See Spot Chainé

Lately, since class has been just a tad underpopulated, Smirnoff has been trying out all the Really Confusing things that would be a total disaster to spring on a full class.
Like the double frappés:
backfrontFront! backfrontSide! frontbackBack! frontbackSide! frontbackOops! backfrontDang! backfrontHaHa! frontbackWheee!
And this new chainés-nés combo:
He gestures the boundaries of a big square in the center of the room. Gets his music ready…and then Bam!
Two slow chainés and three fast, then up in an arabesque, close in fifth, change direction as the music changes, and you’re off again, whirling along the next edge of the square, like: Chainé! Chainé! Andoneandtwoandthreeandup! Chainé! Chainé! Andoneandtwoandthreeandup!
It is crazyfast. Plus crazy. I’ve yet to hit all four arabesques, the last one or two so far are abandoned in an effort to stay upright and on the music.
But dang does this exercise make you spot.
You best to find a spot Fast! And keep sashaying, Chainés-nés!
I’m not even count numbers in my head while I’m doing this one, I’m thinking,
“Fan button! Fan button! Andfanbuttonfanbuttonfanbuttonup! Green towel! Green towel! Andgreentowelgreentowelgreentowelup! Light switch! Light switch!…”


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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11 Responses to See Spot Chainé

  1. Thea says:

    That’s exactly how I feel about double frappes! I’ve been trying adult ballet for a couple years, on and off, but really this past month has been the first time I have ever been attending a regular, twice a week class. My schedule only allows for the intermediate section though, and how I dread double frappes! I’d call my attempts valiant at best, and then center allegro is a foregone defeat. The one thing I enjoy about the challenging class though is how much you can inherently learn. Like I’m pretty sure I learned how to spot last week, simply out of necessity…and dizziness. Previously I thought I would never learn how to spot…my head just enjoyed following my body.

  2. Eirin says:

    OMG, I LOVE the way you count! Personally I hate counting, I just try to follow the music, but then the teacher just go like, Eirin, are you counting or are you just confused?? Aww I hate it when the teacher notice my no-counting habit :D

  3. Acacia says:

    Brilliant! I’ll have to try your method for spotting because I get so majorly dizzy with turns.

    • Well, I’d like to take credit for thinking up this method, but really this is the cool thing about this exercise: you’re moving so quickly, and change directions so abruptly, that it makes you choose the first, most specific thing you see, and lock onto it.
      When we do chainés across the room, with tons of time to prepare and lots of chainés in a row, I’ve been picking a ridiculously vague spot. Like, I’ll spot the entire fan as opposed to the button in the center, because I though, “Fan is big. Big is good!” but then there’s a moment of my eyes kind of settling on any old spot with-in the too large spot of the fan, and hoo-boy, dizzy.

  4. Kaija says:

    “Fan button! Fan button! Andfanbuttonfanbuttonfanbuttonup! Green towel! Green towel! Andgreentowelgreentowelgreentowelup! Light switch! Light switch!…” LOL…I have nearly the same internal monologue going during chaines (and other exercises). I love/hate chaines and unlike most of the class, I turn much better to the left than to the right, but we always do the right side first so my head gives me a pep talk like “Yeah, ok…I’m sucking it on these chaines right now and my spotting is spotty at best and it all falls apart as I get dizzy but just you wait till we do them to the left…you all are going to be weaving all over the place and *I* will be whirling crisply across the room like it’s my JOB!” :)

  5. What is spotting anyway? Two years ago I had no clue.
    But now that the Adult Beginner is all educated and stuff I can say: it’s that thing that Billy Elliot is doing. You know, that one scene? Where he’s in the bathroom and he’s looking in the mirror and he’s turning with his body but trying to keep his head still and looking into the mirror until the last minute when his body is turned almost all the way around and then he whips his head around and then both his head and body are facing the mirror again? And he keeps falling over?
    That’s spotting.
    His spot in that example is his own eyes reflected in the mirror.
    The idea is that returning your gaze to a spot keeps you from getting dizzy, because instead of your head just going around and around and around all whilly-nilly while you spin, your inner ears get a nice moment of quiet and stability when your eyes pause on the spot.
    Seems pretty easy right?
    Yeah, I thought so too.

  6. Diane says:

    Good thoughts on spotting!
    It is one of the most important things to learn, and many people suffer needlessly until they have “figured it out”. ;)

    Some teachers even suggest that, at least for awhile, you _close your eyes_ when they are not focused on the spot – that is, when going “around the back”, before you can whip your head around again to fix that spot you have picked. (works better in slower turns, I think; I have not tried it myself, but have seen a few students do this for awhile until they learn NOT to focus the entire time they are turning)

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