January 6, 2011

Back to Ballet, and Still Smiling. Sort of..

Back to ballet after the holidays and oh boy.. everything hurts! All major muscle groups hurt, several joints hurt and even my pride hurts, just a little bit. I can´t believe it would be so hard to get back into ballet-shape after a mere 14-days long hiatus.

Maybe the blame is on the freezing cold winter weather, or the strenuous inventory at work, or the one-too-many Christmas chocolate box. Heck, maybe I just spent way too much time couch-potatoing when I really should have been doing ab exercises and relevés! Still, breaks should be good for you, giving muscles and mind a well deserved rest. Right? Why then does this dance-break feel more like an unwelcome interruption? It´s as if I took one step forward before the break, and now I´ve taken two steps back again. But I suppose that´s ballet for you: you think you have it "made", and then you fall flat on your face. 

I have been on this road before, so why would I think I could just pick up where I left? I mean I can handle the achy muscles and sore ankles, that´s just part of the package. What I am having trouble with is losing my pirouettes (they are all over the place, just not "under me"), my jump (ballon to you ballet-French aficionados) and my coordination. A mere month ago I wrote that "my brisés are better than ever". Yesterday, they pretty much sucked. Our teacher (she of the old-school-Vaganova) gave us a basic exercise: three brisés traveling to the front, three to the back, followed by brisé vole, pas de bourré, and then repeat to the left. The first tempo gave me just time enough to send conscious command to my feet, but our teacher thought it was too boring. The quicker tempo was fun, as in me watching others sauté away! LOL. 

Then there was this beautiful but gruesome adagio: Starting from 5th in croisé, grand plie, return then relevé (arms up in 5th/3rd), back leg passé developpé to the front, leg down to tendu efface, plie and cambré forward, nose to knees, then raise with extended leg coming up, turn to seconde en face, then fouetté to 1. arabesque, followed by penché. Promenade in arabesque 3/4 of a full circle, ending in 2.arabesque, pas de bourré.. this is as far as I can remember. I think there might have been two more pirouettes, in attitude and arabesque and a Italian fouetté thrown in just for fun. Now, I do like challenges, but that adagio was at least two streets away from my comfort zone! So I´m still getting my groove back. I know it´s out there, right along with my disappearing pirouettes, my balance and bobby pins, and yet to be bought perfect pointe shoes. 

Tomorrow it´s back to ballet with Madame M-P. The French style that she teaches is a nice change from the Vaganova classes of late. But best of all, Madame´s classes are both strict and demanding, yet at the same time motivating and exhilarating.. I cannot help but being excited. It´s also the first pointe class of the New Year, and no matter how hard and difficult and even  painful it gets, I still want to be there! 

The clip below is from Christiane Vassaurd´s advanced pre-pro ballet class (Paris Opera Ballet school). It is way beyond any level I will ever reach, but a wonderful inspiration nevertheless. It is also an excellent example of the French style, which according to the German voice-over, demands "brilliant technique, clarity, virtuosity, and lots of chic." Whew!


  1. Tauon jälkeen on kyllä niin tahmea olo... Niin ja piruetit pyörivät joidenkin omien avaruudellisten akseliensa ympäri. Toisaalta ottamalla pari askelta taakse, tuntuu että muutaman viikon päästä ottaa todella ison loikan eteen. Optimismia?:)

  2. Juu, tässä mennään edestakaisin epätoivon ja täyttymyksen välillä ;) Ja ne piruetit.. nillä on ihan liian usein ihan oma tahto! Just kun luulee että triplat on hallinnassa, menee yhtäkkiä tuplat päin seiniä (tai muita tanssijoita, heh..).


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, ...