Today, as I walked home from the studio (yeah, I feel very lucky to be able to say that), I felt a smile spread across my face.
I had a great week, y’all. In the six months since I began training with my new coach, hardcore, to get back into “dance en pointe professional level full-time” shape, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Surprise, surprise. However, this week, things started to fall that much more into place. Which probably means next week will be another big climb. But, today, I got some great feedback from my body.
I am noticing that my ankle strength in relevé is in direct proportion to the alignment of my foot and ankle. I am finally beginning to feel that “spot” where the ankle is rotated and placed just so over the toes, preventing rolling and sickle-ing. Plus, my core strength has improved to the point where it can support this alignment on a steady basis.
I can feel my pirouettes improving. They still need a lot of work – I am just getting the inkling of a feeling of control over my turn-out and rotation to the point where I can feel the right muscles engaging as they pull up and back into passé, quicker-faster-better, as I go into a turn.
My fouettés are improving! Lordy-be, thank you! I’m starting to believe there may be hope for the elusive 32 fouettés, and, dare I say it, the Mt. Everest of 64?! Why not. Why. The hell. Not.
The big “A-Ha” moment for me today was during grande jetés across the floor. My coach reminded me to brush through each glissade before brushing into the jeté, and I kept noticing that my body wanted to avoid brushing. (By “brushing” I mean starting in a clean fifth position each time, into a deep plié, and brushing the foot down through the floor – the WHOLE FOOT – into the tendú stretch that leads into the glissade and/or the grande jeté… does that make sense? Good.) When I finally did it, a bolt of lightning struck from my memory: this was the very step that exacerbated my stress fracture in the left foot back in 2000. At that time, when I pushed off of my foot, I was very rolled in, meaning only my instep was making contact with the floor (if that), causing my metatarsals and ligaments to over-compensate and thusly become STRESSED. My body was scared this was going to happen again, so it was trying to protect me. However, now that I have proper alignment, stronger rotators, feet, everything, the glissade no longer holds any terror for me. A couple more times across the floor, and my body (especially my left foot) was convinced. Deep sigh of relief:
So, tomorrow, I will be performing The Dying Swan for a small showing at the studio, and after that, it’s back to rehearsals for the pas de deux from Balanchine’s Theme and Variations along with preparations for Nutcracker. I am grinning as I type this. I feel that I am “in my wheel house” or “in the zone” or a combination of both plus 3 cherries on top.
I wish my mom was alive to see all of this. She loved ballet.