I’m lying in bed with an electric heating pad on my upper back and neck. We were doing sautes in second in our third class today and something just sort of pulled in my right top trapezius muscle. Similar area that I injured last year. I’m hoping I just pulled something and that it’ll be ok tomorrow. 😦 😦 Waah.
Classes continue to be slow and methodical which I’m really enjoying. There’s a lot of little things that I never learned that now I can really focus on. For example in rond de jambe en l’air en dehors your foot should loop out and then come straight in. For en dedans it should do straight out then loop in. I think I was doing more of a huge circular motion.
We had two new teachers today. The first one, Teresa, was my type of teacher. Doesn’t let you get away with anything and expects perfection. She went around poking and prodding, fixing sickled feet, and making people turnout more. I started off the class really excited to work hard and get corrected by her or dare I say it…complimented by her. As the class progressed, I tried to take her general corrections and apply them to me including any individual corrections she was giving my fellow dancers. She’d come to my side of the barre and while I waited anxiously to get corrected on something, I’d soon hear her correcting the lovely dancer behind me who has amazing turnout that she doesn’t use by the way (which is why Teresa kept picking on her). In the normal world, the assumption is if you’re not getting corrected on something, you must be doing it right. Cops don’t stop you on the road to say “hey you’re doing a great job! Keep making those great left turns.” Job wise you know you’re doing something right when no one complains about you doing it wrong. In the ballet world however you’re either not getting corrected because
a. you are a prima ballerina and have reached perfection or
b. it’s not worth correcting you (this is not necessarily a bad thing – you might only be dancing for fun and as long as you aren’t doing something terribly wrong that could result in injury – why bother you). Which category do you think I might be in?
Once I realized I wasn’t really getting corrected, I worked harder which is why I like teachers like this because they bring the best out in me. The last quarter of class, I slipped into dejection: “Do I suck that much?” “Can she tell I’m old?” I have to admit she did correct me twice. Once in releve, she patted my shoulders to indicate that they shouldn’t be hiked up. The second time was in the center she asked “Is your knee facing the window?” and I said “I think so?.” So she didn’t totally ignore me…
We had to hold our legs in the air for something not sure if we were doing grand battements or something but I rubbed my thigh because it was little sore from holding my leg up there. She then said if you feel it in the backs of your thighs or the inside of your thighs – that’s good. If you feel it on the top of your thighs (me), that’s bad. It’ll develop a huge upper thigh (which HEY I HAVE). She didn’t give any pointers for not engaging the upper thigh and maybe I should have asked…. I already know I don’t use my legs in the most efficient way. Gripping everything and using your upper thigh for everything = not efficient and bulk creator. I’ll have to work on that… So again, I guess she didn’t ignore me?
Our third class, which is supposed to be a pointe class, was taught by an older gent who I really liked. The first thing he said to us was that the all-knowing Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-uh) will let us know when we are ready to do pointe work. Fine by me being that I’m dealing with two pesky ingrown toe nails that aren’t infected or anything…just have to wait till they grow out a bit since I cut them at angle that’ll keep digging into my skin. Lovely. I know. Funny story about being the old lady in the room, I have no shame or rather I’ve lost that youthful timidity.. and giggliness… and self consciousness. Case in point. We were waiting outside of Studio 1 for the class to end. The class ended. A gaggle of girls came out. And then nothing happened. My group just stayed huddled by the door. So I figured we were waiting for something. A man excused himself through our little crowd and into Studio 1 and I said “hm, wonder who that is.” We continue to linger outside. I asked what was going on and no one really knew what we were waiting for. I decided I had enough of purgatory and walked through the throng and into the studio and asked the teacher (who low and behold was the man who had walked in to it…duh) if we could come in. “Well I should hope so” he answered. Clearly I wasn’t the only one confused by the waiting. My level is excessively polite or easily frightened. Homie don’t play that. Not to say that I am not polite or frightened or self conscious just that I have a different flavor. Being older has it’s perks.
Our male teacher said you have to take these 5 weeks as if you were doing a research paper in college. You have to do things on your own, “be a self-starter.” No one is going to tell you to do x, y, z. Honey, I learned that the hard way so I will be doing my best to get everything I can out of these 5 weeks. I will be stretching every day, I will ask questions in class, I will take notes of corrections, I will take ALL corrections as if they were meant for me. The youngins don’t get that yet. If something dies when you age, then maybe it’s not all bad.
I have to say I have never jumped higher than I did today in our Pre-pointe class. The imagery he gave us to use really clicked for some reason. He said to “Push the right leg against the left and the left leg against the right. Zip up your thighs, make it so that two legs become one.” It worked. I could see the difference in the mirror. He said that George Balanchine would spend hours on tendus. “Tendus and plies are everything in ballet, the rest is just garnish.” He told us to keep the same sort of feeling of pressing in while tenduing out. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks. 🙂 🙂
Is it really only Day 2?