Shannon’s last ballet class

My ballet teacher Shannon’s last class one on Monday. She’s moving to Georgia for chiropractor school, which is awesome, but I’m going to miss her ballet class.   Her classes were challenging and made me think and learn, instead of some classes which I feel like are for people who were former dancers and merely want to go through the motions.  For instance, she handed out sheets with ballet positions and told us to memorize them as homework.  I felt a little resentful at first because I was taking this class for fun, how dare she expect that I spend my free time going over positions, etc.  But learning the positions has actually helped me a lot and I find that I enjoy ballet more when I can differentiate the difference between croise, efface, and ecarte.


Not dance related, but his is Gigi, a lovely senior Siamese at the shelter where I volunteer. She got adopted this week! (Growing up, I always wanted a Siamese)

Shannon always watched our technique and gave suggestions about form, timing, distribution of weight, etc.  I’m sure some people found the critiques disturbing, but I found then pleasant and useful because I am still learning and growing (even though I do wish I didn’t need them, but I’ve been more open to critiques as I get older.)  Her combinations were always fun and I tried to remember her last class so I can try them on my own.

Also, this post is delayed because I tried posting on my phone and WordPress didn’t save the text. Even when I published it. Yep.

Across the floor combination:

Sous sous to corner, balance back around
Sous sous to back corner, balance back around
Waltz turn x 2
Step, developpe front (opposite arm), chasse.
Step, developpe front (opposite arm), chasse.
Tombe, pas de bourre, pirouette.

Jump exercise: Tombe to side in plie, use foot only to Push off floor. Use feet to push off floor, not legs. Changement: cross thighs in air, create a picture. Same with assemble.

Saute, (fall through) glissade, saut de chat, sautee, (fall through) glissade, Grande jete

Always remember: don’t let the shoulders creep up, keep them down. Push chest through shoulders (like male ballerinas), neck long. Be conscious of where your weight is (usually should be ball of foot onto standing leg). Hold the position to create the picture line, not just bouncing back and forth.

Center (croise):
Raise front arm to 5th, raise back arm to 5th,
Tombe forward, lower arms as dressing back leg in
Developpe front, developpe side and hold
Fouette to derriere, promenade around
Fall through(windmill arms), back leg ronde de jambe to front in pliers, straighten

Center (croise): with big arms
Tendu front right croise x2, tendu back left croise x2, tendu side right ecarte x2 and hold out on second
Fouette to derrier front, pull leg to back, close.

(Can do reverse too)

“No matter what happens during the middle of the combination, if you stick the landing with enthusiasm, I’ll be like ‘YES! Great!'” ~ Shannon (ending with a glissade into a passe with flair)


Hornpipe and ballet notes


Choose-your-own-adventure hornpipe:

Hop rally-right step up

Push click push click

Hop rally step back

Heel heel heel rally back toe

Turn-right heel front, hop into right kick butt

Hop rally-right step up

Push click push click

Pull back left, rally-right step up

Rally-right right-toe-toe left-toe right-toe rally-left step up


Ballet notes:

Waltz turn:  make sure back leg is really behind me, not off to the side

Piroette: more subtle bend in knees, otherwise to much springy momentum, plie weight is on ball of supporting leg so can instantly balance on it.  Immediately trace up shin to passe, keeps you centered and in picture.

Ballet: my balance issues

Halloween Seattle ferris wheel

Halloween Seattle ferris wheel

I have a lot of issues with balance.  Today my teacher pointed out that I tend to lean back so that my weight is shifted off my legs behind me.  I need to focus on staying lifted and keeping my weight on top of my legs.  Shoulders over hips sort of thing.