About Me

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I just came from class, after walking for blocks in deep snow until a bus came, getting hit by salt pellets on the way, but it was refreshing to walk for a while after dancing...

The teacher was late because of snow traffic so we were warmed up by the school's main teacher, doing plies, arms in and out and elonge, but first beginning with tendu plie back, around to side, go to seconde through demi-toe, port de bras side.  His is a more jazzy approach and when the regular teacher came, everything seemed suddenly more straight and angular.  I like to watch this teacher because not only is his technique impeccable but his movement flow is so charming, like a dancing doll.  I watched as he showed deep port de bras forward and then really bending back with an arch, something I am trying to do.  Last time he taught he told me I looked a little stiff, but I am learning from him how to "dance" and not just pose.  It is a slow process but I feel different now when I dance.

1. Tendu fondu front, grand plie, port de bras forward; tendu fondu back, grand plie, port de bras back; plie releve in seconde.
2. Tendus slow front, two fast front, same to back, releve side; repeat back, side, plie passe balance.
3. Tendus en croix in 5th, balancoire, arabesque releve balance; repeat back to releve balance front.
4. Ronde jambes with fondus, developpe front, passe, extend side; penches.
5. Balanchine frappes:  en croix, beats to side, passe balance, turn, then faster passe balance with turns.
6. Ronde jambe en l'air, single, double, stretch leg on barre, take leg in hand and fondu developpe front, carry to side, stretch in, let go and balance.
7. Grand battements front 2x, side 3x, repeat reverse.

1. Tendu front, back, side coming forward, pas de bourre, passe with leg in back, pas de bourre, same passe to 4th; pirouettes.
2. Adagio: Developpe seconde, ronde jambes, plie pas de bourre, releve turn a quarter, then turns en dedans, pose tendu croise.  (Really exaggerate everything and if it looks funny, it is the beginning...)
3. Pique arabesque, windmill arms to arabesque fondu, promenade, moving arm out to side then in arabesque with arms high 5th, plie, pas de bourre en tournant, pirouettes en dedans, detourne, pirouettes en dehors to 4th, then again.
3. Jumps changements, changements with echappes and turns, jete, assemble, sissonnes arabesque, sissonnes side, passe releve, turns.

The teacher coached our pirouettes again, saying that all this setup business that people do is really unnecessary and the body goes up and down and that's all you have to think about.  At barre, when we did pirouettes from 5th, he said, just move the shoulders around, don't linger (looking at me as he said this, because that's what I do).  So I practiced a little, it's like a snap of the body, as I watched him at barre.  He is so good at turning and he just turns his shoulders around in one piece and gets around.

After class I sat for a while and said to the teacher that I felt more together today because I rested during the blizzard, saying that you can't just keep pushing yourself every day and not rest.  Also, I commented that the Pilates class I took today really set me up for ballet and I could feel solid and placed.  He said Pilates is great.  I told him the teacher today said to me after Pilates how I need to tuck my tailbone so that I am straight...then I thought of today's Pilates class...

...After some grueling glute work in Pilates, I could really feel my tailbone for sure...this class was called Steel Pilates and the teacher looked like a piece of steel herself.  She led us through bicycle legs, crunches, and using the magic circle to squeeze our knees in and out.  Then we were on our stomachs, preparing for pushups, which I cannot do with a straight body still.  We did regular pushups and tricep pushes, which are more difficult.  Then the glute work...

On all-fours, raise one leg out to side and using knee action, move leg sideways and back, to chest and back, raise leg up and down sideways.  I think I felt every muscle in my back after this.  We did some ab work, too, with crossed legs.  It was a great class, very hard, with lots of reps.  I often felt, how many more reps, but I kept myself together and didn't quit.

After class the instructor explained how, even though I may have back and pelvis problems, which are common, if I learn to use the muscles correctly which support the bones and joints, I will get stronger and then my bones will be able to bend better, too.  I told her that's exactly what the physical therapists I have had believe as well.  I want to continue with this class and other Pilates classes because I like the challenge of Pilates and how it conditions your whole body and makes you feel powerful.

Then I swam for a while and went to the gym office to discuss expanding my membership to possibly the top level.  It will be a sacrifice money-wise, but, like the sales agent said, think of how great I will feel and look.  I wish I had started all this when I was young because it is all so important, and SO MUCH FUN!!  Especially the dancing!!

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