Whoa There, Dude – Hope You Don’t Drive The Way You Dance!

There was this guy at one of my classes this week, and he was all over the place. He insisted on traveling twice as fast – or faster — than everyone else when we went across the floor. It was really scary, especially when we were doing turns across the floor. One of the times I wasn’t anywhere close to finishing up my turns when he comes out, doing the other side, and almost crashes into me. He would’ve, if I hadn’t stopped my attempts at turns and just ran out of the way (very un-balletically, by the way).  At this point I was getting beyond irritated. Like, what was his problem?! Obviously he can see that whoever is already going across the floor is not up at his level and won’t be able to turn as quick or travel across the floor as quick. I know it’s the person in front’s responsibility to not stop and to keep moving (and I did keep moving, though not as quick as him), but is there some kind of responsibility to move faster than my ability permits as well? I could’ve sworn that the ettiquette was that the person who’s following is supposed to not run over the person who went before them? Or was I in the wrong? Either way, I was getting upset and feeling like I was being cheated out of my class time, not being able to complete my turns and stuff. This is the regular class that I signed up for the whole term, and he’s just an occasional guest, so it’s not an everyday problem. But how obnoxious! And unsafe – what if I hadn’t just abandoned the turns and ran off? He would’ve tackled me or something!

That class was definitely the low point of the ballet week, The presence of professionals had Teacher adjust the class level harder, even barre.  I was messing up on everything! The center combinations were really long (so long that I can’t remember how they went), and petite allegro was much too quick. Something I remember we worked on was balancés en tournant, which is a balancé while turning. Never done those before, so it felt super awkward to my body. We did ballote again, and that felt even weirder. Defiitely need to youtube both of those…

The glissades forward (as in right before a grand jete) are still not making much sense to me. I’m just working  on how a glissade forward should even feel for now, and doing it as part of a series of connected movement is not working for me yet. Luckily, we worked on glissades en croix in Basic Beginner class, so I got in some extra practice on those.

This week my pirouettes weren’t as horrible as they were last week, so that was good.  At New Studio we worked on both types of pirouettes en dehors from fourth – the kind with both legs in plie and the working leg in front, and the back leg in a lunge and working leg in back. The ones with the leg in the back feel easier for me, and I was happy to be somewhat getting around. NS Teacher was emphasizing the “passe” part of the pirouette – she said since “passe” means to pass, make sure the leg passes though and makes it to the back during the pirouette (when starting with that leg in front). After she said this, I was making sure to get the leg to the back after the retire position, and I think my pirouettes got a little stronger.

NS Teacher mentioned again that I’ve improved, which is always good to hear. I hope she really does mean recently and not since the first time she met me (I took class with her about 6 months before I started going to the studio where she teaches). Well, either way it’s something, I guess, and she also did invite another girl and I to take a different class offered at the studio (a higher level class, and not just adults, so I probably won’t).  I have been improving (and not just by my initial ultra low standards), but the things that feel completely foreign to me, like ballotes or beated jumps, make me feel completely out of my element. Then I’m able to do something somewhat cool, like begin a center combination with a developpe on releve and it’s like, wow, I never thought I’d be able to do stuff like that. Those moments are so encouraging!

At Intermediate Class we’ve been doing things to work on challenging our muscle memory. Changing up the arms when we do our grand battements (like arabesque arms for grand battements devant, or high fifth for grand battements derriere), or balancing up in releve while keeping the arms relaxed. This is so much harder than it sounds for me! However, every time we do it it’s a little bit easier.

9 thoughts on “Whoa There, Dude – Hope You Don’t Drive The Way You Dance!

      1. wedoballet

        Oh! You misunderstood! It’s he who should scurry back to Beginner class until he learns ballet class etiquette and to manage his body in space. Assuming you were doing the combination as given. Dancers are obligated to do exactly the given steps and maintain their spacing.
        If you know yourself to be a big mover, stand in the front, and vise versa, but still, maintain spacing throughout the combination. Once the music starts, it’s the person in front’s job to be totally predictable and the person in BACK’s job to stop crashes from happening.
        It’s a group dancing a *set* exercise… not a bunch of simultaneous solo interpretations of a *suggested* sequence.

      2. kit Post author

        While I’m smiling at the idea of him scurrying back to beginner class, he’s actually an ex-professional and as far as I know also a teacher (not one of my teachers). If it wasn’t for the ballet community being so small and me liking anonymity I would mention who he is.
        The way he was dancing that day was really pushing it regarding the concept of him utilizing his space. I’ve taken class with this person maybe 2 or 3 times before, and one class I remember he did not take his turn across the floor until everyone else had gone and cleared the floor completely. This time though, he was going first, and he started doing the left side of the combination before we had even gotten halfway across on the right side. This made a collision imminent in the center, due to our differences in speed. I like how you put it about what the exercise is vs what it isn’t.

  1. kitteacat

    Agree with wedoballet! Use the space, yes, but for heavens sake, part of using your space is knowing where everyone else is! Rude, rude, rude. If I wasn’t worried you’d get hurt, I’d say let him run into you and maybe he’ll get it . . . =)

    1. kit Post author

      Yup, very rude especially considering that he really should know better, vs a ballet newcomer who’s unaware of ettiquette.
      Definitely would have been unsafe to let him run into me.He has way too much power!

  2. thebloggingballerina

    If the combinations are meant to really travel, then you have to really travel- but if the person in front of you is going slower than you want to go, then you need to wait for them to get further down before you begin! Yes, you should use the space, travel, do it properley- but imagine if that was on stage, you would be required to adjust your speed to not crash in to the person in front! And you’re right, it is unsafe and annoying. There’s someone like it in my class. I find it’s usually the people who seem to think they are the best in the class when they actually are not! The best thing is for the faster people to go first and the slower people last so no collisions take place! I might write a post about classroom etiquette for adult beginners because I think a lot of adult beginners feel confused about who gets “right of way” in the studio and certain other arrangements which aren’t clearly explained!

    1. kit Post author

      That is the way we usually do it, the slow people go at the end, the faster people first. Us slowpokes were finishing up on the right side, but this guy decided to begin his second side (left) before we had cleared out of the way. Haha, I wish I could say that he just thinks he’s the best, but unfortunately that day he probably WAS the best dancer there!
      A post about classroom etiquette for adult beginners is always welcome!


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