Our first class today with Re was INTENSE. She had us working literally the entire hour and a half. Usually we get short little breaks here and there where the teacher will explain something or fix alignment on someone. Nope. It was almost as if we were trying to make the entire class a performance. Not that it looked good. Just that it kept going, and going, and going. She kicked our ass basically. 🙂 LOVED it! She did correct us and gave us the pep talk where she commiserated with us for having to do this slow work ad nauseam but that we have to build our foundation since it’s lacking. She also emphasized the fact that professional dancers often take slow, basic classes so that they can continue to hone their skills and not lose the details. She compared it to actors going back to Broadway or doing live theater as a way to keep their acting up to snuff. Maintenance. Makes sense to me. I have no problems working this slow. If this is what it takes to make ballet look effortless and beautiful, I’m all for it. Sure, it’s tedious and a lot of work but it has to be done. I think people forget that we are missing a huge chunk in our ballet education. This is how to fill the void.
I tend to grip my thighs for everything. They’re my power source which isn’t good. Re said something that sorta helped. She said to think of everything as stretching…that dancing is done by stretching. Stretch your muscles out to point, to glide, to jump. When I thought of it as stretching, I definitely didn’t grip my thigh as much. I’m not saying it’s perfect yet but it helped.
I do find that my right leg is feeling a lot strong when it comes to working in releve. Not quite sure why that is…. Also, it’s very hard to work in turnout while moving through releve for some reason….
Re-isms (notes from Re):
- Plie happens by using the inside of your thighs and making them come forward aka turn out.
- Coming back to straight from a plie happens from the upper back of your thighs or the seat muscles as they call them ehre. The backs of your thighs keep you steady when balancing as well.
- Your abs are your power source.
- Use your back when holding out your arms in second. Think of your arms as stretching out so that your muscles are engaged without having to grip them.
- When pirouetting, keep your stomach in!
- Ballet happens by using your body symmetrically. Your supporting side should be working just as hard as your working side.
We Teresa for our second class. She’s the teacher I thought didn’t care for me but she corrected me and talked to me today! WOOOO! 🙂 Turns out I keep all my tension in my shoulders and don’t breathe. Ha, I knew all of this, it’s just fixing it that’s the problem. “Relax, breathe, if you don’t breathe, you’ll faint.” Gotta work on the breathing guys. It’s funny because you’d think breathing would come naturally, that it would be impossible not to breathe. But that’s actually what happens since once we’re done with the combination, I’ll find myself short of breath….
Corrections from Teresa
- Keep your shoulders down. All the time.
- A pirouette goes around and then up a little to come down. You’re supposed to stay in the air a little before coming down to flat. I’m getting better at this but still need to work on it.
- Spot. Spot. Spot. Spot. Spot when turning making sure to keep your head level.
- When jumping in coupe position your foot should stay attached to wherever it is. If it’s in coupe back, it should stay touching the back of your leg.
- Keep your turnout when glissading and balancing and well ALWAYS.
- Your arms always go through first when moving from one position through the other.
I really like Teresa because she’s no nonsense but has a sense of humor. 🙂
We had Robert for our 3rd class again today and I have to say I really like him too. His class starts with stretches: frog, touching your toes while on the floor. He said we should have our bodies across our legs by the end of the 5 weeks. I have my work cut out for me. He also encouraged us to do ab work to make sure we have strong cores. Can’t do pointe without a strong core!
Notes from Robert
- You must know the 8 directions in ballet (I’m working on getting a complete list) and the 3 general arm positions (en bas, en haut, a la seconde)
- In chasses- the chasing part happens in the air
- Jump up as high as you can when jumping (seems self-explanatory but it isn’t).
- You move your legs. You dance with your legs. You don’t just dance with your feet. We’re not penguins with no legs.
- In glissades push off the second leg and point it!
We are definitely receiving the same corrections in each class; it’s finding the ones that make the most sense to our minds and bodies. My favorite so far has been Robert’s – he said to imagine a zipper zipping your legs up and feeling your inner thighs pushing against each other. Thinking of this really helped me turn out more and get my weight over my thighs
I really have to work on retaining all the information we’re getting. 🙂 Ok, it’s off to bed for me! I’m so tired, I’m getting dizzy!!!