A Rough Start And A Great Ending

At the start of the week, I was feeling rather silly about being in the Int/Adv class. Feeling like what am I doing in that class when my skill level is clearly not up to par. I’m not the most beginner person there, but a commenter here once said something wise (and I may be paraphrasing a little, too tired to to look it up, sorry): just because you’re the worst one does not make you a worse dancer [than you already are], and just because you’re the best one [in a particular class] does not make you a better dancer. Horrible paraphrasing job there, but hopefully you get what I mean. Anyway being objective, and looking at where my level  is now, I feel like I don’t belong there…

I have no intention of dropping out of it though – as long as I don’t get all introspective and think about how much my dancing sucks in the scheme of things, I have an amazing time in that class (and it’s not like there’s much spare time for thinking during class anyway…). But now that I am feeling introspective (and rather melancholy – I am probably not a fun person be around right now… ), I can’t help thinking that I have no business there, with the real dancers, the ones that actually have a future in dance, the ones who are not done with their youth and well on the way to middle age.

(I feel I should clarify that these classes are not through an adult recreational program, and there’s dancers training there who are really good, and past alumni have made it to big companies and all that. So I do feel like I’m wasting their class time or taking up space, or something. Taking these classes with the older teens/young adults is a double-edged sword; while there’s no way I would be able to afford such an intense dance course load otherwise, sometimes it just feels like a lot of pressure. And inadequacy. And this strange feeling of not belonging. Not that I feel particularly at home or like I “fit in” when I take a recreational class with only “real” adults… maybe the problem is me…) Hello, tangent!

At barre I don’t feel like i get in the way – though when I mess up obviously (like, wrong foot tendued in  wrong direction) I start to worry that I’ll draw attention to myself.  But in the center, like when doing turns across the floor, it’s pretty bad. I force myself to go faster, but my technique suffers, I feel. And I don’t want to go slow and hold up the better dancers who, for whatever reason, were not in the front of the line/group. Which may not be my fault, that the better people didn’t go forward, but I don’t want to get yelled at about it for not filling in the gap, so yeah…

Well, that was kind of a pointless ramble, but I feel better having written about it. That said, the rest of my week was actually pretty awesome. The pace in Beginner class really picked up this past week, in the form or us doing the barre one exercise after another with hardly a pause (we have a set barre for the session so G Teacher doesn’t have to give us the combination in theory) and I love it. Intermediate class, while more challenging than Beginner (obviously…) still does not fill me with the intimidation that I feel in Int/Adv. It could be because Int. class happens to be a very small class, and I don’t feel like I’m in the way. But I’d be lying if I said that the people there didn’t make a difference. The crowd in Int/Adv is more,well, advanced, and while they’re lovely to watch while in the other group waiting your turn, dancing with them is intimidating. It Int class it feels friendly and with less pressure.

As far as hip hop, there may be some hope yet? For our latest combination, instead of only working on it for a week we’ve been working on it for the past two weeks, and I’m actually remembering it now. At least as far as getting the feet and arms roughly where they should be, moving in the correct direction. H Teacher worked with me a little bit during class individually, so I think maybe I’ve made that jump between Incurable Klutz and just plain bad, and he thinks that some help will make a difference. For what it’s worth, it did.

Still, it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, but I’m guessing that’s something that will take time. A friend told me to imagine I’m dancing alone in my room, but when I dance alone at home I want to do ballet. So that did make me question whether or not I actually want to dance hip hop. If I do, and hope to actually show improvement, I’m guessing I need to put in some outside of class time. As it is, I don’t practice hip hop on my own time, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt to at least go over the combination in my head.

Another cool thing that happened this week was that through my school I got a free ticket to go watch a live performance of the ballet! It was a small touring company doing a full-length performance of Sleeping Beauty and I had so much fun. I couldn’t get over how sparkly the tutus were in real life. This was my second time watching a ballet live that is not the Nutracker. There aren’t too many opportunities to watch ballet live out where I live without having to drive out to the Big City, so even without the added bonus of the free ticket it was still a rare treat, a wonderful night.

Last night, I had a ballet dream. In my dream, I was in a full time ballet program, like the residential kind (I think I’ve been watching too much Dance Academy…), and I remember I was so thrilled because I could do every combination in class. So yeah, a peek into my subconcious – and impossible – wishes.

