If you want it, come and get it

Well, my students asked for it, so… our week off turned out to be a week on and it was a killer! I extended class time by a good 20 minutes or so. My legs were shaking by the end and that was with me spending half my time wandering around correcting people! I can only imagine how my students were doing!

Tossed a lot of new stuff at my class. We did most of the barre with one hand (the first few weeks were almost all facing the barre). Taught battements tendus doubles, battements soutenus, and grand pliés. Yes, we’re just getting to grand pliés now. I wanted them to have a strong foundation in demis first. Some of the exercises looked rather, uh, interesting, on the first go-round, but I’ve got to give my ladies credit… they gave everything their best effort. That’s all I ask, honestly. Keep trying, don’t give up, and try to have fun. There’s nothing worse than seeing a student with a sour look on her face.

For center I’m still mostly just doing center barre. Demi-pliés, battements tendus en croix, that sort of thing. This week we added some battements dégagés to the side and demi rond de jambes. Then started working on croisé and effacé.

I wasn’t sure if it was too early to start introducing the concepts of épaulement. After all, we’re still working on coordinating arms and legs. Adding head and shoulders into the mix, yikes! But… épaulement is pretty. Doing everything en face is fine for learning how to do steps at the center with a good view of yourself in the mirror, but it’s kind of boring. Adding épaulement takes it from exercise to ballet. IMHO. And I have to say that the students who stuck with me through this part looked great! Lots of room for improvement, but one student commented, “Gee, I almost look poised!” And she did!

I want to give my students a strong technical base to build on, but sometimes I think they get so focused on the intricacies that they lose sight of the fact that it’s dancing! I think our little foray into épaulement-land was a good reminder…


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