It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since my abdominal wall threw in the towel. I’ve made it more than half way through my recovery period and it hasn’t been as frustrating as I had originally thought. Now, it wasn’t all sunshine and puppies. There was the issue of adjusting from spending class doing flags, planks and shoulder mounts galore to doing….well…not much of anything. At first it felt weird showing up to class in leggings and a tank top while everyone else changed into cute matching Lulu combos, then it felt even weirder watching everyone practice the Marion Amber as I practiced the Step-Around Pole Turn, and it felt EVEN weirder having a class of level 1’s watch me trip and stumble while doing basic pirouettes. Hi guys, I’m advanced!
At first I thought it was just nerves causing me to lose my balance as at home I can pirouette and turn around the pole with a much higher success rate. It didn’t take long until I remembered that the house I live in is a piece of shit and that my floors are not exactly level. We’re talking having to switch sides after every foosball game due to one side having an extreme advantage as the ball would just roll straight into the net if you paused for even a moment. So, basically I trained my body to balance on an uneven floor.
My teacher quickly found drills and other exercises for me to practice to help improve my balance and the overall gracefulness of my dances. I had looked into adult ballet classes but with my teacher already being a lifelong ballerina I figured why look elsewhere! What other ballet teacher brings you a pair of stripper heels to practice in?
I had asked to learn a basic pirouette off the pole and not surprisingly, even the basic ballet moves require lots of technical prerequisites.
She had me start by simply raising up on one foot (tippy toes, obviously) while bringing the other foot up alongside the knee with arms folded and outstretched in front. The foot is to be snugged alongside the knee like a puzzle piece and faced forward. I guess this is more a jazz version than ballet, as in ballet your foot and leg is pointing to the side instead of forward (see ballet version below, sorta.). At first I was only able to hold the position for half a second but I am now up to a record of four and a half seconds of no wobbling. My success rate varies based on where I am standing in my house (I am really not kidding about this). I can do a half turn at most, hopefully in another few weeks I can do one whole pirouette and then maybe I’ll be as good as a 4 year old in a tutu.
Also not surprisingly, my pole turns improved after a couple weeks of practicing these drills.
After class the other day a classmate commented how it’s probably a good thing this happened as there’s no way I would have ever dedicated this much time to perfecting the basics and working on my splits. She was right, I don’t get an adrenalin rush from stretching. Spending a class pirouetting doesn’t leave me famished and hungrily stuffing an entire McChicken into my face. But if I never focused on simple moves I would end up with a routine that seemed more sporty than like an actual dance. It may not be physically exhausting but it still requires a lot of focus and honest nitpicking.
Thankfully I can always count on my teacher finding something wrong with what I’m doing at any given moment and for that I’m forever grateful.
…that wasn’t meant to be sarcastic.