A mini “intensive” kind of day

I’m sure I’m going to be feeling today’s dancing for the next couple of days.

It’s been a while since I’ve done two classes in one day, and two that were as challenging as they were fun.

This morning’s open class was the final one of the summer intensive season. And capping the last day of school’s intensive was a master class taught by a former principal dancer from Pacific Northwest Ballet who danced with both Mr. and Mrs. O, and was one of Mr. O’s former partners (her husband was one of Mrs. O’s former partners, how cool is that?).

Mrs. O taught the open class, and as usual, she shared a lot of knowledge that you try to soak. Today’s theme? Using your natural turnout (and not forcing turnout). I’ve said this before, one cannot take her class and not think about proper body alignment.

The surprise for me today? She insists I have more natural turnout than I think I have.

We also worked, and worked, on pirouettes. And mine just weren’t happening very today. And she does a good job of diagnosing the problem … such as the need to use the feet as a catalyst, and using the plie, and not forcing the turn with the arms (something I do a lot), along with using too much force with my body in general because I’m trying too hard to spot (perhaps my greatest challenge).

Even though my pirouettes were a bit shoddy, she told me when it was over that she thought I had a good class — which means a lot considering I think she’s probably our toughest, most knowledgeable teacher (no offense to my other incredible teachers).

The master class was a bit different. Although it was open to “open” division students, it was overwhelmingly a company, junior company class. The only other adult taking the class was the ballet mistress of Ballet San Antonio, who led our intensive the past two weeks (also one of Mr. O’s former teachers). She’s an amazing teacher I hoped to take the intensive from who can still flat out dance.

Amazingly enough, a lot of what we were taught by our master class teacher reinforced what we learned in the open class. There were plenty of opportunities to apply using your turnout properly.

And I thought I danced pretty well for me, other than my pirouettes (didn’t help my shoes were sticking from the humidity) until the last 15 minutes of the class. I botched petite allegro pretty good (I think I was thinking too much about the combination and not dancing).

And grande allegro was comical. Coupe jete is one of those steps I have a hard time getting.

I told Mr. O after the class was over, that one of my biggest problems during the last part of class was that I was thinking about the steps I struggle with a little too much, too much to the point where I botched steps that I knew how to do.

But all in all, I had two good classes today.

I had fun.

I’m sore.

I’m exhausted (especially since I had to work tonight).

And one of the highlights of the day?

Mrs. O, the school director, approved my schedule requests for the year (two company and two open classes).

And I better get reacquainted to dancing twice a day. That’s what I’ll be doing on Mondays starting in a couple of weeks. 

An open class in the morning, and Ballet VI (company level) at night, with a college class in between.

I’ve done two ballet classes before on the same day, just not on a regular basis, although I used to have hip-hop and ballet back-to-back (followed by rehearsals during Nutcracker season).

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