There was a substitute for my regular Monday night class. I didn't know until I got there, and I was a bit nervous, as one of my friends from Other Movement was taking class with me. Substitutes are always a bit of crapshoot, aren't they?
Well, to spare you the suspense, HE WAS AMAZING! First of all, he was an incredible dancer (former principal with NYCB). I've taken class with amazing dancers before, but not all of them are amazing teachers. This one was also an amazing teacher. Everything he demonstrated oh-so-beautifully was to illustrate a point and not to perform. He was paying attention to everything we did.
The best thing was that he focused a lot on clean technique. On everything we did to the side (tendu, dégagé, etc.) he insisted that we close through first into fifth. This made for nice tight fifths and did not leave any opportunity for one to drop their turnout (my inner thighs and butt are sore).
He also explained the reasons behind a lot of things that he was particular about. For example he said that arm coordination in plié was important because later on it would help with jumps (and this did in fact come to pass when we did échappé with changement in center). He also emphasized how you had to scoop the foot up when picking it up for coupé or passé (like scooping icecream), because that foot articulation is what helps you move fast in petit allegro.
One other great correction that he gave was for sous-sus in center. He said not to use the arms too much to hoist you up there. The arms should be very light and without tension, and the work should come from the feet and legs while you pull up. I knew that in my brain, but for some reason the way he explained and demonstrated it really helped. We went from sous-sus to passé relevé and I was SO placed; it felt effortless for the first time ever.
Honestly, I was a bit swoony over him by the end of class. Unfortunately, he usually only teaches for the pre-professional program, so I won't be able to take class with him regularly. It still was great to have a new perspective.
I also had a private with FBT on Sunday. We worked on a lot of the problems I am still struggling with (my weaker left side and unevenness in the hips), but did some fun new things too. New things en pointe were piqués at the barre, pas de bourrées going through retiré instead of at the ankle, and échappé in center (I thought I was going to die in these). She wanted me to try attitude arabesque en pointe (we worked it on flat earlier in the class), but I was too scared. She says I am progressing very quickly, which is nice to hear from someone outside myself.
A very journally post, but hopefully with interesting tidbits for you, dear reader.