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Extra Class With BW

BW taught an extra class this morning. The student body comprised three girls and me, all fairly experienced dancers. He gave us the usual long, graceful barre, then really beautiful combinations when it came time to dance. I concentrated on working classical turns from fourth, having Balanchined the hell out of them all week.

Our terre-a-terre was the simple one we often do on Thursdays: piqué turn x2, soutenu turn x2, piqué turn x2, (tombé) chaîne x4.(1)

  1. Per BW: men’s technique generally calls for a tombé into chaîne turns. I probably mentioned it on Thursday. IMO, it is easy easier to do them this way, anyway. 

Not a difficult combination to remember, but one which can be refined indefinitely. It’s invaluable for learning to keep your body in one piece and also not to overdo the launch on the turns. My chaînes are growing less bad bit by bit thanks to this combination.

We were in the biggest studio today, and oddly enough I think that helped. My brain didn’t automatically think, CLEAR THE WHOLE LEVEL LEVEL IN ONE PASS—GO!!! 

Astoundingly, petit allegro also went pretty well (though my beats were sloppy). 

I’ve been wrestling with making my petit assemblé clean: my grand assemblé is usually good, but it’s definitely too big and high (and slow) for petit allegro. I couldn’t figure out why. BW suggested less brush. I tried it that way, then adjusted the snap of my inner thighs so the actual assemblé occurred at the apex and not just before landing.

Anyway, those adjustments worked. Now I’ll have to try to remember them next time I’m in class. 

I also finally got my jetés and coupé-jetés to lighten up, largely thanks to BW’s demo of the combination. I realized that I’ve been afraid if making them look too tap-dancy (not that there’s anything wrong with tap, of course; it’s just not what you’re going for in ballet class).

I’m not about to say that I found myself channeling Erik Bruhn today, but ultimately, my petit allegro sucked less than usual. 

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that BW win be teaching this class on the regular. On the other hand, it’s a chance to dance in the really, really huge studio, so I might add it into the rotation. Also, the floor in there is so nice.

My body is sorting itself. I found my deep rotators doing their job at several key moments in class today, which was nice. It’s feeling less like, “Egads, will I ever be able to dance again?!” and more like it’s supposed to feel. 

Spent the remainder of the early afternoon teaching turns and working on choreography. I’m at this point in the piece that really requires partnering, so we’ll work it tomorrow night. 

A Very Brief Public Service Announcement 


Only don’t be all swaybacked ‘n’ shizzle.

Ceci n’est pas un pun.

This last drawing turned out looking too much like just coupé arrière, but as you can probably tell, I was done effing around in S-Note by then.

In short, though, if your instructor shouts, “BACK OF THE KNEE!!!” when you’re firing off your pique turns, make sure you’re not the party poupé-er attaching your foot halfway between passé and coupé.

We now return to our regularly-scheduled Break Week.

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