Saturday, I had my second private lesson with Abby.
I met her at her house, where she has just about every type of tool for ballet improvement that you can imagine. She had spoken of wanting to get me on this thing called a Bosu, but I had no idea what it was or why it was so exciting.
It’s essentially a half exercise ball, with the other side being flat. Some people will stand on the flat side, some stand on the squishy side, which is what we did. Abby is extremely knowledgeable in what she was having me do, and showed me the proper way to stand on it for each of the exercises we did before doing them, making sure I was properly executing each movement.
Essentially, what the bosu does is it helps engage all the (correct) muscles throughout different movements. We went through a slow barre–to make sure I really got everything out of it I could–on the bosu, then after just doing enough to activate muscle memory, we took it to the normal barre to really get it into my being on how I’m supposed to transfer what I feel and learn on the bosu to the floor.
Freakin’ game changing, man.
The hardest things hands down were the grande plies. I could get down, but I could not get up without the help of the wall. At all. Like, I was stuck. A clear indication that I need to really work on the muscles under the thigh, which I had never been told should be what you use when doing developes, especially side. (Whaaaat?? The more you know.)
I got a lot of, “Good!”, “Right!” and “Yes!”‘s throughout our training, which was really encouraging. Typically, if I’m shown what’s required, I’m good about implementing it, or at least doing everything I can to strive for it. If I don’t know or I’m not shown, I do my best to do what I think is right, but it isn’t always right. This is where you can form bad habits and hinder yourself in the future. I really feel like working with Abby is filling the holes in my training that formed from jumping into this as an adult. We can be overlooked and assumed to know more than we do simply because of our age, which is a logical assumption, but also creates a difficult hurdle.
Even with just the time we spent Saturday, I can already feel improvement. I caught myself standing with better posture when I was “lazy standing” and I felt a difference in the alignment issues in my back as well. (I may need to ask if I need a thicker lift in my shoe now, since it feels like it’s straightening. Not sure if this is legit or not? I don’t know. My leg felt longer, though.)
It was also nice because the Bosu helped compensate for my uneven legs, alleviating a lot of pressure in my back when I’m standing.
We weren’t sure how sore I would be the next day, so we pushed, but took it easy, not pushing it too far. The only thing I wasn’t actually able to do was fondu’s on my right leg. My stupid knee decided it was a great idea to shoot pain under the kneecap because it hates me. Whatever.
I’ve found that this is a big source of my issues. I’ll feel the pain and hesitate in my plies and my turns and a few other things. It’s frustrating. And there isn’t much I can do about it.
Still, I was able to do everything else (save getting up from the grande plies) and my legs were definitely shaking by the end of it. (a good sign.)
The next morning, I wasn’t near as sore as I was expecting. I did, however, feel the difference in my muscles–the leg that was really tight previously wasn’t anymore–and posture as well as my back. (Back muscles were about the only ones actually “sore.”)
I’m already excited for the next time we work together. I want so much to improve. I dreamt that I was dancing and got cast for some solo role and that I was able to do the things I’m working towards now and do them well.
Then the next night I dreamt my toes kept me from being able to roll up to releve and I couldn’t turn at all and it was really frustrating.
I really want to prove myself as a dancer, not just as someone who can give good face. I want to be seen as more than that. I want to improve. I want to dance, gosh I just want to dance.
Why can’t I have classes more often?
Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the opportunities I have. For a studio and a company that doesn’t write me off for my age/skill level ration. For friends that encourage me. For friends that are willing to take the time to work with me to help me improve, while also being understanding of all the things working against me.
My soul dances, even when my feet are forced to be still.