Are there any ballet-themed superheroes? Widowmaker, the sexy sniper from Overwatch, has a ballet background, but she’s really more of a villain.
Anyhow, I continue to feel like a superhero in ballet class. A few weeks ago, I was all frustrated, and now, I feel like I’m rocking it. Weird.
My higher relevés have a major drawback, as I found out when Birdie had us do frappés on demi-pointe. Different muscles are involved in balancing on a higher relevé, and mine, while finally strong enough to get me up, lack endurance. At some point, I forget all about the frappés because all my concentration goes toward staying up there. I feel like spending time in the company of that theraband is going to be inevitable.
The individual corrections, which make class with Birdie so much fun, continued. She’s currently working on my arms. The past few weeks, she kept reminding me to keep my elbows up. Now that they stay up most of the time, the correction I got most was about turning my palms slightly more towards my face and slightly less towards the floor.
My battements jetés (I believe some styles call them dégagés) also got a correction. Birdie wouldn’t let me get away with half-hearted attempts and instructed me to perform the movement itself faster and with more precision, lingering at the top for the rest of the time. She told us all to raise our legs to 45 degrees, with the very reasonable explanation that doing low jetés is easy if you can do high ones, but not vice versa. I can actually do all this, even without the barre, but only if I concentrate on elongating my standing leg and keeping that core engaged. Which is exactly what Birdie wants us to do.
Turns went much better this time, as they sometimes do. Pirouettes are starting to work out more and more often. For those of us who forget to bring their shoulder (shoulder? what shoulder?), Birdie suggested we touch our navel with our fingers while turning. Lo and behold, I went around almost one and a half turns on the first try. Now, if only I could replicate these results with my arms in their proper place…
As always, just as I was getting entirely too full of myself, Birdie sprung something on us that I sucked at: assemblés! Our old teacher, M., never did teach us assemblés, preferring to focus on jetés. The first few times I tried it, my legs went rogue and did… things. It looked interesting in the mirror, but it certainly wasn’t ballet. Realising I wasn’t the only one who has never done assemblés before, Birdie had us practice at the barre and I did manage a couple among all the uncontrollable twitching and landing like the Hulk. So maybe there’s hope!
The motto of this week’s class was something Birdie said during barre: «Do it if possible. If impossible, do it anyway.»
I’m starting to believe that is the general spirit of ballet.