Last night, at Studio I (which, incidentally, is where the National Ballet trains — a fact that still thrills this little fan’s heart every time I take class there), Madame T gave me a couple of corrections. We were doing fondus. “Turn out your leg more in arabesque”, she said. “You have excellent turnout, but you need to use it.” I extended my leg to the side, hovering somewhere near 80 degrees. She lifted my foot up to shoulder height. “See,” she cooed, “you can go higher.” She let go and my leg dropped back to 80. Sigh. Guess I’ll have to strengthen those hip flexors and be more diligent about stretching.
I redeemed myself towards the end of the class when we started doing brisés. A few people in the Pre-Intermediate class had never done them before, so Madame T asked “the more advanced people” to show the beats. We looked around. Our resident “most advanced girl” was absent. Madame T pointed to me and said, “Demonstrate.” Uh oh. I tried to remember what Miss C from Studio C taught us months ago. Deep demi-plié, tilt the torso diagonally forward as you brush the back leg and beat the other leg to meet it, under-over, land in 5th. It was far from perfect, but it was a definite travelling baby brisé. “Good!” We did 2 slow brisés, 2 fast, a changement, then the other side. 4 times. I was out of breath but happy by the time we were through.
On another note, I’m super excited about this weekend! Besides spending some quality time with V, here’s what I’ve got lined up.
1. Watching the National Ballet do their class on stage. It’ll be such a treat to see some favourite dancers working. V and I got cheap 2nd row centre seats — all the better to really appreciate the dancers’ technique up close and figure out what I can apply to my own classes. Though I doubt I can even follow the instructions and what are sure to be complicated sequences. And oh, I’m curious about what they wear to class!
2. Attending a White Swan variation workshop for beginners at Studio E. My friend S (another geeky adult bunhead — really, who knew there were so many of us in this city?) and I have looked at a few videos to prepare for it. She’s partial to Svetlana Zakharova’s sky-high extensions. I drool over Uliana Lopatkina’s arms and artistry.
I’m short and stumpy and not so flexible, so my leg will never get up there — but man will I work on musicality. And maybe keep in mind what NYCB dancer Ashley Bouder says about her arms needing to do bigger, sweeping movements instead of harsh fluttering to make her look more swan-like.
3. Taking my 3rd beginner pointe class as an adult at Studio J. It’s been 20 years (!) since I was last in pointe shoes. The thought of going up on my toes again didn’t even cross my mind until I saw a couple of adults in a beginner class do barre in their Freeds. After a private pointe assessment lesson, I was cleared to get fitted — so here I am, in Suffolk Stellars, practicing bourrées en couru in class, hoping to get good enough to do turns in the centre on pointe. One step at a time, (not-so-young) baby swan.