It´s official. I´m on my first decent vacation in years. Three weeks of blissful not-doing-anything, except heading to the beach. And ballet. Lots of ballet! Since there are no summer-intensives for adults here in Helsinki (and I´m lacking the funds to travel), I have compiled my own ballet intensive, with daily classes at two different studios. The only drawback is that there is not much variety in classes. Both my favorite teachers are on vacation too, and at both open studios there is currently only one teacher subbing for the next two weeks. But it is summer, I´m out of the office, and I get to dance. Not really complaining here.
My own regular teacher/mentor Gabriella already handed over the reigns a week ago, and what a awesome rule it was! Classes progressed from the first to last, adding more challenges as we danced along. Got to do lots of batterie again, quick allegros, grand pirouettes, complex variations across the floor and and big port de bras. In our last summer class we did this beautiful adagio, with specific focus on épaulemant: "you have to dance from the heart", she said, laying hands to her chest. "All movement has to come from the heart!". This is so important to remember, especially in technique class where your brain is doing overtime to produce clean lines and accurate steps. You gotta put yourself out there, and not be scared to let your personality shine through!
Class ended with a crazy grand allegro en manège: valses en tournant, tour jetés, and coming down from entrelacé, fouetté around, step and grand pas de chat. That last big jump - it´s been a long time since I haven´t felt any restriction, no stiffness, no nothing. Awesome! After our final reverance, we thanked with the longest applause, until our teacher waved us off, all embarrassed (and obviously very pleased). :)
So, until mid-August, new styles and new teachers. It always does you good, as long as you bring the right attitude into class and work as hard and carefully as usual. My own studio´s Summer Sub (Silvia) has already proven to be an interesting experience. She is Spanish, was primarily educated in the Vaganova school, but has since picked up influences from the American (think Balanchine) and Cuban schools, plus contemporary dance (Graham, Cunnigham). I like that she too has actually performed as a classical ballet dancer, in Mexico´s National Ballet and later in Germany.
Silvia´s class very much focuses on center exercices, with beautiful upper body movements and very quick and strong jumps. She pays particular attention to proper breathing during dancing, and to the phrasing of the music. The center I like very much indeed, but the barre is still a bit too light and short for my liking. Her teaching style is also somewhat more relaxed, for instance she lets us do our own preparations at the barre, and our own stretching before center. Whereas Gabriella and M-P always choreograph the entire class. I don´t mind so much, it´s quite common practice - but I do miss the concentrated feeling of a class working and dancing completely in unison. But all in all, a positive experience. Really looking forward to more!
My weekly dance schedule:
Monday: Advanced ballet, 90 min (Silvia)
Tuesday: Adv ballet, 90 min, new teacher (N), different studio, today is the first time
Wednesday: Adv ballet 90 min (S), followed by 60 min basic level (S), which I do on pointe
Thursday: Basic-Intermediate 75 min (N), 15 minutes at end of class for beginning pointe,
followed by 90 min of adv ballet (S). Have to switch studios for this one, luckily they are close-by.
Friday: Adv ballet, 90 min (N)
Weekends: no ballet, just R&R
I´m also planning to finally buy a new camera, so there may be more photos in the future. Most likely these will be shots of pointe shoes and beaches, but if we can get any decent ballet photos.. who knows? Might be time for a full-body-shot. Yikes.. Well, that is it for my first dancatahon post. More to come. Hope you all have a wonderful summer dancing and relaxing!
Picture above post: "Ballet on the Beach" by Loudon Sainthill (1918-1969).
Medium: watercolour and ink.
Medium: watercolour and ink.