Two-Class Thursday: A Little Slower, A Little Better (I Hope)

After last Tuesday’s I(ntermediate) C(lass) I was having mixed feelings about my ballet-future.  I love B(eginner) C(lass), how the barre combinations are so do-able and simple, so all the attention can be focused to technique – did I articulate my feet?; am I not lifting my arches or overpronating?; my timing; the point of my foot; the straightness of my knees.  In center, I can focus on the details as well, make it look pretty, dancey.

But then in IC, it’s so difficult to even remember the combinations, that I’m lucky to even know which leg is in front about half the time.  The complex port de bras take up so much concentration and focus that my legs are somewhat left to their own device.  If I tendued or rond de jambed the way I do in IC in BC I would be really upset at myself, just sloppy,sloppy sloppy.

So all day Wednesday, and half of Thursday, I though about it. Obsessed about it, really.  I just don’t know what to go with: am I supposed to be happy that I’ve progressed this much, even though I clearly suck, or am I supposed to continue to push myself because it’s never enough? Am I without a doubt a Beginner level dancer only, and IC is only meant for people who have the basics deep in muscle memory? I mean, I can do a pretty pointed tendu correctly – even in center – without falling over but the second my mind is elsewhere it’s a mess. I think. I’ve honestly been too scared to look during barre in IC.  For some odd reason I do look in center – probably because it is center, and my expectations are not too high – and believe me, it’s not looking too good.

The muscle memory just isn’t there during those quick transitions, is I guess what I’m trying to say.  Luckily, I haven’t actually frozen up or anything, made sure to keep moving, but there’s been times when I feel like I’m just jumping around (and ending up with the wrong leg in front, of course).  Like I’ve mentioned before, I know how to do the moves, and I can do them in a row over and over and stuff like that, but mixing them up and putting them together turns me into a confused – and clumsy – mess.

I keep going on tangents, but point is, I worry that it was a mistake to sign up for IC.  I mean getting to do 6 hours of ballet a week is awesome, trust me, but is there any point in taking class if I’m just jumping around like an idiot in center or flailing my legs around in barre?  It’s a work out, sure, but as far as ballet technique goes, does it even benefit me to take a class that is this challenging? Would I have been much better off (assuming it was hypothetically possible, which it is not) taking that many hours of BC-level classes?

These are the things I think about as I drift of to sleep at night…


In BC we chassed – both kinds, the slide and the gallop – and we chaines-ed.  They all went well, even the chasse slide to the slide that I technically hadn’t learned before. I learned something new today – yay! That combined with lots of nice slow tendus made me feel good, like I don’t completely suck at everything.

Actually, there was something I totally sucked at: getting up from the floor, not from a lunge postition but from a sitting one. Teacher wanted us to practice getting up gracefully with no hands by crossing one leg over the other in front of us with arms in a low fifth in front. I just couldn’t do it, and felt really uncoordinated. Next time I see Teacher I will have to ask her what exercises she recommends to strengthen whatever muscles I need to be able to do it (if it’s even possible – when things get tough – tougher than for the other students – I always assume it’s a weight distribution problem.)

But overall, BC went well.

I had really pondered not going to IC, is a confession I have to make. But I went.  Not because Mom didn’t raise no quitter – she did, I’ll admit, as I hang my head in shame – but because it’s ballet. I have not been practicing this obsessive pursuit practically daily for 2 years just to walk away after an off day (or 2 or 3…).  Another confession I have to make is that mixed in with all those days that I was counting the minutes excitedly until time for class are  the days when I felt so lazy and unmotivated and hopeless that I had to force myself to go. The thing is each of those days that I have dragged myself in I have left  glad I went; today was no exception.

Tendu combination was 3 tendues devant, go through first all the way to the back then close and 3 tendus derriere, then tendus en croix, and something else I’m forgetting (which is probably the reason I keep messing up).  I somewhat understood the degage combination today (8 degages with arm in second, 8 degages while arm does one port de bra en dehors, 8 battements en cloche with piques after 3 and 6 with arm in second, and repeat with slow en dehors port de bras.  Then repeat the whole thing except battements en cloche would go back first this time, and the port de bras would be en dedans. Soutenu and then other side.). That is a lot of information, but I was doing it ok for once.  Then Teacher came over and corrected my alignment and I was like ‘I totally suck at this’, but I’ll bet to a very untrained eye it looks ok…The fondu and developpe combination at barre went ok as well. We also did promenade towards the barre, and now I honestly can’t remember what position we did it in, passe or arabesque.

