December 25, 2010

Triple Goodness in Time for Christmas!

Last ballet class before Christmas.. and honestly, I wasn´t expecting all that much. For one thing, I had had about five hours worth of sleep, been on my feet all day and as a result was feeling more than a little cranky. Also, I was running late, which meant I had no time for a proper stretch and warm up. Not the best set-up for a good class, right? Nevertheless, a dancer has to get her quota, especially before a 12 day long break.  Fortunately, once the music started to play and we did the first plie exercise, all the crankiness and weariness disappeared. Just as it always does. 

And it was a good class! This Wednesday there were only four of us, with the rest working late / doing last minute Christmas shopping / holidaying in the tropics (insert appropriate envy here). So we did the entire class as one group, which equals a pretty intense work-out. But best of all, there was time for extra scrutiny and corrections. I´m always eager to get any sort of feedback, whether it´s good or not so.. As long as it helps me to improve my dancing!

Our teacher (old-school Vaganova) gave us this challenging center exercise, with fondues into relevé, rondes de jambe, piqués and pirouettes. The double pirouette en dehors was supposed to finish with the retiré leg in tendu effacé devant. And I just could not get it right. Every time I tried, my pirouette veered off the pose. Then my teacher recognized the problem: I kept opening the retiré leg too early, and that would carry me away from my axis. So I tried to hold the pose longer, and tried again.. really focusing on the finish.. and then I nailed it! A clean triple pirouette and pose! Christmas wish-list: triple pirouettes: check.  I wonder if this works with quadruple turns too.. Can´t wait to find out what happens next year! 

Happy Holidays everyone! 
And multiple pirouettes all around!

Illustration by Rudolf Koivu.


  1. :) Merry Christmas, Johanna! Hope all your wishes will come true! And a nice Rudolf Koivu by the way!

  2. Thank you, Saara and Merry Christmas! I wish that all your dreams, dance- and otherwise come true too!

    By the way, I wonder if Rudolf Koivu was a fan of ballet? There is so much of dance in his illustrations, and his women are always depicted as graceful, elegant and look like they are painted in mid-movement..

  3. Hi Johanna!
    Congratulations on the triple!!!
    I think I've seen you around at the dance school some times, since I used to take a ballet class just before Jatko3.

  4. Hi Noora!

    Thanks :) You gotta enjoy the moment, right? I just hope those triples keep coming, that´s all!

    Funny how ballet is such a small world.. You said you used to take the class before mine? Hope you haven´t quit or anything? If we do bump into each other, be sure to say hello. It would be nice to get to know you in person :)

  5. Hi Johanna!

    I took a class with Kalle right before J3, but I have temporarily moved to a different country, so I have had to leave the dance school. I'm still involved with ballet, but I'm amazed at how different teaching styles in the US are compared to Finland. The barre work is much easier and takes up a shorter time than barre in any class in Finland, but center work is so difficult!

  6. Oh, how cool! :D Be sure to tell us more about your classes there!

    I have had classes like that too.. My teacher from way back when did a fairly simple barre (which was a really good warm-up), but center was always several levels more difficult! In my humble opinion you don´t actually need that many "tricks" at the barre. I like it best when we do very precise and preparatory work, and really use the proper muscles and focus on correct placement. After that you go to the center feeling all pulled up and ready to dance!

    Still, it´s always interesting to try out new styles!


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...