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Brief Thoughts About Barre

A couple of weeks ago, I wound up doing class in my socks because I’d somehow failed to repack my shoes after washing my dance bag.

I apologized to Brienne, who was teaching that day, and she pointed out that working on socks can be useful sometimes (Brian, who I have since noticed almost never wears shoes during barre, agreed).

I was surprised to find how conscious going shoeless during barre makes me of my feet and how I’m using them: it becomes immediately possible to feel the floor very minutely, but it also removes the sole patches, which increase friction (very considerably, in fact, when compared to the socks I usually wear during barre), from the equation.

They’re there for a reason, of course, but when you work without them, you’re forced to remain really conscious of staying on your leg, on your balance, and on the balls of your foot. If you’re not, it’s easy to slip and lose your placement and so forth (or worse).

The reduced fiction also means you can’t cheat on your turnout — at least, not as easily.

Moreover, you are more likely to work very precisely within a smaller ranges of motion than to toss your legs around because you’re flexible and maybe lose some of the fine points of your technique. Or, well, that’s how it works for me.

I’m not recommending that everyone try this — especially not really new beginners who are still working on the basics of ballet balance — but it reminds me how sometimes small changes (like taking class with different instructors!) can lead to new insights.

Sometimes those small changes are intentional — you take a trip to Chicago and take class at the Joffrey — and sometimes they’re not — you get distracted and forget your shoes.

Either way, in the long run, insights accumulate, and discoveries ensue.

I don’t know what my whole point is, here, but this all feels like useful stuff to consider.

And now I’m going to go find a second usb wall plug thingy, since the outlets on the Megabus didn’t like mine, then finish packing and get to class.

Tonight I’ll be heading back home, and depending on whether I can get our guestroom sorted, I’ll be back in Brienne’s class on Wednesday.

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