My adult ballet learning adventure continues with Advanced 1 and an injury...
I begin learning the Advanced 1 syllabus, using the notes and DVD to teach myself at home. I cover most of the barre, plus the port de bras, centre practice and parts of the adage and allegro.
Not only are there a number of new, technically difficult steps, but everything is faster, the timing is more complex and choreography is more fiddly. But the syllabus is also more dancey and I love the music - particularly the beautiful tunes from The Two Pigeons and Manon.
I look ahead on the DVD to the remaining exercises. The fifth allegro includes fiendishly challenging fouetté turns, the adage has an arabesque penchée, and the variation is on pointe.
But my main current struggle is in lifting my leg to the side. Somehow as I have gained the strength to lift it higher, I have also started turning it in, with excessive use of the quadriceps. To correct this, I have to place the leg much further forward and try to hold the position using my inner thigh muscles. It's quite a challenge - particularly in the new rond de jambe jeté of the Advanced 1 syllabus.
On the plus side, I get an enormous confidence boost on receiving my RAD Intermediate exam results. I gain a distinction, scoring 76/100 (a better mark than when I took the same exam level aged 17!). I am thrilled and decide to frame the certificate.
The month can be summed up in one word: injury. It's the same knee problem that I had last January; it's flared up repeatedly over the past year but I pushed through it to complete the intermediate ballet exam. In pain again, I decide it's time to seek further treatment.
I see an osteopath who confirms it's a problem with the tendon which attaches the hamstring to the knee joint. I'm advised to avoid high impact exercise and anything else which causes pain (which unfortunately includes most ballet movements), and have to ice and stretch the injury twice a day.
I mainly wish that I had sought professional treatment sooner. There's no serious problem with my knee and it will get better, but there's a lot of scar tissue which needs to be softened because I left it for so long. I'm frustrated to say the least.