don't sit in the plié

The other night Joan had us do a scisson pirouette combination that was challenging because the scissons had to be executed quickly, the feet postion changed so it made for a potentially uneven weight distribution going into the turn:

Start croisée traveling in a diagonal across the floor, right foot front. Two scissons closing back, one scisson back leg closes front, half pirouette closing front, now going backwards two scissons and half pirouette ending facing the traveling direction.

connecting steps

Once in a while Joan will give us a relatively easy but nevertheless fun and challenging petite allegro combo. This one is so much fun and great for practicing glissades:

Glissade to the right, no change, assemblé under, glissade to the left, no change, assemblé under, glissade to the right, no change, assemblé under and over, entrechat quatre. Scissons pas de bourré to the right, then to the left and to the right again, scisson, end on scisson croisé.

A wonderful exercise and reminder to be clear and precise with glissades and pas de bourré  as these are important connecting steps.


Joan consulting author Stewart O'Nan

Joan has consulted author Stewart O' Nan on a book about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his time as a screenwriter at MGM. The novel is called "West of Sunset". Joan was sought out by the author for her experience at working at the MGM studio. " He would show me a layout and photos and ask me: Where is this building located, which entrance did I use, where did the screenwriters sit during their lunch hour.." The screenwriters, according to Joan, preferred sitting amongst themselves and had their own tables. 


adagio and petite allegro

A couple of nights ago we received a particularly challenging adagio combination for center. We started out with doing two slow steps backwards, arms extending front and side and flexing at the wrist as if gently pushing someone away. Joan likes to begin adagio with a glimpse of a story or character. After a rond de jambe we raised the left leg to attitude en avant, passé to extend to attitude to the back. Promenade holding the attitude then passé through to hold attitude en avant. Passé side to developé croisée. Passé to attitude to the back again and penché forward, extending the leg and arms to come up into arabesque, hold and place into fourth to pirouette, finish facing croisée second side.

This was all done on one leg, the only switch occurred in the beginning when we changed legs in the rond de jambe. Joan told us to keep breathing and rather then arriving at one position and holding it, keep a sense of flow, keep moving from one position into the next.  This was very helpful. Joan is one of the few teachers who actually teaches a slow adagio in order to really work thoroughly and cleanly.

The petite allegro on the other hand was very fast. Starting out in right fifth front, entrechats trois, jeté, temps levé, assemblé, travelling to the right glissade change, scissons change, two entrechats quatres. Repeat to the left side. The stumbling block in this combo is going from glissade to the scisson. Keeping the glissade low to the ground and anticipating the scisson really helped weaving the steps together.

Clark Gable

While having lunch with Joan she was reminiscing about the lunch breaks during her time working at MGM. She would take lunch at the MGM cantine, the screenwriters would sit together most of the time but everyone else mingled. Movie stars would be there too and mingle, nobody paid special attention to them. But when Clark Gable showed up people couldn't help but notice him. "Everyone turned and looked. Some people have charisma, and Clark Gable had an immense amount of it." Joan said.

Welcome to Joan's blog

Joan is famous for giving challenging combinations. Here is a petite allegro from her tuesday night class, April 5th 2016:

Start fifth, right foot front. Entrechats trois, jeté half turn to the right, assemble, changement half turn to the right. Glissade to the right, fifth right front, two entrechats quatres, glissade to the left, ledt fifth front, glissade to the right and a quatre, glissade to the right and a quatre, glissade to the right and a quatre, lift passé left leg and close fifth back.