Usually, I write about the exercises at the barre or in the center. But the last part of the lesson is interesting too and generally very energetic.
This week we had a multitude of exercises on the diagonal, like the polonaise, waltz, chassé, pas de chat, pas de bourrée, glissade, and chainés. We even practiced a pas de cheval, can you imagine?
I like chainés. It’s a series of turns in the same direction on the diagonal. I start with my feet in the first position on demi-pointe. We start tapping our feet consecutively 4 times, left right left right, then making 1 revolution. The weight shifts from 1 foot to another with each half revolution, arms held in the first position. And tapping the feet 4 times again and so on. Some days I can perform the chainés without getting too dizzy, and then on other days, even one revolution is one too much. Essential is the way I turn my head. You can turn your head 180 degrees, from left to right. The trick is to choose a focal point and look at that point as long as possible. Then when your body is making a half revolution, quickly turn your head and look at the same point in the room.
We performed the glissade at the diagonal. A glissade is a slide with the legs, in which one leg opens to a pointe tendue, the other leg on demi plié, then the weight is transferred to the first leg, the other pointing to pointe tendue, the movement ends by the second leg sliding into the 5th position. We practiced the en avant type of the glissade, where the front leg opens to the front, the other leg on demi plié, weight transferring onto the front leg which does a demi plié, the back leg extending pointe tendue. The back leg closes in the 5th in the back.
This was an exercise that I can grow fond of.
Another, the pas de bourrée, really causes me some trouble. That’s an exercise that I need to practice more often, I’m the master of disaster so to speak. I have to build it in my system, it’s not a reflex yet, I seem to miss an adequate neuro-muscular response to this one. The pas de bourrée has several variations and can be done in all possible directions; it is a step in three counts, during the lesson, we exercised the basic form with a change of the feet. If you start with the right foot in front, you will end with the left foot in front. When I read the technical information on this exercise, I kind of get lost. Was it the au dessus, or was it the au dessous version we practiced? I simply forgot about it.
I have discovered that in ballet, there are always two important considerations for the movements: the esthetic and the physical. They have to blend together, so to speak, to produce that lyrical effect while performing the movement. Think about the head position while you perform a glissade. The placement of your head helps to keep your body in equilibrium. In the meantime, you maintain expression on your face while you look in the direction of an audience. This transfers a message to your audience, hopefully lyrical. That also applies to the chainés.
Have a nice week!