Tag Archive | grand battement

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. πŸ˜‰

I Have Found the Glow

Something terrible happened this week – the General badly fractured her wrist. She had to get a lot of hardware installed and she is out of the studio until she has recovers. I am so lost without her presence there. It’s so lonely. It’s weird. But, in order to keep her spirits up – the dancers are pushing forward. The General’s daughter (let’s call her Willow – because she is wispy, graceful and beautiful) has been teaching class and she is doing a great job keeping us all focused and motivated. Keeping high spirits has been exceptionally difficult for me lately because I have been preparing for one of the biggest trials of my career – nothing but work for weeks now. Soon it will be over, but until that time comes I am a little distracted.

Willow has been doing her best to keep us on track to improve in the areas the General was concerned with prior to her injury (I.e flexibility, stronger turn out and higher grand battement). However, the last thing we worked was the waltz. Ahhhh – the waltz. It seems simple enough, until you do it, let alone to music. A lot of adult beginners struggle with getting the rhythm and footing. If you have never danced – it seems almost impossible. You fumble, you trip. Nothing seems natural about it. Now that I am more then just a mere “beginner” (ha! Still seems hard to believe) I am finally starting to catch on to the waltz’s crazy ways. Yes, the waltz seems less complicating to me now. (Yeah!)

So in spirit of keeping the Generals desire to have us improve the Waltz step, Willow had us work on the waltz this Thursday. Something happened during class. I don’t know how it happened of why. Maybe it was the music or my mood. Either way – I finally let myself dance to the waltz. I couldn’t help but smile through the combination across the floor, even when I flubbed a step. I kept my chest upright and my head held high and for some reason, it helped me dance better. I looked at myself glide across the floor and I looked like I was glowing, just like ballerinas do. I was secure and I was happy. It was so amazing.

It seems that confidence IS key with dance. Once you feel a sense of security in what you are doing, you carry yourself better. When you carry yourself better, you dance better. It’s a (scientific) fact. I even utilized my new poise in my pirouettes and wouldn’t you know it?? I was actually landing my doubles more consistently. Frig-yeah frigger!

My point? Keep your head up, shoulders back and you back straight. More importantly – Smile. 😊. Even beginners can find the glow. When you do – you have finally shed your newbie status. (*joy).

Silver Lining

Last night’s lesson was kind of odd. The General had something on her mind and was a little distracted. We spent a majority of the class stretching and the rest was dedicated to leaping and working on grand battements, which are tough because of my hamstring injury. I really needed a good stretch, though. I was able to thoroughly stretch everything. Call me Gumby, baby.

As for leaps, while my right leaps are not so great right now, my left were looking not too shabby. I feel so much more in control of my body in mid-air. I used to flail about. Much like a fish out of water. It was funny, and sad. Ha! During our leap exercise, one of the students proposed doing a calypso leap. For those who don’t know – it involves you first doing a series of prep chaines and then into a turn-leap while you try to literally kick the back of your head. Does that make sense?? YouTube it. My description kind of sucks. Anywho – this time last year I could not do the turn no matter how hard I tried. So when it was proposed that we do these leaps I was less then confident I was able to pull it off. I watched the more advanced students do it a couple times and I just went for it. Guess what???? I did it!! I really did it! I was so excited I could barely contain my enthusiasm! I just kept doing them over and over and over again! Sure, they were not perfect, but who cares! I did something I couldn’t do last year! The mental block has been removed!! “Look at me! I’m a calypso-er!!!! Whoopie!!!”

Then guess what else happened?! Yup – it gets better and I am going to boast. The General was giving me tips on how to improve my left grand battement and she says (wait for it)

“Your leaps look great by the way. Have you been practicing in your backyard??”

*Squee πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

I replied, “Nope! Just been working on my stretching!” And then followed up with, “Do you remember when you said that I may never be able to leap well because I started too late?? Well – I guess you were wrong!!!” She laughed (I was being silly). Well, how was she supposed to know? She had never trained an adult before! I only hoped she would be wrong and I’m so glad that se was!! So, not only did I get another compliment from the General, but my leaps are really improving! Wow. What a good night.

Then – it happened. With all that good news, it didn’t help me feel much better about the next news I received. I found out that the General allowed another student to takes some Company classes and she didn’t ask me. Whaaaaaaaaa! 😒. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is to me. I personally feel that it is a real accomplishment to get the “ok” to dance alongside with the best girls in the whole studio, even if it’s just practicing. I don’t want to be in the company necessarily (well, I would but then I would be delusional), but it would mean so much to me just to be asked to join a company class. I work so hard. I practice, I stretch, I push myself in class, I am always trying to learn and be a better dancer. And with all of my improvement, I thought maybe she would offer the same opportunity. Well, I guess it’s not my time yet and that’s ok. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not being good enough, but I am getting better every day and that is still a great accomplishment, right?? I will never ask the General to join a company class, not ever. And until she asks me to join a company practice (which may never happen), I will not be a part of one. I want to try to earn it. I will keep pushing to do so. Even if I never get there, I will still end up being a pretty stellar adult beginner ballerina!

So – there is still a silver lining to my little grey cloud. I did a calypso leap (slam!), I have confirmation from the General that my leaps have vastly improved (double slam) and I am going to work even harder to try to earn my way into a company practice. ☺️