Ballet and gardening have been my creative mainstays this summer. They have both allowed me the opportunity to throw myself into something and physically DO something. As oppose to writing, reading, or singing, which– while great– are rather stationery affairs. It’s a real change in your state of mind when you start moving. My first voice teacher in college used to make me do a lot of movement work and warm up while moving my arms or walking around for this very reason. I’ve never lost the lesson or the awareness of what that movement does, although I don’t think I could put it into words. It’s definitely a mental shift though.
That said, Here’s my veggie patch as of yesterday. Clearly, I’ve missed the opportunity for baby-plant pics and will have to settle for pics of their “toddler phase.”
My tomato plant already has a flower!
Ballet has been going well also. We did a bunch of jumps yesterday (I’m still getting aquainted with the terminology of these– dance people please forgive me for not giving more names). I’m beginning to really like the tendu and warm up sequences though. I’m learning to stretch deeper and support my weight better. Yay balance, coordination and strength! I’m noticing a difference in my post-class posture as well. (Although, I’m sure I start to shrink down again on the long rides home). I’m thinking of starting yoga when I finish ballet. I only have 5 more classes– 2.5 weeks. That said, the linguist in me is also having a field day with all this French– like the fact that there’s a move called “fondu” which I never knew literally means “to melt.” Between my love of food, language and the artistic imagery here, there’s really nothing about this move not to like.
The last couple of classes have also had a wide range of music incorporated into them, which has been cool. To begin with, this was to give us new perspective, as we’d been dancing solely to classical music. Today, it was the result of our professor forgetting her regular cds at home. So we’ve been dancing to everything from Sinatra to The Beatles to The Andrews Sisters. Which, I must say, has been really great.
We’ve also been learning a 32 bar adagio phrase (danced most recently to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”) and began a 16 bar allegro phrase (to “Maple Leaf Rag”). Our teacher choreographed the first 8 bars of the allegro so far. I’m having a tough time with the beginning but I really like the second half. This part consists of 4 “pas de chat” jumps. This literally translates to “step of the cat.” It’s basically a sideways leap, reminiscent of a cat (we do this in 5th position, which I think makes it a bit more interesting too. For non-dancers, this would be something like this: with legs turned out and the toes of one foot touching the heel of the other). This is then followed by 4 jumps in place which change feet. I don’t remember what jump the piece starts on, but I’m having trouble coordinating it. It’s supposed to be that you’re jumping from one foot to the other, but with one foot brushing the floor at the start. I can’t seem to get this to work as quickly as it needs to. I suppose it will come. Right now, I’m more trying to focus on form. Part of my reason for taking this class is about the form and the discipline, so I suppose it’s more important to me right now to make sure my toes are pointed when off the ground and that I’m completing the step correctly than being up to tempo. Again, up to tempo will come.
Perhaps this is my lesson this week: Don’t rush things. You’ll be up to tempo soon enough. 🙂