On Ballet! – Wednesday Class Notes
First, it was Open House night, so class was freeeee! Woohoo!!!! Free ballet class is like the best thing EVAR.
It was also packed. I think there were about fifteen of — four on each barre, except my barre, which had three.
Second, Brienne’s class is officially one heck of a workout. Not counting hot rides on the bike, I haven’t sweated like this since Muay Thai. Seriously. And it’s every. Single. Class. By the end of barre, I was soaked, flat out dripping, like I’d just stepped out of the shower (you know, assuming I had, like, showered in my ballet clothes — which I mostly try to avoid, though I did accidentally run my canvas shoes through the wash).
I was like jelly again today during grand battement, so I hung out after class and asked Brienne for some pointers on how to fix that. I think she has me sorted. Now I will practicepracticepractice until I nail that down.
In case you’re wondering: think about driving the weight down through the supporting leg while the imaginary string that always pulls you up keeps pulling. This is what I’m doing when it works, I think; obviously, this is what I’m not doing when it’s a hot mess.
I suspect I also do better when I can’t see myself in the mirror. I get distracted. More stuff to think about and work on and stuff.
In other news, I am beginning to think that all this ballet is actually really going to make me rather a better cyclist.
First of all, it makes weighing less a huge freaking deal. You know how much of a pain it is to haul extra weight up a hill on a bike? That same extra weight makes everything you do in ballet class that much harder. By the end of Brienne’s barre, I feel every single extra ounce.
For the record, I really have to be motivated to ride so hard my legs burn. Give me someone to chase up a climb, and I’ll make my quads scream. Beyond that, I tend to be like, “Meh, I’m going fast enough right now. I don’t need to go faster than 20MPH max speed on this ride. I can afford to average 14 (or 12, or whatever). I’m good.”
In ballet class, I don’t get that luxury. I get Brienne going, “…And now we’re gonna do it again!” Which she totally does every time we finish a combination that makes us all look like we’re about to cry, but we’re keeping it all inside because there’s no crying in ballet class (say that in your best Tom-Hanks-in-A-League-of-Their-Own voice). And because I find group class settings highly motivating, I keep pushing.
For the record, my thighs feel really different than they did, what, five? weeks ago? Six? You know, back when I bit the bullet and got back into teh ballets. They look kinda different, too.
Which brings me back to point two: I am stronger than I was before I got back in the studio. My core is stronger. My legs are stronger. The balance between my quads and all the stuff that opposes them is better. My butt, people, is like cold blue steel. Okay, so actually kinda warmish peachy steel with a nice layer of foam on top, but steel, kay? Like if I was standing in a parking lot, and you backed your car into my butt, I would dent your car.
All of that makes me a wee bit faster on the bike.
As for center work: There were no “Fosse! Fosse! Fosse!” moments during petit allegro . Just me losing count occasionally, but mostly doing okay. Once, during our nice little adagio thing, I realized my arabesque looked more like an ar-embarrassment, and fixed it without falling over. I’m gonna blame that on being super hungry by then, though … yeah. It was totally the result of low blood sugar. Ballet bonk. (FWIW, I was a tad cranky on the way home.)
It wasn’t my prettiest class ever, but I can tell I’m making progress, and that’s what counts.
That’s it for now.
Leather side down!