So Much Stretching

Intermediate jazz did happen yesterday, but not in a way we expected.

My mom, Cloud, another girl whom I’ll call Elsa and me all actually dared to show up for intermediate. But when we entered the studio, full of trepidation, Y. wasn’t there. Turns out she fell ill and sent a sub. Since subs usually do something entirely different from what you’re used to from your regular teacher, the class was both fun and a sort of neutral ground: we were all doing the exercises for the first time, intermediate and I’m-just-here-to-see-if-I-can-keep-up-at-all-beginner alike.

As we jointly concluded after class, the intermediate students aren’t quite the dancing goddesses our imaginations made them out to be. While there are good dancers there, they are definitely not perfect in everything and we can hold our own pretty well. Still, yesterday obviously did not really count so we all decided to show up for at least one more intermediate class.

As for our substitute teacher, I think I’ll call her Jay (there I go with the birds again). And OMG SHE’S SOOOO ADORABLE but she totally rekt us anyway. After two or three songs’ worth of rather intensive warm-up our brains clearly overheated, because when Jay said «But you guys don’t usually do core exercises here, right?» we all felt compelled to tell her that we totally do. So she made us do some core exercises. And some more core exercises…

After core, piqué turns and choreography, Jay declared that stretching was in order. Which is awesome, because there is never enough proper stretching in any of my dance classes.

Well there was enough yesterday. Fully warmed-up and with Jay’s expert help, I hit a personal record with my front splits on both sides, with only some 15 centimetres missing. My friends were shocked how far down I got. I was more shocked.

Noticing both our poor general flexibility and our ejoyment of the stretches (puncuated by the obligatory cries of pain, because that’s how stretching usually works), Jay invited us to come to her stretching class. The following exchange took place:

J: I teach stretching and strengthening classes at my poledance studio in (my city), you guys are welcome to come.

Me: When?

J: Mondays, at a quarter past eight.

Me, hopelessly: Damn, that’s only a quarter of an hour after modern ends. Where is your studio?

J: (City district where I take modern)

Me, slowly coming to a realisation: Wait… is it the one in the same building as (dance school where I take modern?)

J: Yes!

So I have a 50-minute strengh/stretching class every Monday now, right after modern. I’ll be nice and warm already and all I have to do is walk across the hall.

This is great for several reasons. First, a longer stretching session can do wonders. My karate sensei used to dedicate one entire class to stretching every month and it gave us an advantage over the competition – fighters from our dojo were particularly good at high kicks. Second, a coach will generally push you farther than you yourself are able or willing to. Comfortable stretching prevents the muscles from shortening, but it does not bring about much improvement in flexibility. And finally, there are many, many things you can screw up when stretching. A good instructor will make sure that you screw up as few of them as possible. Wrong technique and improper alignment can cause injury. Even Wikipedia knows that. Overstretching is Very Bad, especially if you tend towards hypermobility. That is why I don’t do intense stretching routines daily.

Well, that, and I’m a lazy bum.

And so, despite my lazybumitude:

Coming Soon: The Splits!

2 thoughts on “So Much Stretching

  1. Intermediate level students are just as insecure and awkward as beginners, just on another level. Because there is always some new step or combination you just don’t get. (Believe me, I attend intermediate-advanced flamenco class, and often I feel like a walking disaster.)

    Liked by 1 person

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