December 17, 2011

Slide and Turn

Two things worth writing about happened yesterday. One: after dancing 16 months on pointe, I slipped and crash-landed for the first time. Coincidentally, this happened right after I had bragged on Adult Beginner's post about my Nutcracker sliding arabesque. You know, the big wow-moment in the pas de deux - when Prince pulls up-on-pointe Sugar Plum across the stage? It's a trick, of course. Look here for the reveal. Anyway, one time in pointe class I was too brazen with my piqué arabesque and slid about 15 cm straight ahead - un-assisted and without falling down! So when AB mentioned the Slide in her post, I just had to share. But you know what happens. Pride comes before the slide.

Yesterday, we did this fairly simple exercise. En face, tendu degagé plié to the side - relevé to 5th pointe, then three quick degagés on pointe with the back leg moving to the front. I was trying to coordinate the port de bras (arms at "tutu height") with my head and my feet and whooops - one leg slid right underneath me! Into the air, then bang on the right knee with the final pose flat on my popo, both legs up. Think Donald O'Connor in "Make 'Em Laugh" - just put the man in pointe shoes.

Before you ask, I'm okay. Nothing but a bruised knee. After my teacher made sure I was still in one piece, she made me get back up on the proverbial horse right away. Because if you don't, you'll be scared every time!

The other thing worth writing about, occured to me at the end of class. We were doing piqué soutenu turns and chaînés deboulés, and one of the other girls was complaining (quietly) about her painful toes. That's when I realised my toes were not hurting at all! No pressure points anywhere, not even a squished pinky! Although I was so tired yesterday, yawning my way through the entire barre, that it is entirely possible those toes had turned comatose. Which would explain the not-feeling-the floor and crash-landing from grace..

Actually, that is not it. Why did I not whoot about this earlier? Those friggin chaînés deboulés! Not too long ago I sucked at them, even in flatties, on demi-pointe. I still remember our spring recital of 2009, when my feet seperated into a wide seconde and I debouléd my way back into the wings! Heck, beginning of this year I could not even consider doing them on pointe. Ever. And yesterday I did - in our huge studio with the longest diagonale known to dancer-kind. Yay!

Great studio space for turning and getting ditzy.


  1. Good to hear that the crash landing did not cause more damage...

    And congratulation on those deboules, that's how it seems to be in ballet - progression gets you caught when you don't expect it ;)

  2. today, i told my teacher about your blog. and as we stood at the barre practicing pirouettes on pointe in fifth (for the first time) i thought about your post of 'just going for it." turns at the barre are always awkward, so grunted thru those for a while, kind of timid and worried about whacking into the barre (cuz who isn't??). then when we went into center, i sucked up my courage, and tried the turns! it wasn't nearly as scary as i had psyched myself into thinking it was! of course, i didn't get all the way around and fell out at the end, but it was an effort! i just went for it!

  3. Hi Aija!

    I don't expect it to be my last crash-landing ;)

    Yes, you're right about progress catching one by surprise. Why? Because when you finally get it, you're no longer struggling. You are doing, not trying. And then you forget to think about it. It feels sudden, even though you have put a lot of work into it!

    It's fun(ny) that way :)

  4. Hi Shannon!

    Love that you told your teacher about my blog :) Wonder if she's gonna take a look.. Well, you'll let me know, okay?

    I know, pirouettes at barre can be a nuisance, especially on pointe. My knee always seems to be at the wrong height - and I've whacked it into the barre more than once! But it's not that bad, I got to live and write about it ;)

    You can practice pirouettes in the center by starting with quarter, then half and then full turns. It's less scary that way and you can focus on your plié, your stretched knee in relevé and the correct placement of your passé retiré foot (with heel forward).

    I'm glad you're making these discoveries. You just keep going for it! :)


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, ...