On Wednesday, the majority of us beginners in ballet class felt a little sluggish and therefore the instructor didn't work us as hard, but I found myself crashing when I arrived home (around 11 AM!) and napping for a solid two hours. Afterward, I had a difficult time getting out of bed because I felt a little stiff. My friend Carrie warned me that ballet class is hard, but I didn't think it would make me feel old. I have to tell myself that I willingly signed up for this class, hoping that I would boost both my brainpower and grace.
That being said, I actually do enjoy my ballet class, although having it four times a week is obviously taxing my body. I'm having fun and laughing at myself, especially when I lose my balance or when I have to chassé across the floor. (Apparently my knees don't like to bend.) Also, I've had to readjust my sense of rhythm.
Ballet dancers have a different concept of time, which I somewhat knew before taking this class. (Stories of how dancers interpret time changes during the Rite of Spring come to mind.) They divide everything into 8 counts no matter what; one of my instructors mentioned that this is due to ballet dancers's being very square. If the music is in triple meter, they count the downbeats as one count. Also, they begin on count 5 for their introduction without fail. This has caused confusion on my part if the accompanist doesn't tag on a two-bar introduction, but most of the time she has. Thank goodness, because I had to trick myself into thinking that the downbeat was in the middle of a phrase a few times.
And then, what do you do when the step is split into three parts and you're still in duple meter? Where in the beat does "toe, ball, heel" fall, or do these motions come together naturally in one beat? How about pliés? Do you plié on the and of the beat? Do you subdivide the beat into triplets (without your teacher knowing) and bend on the third triplet rest, jump on 1, bend on 2, straighten on 3? Or are you subdividing the beat into sixteenth notes? In regards to the subdivision of beats, the pas de chat is especially tricky for me (neither of my cats jump sideways, by the way), and I've been watching videos to see if I can subdivide the steps and rhythm. My teacher stated yesterday that I've been thinking too hard about this particular step. Maybe I have, but I'm also trying to figure out where to turn my head and place my arms. At the same time.
I'm hoping I can increase my coordination by the end of next week, which is the end of class. I can't believe this class is almost over, and I'm especially sad that I can't take a similar ballet class in the fall. (A required timbre studies class occurs at the same time as the non-major ballet class.) I hope I don't forget everything I've learned.