Work Smarter, Not Harder

It’s Monday, October 3rd. On Saturday, I think I made some more breakthroughs in ballet. My right hamstring is on hiatus, so I had to take barre with care, once again. Did I mention, on Thursday, Diane told me I had one of my best, most-turned out barres ever?! Fitting that my October Goal is turn-out. Well, Saturday yielded similar results. Without the benefit of a 100% healthy, happy body ( I am still getting over a cold) I was put in to the position of working SMARTER, not HARDER. Well, well, well. We meet again, my old friend “SMART.”
(Cut to the memory of Victoria Morgan telling me she wanted to hire me back for the summer at Cincinnati Ballet because I was so SMART.  This was a compliment, but at the time, it felt like an insult.)

I planned on doing just barre. But then, I decided to do some center. My pirouettes went so well that Diane informed the class that my husband ought to buy me a diamond ring. The SPOT is getting so much better! I must continue my rotation-engaging exercises along with hip and butt massage to open and strengthen, stretch and lengthen those all-important muscles.

Oh! For the first time, I did fouetté turns where, during the set, I felt myself losing balance, and my brain and body remembered the fouetté prep exercise and how to realign my hips and core, and I was able to get my balance back! It was messy, but a huge step forward. I also did a set where I finished with a controlled double pirouette into fourth – that has never happened before! Now, all I need to do is layer a smile of calm confidence on top. I tried it once – disaster. Right now, my body knows how to fouetté with a frown. Completely different muscles. The smiling threw me off! Ha! I will prevail, though. How silly to feel afraid of a few measly fouettés.

I can feel the way it should be when I imagine them in my mind’s eye – relaxed hips, long and strong pointed legs whipping around, opening directly side – strong core, lifted ribcage, relaxed shoulders and neck, calm clean spot. It’s all there. My body will catch up.

SO: I ended up taking a break after class to go home, bathe, nap, and then return for flowers rehearsal, despite the fact that Diane said I could skip (due to the hamstring injury and continuing recovery from cold). It felt great to work through my exhaustion (carefully, not over-doing leaps, breathing… perhaps this is the way to ALWAYS approach the dance!) and THEN: I stayed to run Sugar Plum variation once-through, implementing the corrections Diane gave me at the last rehearsal. More improvement. Finally, I ran a few partner-moves with Jerry. At that pointe, my body gave in, so we called it a wash.

All-in-all, an EXCELLENT day of smart work. Just excellent.

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