It’s 48 hours since I got back to ballet class and I am currently in the depths of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It’s as bad as was expected. The preparatory stretch session the day before class to locate the hibernating ballet muscles was as helpful as a dead pair of pointe shoes when you’re learning how to fouetté. The current muscle count suffering from DOMS includes, both inner calves (the right is suffering like a bitch), gracilis in both thighs, both tensor fasciae latae, and the GLUTEUS MEDIUS’ are really making themselves known. Basically all of the turnout muscles that have been wiped out by lack of ballet and more running/HIIT training.
It’s not all bad. In fact, it’s brilliant! I thought that after working for 9.5hrs and then heading off to ballet would be the most unproductive attempt at fitness ever. As it turns out having a perfectly timed espresso on the way to class means not only can you burn 528 calories according to the Suunto watch but you can also run the 3.27 miles home after class and kill off another 383 calories. And then die when you get in.
Ballet class was heaven. Starting with 30 minutes of pointe work like we used to was a bit of a shock to the system. The new Grishkos needed taking off and a good bashing of the box to make them more comfortable around the big toes. Instantly cramps happened in the hips during rises at the barre to warm up. Échappés brought home the reality of just how much ‘ballet fitness’ had disappeared, along with an arabesque en pointe that was attempted. However there was a pleasant surprise when it came to pirouettes. After eight months with absolutely no attempt at pirouettes en pointe there were completely successful ones, both en dedans and en dehors! There were no ankle breakages. There were complete pirouettes to the left and the right. Pointe confidence is back!
Then came the hour long intermediate class I have craved since it was cancelled last August. The long and slow plié routines, complex tendu routines, some VERY sloppy attempt at what was certainly not glissés and constant rearranging of the damn turnout muscles when they wanted to cramp at inconvenient times. This was proper ballet class.
By the time rond de jambe started I think I actually had a grin on my face. It felt amazing to be back dancing properly again.
After the rest of barre, I got the long adage in the centre I had been missing out on when occasionally attending the beginners’ class. Long developpés, attitude, and prolonged arabesques hurt the lower back but it was a good feeling waking up those lower, now utterly inflexible back muscles. It’s nice to know I can still hold a balance.
It’s also nice to know I still dislike petite allegro.
It’s even nicer to know how much I love an enchainment full of pirouettes.
But it’s even nicer to know that a grand allegro can kill the lungs and legs at the same time as getting an amazing satisfaction that comes with all of the jetés, grand jeté en tournant, sissones, assemblés and a pile of turns at the end of a grand allegro. Grand allegro is still up there as one of the best things in class.
And then class was done. We had a lovely reverence and a great big fat piece of ballet satisfaction.
It is good to be back.