We did not do frappes and I was glad; those beated frappes are really making me dislike frappes. I used to enjoy them when they were just simple tendu-flex-frappe-frappe-frappe-point-close-tendu-flex-frappe, etc. but the way we do them in IC is just too advanced for me. I’ve tried practicing the beated frappes at home but I don’t even know where to begin.  There’s a lot of things in IC that I would love to practice more if only I didn’t forget immediately how they go as soon as I walk out of the studio.

Center was a bit easier today, perhaps slower.  Well, except for the petite allegro, that was as fast as ever (and completely destroyed by me. That would be the part when I was jumping around at random, or so it seemed.) But the tendu combination went much better, as did the hard across the floor waltz step with turns. Chaines diagonally across the studio are so much more challenging than just straight across like we did in BC.  Anything involving angling the body in any particular way (other than en face) is still not coming to me. And ecarte and the whole looking-at-your-hand thing is really hard for me; I feel driven to look at myself in the mirror, I don’t know why (see, earlier I said why not (the whole lower expectations thing) but I never said I know why.).

Let’s see, good things.  I was putting my passe foot correctly in front during pirouettes today, so I am learning and improving, gradually.  I have a theory that it was already in my body to do it, but being focused on doing all the other (harder, newer to me) things made it so that I could just be on autopilot and allow my body to just DO IT. Same with the balancing on passe releve.  I’ve actually been going up into passe releve like it’s nothing, even when it involves bringing the leg up from the back and lowering it down in front. There was no way I could do this last semester, so I’m pleased with that progress.

In other news, I’ve been considering making the blog private, or visible only to followers or something, if possible.  Or if WordPress has a feature for blocking certain parts of the country (or the whole country) I could just do that.  Reason is, I feel like the original reason I created the blog (to discuss my experience with starting ballet from scratch at my age and with my body type, so that I didn’t completely destroy my relationship by babbling nonstop about ballet and the happenings in ballet class to my completely disinterested Boyfriend) is getting lost.  There are a lot of things I would like to say, but don’t, because I don’t want people from Real Life to know (and sometimes I worry that they’ve found the blog).  I really mean it when I say that I absolutely detest drama, confrontation, or any negative feelings.  But sometimes these things arise, and I’m not really comfortable discussing them on such an open forum. At the same time, I feel like I just need to let it out, you know?

The closed-ness, “small world” aspect of the dance world really freaks me out. I don’t want to censor myself – I don’t think that’s fair to myself, to be honest – but I don’t want any Real Life drama.

Case in point.  In between classes, while eating our inter-class snacks, a girl who is in both of the classes – and is an amazing dancer, by the way – and I were chatting outside.  She asked about the other teachers at the school, and I was giving her my honest opinion. Isn’t that what we share when asked, our opinion? Anyway, when I was telling her that I don’t recommend Strict Teacher, but maybe First Teacher would be ok, this other kind of loudmouthed girl buts into the conversation and started arguing with me, interrrupting me, raising her voice and talking over me, contradicting everything I was saying (as in, while I was talking to the Great Dancer Girl she was loudly saying “No, no!” and blabbing on about what an awesome teacher S Teacher is (In her opinion, I might add. In my opinion S Teacher is nothing short of sadistic, unless you get on her good side. S Teacher is actually a very polarizing topic; most people either love her classes or hate them.)).

As a quiet introverted person, I don’t do much of sharing my opinion and viewpoints, unless asked.  So already as it is, I go through life keeping my opinions to myself for the most part, unless I’m speaking with a very trusted individual.  I thought Loudmouth Girl was being beyond rude and I was getting super pissed.  I ended up raising my voice too, and then it was time to go back inside for IC, but then afterwards I was feeling sick with anxiety.  I HATE arguing! I’m torn between wishing that I’d just kept my mouth shut and thinking that I was in the right in sharing my opinion (which had been asked for, after all).

