Giving yourself class
Whether you’re the first person awake for 10am barre or you do your best pirouettes in the evening, the one thing we can all agree on is daily class! Attending classes is essential but not always possible – so what do we do? Motivating yourself to do your own classwork can be difficult. During the summer holidays, before rehearsals, or just as maintenance to start your day off right, we all should have a plan for giving ourselves class. My advice? Make a playlist! Think through what you like in class. For me, its long tracks and lots of tendus. If you teach you probably already have half the work done.
Starting with warmup, give yourself music on your playlist that gets you ready for the day. A pop song to energize, a relaxing song to stretch, a long ballet class track for floor work (even eights are important!). Then build it up from the beginning, writing out your combinations as you go. Figure out what is important to your body, and be sure to give each track of the music a progressive tag. Tendus? Balance in soussus. Degage? Balance in sur le cou de pied. Build yourself from the bottom up and from the inside out, like your trusted teachers do for you every day.
Once you have it planned, written, and your playlist built, take the time to teach it to yourself. It may not all happen in one day. Like any set class, give yourself time to learn the combinations and the order until you can just let the playlist continue and get your best work in. Don’t be afraid to make changes, either! Your needs may change from day to day – dancers have to have a deep awareness of their bodies. If your hips are too tight for your killer adagio, add a track in the playlist for leg swings and see if it feels better the next time you do it. If you’re feeling tired and wobbly, simplify and slow down your tendus and adagio in center. There is never anything wrong with 32 counts of promenades at 45 degrees; there is no judgement, no expectation, and no stress.
That is the best thing about doing your own class. All its really about is taking care of yourself.
Constanza Murphy, Bay Pointe Ballet soloist