6 thoughts on “A Rough Start And A Great Ending

  1. asher

    It’s weird how ballet (and modern) tend to produce that sense of being in the way when we’re taking classes that really make us reach. I feel like that in modern sometimes (though less so because there are usually only two of us in my class).

    I don’t know if it helps to hear it, but A) it sounds like you’re appropriately placed, since the Intermediate class isn’t pushing you as hard anymore, and B) even if you’re not, it’s probably not holding the others back.

    By way of analogy, for a while, there was a guy who legitimately had no ballet training (I think he thought his yoga background would suffice) who came to our Wednesday killer class (a nominally intermediate but functionally advanced class) and our Saturday advanced class — that is, the classes that company members come to when they can’t make company class, that professional dancers from out of town take, and that advanced pre-pro kids take when they need to make up a class (and all summer).

    It drove me crazy at first: I was convinced he was going to hold us back and manage to injure himself and someone else in the process.

    Then I realized that our instructors basically gently ignored him. They didn’t waste time fixing his basics because there were other classes he could take for that, but they didn’t make him feel overtly unwelcome or tell him to leave.

    He, in turn, gamely tried to do stuff and managed not to do things like drifting into someone else’s line and causing traffic problems.

    Eventually, he dropped out, but before that point I developed a (grudging) respect for his willingness to keep trying and also realized that if I was really out of place in either of those classes, the instructors would let me follow along without spending time on me until I either figured out I wasn’t ready and moved to a different class or until I reached a point at which I was basically ready to be there anyway.

    Anyway, I hope this helps, if doubt persists in gnawing (and, as ever, sorry it’s so long; I don’t seem to know how to write a concise comment:P).

    1. kit Post author

      When it comes to comments, concise-ness is overrated! (In other words, no worries) 🙂
      Hmmm, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve personally heard my teacher in Int/Adv tell people they weren’t ready for the class, I would think that I’m only in there because they were being polite. I’m used to the ignoring treatment, and have become proficient at listening to other’s corrections and applying them to myself. While I can’t say that I enjoy being ignored, at this level I still have some worries of freeing up – or becoming Miss Floppy-Feet – if the teacher were to focus all her attention on me when attempting things I’ve never done before. I guess the part I worry about the most is ending up in someone else’s line of travel…a few of the other people sit out for center but I stubbornly choose to participate.
      I’m hoping your ballet guy merely dropped out of the advanced class and not out of ballet completely…

      1. asher

        I hear you about the concern about winding up in someone else’s line — that was definitely a worry for me when I started taking advanced class… And I’m glad your teacher is willing to clearly tell people when they aren’t ready yet. (I don’t know if mine do or not; I haven’t heard them do so, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.) I wonder about Advanced Class Newbie Guy, too. I’m hoping he’s still at it in the evening beginner classes or something, because he had a lot of try and that is a great thing in a dancer.

        I’m glad you’re doing the whole class!l, by the way. I have all the respect in the world for dancers who stick out of when things get hard!

      2. kit Post author

        I gotta do the whole class! Since I discovered that I need to repeatedly do something to get it in my body, I take advantage of every opportunity I get! Besides, I have a blast. 🙂
        But… I do have to say that although the teacher in question is not shy about telling people they aren’t ready – and I personally asked her and she said I *was* – I still can’t help but think that I’m getting ignored as a hint that I’m not? When I was a novice dancer, I used to think ‘no news is good news’ and therefore if the teacher said nothing it was good, but I’ve known for a couple years now that if the teacher ignores you it’s a worse sign than if they scream. Worst case scenario, I imagine it’s a form of it’s-not-that-you-aren’t-ready-it’s-that-you-aren’t-right-for-ballet, and that’s about a million times worse, because it’s unfixable. But now I’m rambling, so I should just write a post about it instead…
        About Adv Class Newbie Guy (ACNG?), hopefully getting ignored (rather than being shouted at severely) made him decide to seek out anoter class/teacher instead of turning him off from the art form completely. I’ve seen some brand new people get the shouting treatment (in Beginner class, not adv.) and leave crying, never to return (at least to the same school).

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