April 14, 2013

Birthday Ballet

What a day! First, I was almost late for my bus because I had so much fun reading all the incoming b-day wishes on facebook. Luckily, I made it to class just on time... phew. You see, it's a time-honored tradition of mine to celebrate birthdays with ballet and bubbly (in that order, mind you). Last year I was sick with the flu, but before that it has always been class or going to ballet performances. A few years back, I even used to fly to my old home town Berlin - lots of great memories there! Last time I was there, spring had arrived early (not late like this year), and the whole city was in bloom. I took morning class at Marameo, then had a lovely après-ballet mimosa in an outdoor boat café, anchored on the Spree river. The sun was warming my face, and I was loving my life..

Today was just as awesome. Before we began with the barre, our pianist Dmitri serenaded us with a rendition of Happy Birthday, and my fellow dancers sang along. I was not the only b-day girl in class, which made it all twice as fun! Jenny, thanks for sharing.. :) Our teacher Virve Olsson gave us a challenging barre in a quick tempo, which had me struggling at times, but not too much. Although, I really have to work on my en dedans turns from fifth, especially when the finishing pose opens the passé leg a la seconde. I was better on the right side, but going to the left.. a mess. Still, it's always fun trying! I liked Virve's barre, it was very dancey. I also loved her demonstrations, she looks like she just stepped off the stage. Well, as it happens, she only recently retired from the Finnish National Ballet.

Center was lovely. We did an adagio with a bit of a Don Quijote feel. We were to imagine being the ballerina who is preparing to dance Kitri, right before she goes on. What I liked about it most, is that we we got to interject our own personalities, and play a little. It's much more enjoyable that way. But the best part was still coming. After a few more degagés and pirouettes and warm-up jumps, the familiar music from Sleeping Beauty's big entrance filled the studio... It was my first time practicing any of Aurora's variations. Well, it's only a short bit of course, but exactly the one I've wanted to dance. Full of energy and excitement and joy! I love that we got to have fun with it, without worrying too much about technical purity. Anyway, we are still leaning the steps - cleaning it all up comes next. To top the class off, we did our grand jetés to Kitri's music from Don Quijote. Oh, and let's not forget the après-class bubbly pink champagne, macarones and box of chocolates.. Can you think of a better way to spend a ballet birthday?

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, ...