Yesterday was our last Tuesday class of this first session. They still have class tomorrow, but I won’t be there. A dear friend is getting married and I’m not missing that for anything.
I was excited for class, but also a little hesitant. I had had a really rough day and was looking forward to dancing, but also wanted to have a class where I would leaving feeling better about myself and not hating life. It was definitely worth the risk to go and see how the cards would fall. I was hopeful. I knew Heidi was teaching, and she is usually really good with the younger ones, so I was hoping it’d turn out to be a good class I could really get something out of.
Class started off rough. The music for barre was fun, but kind of hard to count. I was able to manage (somehow) but the girls really struggled with it. I don’t know if they were intimidated or what, but they seemed to not really be giving anything back, either. I know they want to be there. I know they want to dance. So why were they being so cold? Did they not understand? Where they confused? Too scared to speak up? I don’t know.
I had to ask about counts a few times, but Heidi was good about answering my questions. I’m apparently pretty good with keeping count (at least, if I can find the count) so it seemed that they went with what I did. One of the other girls is pretty good at counting as well. Any time I caught her out of the corner of my eye, she was on time and confident with it. Like a beacon among the other students who seemed so flat.
They spruced up as we went on.
I really liked the barre exercises we did. I don’t remember them specifically, but I remember this one where she challenged us to balance and it involved a penche and really holding the arabesque up when we came out of it. I was able to really push myself and try hard to do more than usual. Now being a few private lessons in, I’m starting to gain more confidence. I know what I’m doing and I know what I’m striving for, what’s correct and what’s incorrect and how do more with what I’m given. The two blending together really made me feel good. Heidi even used me as an example at one part, and gave me a sort of compliment. I don’t remember what on, but she said a “good, Emilee!” towards it. That was really nice.
We worked on pirouettes, which made me really happy. I struggle so hard with turns, and can’t really practice them at home. I want to improve, and I have noticed a bit of difference lately with my singles and actually attempt doubles, but that’s only on flat. I haven’t been able to try en pointe much. I was glad we worked on them.
I messed up the arms on the combination across the floor, and we were kind of squished in the smaller studio causing me to cut off my grande jetes, but it was still a great class in my books.
When it came to pointe, I wanted to stay if it was a pointe class, but if it was variations, I didn’t really want to do it. Not that I don’t like variations, they can be really fun, but I really didn’t want to spend the entire hour working on something that I only end up doing on demi-pointe because I don’t grasp it enough to feel confident doing it full out. I asked Ms. Munro if we would be doing pointe or variations, and she said a little of both, but definitely start with pointe. I stayed.
The class was split almost exactly in half between the two, which was good. We started at the barre with a few warm ups, then brought one of the combinations out to the center. I think it went something like, echappe, echappe, echappe, sousous, tombe, pas de bourree, something something. It didn’t go far, but it was more than just the echappe’s. I don’t remember fully, but I do remember feeling stable on my echappe’s and my sousous. I remember my feet coming to a tight fifth–tighter than usual–and using my head where necessary and keeping my arms strong. I felt good. We went back to the barre and did a few more things, including taking a pique arabesque, rolling down, and rolling back through into releve again. This is typically difficult for me, especially with my right knee, but Ms. Munro saw me and said “good!” so that’s something.
On Friday, the girls are doing a little presentation for the parents of the variations they’ve learned, so we worked on bluebird last night. I hadn’t done it since the first week of classes, so I was rather rusty on it. When I finally got it down, (thanks Emerson) my toes had gone numb and felt like rocks in the tips of my shoes. I haven’t figured out what causes this, and it seems to happen with time rather than particularly difficult effort, but it limits me.
When we ran bluebird, I attempted it on pointe, but didn’t feel it was worth the risk of potentially hurting myself to do this variation in a class that wasn’t a performance. I did it all on demi-pointe and made sure I got the arms and placement right.
At the end of class, we did a series of echappes and other things (I don’t remember what now) and I couldn’t do it en pointe, so I did it flat and Ms. Munro noticed. She asked me about it afterwards and I told her about my shoes and the issue. She suggested they may be a improper fit and I told her about the stock shoe not being made and all the shoes I’ve been through and how these are the best I’ve found but I’m still trying to play around with it. She suggested a few things to try that might be the reason or port of the reason for the problems. Then she said, “You’ve really been getting stronger. I can see it.”
And my mind froze. Like. What? Did Ms. Munro just compliment me? Like, a legitimate compliment? I didn’t know how to respond, so I just thanked her and kind of mumbled, “I’ve been working really hard.”
It made me feel so good. Like maybe my hopes aren’t unattainable.
Emerson had asked me what role I hoped for in Nutcracker this year, and I told her, “I want to be a flower.” I haven’t really told anyone that’s what I want in case it doesn’t happen. I don’t want to be disappointed. And I’ll do whatever role I get happily and take pictures when I’m not dancing and really enjoy myself no matter what. But I want to be a flower. She told me she thinks I could definitely be a flower, and that she could really see me as Spanish. (bless her.) Her comments, together with Ms. Munro’s comments leave me feeling hopeful. Maybe this goal isn’t impossible. Maybe my hard work will pay off. I hope so.
I’m sore today, which makes me happy. I wish I could dance more. I should be able to practice at home here sooner rather than later, so I’m hopeful.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.