Fun, messy last class of the year

I don’t think it’s dawned on me that this morning was the last Saturday morning that I’ll crawl out of bed and try to make it to ballet class until mid-August.

There are times when it’s been a struggle after a long night of work and a long week of balancing work and college projects. But every time I’ve made it to that 10 a.m. class, it’s been worth it.

The way Mrs. O teaches, it has been the class I believe I learned the most, especially about body alignment. Considering it’s a company class, and I have routinely been the lone recreational dancer in class, it has at times been my most challenging, the one that pushes me the most (along with the Thursday morning open class).

Today, well Mrs. O decided to give us some pretty challenging combinations to end the year on, things we don’t normally don’t do. And the company kids seemed to struggle during combinations that I also struggled with … which being the last class of the year seemed to amuse Mrs. O.

It was a little messy, but her grande allegros are always fun. She is the one teacher who pushes you to soar higher than you normally soar.

Now, there’s a week off to get adjusted to the new normal: Summer classes, the ones where you change teachers nearly every week, where you are in class with different people from week-to-week, depending on who is on vacation and who is at a summer intensive.

But those classes are still fun. I can never understand why some studios and schools completely shut down during the summer months. I can understand breaks. Teachers and dancers alike need vacation time. But I’ve never found ballet to be something you can just drop all of the sudden and come back a few months later and expect to dance at a high level right off the bat, but that’s just me.

Class today reminded me of the progress I’ve made this year that I sometimes don’t always get.

Petite allegro used to be the part of class that I dreaded most, but now, it’s starting to become a strength, it’s becoming one of my favorite part of classes. I still have a ways to go. I looked in the mirror and saw that my feet were still sloppy (but I can do the combinations!) I can beat assembles’. I can beat jetes (although my jetes are still a little sloppy).

I’m going in the right direction in combinations involving fouettes. My legs are straighter and I can travel further in sisonnes (another step I could never get in a million years). My chaine turns were praised the other day in class, and my pique turns are much cleaner, including on the left.

I go into the summer with a few specific goals:

1. Raise my confidence level. I know most of the steps and I’ve improved my musicality. I don’t have to rely as much on the better company dancers. They are like my security blanket, but I shouldn’t need them as much as I do.

2. Be more consistent with double pirouettes. I know this has been a constant battle for the following reasons: My ability to spot eludes me at times (although I have no problem spotting during chaines and pique turns, go figure), I use too much force and let my upper body steer me instead of my feet and last, but not least, I look down too many times.

3. More height with my tours en’lair, not to mention do more doubles (see No. 2 for reasons why I struggle).

4. Turns from second, for many of the same reasons as No. 2 and 3.

5. Improve my hands, arms and head coordination.

6. Be more aware of my facings, do a better job of using space and travel more.

I know, that’s a huge laundry list. Maybe I’ll see progress in those areas the week I do the intensive.

I’m going to try not to get too frustrated, just have fun and enjoy the moment.

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