If this was just a regular drop-in class I’d probably go take class elsewhere for a bit until the situation cools down, but I don’t have that option. I’m still feeling very anxious about the whole thing, to be honest.  Really considering going somewhere else for future semesters, as Loudmouth Girl is really involved in the dance department here.  But then, like Boyfriend said, it’s not just that girl, it’s always the same situations with a different person.  Perhaps I just never learned (and somehow need to learn) to get along with people with a certain (annoying, in your face, loud, know-it-all) temperament.

I may erase some of this later if my anxiety persists, so read it while it’s hot, LOL.

Edit: As it turns out, it was nothing personal with Loudmouth Girl.  We actually spoke briefly a few times later in the semester – even shared a barre a couple times – and she was perfectly nice, if a little on the more, um, assertive side, especially compared to a quiet one like me.  Anyway, I’m sure she didn’t mean to be rude to me, and I was probably having a crappy day.  I definitely learned both about myself and about interpersonal interaction from all this though…

23 thoughts on “Two-Class Thursday: A Little Slower, A Little Better (I Hope)

  1. wedoballet

    I get it! BoyMowgli invited my mother to follow our blog and it changed my whole mindset.
    Whatever you decide to do with your blog will be the right thing for you. That being said, I assure you the peripheral people in our lives (like Loudmouth Girl) think about us much less than we suspect. I’m sure LG didn’t give your argument a moment’s thought, and she probably isn’t interested in other people enough to read about the lives of others in blogs.
    I certainly hope you keep sharing.
    As a possible solution, if you don’t tag your entries, they won’t show up in when people search for keywords, so unless they follow you or link to you through another blog you’ll be nice and incognito.

    1. kit Post author

      Thanks for the perspective 🙂 You’re right – I’m sure LG is too busy with herself to give our argument much thought. I’m sure by next class it’ll be pretty much forgotten, if it isn’t already.
      Interesting, I didn’t know that if you don’t tag posts they won’t show up on searches. Good to know.
      I’d like to keep sharing as well, I just need to relax and stop freaking out that people may identify me in Real Life. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty sure I have identified a blogger before, but to be fair she did put in a LOT of identifiable info…

  2. Trippmadam

    I am scared that someone who knows me in real life might discover my blog, too. Especially when I write about my skirmishes with El Maestro.
    Concerning the level of class: I usually attend intermediate level and El Maestro’s intermediate/advanced level. I started attending intermediate/advanced when I became bored with just intermediate level. Intermediate/advanced is challenging, but I felt I needed to leave my comfort zone.
    By the way, I do not think that getting corrections means that we suck at dancing. It means that there certaingthings we could and should do better. (Apart from that, I am totally convinced that I suck at dancing LOL)

    1. kit Post author

      Yeah, I’m especially hesitant to write anything teacher-related, as I worry about the whole “burning my bridges” thing. As I mentioned, the “small world” aspect of the dance world is a little scary…
      I agree that getting corrections doesn’t mean we suck, and if anything, getting corrections sure beats getting ignored, as I did when I was brand-new. But I’m just chasing that elusive “Nice!”
      Some day…LOL

  3. Joyce

    You should do what feels right with your blog, but I have to admit I hope to still be able to read it.

    Also, like wedoballet said, I bet your loudmouth girl isn’t dwelling on your conversation; those people are often self absorbed but not self aware!

    As for beated frappes, it sometimes helps me to only think about where I have to be for the frappe. Like if I just think about the direction of the frappe, the beats just sort of happen along the way? Don’t know if that’s helpful at all…

    1. kit Post author

      I definitely want my regular readers to have access to my blog. I think it will remain public, but I will password-protect sensitive posts (as I coincidentally stumbled across a blog yesterday that let me know that option even exists) and just email the password to interested readers.
      Yeah, you guys are right, I’ll bet loudmouth girl is onto bigger and better things…I need to remember that not everyone gets hung up on an argument.
      Think about where I have to be – you mean like if I’m frappe-ing back I should beat front and then back or if I’m frappe-ing front I should beat back and the front? That does help, thanks, though I have to do it super slow to get the beginnings of coordination. The side ones are really messing me up though…

  4. ladysquadron

    About Loudmouthed Girl … clearly she isn’t afraid of airing her opinions, and I think you should have your space to state yours too 🙂 She hasn’t any much ground to feel that you shouldn’t have…and it’s ok to state your opinions in this case. Agree with the others that she has probably forgotten it already.

