Color Me Zelda : Ballet Diary

FLASH!!!   Rare look at Zelda Fitzgerald’s art work on view at Evergreen Museum in Baltimore until January 29, 2012.

Ballet Diary

August, 2011  Gorgeous dance studio.  Barre is installed at an odd height, like a stair railing for giants with long arms.  Designers clearly did not consult the dance professor.  Class group is a mix of those who have never studied ballet to a current high school dance teacher.  Prof.  Meryl  Shapiro directs us through barre work, terminology and suggestions about paying attention to the music.

My fears that I will be too tired to keep up or forgetful of past ballet positions and steps are groundless.  I’m surprised that I can remember so much from decades ago.  Barre work includes plie, grand plie, tendu, sous-sou en releve, port de bras, stretches.  Must look up the correct spelling of the steps and accents.

September, 2011

Relearning and remembering “en croix”, the pattern of barre exercises where the leg away from the barre moves to the front, side, back, and again to the side. Floor work includes  balance, chasse coupe.  I’m weak on my left side.  Can’t remember patterns as readily as on right side.  Why is that?  Brain fog, dominant side wiping out any left side body memory?  I should practice more on the left to ensure body memory.

Looked up en croix in the ABT Ballet Dictionary:

Croix, en  [ahn krwah]

In the shape of a cross. Indicates that an exercise is to be executed to the fourth position front, to the second position and to the fourth position back, or vice versa. As, for example, in battements tendus en croix.

Pas de bourrée added to the combination. Video demonstration in the ABT site shows the bent, elevated leg with foot placed at the knee which I know I’m not doing correctly.

Our class works on the combination pattern to which more steps are added each week.   Grande jeté is my downfall.  I have limited elevation and mix up which foot starts the leap.  Step…step…step…leap or is it step…step…leap, with the leap being the third step?  I’m thinking too much.  Prof. Meryl says to let the music guide dance movements.  If I think less about the “right” steps and more about what the music suggests I might improve my body-music flow!

Zelda Fitzgerald, F. Scott’s lady, studied ballet before she married the author of Tender is the NightThe Great Gatsby and The Beautiful and the Damned.  Later as an adult, she resumed ballet classes, while the couple lived in the South of France.  She was quite passionate about it.  Too bad there was no YouTube back in the 1920s.

Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama.

This image was published before 1923 and is in the public    domain in the US.