Ballet class, center pirouette exercise: tombé pas de bourré into fourth, foutté turn with right leg ronde to the back - TPDB into fourth, double pirouette en dehors - TPDB into fourth, fouetté turn into preparation for en dedans pirouette - turn - plié - sous tenu turn - tombé - pirouette arabesque (arms ups) - plié - arms open - pirouette en dendans (arms up). There is no pause in the last pirouette combination, you turn, plié and turn. Or are thrown off your axis, like me..
Now here´s the "trick" to survive: after down, comes up. Up, down, up, down. Or like our teacher Silvia said: it is very much like in real life. I know what she was getting at, it´s an easy comparison to draw.. But, as we know, life is not always fair. There are no guarantees that after "down" comes the inevitable "up". Sometimes shit happens. But not so in ballet! Even if learning ballet is like riding the metaphorical rollercoaster. Your learning curve will take you high, and then you will plummet, gather speed again and plataeu, buy a new ticket and ride up again. Only with learning ballet you will eventually advance, despite the rides down with the arms flailing and the screaming. Wait, no screaming in ballet class. But fun!
Then there is the actual, physical act of going up and down. No metaphors here. If you want to jump, you plié first to push off. We know that the same applies to turns. Strangely, we keep forgetting this. Pliés become too easily habitual and perfunctory, and in the process we are robbed of their full potential! That is why our teacher threw the life-must-have-its-up-and-downs metaphor us. We were doing the pirouette exercise as if the directional line was fixed by a level, when we should have been going down, up, down, up.. Using our pliés, and the rebound energy they provide. Our teacher demonstrated again, and we tried our best to follow suit. Whaddya know - it worked!
Of course we all know the theory behind the plié, and its purpose. But I urge each and everyone of you to pay extra attention next time you dance. Make those pliés count, and not just in the obvious jumps. Dare to go down, and deeper. Trust that at least in ballet this action will always bring you right back up. Literally and figuratively.