    Yes, the small world aspect is scary. I come from quite a small area, so the things I say probably make me immediately recognisable. Like when I said I attended certain informative sessions at the ballet/watched x number of shows. So I’ve been really quiet about some things. I really would love to write about them, but that makes it so easy for anyone from anywhere to guess who I am.

    I say hurray for figuring out BC, and hope you can hang in there with IC. I think that the IC helps the BC, and that doing IC pushes you forward in some way, even if you can’t tell now. It’s what the director of one of the local dance companies says, that he gives his professional dancers something harder to do so that they get even better 🙂 (And those are professionals!!) But don’t feel bad if you decide to take some time out to concentrate on BC. Whatever you feel is right for you 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      Two recurring themes I notice from all comments: by now LG most likely forgot about the argument (as in, the drama exists only in my mind) , and I should do what I feel is right. Looks like I really need to work on remembering these things…
      As for being allowed to have my own opinions, for the longest time I’ve felt that I simply CAN”T or am not allowed to if it will upset of offend someone. Ugh, just the remaining issues of being raised by an extrremely strict, domineering mother. Obviously something else I need to work on…
      I love how this post brought so many of my lurking-beneath-the-surface issues out to the forefront. It’s a good thing – it’s harder to work on something that has yet to be identified.
      I truly hope that the approach of being continually challenged and pushed to do increasingly harder things does help my dancing improve. Other than my very first semester when I knew nothing about ballet I’m used to keeping up with at least the barre combinations. The return of the feeling of “I have no idea what I’m doing!” has been quite ego-bruising, and my immediate gut reaction is always to take myself out of ego-bruising situations. I need to learn to handle it with my big-girl panties – or tights and leotard, LOL – on.
      Besides, I think I do believe it, that giving me something harder will make me better. While I completely destroy the combinations, I’ve noticed improvement in things like balancing in passe releve, pirouettes, and quick weight shifts – things I thought may be completely beyond me a few months ago. Perhaps the problem is just my outlook…
      Thanks for all the good points 🙂

  5. Sarah

    I can really sympathize, I’ve been having doubts about my “ballet future” too this week, for the first time since I started 6 months ago. 😦 I had a truly rubbish class last Monday, just so wobbly in centre when doing tendus (especially to the back) and slow passes. I feel like I’ll never be able to get away from the barre, and what’s the point of ballet if you’re just doing exercises at the barre and never get to properly dance.

    Anyway, I have to agree with the other comments, I bet the LM girl hasn’t even given your argument a second thought. But as a fully paid, up card carrying introvert myself, I know just how unsettling and upsetting these sort of confrontations can be. I sometimes wonder if people like her have any awareness of how their behaviour effects other people who aren’t so forthright with their own opinions.

    1. kit Post author

      Centerwork can be so discouraging, but if you hand in there the improvement will come 🙂 . As I mentioned before, I took me almost a year to be able to tendu without wobbling in center, and passe without having to quickly put my foot down to not fall over too even longer. I do think staying at the “barre” (during my home practices, in class not an option) helped me find my balance and that “pulled-up” over the supporting leg feeling needed to not tip over. Or staying at the relative security of the barre, but keeping a very light grip on it and lifting up the hand ever so slightly to see if the supporting leg is doing all the work. I didn’t attempt “center” (once again, at home), for about 4 months and then when I ventured out I noticed that I had improved considerably. This all happened during that break from actual classes that I took ending a year ago.
      To be honest, I don’t think most people like LM have any awareness of how their behavior affects other people. From asking a trusted loudmouth extrovert (Boyfriend, lol) the outlook is “Why can’t you just be loud like me?!” and “I wasn’t being rude; I was being social!” It is close to impossible for him to understand what it’s like to be an introvert (much to both of our continued frustration at times). He does say my perspective helps him be nicer and less obnoxious to other introverts (who before he would have thought are just unfriendly, due to their (our) quiet demeanor), so while they can’t relate – and at times can’t help themselves from being a bit LM – some do care, at least a little LOL.
      But, as these people are a fact of life, it looks like I need to work on my coping skills. As it is, even before our argument, LM girl reminded me of an ex-coworker form years past with the same exact personality who I hadn’t been too fond of (and was really just a walking drama magnet)…

