My Plie

It is Wednesday, 7pm, we start class with plies. As I have done in all my classes for a few months now, on average two to three times a week. I am not concentrating too much, am still thinking about my life-changing decision that has been haunting me for weeks.

After the first round, my teacher stops the music and I think: “What is going on now?” She comes to me, saying: “No, no”, bending my thighs and pelvis. “If you go down for plie, you don’t move your pelvis, you only move your knees. Extend your knees. Use your inner thigh muscles.” I do some more plies, she holds on to my pelvis, I am trying hard not to move anything but my knees, but I don’t fully understand what she is talking about.

I do some more until she finally says: “Yes, that’s it. From the knees, not from the tailbone.” I do feel a different muscle working, but I am still not sure how to hold my body to do them perfectly, so I am glad when she continues with the class.

During class, whenever I have time, I do some plies and try to feel what she told me. To be honest, I am not thoroughly in the know yet. The teacher has another class right after ours, so there is no time to ask her, but I will ask my Friday teacher tomorrow.

After all, I now feel that I know why my thighs seemed to be getting bulkier with ballet: I just did my plies wrong…


Dance Photography, Day VIII: E. O. Hoppe

I discovered another dance photographer: Emil Otto Hoppe. He was born in Germany but was living in Paris for a long time, and he was closely affiliated to the Ballet Russe, a most interesting dance company in France that collaborated with a lot of contemporary artists.

This is one of my favorite photographs: E. O. Hoppe, Anton Dolin, 1923

I love the pose, the muscularity of his legs, and the format of the photograph. Its narrowness gives more emphasis to the tallness of the figure that is being shown, and the background with the two border lines between floor and skirting board and wall in slightly different colors reminds me a little bit of an abstract expressionist painting. Also because of the structure of the wall (paper, I assume).


Teacher’s Wisdom: Ballet Is Like Origami

Yesterday’s class was not only big fun during the stretches because everyone was gossiping about THE Chinese dancer (I will come back to that in another post), but also, once more, very, very instructive.

At one point of the barre work, our teacher got a towel and said: “You do know Origami, don’t you?” And she folded the towel: “You have to be very precise, only then you can make a beautiful thing.” She folded once, twice, three times, very precisely. Then she started again: “If you don’t do it properly, there will never be something nice.” And folded the towel three times just randomly. “This is just like ballet: You have to be precise in your positions, place your feet at the exact spots, only then it can be beautiful.”

Wow, what a strong image!

Just because Origami is so nice, and one can do so many pretty things with it, here is a link with wonderful things: Origami on Etsy.

And some self-made origami art by my colleagues:


Dance Photography, VII: Conrado Escano Dy-Liacco

I like watching the class happening before my adult class at the ballet school. It is a Junior-Senior PBD class, and the girls and one boy are pretty good compared to myself. They seem to be working hard but enjoying class.

The other day, I knew that someone else was teaching the class, and I heard a lot of giggling at one point, so I joined the group of parents and watched their whole set of stretches (and learned a lot doing so). This (male) teacher had made them really sweat, they all looked very tired when the left the classroom.

Now, I just found his website of dance photography. There’s a lot of beautiful pictures, and I hope you will enjoy.

Lesson from the Trockaderos

So, on Monday after the Trockadero performance, our teacher asked who had seen it, and two of us raised their hands.

The teacher said she had seen them several times and thought them boring now. She had just seen enough of them. Fair enough, I can understand that.

And then she said that we can learn from them how important it is to have a compact core, to have your belly muscles all working, the back muscles all helping the spine to stretch, and the tailbone tucked in. Great, I thought, this is exactly addressing one of my deficiencies. (One of the many of them; in fact, I think I learned all about every single one I have in ballet, but that’s a topic for another post.)

If she asks next Monday, who has seen Giselle, I am sure that many more will raise their hands, and I am wondering what we will be able to learn from that performance…

Slightly Off Topic

I have recently discovered a new love to nail polish. Well, I guess I’ve always had it, I just never gave in to it, as my nails are extremely fragile and very weak. However, I have decided that I want to have nice nails and that I will take good care of them, so that I can wear all these beautiful colors I always see in stores.

Now, I am a person in love with words, so I kind of only like a nail polish when it has a nice name, too. It is the same with other products, like cosmetics, bicycles, bags, shoes, whatever. When the product has a nice name, I like it. When I like the content but not the name, I would never buy the product. And, as you know, nail polishes all have nice names. Brands like OPI, Essie, and others are hiring good people to come up with catchy, funny, and inspiring names. I know that is is part of their marketing, and that is one of the ways how they get people to buy their product at a premium price (this is to all the pragmatic men and other name-sceptics in my life), but, what can I say? It works with me.

So when I read about OPI’s New York City Ballet Collection, and at the same time found a small shop retailing nail polishes at half the price you normally pay here, I had to go and see them. You can guess the outcome: I bought them all.  Six bottles of beautiful nail lacquers just for me, the aspiring ballerina.

I put on “Pirouette My Whistle” on top of my dark red toe color, and just loved the sparkle. And yesterday, in preparation for a big event tonight, I worked my way through “Care to Danse?” for my hands. Bad polisher that I am, it took me almost hours to get a nice result, but I love it. This lilac matches with the cool undertone of my skin very well, and I feel like a ballerina at heart.

Oh, and on topic, I did a row of nice pique turns at class yesterday. Eight of them, and the last three, I would say, felt actually quite good.

Here’s a screen shot of the site:

Chanel has a nail color called “Ballerina”. I am sure I will have to have a closer look at this next time I come closer to a Chanel counter.