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Class Notes, 07 January 2020

I’ve been thinking for a while about trying to make a habit of posting my class notes.

Sometimes they’re silly, and often they’re impossible to read, but I try to write down my corrections and other points that seem really helpful.

In that vein, here’s today’s:

A transcription (which I probably won’t include every time):

  • Engage! (Those arrows are pointing at the muscles to either side of the rectus abdominis. My friend SF pointed out that it looks like they’re pointing to the kidneys 🤣)
  • It frees up your hips 😶
  • Like, really frees them. 😲
  • Relax, it’s just turns 😑
  • Pull (and push) towards your standing leg!
  • That way, if you tip over, you can correct
  • Your free foot has to PUSH OFF so you’re centered on your standing leg

On that last note: you would think I knew that already!

And, I mean, I do. I did. I have. And yet!

I just realized I haven’t really been actively using the soon-to-be free foot as much as I should when initiating turns, so I’m not always pushing myself onto my standing leg as effectively as I could.

My focus at the moment is staying on my leg (or legs, as applicable) and really using the floor.

And also not allowing my arms to do ridiculous BS like they did today during our medium allegro, because ffs, arms 😑

Ballet Goals, 2018: Part 2

After a really quite good class tonight, I asked BW for some input on ballet goals.

After we tossed a few ideas back and forth (yes, the coordination/port de bras/artistry/épaulement idea got the nod), as we were looking for at least one really concrete thing, he said, “Balances—how long can you hold your passé balance?”

And I said, “Heh, erm, well … probably not as long as I should be able to…”

And he said, “Well … how about holding your passé balance with no hands on the barre for 8 seconds by the end of the year?”

And I agreed that that’s a good goal, especially since I can already do exactly that inconsistently. The idea is to be able to do it consistently … which will, in turn, help with, erm, turns (spotspotspotspotspotspot!!!).

This led to BW saying, “You should definitely be able to get there. You have the body for it.”

Which was awfully nice. It is really rather lovely to have the right kind of body for anything in the universe of classical ballet, in particular balances, since they’re so essentially to basically everything else.

In other news, tonight’s class was the first one since I came back that really felt good all the way through … Except maybe the part where I did second arabesque at barre with my supporting foot on an unused facial tissue that had escaped from my reserve … BW was like, “ASHER TURN OUT YOUR SUPPORTING LEG MORE HEEL FORWARD” and I was mentally like I’M TRYING BUT OMG IT’S SO SLIPPERY … but OTOH I actually did manage to turn that leg out, tissue or no tissue.

Everything was working together, coordination was coming along nicely, and I was finally able to detect the existence of those little muscles under my butt that make everything work like “Boom-ba-doomboom-boom-ba-doomboom…” um, sorry, wrong musical thought.

I’m nailing nice floaty doubles on the regular both directions at this point, and surprising triples out of the bush, so triples and quads will be back soon enough.

To be honest, even chaînés felt good tonight, and my piqués felt boss, though I got excited and got ahead of the music and had to reel them in. BW likes to run us through an exercise that’s just four piqués and four counts of chaînés on repeat, which is nice.

It’s simple, but allows you to focus on the most awkward thing in the entire canon of classical ballet, AKA chaînés. There’s a reason that you begin learning chaînés in your very first class and keep working on the for the rest of your dog-forsaken life.

I got the facings right on the tendu-et-turns thing every single time, too, which made me feel amazing, and my assemblés actually assembled, and I mostly managed to keep my chest and shoulders open. It also changed directions with a glissade, which makes me indescribably happy. I love following any kind of turn with a glissade, and this exercise ended with: single en dehors, soutenu turn, glissade.

I realized during today’s simple-but-hard (because only in ballet…) fondu that I’ve been releasing my shoulderblade at certain points in my port de bras. That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s shorthand for saying that I’m disengaging my lats and traps, thus closing off my own lines. Derp. Predictably, I do it because it feels like doing something, when in fact what I should be doing really doesn’t feel like doing anything. Which, because I am flexible, is basically how many things feel.

Lastly, I’ve got my really nice sauté arabesque back. For a while I kept sort of running over myself: then I figured out (thanks to a brief word with BG that was actually about cabriole, but the principle is the same) that I was trying to land my sauté arabesque by bringing my leading leg back under myself instead of letting my body follow its momentum.

This, in turn, led to doing this screwy thing in which I feel for the floor with my foot and halfway release my turnout. Blargh.

Needless to say, once I focused on letting the leg go where it was going, instead of trying to reel it back in, things got about a thousand percent better.

I’m trying to retain the lovely feeling of dancing that I caught in Killer Class yesterday. Thus far, I think I’m succeeding. Every time my brain starts to go THIS IS HARD AND MY BUTT HURTS, I go, “But we’re dancing!” (or should it be, “Butt, we’re dancing!”) and it makes me smile and I relax a little, which helps get my shoulders back out of my ears.

So that was class tonight, along with the first of my concrete ballet goaaaaaaaaallllllllls for 2018.

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