Just call me Stretch

So, there’s this side stretch.
You’re standing facing the barre, holding the barre with both hands, and you put your right leg up on the barre, and then reach up and over with your left arm toward your right leg and stretch and stretch toward your right toes, stretch and reach toward the foot and try to press your toes down to touch the barre.
You know the one.
It’s the one that’s really hard and makes your right hamstring say, “oh Hello! Here I am!”
And then you unfold yourself from over your right leg and straighten up, still facing the barre, right leg stays on the barre, and you reach your right hand up and over and bend to the left. Away from the leg.
And you feel…
Nothing.
At all.
Very strange.
One time I asked Sazerac what this second stretch was supposed to be doing exactly?
And she yelled, “Shush you! Less talky more stretchy!”
Ha!
No, she didn’t say that. She admitted she had no idea. Then she yelled, “You stretch now or I hit you with riding crop!”
Ha!
No, she didn’t say that either.
So anyway, we’re in class, we’ve just done this bizarro non-stretch, and Smirnoff tells us he is confused. He’s confused because we’re all working and doing so well on our back bends, but we are not working hard during our side stretches. He wants to see us really pushing that toe right down to the barre when we stretch toward the leg, and when we stretch away, he wants to see us really reach! Reach reach reach! Below the bar if possible!
Then he gestures to me.
“My dear, give it a try. Really work at it.”
So with the class watching I turn to the barre, put my right leg up, reach my left arm up and over and stretch toward my toes (oh hi there Hamstring, nice to visit with you again ow ow ow) stretch as far as I can and then fold over and press the toes.
Then come up.
And while I straighten, I think to myself, “Self, this stretch away part don’t make no kinda sense. Why, you could probably just keep going all the way to the floor except that you’re holding the barre. Therefore, you should totally milk this.”
And then I said to myself, “Self, you are right. This must be milked.”
So I pause at the top, reach my right hand up and begin a molasses-slow descent to the left. I see the barre approaching, slowly come even with it, and steadily continue below, and my classmates start cheering!
I keep going down until I’m stopped by my arm holding the barre, pause for dramatic effect, and then molasses-slow my way back up, approach the bar, rise above it, stand upright, and take my right foot off the barre.
The class applauds!
So, either I’ve stumbled upon some amazingly slick way to cheat this stretch, or this is the one balletic thing I’m a natural at.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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4 Responses to Just call me Stretch

  1. Jess says:

    I don’t know if this tip will help or not, but when some teacher (don’t remember who gets credit) told me, it helped. First, always keep your working leg’s hip in line with the standing leg’s hip. Don’t let it migrate upwards as you lean away. (Push down at the hip with the leg on the bar.) Second, when you cambre (bend) side, keep your abs engaged on the bendy side, but less on the stretchy side. Go up and out more than down (like a candy cane) and create a big arc with your torso. That really stretches those side muscles out.

    If that doesn’t make a difference, then you’ve been gifted by the flexibility fairy, congrats! :)

    • Oh, interesting! I wonder if it feels so easy because my hip is not staying level! Will have to check next time.
      Although surely my teacher would have seen that and called me out?
      Maybe he was just letting me have my moment.
      Thanks for the tip, I’ll be checking for sures.

  2. Attention Past Adult Beginner!
    This is Future Adult Beginner!
    Replying to you From The Future!
    To let you know that eventually you will totally feel this stretch! Totally! It will become kinda painful as you learn to do it correctly!
    Jess was right, it’s all about keeping those hips level as you bend away like a candy-cane!
    Also, your hairdo is really cute today! I know, because I’m you From The Future!!!!!

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