The way he explained it was that you have to have your whole body angled forward, like a flat plane on a tilt (like this / ). He said that it WILL feel like I'm pitching forwards until I'm used to it.
Later, I was looking through my trusty eBook of The Ballet Companion* and found this passage which sums it up really well:
"Pull-up lifts you forward as well as upward. Ballet requires forward momentum; in a big center floor combination it's tremendous. Think how fast you get out of the way of the people coming across the floor. When standing still you prepare for and assist that momentum by pushing forward with the muscles on the backs of your legs, by keeping more weight on the balls of your feet than your heels, and by lifting your chest."So in class this week, I thought about moving forward in space even while still, rather than just placing my weight forward in my feet. This especially helped in things like developpé front, where its super easy to fall back into the heel of the standing foot. And my balances were easier than ever.
Sometimes it feels really daunting that I'm only really figuring out how to stand properly in ballet, never mind all the other things we are asked to do in class. But at the same time, I do feel improvements, and what else can I do but MOVE FORWARD?
(HAHA, GET IT??? It's a PUN!)
*Eliza Gaynor Minden. The Ballet Companion: A Dancer's Guide to the Technique, Traditions, and Joys of Ballet. Touchstone, October 11, 2005.