Just over a week ago I started the festive period by packing my tutu and heading down to London for my second major ballet adventure with the girls from Twitter and Karis from Everybody Ballet. Unlike the first time I was a lot more prepared for what to expect AND one of the ballerinas from my class at home was coming with me.
I knew that we would have to pick up the steps a lot quicker that we are used to at home.
I knew that this was going to involve dancing in front of a load of people you barely knew.
And I knew that nothing could be scarier than Dance of the Big Swans was in September.
After a lovely little barre session that skipped Frappés (yes!) we moved into the centre to watch RB’s Snowflakes with a young Alina as Clara. Unlike last time I wasn’t filled with dread. Nothing was going to be worse that those bloody Temps Levé step step Jeté things at the beginning of Dance of the Big Swans.
The first steps were Bourrées. This is always a winner! I can Bourrée. It’s going well! Then came the Waltz steps. Er… At this point the “Why am I putting myself through this again?” thought popped into my head. I can’t waltz. And I can’t waltz in a circle. It turns out that actually I could once Karis told me I wasn’t waltzing in my own mini circle but following the two girls in in front of me in a bigger circle. So far not so bad.
The Waltz of the Snowflakes has lots of ballet running. This made me feel like an idiot and certainly not graceful.
My favourite part was the the bit that involved lots of moves on a Fondu? and turning after each. Snowflakes are a lot less fluid that Swans and a lot more spiky, the position of the arms and the hands was therefore more definite and quite integral to the shapes of the Snowflakes. Nobody wants a soggy defrosting snowflake, its all about the sharpness and the cold.
In fact I was quite stunned that I was managing to remember all of the steps and directions. Perhaps I found it easier as I didn’t just stand at the back freaking out if I didn’t understand things and took the opportunity to go over the steps again if it was given to me. Remembering who to follow and who should be last/at the front of your mini group of Snowflakes seemed a little baffling at first but I felt as though I understood completely by the time it came to performing it. This is another mini-achievement of mine. I didn’t want to the ground to swallow me up as I had wanted to last time.
Unfortunately time was precious and we didn’t get to complete Snowflakes, we got as far as the ‘jazz hands’ sat on the floor part, but I feel that had we had a full day we would have completed it and I would have been able to say I knew the steps pretty confidently. Everybody picked up the steps really well and danced wonderfully considering the lack of time we had to pick it up.
I am certainly looking forward to the next meet. Waltz from Swan Lake? Willis from Giselle? Or a secret favourite, The Shades from La Bayadere? The Amateur Ballet world is certainly picking up momentum and adding to its repertoire and I am very glad to be a part of it.