Danseur Ignoble: Gotta Get Myself Connected

Things are very much coming together in class, but at the same time, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Saturday’s class is usually easier (sometimes much easier) than the weekday morning classes, and today was no exception. Barre felt very solid. I had no trouble remembering the combinations, so instead I spent a lot of time focused on working through my feet, maintaining turnout when tendu-ing and so forth arriere, making my port de bras more graceful, and being awesome at doing the fondu-into-grand-rond-de-jambe bit. That has been a mess for the past few weeks, coming back into the intermediate classes.

Going across the floor, I had the combinations, but wasn’t really dancing with control (which was ridiculous, since I tossed off a really, really nice turn like it was nothing while we were learning a combination). I was kind of all over the place, particularly in my turns.

I need to keep my head together in class, buckle down, and really focus on honing my technique. (The music didn’t help today. Brian had a new CD that turned out to be really kind of terrible, and we all found it rather hilarious.)

My turns should not be sloppy ever at this juncture … at least not singles. My jumps should be tighter (to be fair, my little jumps sans beats look quite good, and my glissade is finally more or less back in shape; likewise, my assembles always look great, though I need to work on doing smaller ones when the music is quick).

My entrechats should just plain be better: I only did a couple today, and they started out well, and then for some reason, I stopped pointing my feet halfway through the beats. What’s that about*?

*It’s about still being a little freaked out about landings, I suspect. I’m afraid of re-injuring my toe, though I seem to be over worrying about my calf. Having spent basically half the year mostly unable to dance, I am now completely paranoid.

At least my port de bras is generally less wacky now. Every once in a while, when I’m jumping, it gets a bit over-enthusiastic. Rarely I get it backwards during adagio. On the whole, though, it’s pretty good.

Likewise, I am no longer getting tangled making it from sauté arabesque to glissade, and not just because I’m faking it better. I realized I’ve been slipping in a pas couru kind of thing after my faille instead of collecting myself for the jump (I guess it helps when I think of ballet in horse terms?)

I think this is an issue I had fixed before and then it, like, broke again. Like my freaking shower handles (well, I don’t fix those; Denis does — the best I can manage is to fiddle with them ’til they’re more or less operable).

The hardest combo today was deceptively simple:
Fondu
Extend
Soutenu turn
Fifth
Tendu back (to 4th)
Passe balance
Close to fifth
Repeat
Plie
Extend
Soutenu turn
Fifth
Tendu back (to 4th)
Passe balance
Fifth
Plie
Double turn (en dehors)

…And then repeat the whole combination until you run out of music or room.

This was challenging for me because I tend to want to really spring into my soutenu turns, but the music was slow, so that wasn’t an option. It was necessary to really step into them with control and stay on your leg. I was not all about being in control and staying on my leg today; I was kind of all over the place. I also think I kind of let my core go. You really can’t dance without core muscles.

So, in other words, this really shouldn’t have been a challenging combination, but it was, because I was a mess (if Ms. Margie was teaching, she would have said, “Use your technique, don’t lose your technique!”).

I’m going to chalk some of today’s chaos up to sleep deprivation, but a lot of it is simply that I need to focus better in class. Like, stop thinking, breathe more, try not to get distracted by shiny moving things in the mirror (SQUIRREL!).

Right now, I feel like that little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead — you know: when I’m good, I’m very, very good; but when I am bad, I am horrid.

Oh! I also totally ganked the barre-stretch leg-strengthening exercise that Kit over at Ballet And/Or Bust described, and I think it’s exactly what the doctor ordered for getting my developpes higher. Right now, they’re back to progressing reasonably well, but it’s still definitely a question of strength and muscle balance.

My thighs remain pretty unbalanced as a result of years of turning the cranks on the bike, which is pretty much the opposite of what you’re doing when you developpe properly. The “eight lifts, then float the leg off the barre” sequence should really help. I’m better on the left side, right now, but that might just be because something had made my right hip (which is usually the tighter one anyway) super, super tight a few weeks ago. It’s almost back to normalish, now, though not yet back to full-splits-on-both-sides normal. I do have a full split back on the left, though.

One last bit.

Do you guys out there in Adult Ballet Bloggerland do that thing where you see a picture of yourself ballet-ing, immediately think, “Wow, I look awesome!” and then start picking apart all of your faults?

Because I am totally doing that with my pictures now 😛

To be fair, I was aware of most of the faults in question at the time (especially the fact that I wasn’t all that turned-out), but unable to really correct them because gravel footing is apparently just as scary when you’re trying to arabesque as when you’re on the bike, descending at 35 MPH. I’m less annoyed by the fact that my passé is kind of low and not super-level because I wasn’t really trying for a perfect passé.

Regardless, I’m still pretty pleased with myself. I had to hoooooold that arabesque and the passé in the other two pictures, and it was tough, what with the shifting gravel and so forth.

My balances are really improving now, though.

Today, in addition to a bunch of very respectable coupé balances, there was one that worked so well that I just, like, hung out there for what felt like ages. I didn’t even do that thing where you go OMGOMG I’M BALANCING! and immediately lose it. My passé balances weren’t quite as solid, but they were still pretty good.

If I can replicate that and improve on it going forward, that will be a really good thing.

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About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Getting along pretty well with bipolar disorder. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2015/08/22, in balllet, class notes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Glad you’re finding the barre strengthening exercise helpful 🙂
    The picture thing, when at first you think it’s good and then pick it apart? I do that ALL the time. Your arabesque picture was amazing though! I remember seeing it and thinking it looked really impressive. Denis is such a good sport, too, doing ballet pose pictures.

    • Thanks times three (for the exercise, for the reassurance, and for the comment on my picture)! ^—^ Denis is such a sweetheart. I’m still not sure if I’ve convinced him to do a pas de 1.5 (since he’d have to do almost no dancing) with me at Burning Man, though. Guess I’ll find out soon enough 😀

  2. Thanks for the earworm, where’s that self portrait, and the word ‘fondu’ made my eyes go all @@ for a bit till I remembered how to spell fondue.

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