About Me

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday is my favorite day of the week...

because I like going to church and being surrounded by saints and angels, like St. Valentine.  St. Valentine's Day would have been my former dog's birthday, and I miss him so.  He will always be my Valentine and I will never forget him.  I hope to see him once again when I am over the rainbow bridge and we can be together again.  He was a truly loving dog and did not deserve to die so young.  I try to hope that maybe he was so beautiful that God kept him for himself.

Class today was perfect and the weather was so perfect that I walked all the way home, about 2 miles, stopping along the way for some vanilla frozen yogurt.  I have heard that swimmers need more calcium because swimming does not build bone mass sufficiently since it is low impact.  As for swimming, well, it helped me do the grand ronde jambes in class today:  pique arabesque hold, plie, pique arabesque hold plie to other side, developpe croise front, fondu to ecarte, double ronde jambe en l'air, developpe fondu in efface and promenade a la seconde to front, grand ronde jambe to arabesque.  I did the legs easily but noticed how much it affects the torso and noticed that my shoulder wanted to ride up.

The teacher (my favorite -- I always enjoy his class so much) emphasized in class today how we all want to move our hips to get the leg around and how the transitions to steps need to be sharper, as in passe releve, just do it in one beat.  The promenades were too slow, he said, just keep the leg moving and move the opposite shoulder into it.  We did an exercise where we did pointe tendu croise, fondu and swing the leg to second position and as we pull in to passe to move the opposite shoulder at the same time.  He kept telling me that I was pushing my torso instead of just letting it happen.  I finally managed to do it better...

Also, at barre, he commented to someone to open their back and support the passe balance and I could really feel the difference if I just opened my hips like he kept telling this girl and kind of broadening and stretching my back, but holding it at the same time.  The thing about ballet is that you need strength but you need to pull out, too.  I discovered this feeling for myself when I stretched after class in a second position straddle with flexed legs and then tried to achieve the same open leg position while pointing my feet.  I had to not grip my glutes but use my muscles and straighten my legs while pointing my toes.  The legs were relaxed but held.  This is what my voice teacher used to refer to as controlled relaxation -- while breathing and singing, you need to use your diaphragm but at the same time open your chest, like you are showing off a beautiful necklace.

We had several stretch breaks during class and after barre I just lay on a big blue Swiss ball and saw how much I needed to open my ribs to get completely over the ball and touch the floor with my fingers.  Also, after class, I monkeyed around with my long green theraband I got from P.T. and, holding it in my hands  after placing it under my feet, I tried to bend back in a yoga camel pose which ultimately would lead to touching the floor with your head, chest stuck out and leaning all the way back to your legs, which are in a kneeling position.  What is wrong with sticking out the chest, I thought -- it really looks feminine.

As for being more feminine, I am not consistent with this and still tend to muscle through class in a somewhat unladylike fashion and I wonder what the teacher must think.  It is also not polite to wipe your face and stand around posing unnecessarily, I am sure!  Oh, dear...I must work on acting more graceful.  My pointe teacher always says to me that she loved ballet as a young girl because she could feel feminine and girly.  Also, as a dancer, I am after all supposed to dance like a woman, maybe not a princess necessarily, but men and women move with different mannerisms in dance, like it or not.  I am so futuristic and mental sometimes and think dancing should just be movement and physicality...

So now I am going underwater at the gym (to grunt) but I will try to swim gracefully....  Not too bad, considering there was a swim class going on and I shared a lane with a girl, but it forced me to really rotate my arms against the barrier, so I got better arm movement, which is everything in swimming.  Then I hurried home to see the rest of the Grammy Awards Show.  I watched Lady Gaga on the huge gym TV, coming out of the sky playing a weird-looking piano and dressed like future woman...I was most impressed by Mick Jagger, still sexy after all these years, singing and looking good...

1. Plies and releves facing barre.  Traditional plies with port de bras.
2. Tendus front plie, releve, releve; side, plie releve, releve; back plie releve, releve.  Releve balance.
3. Tendus 3x front, 3x side, 3x back, port de bras forward and back.
4. Fondu tendu front, 2x degage, fondu tendu side, 2x degage, fondu tendu back, 2x degage, releve arabesque balance.
5. Ronde jambes with port de bras, balance in passe.
6. Frappes 3x en croix, beats, balance.
7. Passe plie front, extend to arabesque; passe plie back, extend front, ronde jambes en l'air.
8. Grand battements en croix.
1. Tendu front, side, pas de bourre passe passe.
2. Pique arabesque plie to both sides; developpe front to ecarte, ronde jambes; developpe efface to promenade and grand ronde jambe to arabesque, passe over to pose croise.
3. Pique turns, chainnes, releve arabesque to pirouettes; detourne to pirouettes en dedans.
4. 16x changements, then with echappes.

Then I stretched some more and watched the teacher coaching a little girl who had done a variation in competition.  I admired the girl's extensions and high arched demi-toe.  I also noticed how the teacher poked at her back and stomach while she was doing a high arabesque.  Young girls have no back pain; however my back is really getting better now and the Pilates training is helping my overall alignment so that I don't dump my stomach, even while I walked home.  My arms are getting better too and not caving in.  I feel like my whole body is opening up, even my face.  Now to be consistent, as another favorite teacher of mine told me last week.

I hope all my dance friends have a wonderful week.  Stay strong and be happy.:) and I will try to be more positive because I still really do love myself despite all my flaws...hmm...I just discovered an old Polish proverb:  The man who can’t dance thinks the band is no good.

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