Today was the first day I skipped a class. I’m taking an online dance course through the University of California Online entitled Dance: Cultures and Contexts and we have discussion from 2:10-3. My point class is from 3-4. I tried to access the Wifi from the CPYB Warehouse but no luck. I had to haul fanny home and sign on with only a couple of minutes to spare! If you’re late or leave the online discussion early they dock you points. I decided to stay home rather than rush over and be a little late. Truth be told I probably only would have been a couple of minutes late but the lower outside of my left ankle has been bothering me and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to miss one hour of dance. I compared ankles and the left one is indeed swollen. Meeeeeep. I talked to Susan about it today and she said I could have either landed wrong or I’m correcting or over-correcting something. It could be worse but I’m still a little bummed.
We had class with Barbara Sandonato on Wednesday who was the first principal at Pennsylvania Ballet and has taught at CPYB as well as Alvin Ailey, STEPS, BAE…just to name a few. She was AWESOME. Turns out that she has flat feet too but she was able to train her feet and legs to hold an arch that looks really natural and quite archy. I’m not sure how she did it… maybe that’s how I messed up my ankle by trying to correct my flatfootedness. She did some stretching with us and really just let us pick her brain. I asked her how to deal with pesky big thighs that get in the way. She said you have to rebuild the muscle. Turn out and stretch those legs so that you don’t build bulk. I did notice today that if I really used my inner thigh muscles my legs fit more comfortably together in fifth. 🙂
Barbara told us this funny story about how she slipped while rushing for the bus in NY and fell right into a split. The people next to her weren’t sure if she was going to get back up but she waved them off, got up and said “I used to be a ballet dancer.” Did I mention that she’s going to be 70 this year? HOW AWESOME IS THAT? She doesn’t look a day past 45. AND she still has her splits…. I hope to be as graceful and flexible at that age….but really I’d love to be that graceful and flexible at this age. I need to work harder for it and I will. I know I keep saying that and it keeps not happening but you need to keep saying it (and doing it) till it happens, right?
Morning class was a little hard today. Not in terms of difficulty but in terms of being there that early, not getting enough sleep, having yesterday off, and having a sad ankle. Once we got to the center and started working on pirouettes my mood improved which is odd since there’s nothing like messing up on turns to make you even more frustrated. I think working on pirouettes and balances and port de bras reminded me why I’m here, why I’m working my tukkus off – to be as good a dancer as I can be. My pirouettes are getting better. When turning on the right foot, I have a tendency to hop which isn’t good but turning on the left isn’t so bad.
Anne had us do a nice port de bras right before the end of class. I love working on port de bras. I’m usually not very good with port de bras and have complained about it before but here it’s making sense as are some of the head positions. One of the first things they told us was that someone should be able to kiss you on the cheek when looking to side. That clicked since I’m from a place that says hello by kissing on the cheek. 🙂 I think its easy to lose your arms when working on the rest of your body so when we get to just focus on the arms and head, I’m a happy camper.
Our second class was with Susan and it was GREAT. She’s sarcastic, quirky, and funny. In Celeste’s class last week, Susan didn’t like how they were gripping the barres with their thumbs and said “Your thumbs are working too hard, I’m going to have to give them tutus.” Funny stuff. She called the two guys in our class “Master” which she explained people used to do to thank the men for being in ballet class. What the f, ballet, what the f? Let’s thanks girls for being there too! But really, I completely understand – there aren’t enough men in ballet.
Back to pirouettes. We had the following conversation with Teresa, another teacher which sharp humor.
Teresa: If someone asks if you guys can do pirouettes, what would you say?
Teresa: You’d say you’re working on it.
Turns out a pirouette shouldn’t be messy or heavy. Turns out a pirouette must end in a stable high passe position before slowly sliding your foot down to sousous. 🙂 Working on it indeed. Here’s a video with some AMAZING pirouettes: