Leigh Purtill very kindly left a comment on my blog a few weeks ago where she mentioned the idea of petit allegro and pirouette anxiety. Thankfully, my petit allegro anxiety seems to be fading! Lately, I find myself just doing it. As long as it's all steps I know, I can now stay on the music and not get lost! And sometimes my feet even look good. (Although there was a combination recently that went something like: sauté arabesque, faille, glissade, jeté, ballonné to retiré, assemblé forward...and I was like, WTF is a ballonné?? I had never done one before. That wasn't so fun.)
However, my pirouette anxiety is really ratcheting up. It's so frustrating that everything else in my technique has gotten so much better, but my turns are lagging so far behind. It's gotten so bad that I'm getting increasing comments about it from my teachers and peers. Like several teachers have said that all my partial pirouettes (with sustained balances at the end!) are well placed and pulled up and whatnot, but when it comes to a full turn, I get all weird and twisty and lose everything. I had lunch with my ballet friend after class recently, and she said "You are getting quite good, but you really can't turn! I was watching you, and your face and body get SO tense when you have to do a pirouette. I've never seen you look so freaked out."
Sigh. I don't really know what to do about it. And I can feel it as it's happening. I kind of freeze, which makes it impossible to use my plié or properly hold my back because my shoulders start getting super tense and it's just awful. I hope if I practice at home, I can get more comfortable and get out of my head. Sometimes I think, this sucks that I can't do this right...it's been more than a whole year! But other times I think, it's okay that this sucks...it's only been a bit more than a year.
A recent pirouette combination that I loved and did well except for the actual pirouette:
3 Ballet walks, fondu arabesque, pas de bourrée, pas de cheval, pique sous-sus, chassé forward, fondu attitude back, pas de bourreé, tendu croisé, en dedans pirouette turn from fourth.