Melting and shapeless - that's my fondu

I returned to class after a two-week break from ballet and any kind of exercise (got busy at work).

Even though my class is a drop-in class, the teacher slowly builds on the class content / programme, introducing new or more complex elements each week. Happily, I haven’t been away long enough for the entire class content to be unfamiliar, but there were several new exercises at the barré and the centre.

One of the new exercises at the barré was a fondu, which comes from fondre which means ‘to melt’ in French, but in ballet-speak, it means lowering the body with the support of on leg… I suppose like slowly melting cheese (yummy!). Our exercise was to stand on the leg closer to the barré, do a coupé with the other leg, then bend the standing leg (fondu), and then stand up to tendu. The teacher emphasised that both our legs had to stretch out simultaneously to tendu, not one after another like errant children coming to attention.

Another exercise at the barré that I’ve done before was to start from fifth position for the feet, then do a battement tendu, return to fifth, a glissé, return to fifth, and finally a grande battement, and we would start doing these from the front, to the diagonal, to the back, and then back to diagonal before finishing. At the beginning, I used to get really mixed up over the changes in feet position (working leg closing to the front vs. the back in fifth) when we were doing the exercises to the diagonal. I’ve gotten used to that over time, but I still often get mixed up with this tendu, glissé, grand battement exercise – often starting with a glissé (it’s quite addictive), and I guess many girls have the same problem, because before we started the exercise, the teacher asked us all to repeat after him “the first one’s a tendu”, and he would call that out during the exercise… which I found funny, but at least it worked!

In Centre, there was a new exercise too – more specifically, there was an exercise which we used to do at the barré, which has been moved to the centre. This consisted of doing a coupé, a passé, and then a coupé, before finishing in a plié. I really struggled with balance in this exercise, particularly when my left leg was the supporting leg. I was wobbling on my leg like a drunken ballerina. Not great. We have also progressed to doing more exercises requiring more advanced balancing skills – relevé in the centre with feet in both first and second positions.

Otherwise, we’re still having our little bounce-and-jumps and chassé, which I enjoy so much. Yay to bringin’ ballet back!