Last night, before my two ballet classes, I realised I wasn't terribly excited about the prospect of two lots of barre. I find barre a bit dull and tedious now, but I also realised this was a good thing - I no longer require the security the barre offers, neither physically nor mentally. Barre is essential of course, however I yearn now to hit the centre as soon as possible. I find centre work hard and I nearly never follow the combinations, but it's none the less the time in class you feel most like you are actually dancing.
Our pointe teacher told us we were going to learn something new in class last night. Something special. She asked us to gather round her iPhone and she played us the Bluebird variation from The Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty - this is what we would be learning. Yikes!
I cannot even express how excited I was. When I first began ballet, my biggest hope would be that I would actually get to dance variations from my favourite ballets. And at long last it has happened!
The Bluebird variation is so pretty and I think The Royal Ballet Version is my favourite, as I prefer the little courrous inbetween the développés and the fluttering arm movements. Overall, The Royal Ballet version presents the characted much more birdlike with quite a lot of fluttery movement, whereas the Russians tend to have Princess Florine much more gently mimicking the Bluebird. Also, the character seems more disctinct in the Royal Ballet's version, which makes it easier to really understand the movements and why you are doing them.
But it is quite hard.
As you know, I'm a firm believer in only doing pointe work when you are ready - I've seen lots of girls come and go in class who were not ready for pointe and you can't help but watch them and wince because you worry about them hurting their ankles, especially having had an ankle injury myself, resulting in surgery, therefore I know all too well the kind of injuries you can get in pointe class. So when I saw the en pointe développés and fouettes, I did initially wonder as to whether it was far out of my ability level and strength. However, when I tried them it wasn't as scary as I imagined. Infact, it was very enjoyable and I was able to balance much better than I expected.
Make no mistake, the Bluebird variation, the way I'll be doing it, most certainly won't have even a fraction of the grace and poise as Sarah Lamb has, and it's going to look less Bluebird and more Big Bird, but I'm excited to actually be learning a real variation. Even better, when we learn this one we'll be moving on to another. Please make it be something from Swan Lake or Giselle!
Learning this has given me the exact boost I needed and I've fallen in love with ballet all over again. I admit I was getting a little bored because my other classes were beginning to get very monotonous. In intermediate class we only get onto doing exciting stuff centre in the last 10 minutes, which just doesn't give you enough time to learn it and do it. So I always leave annoyed and frustrated. But with our Bluebird variation, we'll keep doing it every week until we've learned and been able to perform it well.
Any other dancers, and such like, out there with personal milestones they wish to achieve? Do tell!