  6. Sarah

    The frustrating thing is, that I can do tendus and passes at home no problem (your advice about pulling up and shifting weight has really helped :)), but I think I get a bit nervous in class, plus I think looking in the mirror (no mirror at home) puts me off balance somehow, maybe I need to spot instead of looking at my feet in the mirror. It’s so discouraging to be the only wobbly person in the whole of the class though. I have noticed when I try centre work at home I’m much more stable than I was a few months ago, and when I lift my hand away from the barre in class I’m usually stable, so I’m starting to think a lot of it is psychological and down to lack of confidence. I still haven’t stopped thinking to myself ‘what are you doing in a ballet class, you’re not a dancer, run for the hills’ just yet!

    I’ve only recently stumbled on the true definition of what being an introvert means, but after reading a bit about it I couldn’t believe how it described me to a tee (I’d always thought I was just a bit weird), but it’s quite freeing to know that being an introvert is fine, it can be a bit confining sometimes though, especially in situations were somebody else is being overbearing or even rude. As you say though, they are a fact of life, and I suppose it’s up to us to learn how to deal with them or at least try not to let them bother us so much 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      I’m definitely hearing you on the psychological aspect of it – many of the times when I lose my balance it’s because I almost expected to lose it. There are still many times when I almost expect to fail – or am surprised when I don’t – and on many days I do think ‘What am I doing? I can’t dance!’ It is super discouraging being the one wobbly person in the room (especially when doing something really simple), and doesn’t help the confidence level one bit.
      About the whole introvert thing, I grew up with my Mom constantly nagging me “Why are you so introverted? Why can’t you be like everyone else?” and it really hurt and made me feel that there was something wrong with me. I’d always thought I was just weird too, though in more recent years I’ve also read more abouth introverts and learned to accept myself and to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert, though in many ways it is an extrovert’s world. I’m learning my strengths and weaknesses, and how to work with them, and personal growth is always a good thing 🙂

  7. JustScott

    I love your blog and hope to keep reading it, so what you decide is fine with me.

    I’ve feared from time to time that someone from my school will discover my blog. Hasn’t happened yet as far as I know, but I’ve become more careful in what I say nowadays. I went through a discouraging time at my school a few months back.

    As far as intermediate classes go, my first inclination is to tell you to hang in there. The more you do, the more you remember. I struggled when I first started going to intermediate and advanced classes, but now I enjoy them more than the beginner classes.

    One thing to also remember is that we respond differently to different teachers. Is there another teacher who teaches the IC classes? How I do sometimes depends on the teacher. I do well for teacher X, but sometimes struggle with teacher Y.

    Which leads me to loudmouth girl. Disagree with how she butted it. But like I just said, sometimes teachers who are really good for some people in how they teach may not be actually good for others, and vice versa. I would not be surprised if people had a totally different opinion about the teachers I take class from. And I’m cool with that, if they learn differently than I do, more power to them.

    As for your ballet journey, it is what you make of it. I want to improve, but I’m learning not to beat myself up if I still struggle with the same old things. The beauty for an adult dancer is that we’re not under this intense pressure to make a major ballet company by the time we’re 20. That ship sailed too many years ago in my case.

    I want to reach the point where people think I’m a good dancer. But I’m in it for the fun. So what if I stumble around from time to time?

    Just don’t let your struggles steal the joy of ballet from you. I’ve almost reached that point a few times.

