Dance Class Recaps,  Progress Or Lack Thereof

beating and nothingness

Whoops, I have taken three classes without posting here! I did start to write something after last Wednesday’s class, so let me start there.


Something is not right with my arabesque on my right side (right leg is working leg). I don’t know when or how this happened. I glanced over in the mirror and it just looked awful. My back was a weird C-shape and my leg seemed to be somewhere in orbit around my body rather than attached to it. Why am I getting worse? Once I noticed it, I reigned it in a little by keeping the leg lower. Although I’ve lost and gained height over the years, my arabesque position was one I could usually feel really well and as far as I can tell, I was careful and precise about placement (at least in my lower half)—it’s easy to glance over and see whether or not you’ve nailed that classic arabesque line.

A correction of note was during adagio when we did (speak of the devil) a promenade in arabesque, then without lowering the leg went into passé-developpé devant (a promenade, in this case, is when you are standing on one foot, and you slowly turn in a circle in place by scooching the heel of your standing leg around, while otherwise remaining frozen in the position you are in. Like a car slowly spinning on display at a car show.). Taylor likes to crouch down and watch us from a corner, and I was right in front of her. “Heel forward!” she told me as we finished the promenade, beckoning my heel toward her with her hand. I had completely lost my turnout during the promenade, so I scooted my wayward heel forward—and of course proceeded to lose my balance entirely as well, and wobbled wildly to and fro during the developpé. OK


I realized I will have to buy another 10-class card before purchasing my unlimited pass for the Spring. For some reason, classes start back up on January 2nd or 3rd, but you can’t buy the unlimited pass until the 13th. So I will need to use up my current class card and then quickly blow through another one before mid-January. All this is to say that I took class on Saturday. I went to Taylor’s beginner/intermediate class because it is earlier in the day and I had a holiday party to get ready for that evening. I feel like I’m stalling right now because I can’t remember anything from Saturday’s class.

Why is every ex-pro or might-as-well-be-a-pro dancer that comes to class super tall? There were two very advanced dancers in Saturday’s class and both towered over me.

OHHH now I remember. Taylor said, generally, to a group I was in during a pirouette combination, “Great job! Now try doubles!! What’s the worst that can happen?” So I tried for doubles a few times on each side. Every time was a disaster. I almost felt sort of bitter, like oh thanks for ruining what was a nice combination by making me go for doubles that I can’t do. But why would Taylor press us to try if it wouldn’t help us? So I tried and tried. I think there was another pirouette in a diagonal combination that I also proceeded to ruin by trying to make a double.

I don’t know. I’ll keep trying, I guess. Right now it feels truly terrible. I don’t even know where to begin to try to improve. Spotting probably. I feel like my head disconnects from my neck and any attempt at spotting is done to some random place in the room like the side wall or something.


The past few classes, it seems like both Calla and Taylor are pushing us a bit harder than usual. I think because of the break coming up. Subsequently, I feel like I’m finally getting stronger. My balances feel steadier, demi pointe is higher, I can hold my turnout better (all areas where I have a lot of work to do, but I can feel small improvements). Of course this is all happening right before a long break. I can write in here all I want about how I’m going to practice at home and do ballet youtube videos, but I just know the entire break will vanish before my eyes and my slippers will remain in my ballet bag collecting dust. Maybe I can pencil youtube videos into my calendar and try to attend them as if they were real classes? Maybe I can make myself a pretend class card and try to check off 5-6 classes? That’s actually not a bad idea.

We did a lot of pirouettes again on Monday, and I did not try any doubles. We did a lot of en dedans pirouettes, some of which felt okay. Honestly, I think I was just physically too tired to nail a good pirouette of any kind. I had really given it my all during barre, and Calla has added elevés and plié-relevés into both barre and center now, which is great for building strength, but by the time we’re doing pirouettes, my legs are burned out. Calla kept saying to pull up on the supporting side. I feel like that’s at least partly code for “get up higher on your demi pointe” aka an impossible task, like trying to deadlift 500 lbs. UNNNNNGGG! I’m TRYING!!!

My right arabesque is still wonky. It feels weird and off and somehow blocked. I can’t get it up that high–well I can stretch it with my hand or on the barre, but if I am trying to do a proper arabesque, it’s like it just jams at a certain point and doesn’t want to budge. That’s why I think I am losing placement when I do anything to arabesque as I normally would (90 degrees or so) at the barre. I’ll have to start back at 45 degrees and try to work my way back up with proper alignment. I guess. I really wish I could somehow fix or cure all the various problems caused by the tightness in my hips. 

Finally, I am officially unable to do double frappes en relevé. This is because Taylor likes for us to do frappés devant in sur le cou-de-pied (as well as petits battements). For those of you who may not know, the difference here is starting the frappé movement from a position where your foot is wrapped around your ankle, vs. starting from a position where only your toes are touching your ankle. Both are correct, it just depends on the school or, in adult open classes, the individual teacher. Taylor says we can do frappes however we’re comfortable, but her preference is sur le cou-de-pied because the wrap position makes it harder to lose your turnout during the frappé.

a sur le cou-de-pied or “wrapped” position
coupé devant without wrapped foot

So I started trying to use the wrapped position during frappes en relevé. Which was all well and good until Calla gave us a combination with lots of doubles. I managed fine with the flexed foot on flat, but when we rose to demi pointe, I had no muscle memory for double frappés on relevé using sur le cou-de-pied. So of course on the second side, I told myself forget it, just use coupé devant and do what you know. Except I had tried so hard to start using sur le cou-de-pied that now regular coupé felt weird and my muscle memory for THAT was out the window, as well. I was left with nothing, nothing!


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