There’s this thing F Teacher does – or rather, wants us to do – when we come into the center. Since there’s a lot of people in the class, we’re in two groups, Group 1 and Group 2. So, Group 1’s on, and they’re doing their thing there, and as soon as they finish and are dismissed, they’re to run off and Group 2 will run in and do their thing. Except we’re supposed to be in lines of four, perfectly lined up, so it’s more like run in and be lined up perfectly immediately as soon as the other group leaves than just simply run in and do your thing.

Doing this is not one my strengths in ballet class, or even something I’m just ok at. In short, I suck at this.

I’d forgotten that this is how F Teacher does things in Beginner class, because it had been quite some time since I’d taken her class at the beginner level (and with this many number of people in the class that it’d be necessary to do things this way). But now looking back, I do remember it from when I first started and I remember being terrible at it. Back then I used to think it was because I’d only been dancing for a few days, weeks, whatever, and everyone else must be more advanced than me – that’s why I was so bad at it. It was a good reason/excuse for a while.

Except now I’m not new, and I’m not one of the most beginner students in the class and I still suck at this! So I’m sitting here wondering what I could do about improving this, like, what skills do I need to develop or what is it about this that is so hard for me. Part of it is that I worry about being in someone else’s spot (the spot they’re walking towards), so I tend to have to make sure that an area is open before I go there. And by the time I do that it may not be open anymore (because someone else took it). So then I head towards the back, because there’s room there, but since there’s open spots more towards the front that were missed, we end up shifting the lines anyway, and maybe around this point I figure out what line I’m in. Or not. And by now we’re off count.

So I’m still thinking about it, just trying to figure it out, because I want to improve at ballet (and therefore, all aspects of ballet class), if not for any other reason. Thinking hard, hard, and then I remember Modern class. Specifically, that exercise we did with a partner where we took turns to follow each other, then there was no leader specified but a leader just happened anyway – that crazyness. Is something like this what is going on – no one knows exactly where they are going to go but they just assume the spot they are walking towards will not be taken? And if so, how do you do do that?! Do people just know? I’m scared this is one of those things that “normal” people learned naturally when they were like four and I never figured out… Ugh, when not knowing how to do things in regular life means not knowing how to do things in ballet.

I realize this will probably make no sense to a lot of people, but I just wanted to catch that thought before it flies away like a bird…

And maybe I’ll figure out the secret to this and look back on this and laugh.

8 thoughts on “A-Line-Ment

  1. Trippmadam

    When we did this in ballet class, we had to be prepared and stand in groups of four already before running our spots. That makes it easier, I think. You stand there with the right distance from your fellow students, and then you just move forward (probably depends on the size of the studio and of the number of students)

    1. kit Post author

      That does sound like it would make it easier. Unfortunately, we’re all just crammed together up against the wall barre before running out. If we had pre-assigned groups of four it would help as well, but for now it’s a free-for-all. Oh, and it’s not just four of us at a time, but like 20 people running out at the same time to make lines of four. When we go across the floor we just move the next line forward and that goes more smootly (after the initial lining up, of course).

  2. meetatbarre

    I would just be a diva about it, and if anyone claimed my spot before I got there, I would give them death stares until they move.

    JUST KIDDING! I don’t actually have any advice, but the chaos of that situation sounds like it would stress me out big time.

    1. kit Post author

      Ha, that was hilarious – I believed you there for a second! I’ll bet the look on my face would have been priceless had anyone been around.
      It is pretty stressful though. I’d forgotten about the dynamics of taking class with a huge group. It does get really chaotic at times.

  3. arienlair

    That sounds like a very large class! I’m not sure about beginner classes, but even with the general rule of trying to switch lines to give others the chance to be in front, I notice a pattern generally with where people stand. Every dancer likes a certain area in the room, and will usually head there first. When standing in the back, if it seems like there are more people on one side of the room, try heading to the other side with less people. And if you do notice a particular spot is less popular? Snag it! Also, most people tend to avoid front and center, so try for that general area (though you don’t have to be super front and center, try being a bit to one side.) I hope this helps!

    1. kit Post author

      The class is indeed pretty huge!
      Yes, I’ve noticed that the right side of the room is less popular, as that is where the accompanist’s piano is, as well as other instruments, and the mirror is a bit obscured. That’s often where I end up. Also true that front and center is often wide open as everyone (me included, I guess) wants to not be there.
      I think the problem is that almost everyone wants the same thing – a spot where you still get mirror space, but not too close to the front, and definitely not front and center! But we do switch lines after every exercise or two, so everyone does eventually find themselves in the front.


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