Summer 2014 Ballet!

So I just saw the summer schedule for my studio and I’m happy to announce that there are two teen/adult classes offered! I am so very excited. My instructor did say she was going to put a word in for me about adding a class, but I didn’t think it was actually going to materialize! So from June to August I will be ballet-ing two times a week with a curriculum that will actually help me progress. I am excited and actually touched the studio wanted to help accommodate my needs, even if not just mine but other students who desire the extra classes! (Boom).

An important side note, I have been continuing to progress despite the lightened schedule. It seems that stress was my biggest inhibitor after all. It also doesn’t hurt that I have been working out like a maniac for the last two months. I have serious muscle again, not to mention that I can jump like a squirrel on steroids. (Well, kind of.). All thanks to good old plyometrics!

So what are my ballet goals? Honestly, I am still struggling to figure out how to get a decent grand battlement. I am strong and relatively flexible, but my leg will not extend much past 90 degrees in first position. Then I see younger, weaker girls who just put it up there with no problem. What in the hell am I missing?!?! My theory – I am utilizing the wrong muscles when I extend. I focus on my hamstrings and not on my butt and feet to help lift the foot into the air. So how do I practice this? Anyone have any suggestions on improving this or should I be resolved to defeat?

Hmmmm. I guess only time will tell. 😉


14 thoughts on “Summer 2014 Ballet!

  1. I’ve always loved summer classes because the pressure is off. There are no performances coming up, so I’m able to focus on technique more, And at my regular studio, classes are a bit laid back, and you get alternating teachers.

    As for grande battements, I had a teacher once who told me to use my foot to try to ring an imaginary bell. It was pretty simplistic, but it helped.

  2. Advice from my ballet teacher for grand battement : stand leg strong, abs engaged but without tension in the hips, focus on your foot lifting as high as possible (not the entire leg).
    Quite tricky actually but it has helped me a little.

  3. my teachers opinion: pull up out of the supporting leg, focus on lifting the leg up and “away” from the body from the INSIDE – dont use your thigh but your inner abs and hip muscles! And bring your leg down with the same energy as up – helps with muscle memory!

  4. Wowww I wish I could have classes during the summer! Everything shuts down here, and with almost a 7 week ballet hiatus I might go crazy!!
    Try to really get your weight on your standing leg with those grand battements. Focus on making your working leg as light as possible when it goes in the air. Also make sure you are really working from your core. Hope all goes well!

      • Haha my body is always confused in ballet class.. that’s what makes it so hard I guess! Relax this, tighten this, straighten this, bend this… it’s just never easy and never ‘just one thing’! Hope my tips work for you 😉

  5. Hi LB! Your grande battement challenge might be related to flexibility rather than strength. I have pretty decent grande battements but I can’t do a grande jete on my left to save my life. Weird. So for me, I actively think about relaxing when I do grande battements. An exercise that I think has helped me get height on these is actually from martial arts. Stretch first or do a bit of a warmup and then stand in forward stance, i.e. a high lunge position. (This is just a kick stretch.) Swing your back leg forward and up while straightening the standing leg and using your arms for balance (you can also do a modified version of this holding onto the barre). Be gentle at first because if your muscles are cold or tight from lots of working out, you could pull a hamstring–not good! Go slowly and feel out where your limit is, and then just gently try to kick up ever so slightly past the comfort zone but not into the danger zone. This is also a great exercise to get your heart rate up. As with all stretching, the key is actually relaxing into the kick-up. You only need a certain amount of power to get your leg into the air; the rest is flexibility. My challenge with grande battements is slowing them down on the descent, so that’s something this exercise may not help with. Good luck! I’d love to hear about it if you have advice for developing a grande jete! 🙂

    • Great advise! I will try that.

      As for grande jetes, they used to be my biggest problem but they are now getting significantly easier. Are they perfect? No. Do they look more like a leap and less like flail? Yes. I believe that flexibility plays a role in this as well. However, I noticed that when I really pay attention to placing my legs in the air using my muscles, it makes a difference. Does that make any sense? Like I need to stretch my legs into a jete and force the split in mid air using my glutes and quads. I keep reminding myself that dancers only make ballet look easy, but as we all know it is far from easy.

      I hope this helps!

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