Tuesday, January 19, 2016

First Private with LF (I CAN'T EVEN)

Okay, I think I MOSTLY kept it together yesterday with LF.

I started out my day (I was off!) with class at the studio.  I wanted to be take class before my private because I really do need to get my joints and muscles going before I can actually do ballet.  This is why I do my morning warm-up every day, even though I won't be taking class until much later.  It's just so much easier to get on my leg and turnout in class if I get my body going early in the day.  I would have even done my warm-up before class yesterday, but I decided to treat myself with sleeping in a bit.

Class was so fun.  It was at the lowest level, and one of my good ballet friends was there.  I really need to stop standing near him at the barre when we take class together, because we crack each other up a little bit too much.  Especially when we're trying to hold a balance.  It felt good to do a class that is so familiar and not stressful.

Then we had lunch and coffee for like 4 hours waiting for my private.  When it was getting closer, I couldn't tell if I just had way to much tea or if I was nervous (maybe both), because I had to pee every 5 minutes.

Before we started, LF asked if there was anything I wanted to focus on, and I just said I would love to go over basic alignment things with her in detail.  I feel like this can be the kind of thing that gets lost in class, and it's the kind of thing FBT would go over with me in private before she left.

In class last week, she corrected me about my elbows.  Because of my hyperextension, I have to be even more careful about not hanging out in my arms in second, bending them more than non-hyperextended people and making sure I really use my back.  She continued this yesterday.  I think I had improved my arm position in second, but she corrected me on moving through the positions.  Apparently I have a bad habit of straightening a bit when I go from second to bras bas, and again because of the hyperextension it's really obvious and ugly.  So she described it as a bird's wing, and I think that helped for some reason.

She also corrected me on my hands.  So I've heard the thing about using your arms like moving through water many a time before.  But I always thought of it more of a metaphor for how your arms should be supported and for the hands to be soft.  LF wanted more of a "trailing" effect with the hands.  Like, how they would slightly drag behind a bit more if you were moving your arm through water.  This was kind of hard for me going from second to fifth.  It's especially hard on my left side.  Because of my shoulder injury, sometimes things feel weird and I can't tell what's happening as well.  It was so beautiful on her though, and now I have more of a concept of what I'm supposed to do.

We did an exercise from fifth and I finally had an opportunity to ask about my knees knocking.  So again, it's definitely because of my hyperextension (which is why the problem is worse when left is front, as I'm way more hyperextened on that side and there's no space for my other leg!).  So she told me not to straighten all the way.  Also contrary to what is said usually in class, apparently I have to think about my hip turn out and my calf rotation a bit separately in fifth.  I guess when you have hyperextension, if you think about rotating the leg in one piece from the hip, it can make you sit in your knees.  Anyway, it's about the thighs pressing more than anything apparently...and if I soften the front knee I can do it without my knees knocking!

Sadly, the problem that FBT had pointed out to me about my left side when I first started is still a problem.  From the beginning, FBT had told me that my left side is way more flexible but weak, so the hip tends to open up.  Apparently I'm so used to that, that it's kind of hard for me to tell true square is anymore when the left is my working side!  So I really have to pull it forward more when working to the side and back.  LF kept pushing it forward, and I kept being like, "Really!??!"

Lately, she has been correcting me about my tailbone in class.  I thought it was a pelvic tilt thing, but actually it's not really!  I think it's more of a weight shift thing.  So a lot of my teachers are more Balanchine trained (LF is NOT), and they don't always really insist on getting your weight back onto two legs when you close.  They say TECHNICALLY and CLASSICALLY it's correct, but for Balanchine speed you might not do it fully and you might keep your weight where it's supposed to go next.   I think this has made me sometimes lazy about getting my butt back under myself.  LF will not have any of that. If I think about it as always going back to equal weight, I think the tailbone problem goes away because there's space in the front of the hips to get your tailbone down.  She also had me more back in my fourth plie (we did some combination with weight transfers), and again this made sense.  And suddenly other teacher's corrections of taking my pelvis with me made sense too.

She also corrected me on my arabesque.  She put me way more forward than I'm used to.  I was like...it's not supposed to feel more backbendy than this?  And she was like, I don't know about that, but this is correct.  So I've been mulling it over and even looked it up in Gretchen Ward's Classical Ballet Technique this morning.  And I think I've figured out how I've been thinking about it wrong.  So looking at the book, the shoulders DO have to move more forward with higher extension.  I had been moving mine forward, but I have been putting them where it's supposed to be for 45 degrees and because I have a back oversplit, I've just been lifting my leg from that position to 90 or above without moving my shoulders more forward.  So basically I have been thinking about it more as a back oversplit / needle situation than a proper classical arabesque.

She complimented me on all of my passé positions!  FBT really got me to understand the rotation in this before she left, and lately I've been getting a lot of compliments on it in general.  It just really makes sense to me.  I think also the wing in my foot shape is coming along really nicely, and I got a few "Beautiful!" comments from LF based on that I think.  Her wing is actually the most amazing, and she is really picky about this, so I think I'm learning!  Also she said I did wonderfully and that I'm a hard worker when she ran into my friend who bought the private as my gift later in the day.

I wound up taking class AFTER my private as well!  I asked LF if she thought it would be okay, and she said it might be nice for me to apply the corrections straight away.  So I wound up taking class with the same teacher I took class with in the morning, with my same friend, and somehow we wound up standing in the same place again.  It was kind of hilarious.  But what was great was I was able to make such a direct comparison with my morning class.  I was definitely way more on my leg, more pulled up and aligned.  I focused a lot on my janky left side, and after class my friend said I looked way more square than this morning!  My extensions were great.  I feel like my tailbone situation was better.  The arms and hands thing still felt kind of unnatural, but I definitely worked on it.  OH, even my turns felt better!  Which you all should know is a big deal for me.

I can't believe I have another private with LF soon!  I hope I didn't totally disgrace myself and I hope she likes me a little bit....

Sorry that this is so long and rambly.  I'm just trying to keep it as clear as possible in my minds eye so I kind of wrote this stream of consciousness style.

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