… and other instances of “culture clash” (ballet class vs. modern)
Something that shocked me just a bit happened during my latest modern dance class. We had finished our very extensive group warm up (which was really fun actually. It was a cold day, so Modern Teacher had us walk around the studio – literally in a circular pattern around the studio – then pick a shape and walk in the pattern of the shape (I picked a parallelogram, lol). Then we went faster into a sort of prance-walk, first around, then in shapes, then backward(!). Then we did all of our ab work and pushups and all that good stuff, followed by the barre-less ballet steps), and were getting ready to do our center combination. As we lined up to do the combination, and the accompanist retook his seat behind his drums, one girl raised her hand. I’m assuming she was going to ask about the steps or something. But instead she asks “Hey, can we listen to the piano music instead when we do this? It’d be really nice.”
My jaw dropped. In all of the dance classes I’ve taken, I could never imagine requesting a particular piece of music or style of music. I figure that’s completely up to the teacher and accompanist, and to make a request would be seen as disrespectful. When I think of some of the stricter classes I’ve taken, it just makes me want to shake my head at her boldness – and I admit, for a supershy person like me there is the slightest bit of admiration in there as well. Modern Teacher was very cool about the whole thing though. She said something like “A request, huh? It’s up to him,” (the accompanist), and he obliged. But this really showed me the difference in culture between different dance styles.
I mean, I don’t know… I’m new to modern dance, so maybe this is something that happens regularly or is not frowned upon, but it’s just so different from how I’ve seen ballet classes run.
Then there’s the issue of hair.
When I first started modern class, I decided that I didn’t want to wear my hair in a bun for that class – I didn’t want to look like a bad wannabe “bunhead”. I mean, in this class I wear my leotard underneath my leggings (plus a T-shirt. I don’t think I can rock the leotard-under-tights-and-nothing-else look.) Besides, I’ve watched enough Dance Academy to know that you don’t dress for ballet class when doing other types of dance (or did that only apply for hip hop? Can’t remember…).
So I just threw the hair in a ponytail, and got on with it. And it worked out fine for the first couple of weeks, but now that we’re doing more complex, and longer, combinations, my hair is getting on my nerves! I’m wondering, how can people dance with all their hair going everywhere? I can feel it getting stuck to my neck, and in my face, blocking my eyes, obscuring my vision – so annoying. I actually fixed it quickly during class, pulling the ponytail through the elastic halfway so it at least wouldn’t keep getting caught on my neck. Now that we’ve started turning – and spotting – I’m finding the hair to be evn more problematic. SInce I’m not particularly good at spotting, I need all the help I can get, and tidy, secured hair helps me.
From now on, I think it’s a bun for me. Hey, it’s functional!
(Not that I think there’s anything wrong with being a bunhead. I feel like I’m a total bunhead on the inside, especially when I know all the terminology better than most people in the class and obsess over ballet class nonstop. But due to my body – and age, compared to my classmates – I feel like I don’t look like a bunhead, so I thought I should tone it down. Save the wannabe bunhead-ness for ballet class, perhaps.)