    1. kit Post author

      Great reply – really touched on all the points there 🙂
      Definitely plan on continuing the blog, just will password protect posts with more identifiable potential. I could just not reveal some information, but as this blog is my only outlet for talking about ballet and ballet class, sometimes I just HAVE to talk about certain things which may give me away…
      I will continue taking IC, especially since none of ya’ll have told me that it is counterproductive to my learning which was mostly what I was afraid of. Yes, I do look silly during class, but is is so much more fun than BC at times
      I love Teacher’s teaching style in BC, but in IC she goes much too fast (as was probably to be expected). I have signed up with her for the semester though, so can’t switch. My First Teacher also teaches IC level, but I think I may prefer current Teacher anyway. And I can totally see that Loudmouth Girl was probably genuine in her appreciation of S Teacher’s style – and that’s totally ok – it was just her rude way of going about it that had upset me.
      Agreed on how adult dancers don’t have the added pressure of a career. I certainly don’t have that pressure on myself, and know that the possibilities of a career are nonexistent, but of performing there’s hopefully a slim chance. I’d love to reach the point where I can dance well enough to express my feelings through dance, but for now I am enjoying the process. I’d love for people to think I’m a good dancer too though 🙂

  8. asher

    I agree with all the general themes already covered in the comments so far 🙂 The password-protect option for sensitive entries makes a lot of sense — it lets you still write about what’s on your mind, but offers some control over who might see it. I worry about that sometimes, too, even when I don’t have anything potentially negative to say.

    Likewise, your experience may turn out to be very different than mine, but I’ve found doing Intermediate class entirely worthwhile even on the days that I’ve been a rolling disaster through the whole thing (although, yes, sometimes I have been thoroughly disgusted with myself by the end of barre).

    Sometimes, the “worthwhile” part came later, when I went back to BC and discovered that my fumblings in IC had somehow magically made me better at the material in BC. Also, I found that after a few weeks in IC, I kind of started catching up, but I suspect that’s because a lot of it’s repeating material I had as a kid but just haven’t done in forever.

    So, in short, “What Ladysquadron said!” and if you’re taking votes, I vote for “Continue with IC unless it turns out to be making your life worse rather than better” 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      The password-protected option is great; I am so glad that I accidentally stumbled across it. Almost feels like it was meant to be…
      I can see how IC somehow magically improves performance of BC material. I’d been struggling so hard with the changing directions and working leg that some where in there I could balance in passe releve like it’s nothing! Teacher switches up the barre combinations so I’ve yet to memorize – completely AND correctly – a single one. During the two weeks that we did the same tendu combination I improved dramatically, so I don’t feel totally hopeless.
      I have fun during IC, but I guess I’m just very humbled by how low I sit on the ballet skills totem pole. Continue with IC it is! 🙂

  9. Try Harder

    I totally get it, on all points. I’m quite concerned someone I know might find my blog and change my way of writing, it has happened to me before, and always resulted in closing down of said blogs. I found no point in writing, if I couldn’t be free to say whatever I meant to say. Here, though, I think that wouldn’t even be necessary; both of my teachers are extremely nice, and if anything, I think they’d appreciate seeing a pupil actually think about their dancing, or getting to read about their thought process and their problems.

    As for the class being too hard: oh, don’ get me started. I’ve just started taking our intermediate classes, and they frustrate me to no end, and I know I’m somewhat sloppy there, though I am trying my hardest. I find that it helps somewhat that I expected it and told my teacher beforehand and asked her to be really precise and strict with me, and not go easy on me or give me a grace period or something of that sort. This way, I know that when I’m making a mess of things, I will be warned. More importantly, when I -feel- like I’m making a mess of things (and trust me, that’s almost all the time) and no correction comes my way, I can tell myself it’s clearly not as bad as I think it is, and keep going. As for the overcomplicated exercise combinations: I filmed the class. I’m actually going to revise centre combinations today, hoping to know them before class in the evening. And my barre… well, the tab slipped during filming and angled up, so I only have the arms. I had a look, though, and realised that I already know what legs go with them. It helped me to know that I was filming, and relax a bit during class instead of frantically trying to memorise. I was more focused on the movements, so I did them better then, but at the same time, my memory for music and movement kicked in when my conscious memory was turned off, and suddenly, I can repeat the exercises (nothing wrong with having to move and mark them to jog my memory, right?).

