Friday, August 14, 2015

Turn Out Tune Up

FBT unfortunately has left New York, so now I am without a supplementary private ballet teacher.  I did fit in one last session with her on Wednesday before she left.  For this one, I asked to focus on turnout.  This private really made it clear that turn out is something you actively do, not something you just have.

We started out on the floor to really get my turnout muscles activated.  I've done floor barre before, and the big thing about it is that you can't cheat.  You can't use your feet against the floor or gravity to help you.  You can only use your muscles.  The killer exercise was legs extended towards the ceiling, turned out feet flexed, push to point, bringing both legs to a diamond, extending to straddle, flex, bend knees (like a second position plié but on your back), extending to straddle again, legs coming together.  We also did passé to retiré with legs in the air, and it was so difficult to maintain turnout on my "standing" leg without the ground!  I sickled slightly in my left foot which was weird...but I am having slight Achilles problems on that side.

Then we worked at the barre with resistance.  In first position with her holding a Theraband, FBT just had me go out to the side with the foot flexed and bring it back it.  I had to do like 15 on each side!  Then we did this from fifth, 8 closing front, 8 closing back on each side.  She emphasized that because I'm hyperextended, I have to pull up a lot every time I close to make space for my knees to fit.

The actual ballet barre felt "easy" compared to this, because I didn't have to work against a Theraband!  Pliés in every position with a balance.  In sous-sus, she said that I again was sinking too much into my hyperextension, which is why I couldn't fit my feet together.  Tendus with temps lie.  Tendus switching accent in and out.  There was some exercise with fondu and an arabesque balance on relevé, and I did well on the balances!  There was a combination that I think went: tendu front, plié lift the leg, straighten carry the leg side, 2 ronde de j'ambe en l'aire, one double ronde de jambe en l'aire, when extending the leg this last time come up onto relevé, close back and reverse.  We ending with grand battement and cloche en attitude to release the hips.

FBT, like my regular teacher, also wants me to push my extensions.  She took my leg so that my foot was next to my head in second and was like, you can be here.  It's so funny that they always phrase it like that, because obviously I'm not strong enough yet to be there.  I know I can pull my leg up there with my hand to stretch, but getting up there with muscles is a whole different story.  I was able to hold the position for a bit with no support, so we'll see!  I guess it's more that they want me to reach for it ...right now I just go for shoulder height, and I guess it won't go farther if I don't aim higher. But I don't want to have height without correct alignment, so I am always cautious.

We had a bit of an emotional goodbye chat afterwards.  She said that I've come so far from when she first started teaching me (a bit over a year ago).  She again brought up the picture from early days, when I couldn't do anything.  She also said that she thinks I should be taking higher level classes more often.  And, most touchingly, she said that I can call myself a dancer now.  A beginner dancer, but a dancer!

I will miss her lots.  She will be back briefly in October and I will try to get a private with her then, but I don't know when I will see her after that.

Also, I am still really sore!  It didn't help that I had a flexibility split private that morning!  Excited to take what I've learned to class today.


  1. I've never had a private class but lately have had mostly solo classes since no one shows up at the time I go, and I absolutely love it! I wouldn't have improved as much and as quickly otherwise. I hope you get to find another teacher for more private classes in the future :)

    1. That would be amazing...private class at group class prices! It feels really hard to find small classes in NYC.