Until You Fall You Don't Know Your Limit

June, 2021

The pandemic continues to be unpredictable when we hoped for it to be under control this summer.

Despite the current setback, we can enjoy more freedom and we had our first studio workshop, since the first lockdown more than one year ago, in which we studied the Paquita Wedding Harp variation.

Similar to the first studio class at Pineapple on 23rd May, the excitement of dancing together in a big space was beyond what we would have imagined in the old days.

The Thrill of Firsts

Although the thrill of the first class, the first workshop is unrepeatable, I feel your hunger to make up for so many missed opportunities to do what you love so much and what is such an important part of your lives: learning, challenging yourself and supporting each other, experience your community.

Hence, I created two further workshops, one on 17th July and another one on 21st August.
In July, we are going to study the Odalisque variation 3 from Le Corsaire. Staying with the theme of 'firsts', this was the first principal-level solo I was given in repertoire class when I was 14 years old, and it is the first solo that I taught you, some 16 years ago.
This variation is simpler in its choreography but technically very demanding and it requires endurance, quite the opposite of the Paquita Wedding Harp variation in our previous workshop.   

Until You Fall You Don't Know Your Limit

I loved learning this variation and my teacher seemed impressed by how well I did.

I thought nothing yet of the arabesque-pirouettes en dehors diagonal, turning doubles with relative ease (triples is today's standard) and most of all joy. Until one day...I fell! It came as a complete shock. Until this moment I was blissfully ignorant about the fear-of-turning-on-pointe, and sadly, pirouettes felt never as carefree since.

Later, I almost managed to impart this fear to another student. She was extremely gifted and a 'natural turner', yet she told me that after our pirouette conversation, she started doubting her ability.  
I believe though, she overcame this issue quickly and she succeeded to become a soloist at the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich.

Unfortunately, I do not have a  picture or video footage of my young self practising the Odalisque variation. But here is a picture of my teacher and me at around that time.

Franziska with her teacher Frau Iden.jpeg

Franziska, aged 14/15 with her teacher, Frau Iden

Despite this event, I still enjoyed practising this solo, more solos followed, more falls too. 'Until you fall you don't know your limit' said Renato Paroni, my (our) London teacher used to say.
I believe there are very few among us who do not want to test their limits or even go beyond.

Today, I know better how to approach pirouettes, physically and mentally. So when we practise together in July, you can be confident and experience joy.

I will also include a few pointe exercises in the warm-up part of the workshop for students who would like to do some relevés and echappés en pointe.