There's nothing like taking a new ballet class to show you exactly what you DON'T know.
This blog entry will be very dance journal-y, as I don't want to forget certain things.
The class I took yesterday focused a lot on some things that my normal classes don't. Including: use of head, épaulement, connecting / travelling steps, chaine turn preparation.
So the use of the head thing has been kind of a mystery (despite many a Google and attempts to copy people in class), but I finally formally learned a thing yesterday! So when you go en croix for tendu or whatever, when you go front you turn your head towards the leg, when you go side you turn your head straight, when you go back you...incline / tilt...the head. This actually feels pretty natural and is easy to coordinate.
What did not feel natural or easy to coordinate was épaulement at the center. We did a very long combination that started croisé and went effacé. The combination felt very pretty and dance-y, but was a bit confusing to keep track of. I realize now that I'm so used to being square. I think I did understand a bit better though what a previous teacher had said about using the movement to help the arms and shoulders move. (I.e .the weight transfer of a temps lié creates the lift to open in effacé...I don't know, something like that maybe?). Ironically, we first learned the combination without the arms at all (hands on shoulders), and I just found that bizarre and unnatural.
Speaking of temps lié, the center combination had both temps lié and chassé (but not the jump kind), and I got confused between the two not infrequently (oops). As I said, there was a focus on connecting / travelling steps in this class. We also did a lot of pas de bourrée, including with détourné, and the teacher really focused on using the plié in these. We also did balancé, and I learned (re-learned?) that you are supposed to brush to initiate the movement.
As previously mentioned, turning is hard for me. I'm pretty used to practicing pirouettes now, even if I don't always get all the way around, but we did a completely different turn exercise, which was supposed to be preparation for chaine turns and practice for spotting in general. It was: tendu side, plié in second, chassé to sous sous to one side, do it back to the other side, then tendu side, plie in second, half turn to sous sous (bringing the non-leading leg to the front), and then again half-turning the other way. It was the second half-turn that I found super confusing for some reason. ::insert shrug emoji here::
The most useful correction I got in class, which BFT also mentioned last week, was not to collapse into the plié when coming down from relevé, keeping the resistance and engagement instead.
I think this would be a good class to add into my rotation. I feel like it fills in certain gaps that are missing.