    So, I guess I’m saying, don’t stop, at least not until you’ve talked to your teacher. Tell them how you feel and how being sloppy worries you, and I’m sure they’ll find a way to help you. I’m quite certain they like having pupils who think and focus and strive to be better each time.

    As for Loudmouth Girl: ugh. Ignore. Not worth your time.

    1. kit Post author

      Yes, agreed that if I have to change the way I’m writing it makes it feel like it’s not worth it to write. This was actually the first blog I ever started, so I hadn’t been through being discovered before. I remember at the time (when I started the blog) I was so excited by the prospect of sharing MY unique story that I didn’t even think about the possibility of discovery. Didn’t occur to me that others in Real Life (more like in ballet class) may read ballet-related blogs as well…
      Filming class is a great idea, and one that I’ve wished I could put into practice ever since I walked out of my first class ever and promptly forgot everything that we learned. Unfortunately, as I know that there is no way I would let someone film me taking class (and possibly wind up on youtube – the horror!), I feel kind of weird asking people if they’re ok with appearing in my amateur class film…
      I haven’t talked to Teacher about my concerns with keeping up in IC, possibly because I feel like I may have strong-armed her into letting me take IC. It wasn’t her idea for me to take it, but rather I asked a bit sneakily (in the form of “can I take both classes?”), and she’d agreed. This was back last November, so I’d thought surely I would be ready by the time we started in February. Unfortunately, not only did it not work like that, but in the in-between-semesters-time I picked up some bad habits. I will try my hardest and enjoy my time in IC this semester, but it’s been a real eye-opener: ballet truly is a full-time pursuit, and the times when I have to do only 1 class a week or practice alone really set me back (at least in my case). I do approach Teacher ofter with questions about specifics (like “I was practicing the tendu combination, but I forgot which arm goes in front” or “Where do arms go during the glissades?”) but I don’t know how to go about asking “My technique sucks – what can I do to not be so sloppy when I try to do evertything faster?” or “Why does it still not look like ballet when I do it?” LOL. And besides, I feel like I bug Teacher with questions after every single class…
      Yes, agreed about LG.

  10. daktulos

    I think ballet has no inclination towards grade inflation. I’ve been dancing for over twenty years and I still feel qualms when I see the word “Intermediate” or “Advanced”. If anything, classes are often at a higher level of complexity than advertised. I think it’s this phenomenon where advanced dancers show up for almost every class most of the time and the teacher shrugs and teaches to their perceived level.

    I also think that the teacher makes a huge difference. If you are familiar with how a teacher assembles combinations and/or they happen to work well with your brain and body, it can be, if not easy (because we all know ballet is never easy!) extremely possible, even if it’s a more advanced class. On the other hand, even a non-advanced class with a teacher whose combinations and preferred steps just don’t mesh with your preferences can be tortuous. I’ve been nearly in tears over more than one class where I knew I ought to be able to do the combinations and it just wasn’t working.

    On a totally different note, I was trying to respond to a lovely comment you left me the other day and accidentally deleted it like a chump. I just wanted to say thanks and I’m glad I’m not the only one. Here’s to our 30s making up for teen years and early twenties!

    1. kit Post author

      I have definitely noticed that when there’s different students in class the difficulty level fluctuates. This was apparent in my evening drop-in classes specially. Sucks for me, because I’m in that lovely place where if it’s all new people it’s too slow for me, but if the good dancers show up it’s over my head.
      I also see what you’re saying about different teacher’s combinations. Teacher’s combinations in IC – and sometimes even in BC – don’t go en croix, but a completely different move after going back, and it throws me off more than I would’ve imagined. It’s like my body recognizes the first 3 directions and is like “Ok! I know what we’re doing!” and then it’s just totally different…Almost feels as if it would be easier if I didn’t have en croix in muscle memory.

      About the comment, placing the “approve” button right next to the “trash” button was a design flaw from WordPress, LOL. Here’s to our 30’s!


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