Because Abby is awesome, she squeezed in one more private lesson before these last two classes of mine before I leave Friday for Europe.
I had told her about my pirouette struggles, so she told me to make sure I had my pointe shoes with me.
Lillian was able to come, too, which made it really fun. Abby had us doing similar things simultaneously, then switch, which were cause of some really hilarious moments at times.
We alternated; one on the bosu, one on the exercise ball. We went through the normal kind of things on the bosu–what we worked on last time–to get really warmed up and reiterate the proper alignment. Most of the things on the exercise ball were rather difficult, mainly because the muscles it required for balance were very confused as to why they were being utilized. Once we got the hang of it, we were rockin’ and rollin’.
There was this one part where we used the exercise ball to help with stabilizing our arabesque. Abby had told us how she had worked with Alexis on this and she surprised her and lifted off the ball and stayed in this absolutely beautiful arabesque. This made me feel pressure. I have to keep working hard and keep improving and not fall behind.
When it got to be my turn at the exercise ball, Abby said I was looking really good. I was able to lift my leg off the ball and hold it there for a while. My left (I guess left? Whichever side you consider it…) was a little weird, but I’ve noticed I’ve been having trouble keeping square on that side and Abby pointed it out. It also felt different than the other side, I could feel that it wasn’t the same, so why couldn’t I fix it? The leg that’s up is the leg on the crooked back side. I could feel whatever it is pressing against each other. It didn’t necessarily hurt, but I could feel it. Maybe that is part of the issue? She was able to help me get a feel for how it should be and hopefully that will help.
We moved on with pointe to try and help me with my pirouettes. I could feel myself starting to panic on the inside in a way that happens whenever I can’t fully grasp a concept. It is one of the worst feelings I can think of, especially when I’m unable to communicate what I don’t understand about it. I don’t really know how to explain this, but I can remember it happening when Dad would try and help me with math. He would get frustrated and I would get frustrated and then I’d shut down and complexes developed.
I don’t want complexes to develop in ballet.
Abby began by explaining pirouettes–basic breakdown type stuff, making sure nothing was missed. I asked her about the spiral versus scoop methods of getting onto your box in a pirouette which got kind of confusing. I’ve seen both, and I think I’ve learned both, but I’m still so new in the knowledge of pirouettes that I don’t want to learn the least effective one and have to relearn something later. (does that make sense? Anyway.) She told me to not focus so much on what my foot is doing, instead to focus on your core and maintaining the proper position for turns rather than how your foot gets there.
This made me start to freak out on the inside. How would that help me? The last time I tried to just go for it, I rolled my ankle. I can’t afford that.
I kept quiet, and she kept explaining. Meanwhile, Lillian was trying to implement what she was saying. I missed part of it, falling inside myself and zoning out in my fear, but I managed to pull myself out and somehow Lillian doing these things out of the corner of my eye made something click with what Abby was saying. I thought of seeing Ileana with her beautiful balance and turns in class. I thought of how you could see how she maintained it. I thought of how I must look judging on how I feel when I turn and that connected into being what could cause everything else to fall apart.
Don’t think about what your foot is doing. Maintain proper alignment and you’ll turn.
She demonstrated further and it all seemed to settle in my head. I haven’t gotten to try a turn yet, but I feel like I have a better understanding of what it actually is that I’m trying to achieve. Keep that position, you can turn forever. I’m hoping to try it today.
She also stressed the importance of getting in the habit of rolling down out of releve. This is also something that isn’t solid in me yet and I want to develop the good habit of doing. I have to get the feel for it and build the muscles to do it. I have to get the muscle memory of it in my brain, make it be what is the comfortable thing to do rather than something that makes me nervous.
I noticed while working on my left foot that it felt different than my right. It gave me that frustrating feeling again. I needed to know why this was happening so I could figure out what to do about it. I know it’s not right, how do I fix it? What is not right about it? I mentioned it to Abby and she watched me. We connected that this is the foot that tends to balance on the far side of the box rather than the whole box, which makes me feel really nervous and unstable. My foot just does it. So I tried working with my foot to make it not do that. But why is this one different? Then I remembered.
I asked Abby if the nerve damage on the right side of my left knee could play into this at all.
It doesn’t affect anything else that I know of, but that little section of messed up nerves is causing certain muscles to not engage the way they need to like the other knee does. It’s why I feel that almost blank spot on my foot–where I know I should feel something working but feel nothing. It’s why I struggle on that side.
(STUPID CAR WRECK.
Dancing would be so much easier if it had never happened.
The whole situation is entirely too stressful. )
We also talked about en dedan turns en pointe, but thinking about it now I can’t remember specifics? Which probably isn’t good… I know we worked on the movement of going from fourth to passe like you would in a turn.
I’m hoping class will be good tonight. I’m not sure who is teaching so I’m not sure what really to expect. I guess we’ll see.
This week will be my last week of summer classes if I remember correctly. Not sure if they’re doing anything in the interim of July ending before fall classes officially start in August.
I’m hopeful that I can still improve.
That working hard produces results.
That this isn’t all there is for me.
That even though I’m older, I’m still learning.
That dreams are still possible.
(Ps. Here’s a picture of my feet.)
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.