February 6, 2012

Hops on Pointe!

I can't believe I forgot to write about this pointe milestone: hops on one foot! Seriously, the kind Giselle does in her famous first act solo variation! I had thought this would be pretty much impossible for a late-starter like myself, but there you go. Or in my case, hop.

We started a week ago, at the barre. The step is a balloné sur la pointe, the supporting leg is on relevé but bent, like in a small plie. At first I could not figure it out at all. My entire weight pressing on my toe, feeling like my nail would dig through the floor anytime. But I was not using my foot properly. You have to "break" your foot, not a pretty sight but it's the only way to hop. I got the broken foot fixed, but moving anywhere seemed still implausible to me. I can tell you my attempts must have looked totally demented :D

We repeated the exercise a couple of times with me trying to hop like mad but going nowhere. Aargh, talk about frustrating! But I could not let it go. When my teacher went to check the music for the next exercise, I kept trying - without the barre. Crazy, yes? Well, you know what - it worked! Once I was not gripping on the barre for dear life, I found my center of balance. So there I was hopping happily along, just as my teacher turned around.. and I loved the expression on her face! "You are doing better without the barre!" Guess I suprised us both. :)

Last Friday we continued, and this time my teacher added the hopping (4 counts) into attitude devant and back again. Most of us were feeling brazen and tried the same in center - myself included. It felt very ballerina-like. Awesome.


  1. My daughter takes ballet. But the other day when I showed up to my step workout class they where in its place holding a ballet class instead. Completely not perpared for this class, I took it any ways. Well let me tell you how hard it is at 42yrs old getting into positions my body was not ready to do. To much to my surprise I didn't do all that bad and I now see what my daughter does 5 days a week. It is an amazing workout and I see what hard work my daughter goes through to be a ballerina. Lets just say I will probably take the class once or twice a month. So keep up the hard work you are doing, it is a wonderful art that ballet is.

  2. Hi Juliette!

    That's awesome - and why not take that class on a weekly basis? It's great that you got a taste, but ballet doesn't really work for occasional drop-ins. Anyway, at 42 you're not too old. You'd be suprised how much you could still advance!

    By the way, my mother has remained clueless about ballet to this day. I'm glad your daughter has such an open-minded and active mom! :)

  3. This is probably my least favorite step to do, but I love watching the ballerinas who have mastered it performing it. Good job on doing it without the barre!

    1. I don't know yet if I like it or not :) I sort of figured out the hopping bit, but I still gotta figure out how to make it look "elegant and beautiful" (teacher's words). Instead of plain silly :D

      But it was great letting go of the barre. Look, no hands! :)

  4. I laughed to read that you found it easier without the barre. I find that's often true - we think the barre is helping, but even the slightest lean towards it can make all the difference to 'finding your centre'.

    You have such a great blog here, if you'd like to write a guest post or two on my blog (with a link back to your blog or blogs), I'd be really honoured.

    1. Well, this time it was easier to figure it out without the barre.. Our teachers are very strict though, about not leaning into the barre, about keeping the barre-side shoulder down and relaxed, and the arm in front of you with elbow pointed down. We are encouraged to let go off the barre to check correct placement. I like to think the barre is there to help me, but it's no crutch! :)

      A guest post? That would be great! Do you have any specific topic you would want me to write about?


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, ...