Last Monday Lyda gave us some anatomical lessons about the knee. In these new series of lessons, Lyda gives special attention to this part of the body. In a correct stance the armpit, hipbone, and feet are vertically aligned. This requires different muscles in your body to contract or extend. You have to understand a few things about muscular functions. In the aplomb stance, the patella is in an uplifted position, and this is a result of contraction of the quads. You need to develop your quads in ballet to lift up your legs. Strengthening your quads requires exercising over some period of time. And these exercises are in fact the regulars of each lesson, tendu, jeté and so on. The trick is to perform the exercises with contracted quads, keeping your patella uplifted, so you build up strength.
She repeated this message in the second lesson later on in the week.
I start to recognize the function of the patterns in Lyda’s lessons. All the exercises are in fact building blocks. They prepare you for the next challenge in ballet.
For example, the temps levé we perform in the lessons. From demi plié in the first position, you jump upward, pulling your toes under your heels (fully stretched feet), aligning your legs vertically with your hips. You have to keep your back erect, in the air and upon landing.
You have to press your heels into the floor in a controlled manner at the beginning and the end of every jump. Pushing off from the heels and landing through the whole foot gives higher elevation and better landing. In our lesson, we make 32 jumps in temps levé. The temps levé is, in fact, one of the easiest forms of jumping. And prepares you for the next step.
And I must confess, writing about the exercises is a lot easier than performing these exercises. It is a challenge to stay upright in position, to jump upward from a demi plié with the bras en bas. And to remain in the same spot while jumping!
I still find it difficult to combine my other sports with ballet. Yes, I understand that a male dancer needs to have strength in the upper body and lower back. That I can integrate with my cross fit training. But the legs form a different challenge. After weight lifting, I lose flexibility, after running I have troubles with my demi pliés. And even my turn out is more difficult after running or boxing. As much as I love ballet, I love running in nature. Or biking through the woods.
I really need some advice here!
This week Lyda informed the students that I write a blog each week. I kept this a little bit of a secret until now. I first wanted to explore my ability to write this blog on a regular basis. I discovered that I like to do this. And though it takes some more time than I first expected, I discover that preparing a blog is also a way of studying classical ballet. In the process of writing the blogs, I bought a few books. In a future blog, I will tell you more about this.