Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blog 22

A short blog this week! That was what I expected. Cause last Monday we had no lesson, it was a Pentecostal holiday. But when I started writing, I suddenly realized there is more to say.

After posting this blog today, I will join a running event, I intend to run 10 English miles. The past half-year I regularly ran 3 times a week. That’s how I prepared myself. 
Since 6 years I am a barefoot runner, well not exactly barefoot to be honest. I use Vibrams Five fingers, maybe you heard from these minimalist shoes. They have soles that contour to the shape of the natural human foot, and that offers the protection and grip you need when you run on streets and in parks. Usually 1 ½ hour at a time, always taking my jumping rope with me. Halfway I jump with my rope for about 10 minutes. As a boxer, I have had several injuries in my calves, ruptures of muscle. So I discovered barefoot running as a way to recover en strengthen my calves. It also strengthens your feet. Just like jumping. Running in the rain, by the way, is one of my favorites; it’s just like dancing in the rain. It makes me feel alive and happy. But running is not an ideal sport to combine with ballet. 

I always thought that barefoot running would be helpful to my ballet aspiration. Think of the ballet shoes, aren’t these barefoot too? 
But ……running tightens the hips, stiffens the muscles of your legs. I even have difficulty with stretching my feet as needed with the tendu or retiré. 

Last Tuesday, we worked our self through the various exercises in ballet class. One of the movements included a retiré. Strictly technical this retiré was the action of drawing the working leg, with the knee of the working leg bent, up alongside the supporting leg and returning it down to the position from which it began, i.e., the 5th.
I lifted my working leg fully pointed cou de pied devant, sliding it up the supporting leg, until my toe touched just beneath the knee.

Above I say fully pointed, but the truth is I can’t make my foot fully pointed. Because of the barefoot running, I think. And another mistake I make is that in order to maintain my working leg in the 90 degrees position, I press my toes into the knee of my supporting leg. That helps me to stay in balance. I thought that made things easier, but I was wrong! Only now I learned that in the 90 degrees position,, your toes should hardly press on the side of your knee. Lyda made this very clear to me. My working leg has to operate independently of the rest of my body!
Another example of the Barbie doll that Lyda mentioned at the beginning of my ballet adventure 1/½ years ago, where each limb moves independently.

Another learning experience last Tuesday was the way I perform the tendu. I slide my foot from the 5th opening devant through a small 4th position, keeping the working heel on the floor. Then I release my heel, keeping it pressed well forward, sliding the toe to the fully stretched position, so fully extend my leg and foot, my toes in line with my hip, and my heel in line with my navel. But a fully stretched foot I learned now means that my foot is arched, with my toenails meeting the floor. Up to now, I more or less used a kind of demi-pointe in my tendu. Is that possible for someone who runs barefoot?

The good news was that Lyda told me I can prepare for the Grade 3 exams of the ARBTA next year. You know, that’s excellent news. I remember that in my first year, the mere fact that I had a goal, to do exams for Grade 2, gave me a sense of purpose to rehearse and rehearse again. I became more committed and resilient.

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