Our regular ballet mistress was away today so we had a ‘supply mistress’ (do we call them that?) instead.
We covered the same steps as always and the class followed what I assume to be the tried, tested and true format.
But having a change in teacher has got me thinking about two things: first, and I suppose obviously, how the different personality and style of the teacher changes the feel of the class even though the content remains the same.
But second, how ballet teachers all seem to use metaphor to great effect in order to describe the various comportments and techniques of ballet.
Just describing how to adopt the right basic stance is fertile territory for our creative ballet mistresses (and, presumably, ballet masters although I don’t have personal experience).
Holly always talks about imagining your vertebrae as marshmallows that must be allowed to expand to their fullest extent in order for the dancer to achieve the right extension of their back and thus the right pose.
And today our supply mistress talked about visualising yourself as a fountain, which I thought was a lovely image: the solid column of water representing the strong line of the body’s core, with the picturesque spout at the top representing the graceful lines of the shoulders and arms.
This is all important because ballet isn’t of course just about getting the mechanics right, it’s about overall presentation and fluidity and musicality. Which I suppose is what makes it so bloody difficult.