectly for so long, using the outside quads and compensating by crunching forward, which makes it easier for the hips to flex but is bad for the back, that I will have to retrain myself. I am thinking of going into the basement gym at home and just working on tendus, if I can get the key to the area with the punching bag and ballet barre again...
Otherwise, class was great and I had no problems with the combinations except when I stared at the teacher and watched his execution and then forgot the steps. I am so into how to do movements and I need to also learn to be more matter-of-fact and actually do them! I took my glasses off and was able to spot turns so much better without them; also they made me not think and so it was more physical for me and I didn't have to look at myself and so I really felt everything so much better. I should keep my glasses off more often and it makes my head feel so much lighter. I even felt more feminine without them!!
The teacher commented on how I was so strong that I could do 10 ballets and not get tired and then I told him what my daddy always said about hard work and not giving up and the effort will make you stronger. It is true -- the harder you work, the easier it gets. As I have heard this teacher say to his private student, you have to trick your mind...I watched him with his young pupil while I stretched after class, making her do the sissonne arabesque, sissonne side, side, emboite assemble jump combination which was the last thing in class. I knew how tiring this was as I tried to not only master the combination but do it gracefully and with pointed feet and proper alignment. That is really harder than any combination, how you do it, which I learned from Saturday's beginner class. There is always more to do with the body and people who are impatient for results will never achieve the quality that makes ballet so pretty.
So in the pool I tried to swim with pointed feet at all times and surprisingly, it made me swim so much better. It did not necessarily feel better because I felt the pain of new muscles working that I never used, but I felt lighter in the water and more graceful. So, I must point my feet, always...
Some Class Exercises:
1. Demi plie, grand plie, demi plie releve facing barre.
2. Plies with port de bras.
3. Tendus 1st plie releve, 2nd plie releve, en croix.
4. Tendus front, back, fifth, fifth, first fifth, fifth 4x. Last time with passe balance, foot in back.
5. Degages 4x front, sides, back, port de bras.
6. Ronde jambes fondu around, 4x ronde jambes, port de bras.
7. Battement, pique, degages, en croix. Penche.
8. Frappes en croix fondu with beats, releve passes with pirouettes.
9. Fondu front to side with ronde jambes, balance in 2nd position.
10. Grand battements 2x en croix.
11. Tendu croise ronde jambe to croise derrierre, pirouettes.
12. Pique arabesque fondu promenade, circular port de bras, attitude turns en dehors.
13. Adagio developpe seconde plie pas de bourre pirouettes 5th to 4th, to 4th.
14. Sixteen changements; 2 changements with echappes (slow down the plies).
15. Last combination mentioned above. Also, we did pas de bourres dessous and dessus before pirouettes.