About Me

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Autumn Saturday

I haven't written for a while, so, for a quick catch-up, I have discovered yoga! I took a break from my usual non-stop dance classes to learn yoga, practicing it almost every day in the summer and now continuing into the fall.  My form and posture has improved and I have gone down one dress size, too. I am really fortunate that I can always go to my gym when I want to work on myself.  I was going to lots of dance classes but not really improving significantly because I first had to fix certain problems of form and also change my approach to training, to become more focused on the discipline of it and not just to have fun dancing.

So, today I attended a free yoga class at a yoga shop in my neighborhood and then I went to my local ballet school.  I met my neighbor whose daughter was all dressed in pink, about to take class. I wore my usual basic black leotard, pink shoes, pink tights, and a lavendar knitted warmup brief, which I took off after barre so I could see my lines better in center.  I don't like a lot of coverups because it distorts the line and hides flaws which should be fixed, something I learned over the years from some very good teachers.

This intermediate class was sparsely attended, which is my favorite kind of class, because the teacher can really scrutinize you.  We did a very correct barre, focusing on lifting the head up and not looking down at the feet to see what you are doing, because lowering the head makes you lean forward, which ruins your erect spinal posture.  The teacher talked about being able to feel yourself in space and not just to see yourself visually. In arabesque, for instance, she said it is not the height of the leg but the way it goes out as far as it can reach.  Similarly, when doing chasses in center, she told us to really chasse out because this develops power.  She corrected my passe balance at barre and told me not to contract my hip but really let it move forward.

During barre, after warming up a little privately before class, I decided to purposely stand forward of myself, like the other teacher who usually teaches this class (she had just had surgery so we have a very good substitute teacher) so as not to slump into my side.  I noticed, too, that I could stand to turn out more on my supporting leg and use the bottom of the turnout, rotating more, which creates the correct shape.  The teacher made us do an exercise where we held the knee in the passe leg and let the whole hip go down and under, kind of like turning inside out in yoga.

After class, I ate lunch and took out my puppy, training him a little, too, walking him backward and then changing directions, which he did happily, on a windy fall day...now I'm home, thinking about ballet and how the same principles apply to ballet positions that I have learned from other sports and it shouldn't be so intimidating.  Sometimes it's good to take a few steps back, pardon the expression, to learn how to move forward...
Exercises
1. demi plies with grand plies, rise and balance.
2. tendus from 5th position, coupe inside leg over, changing.
3. Balancoires with passe through.
4. Frappes with double frappes to the side.
5. Developpes and envelopes
6. Grand battements.
Centre:
1. Adagio(to come)
2. Chasses to 4th position, chainnes, balance en tournant, pose to 5th position.
3. Saute arabesque, arm en haute, pas de bourres. En diagonale.
(Much time was spent correcting body stance, turnout, and epaulment.) 
Notes: Use the arms like heavy curtains and really move them to extend the back.  Elongate the legs. Move your head.

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