We had our regular teacher for the ballet/pointe IV class last night, Lori.
To say I love her is an understatement.
First off, she knows my old dance teacher. She started out class with roll and asked which of us came from that studio and we raised our hands. It was like she completely understood our plight and empathized. She used to be Jilissa’s neighbor and they are good friends. This made me really want to do Jilissa proud and show how well she trained us.
Lori used to dance with the San Francisco Ballet, (Insert me freaking out here.) although she grew up taking classes in the very building we are in. (I read this in her bio, but it’s definitely amazing hearing her say all of this.) She’s quirky like me, and keeps it light, but she also hones in on us and teaches us.
Not just shows us or not just tells us. She makes sure we have a clear understanding of the movement and why.
I have what I call a “why brain.”
I really like to grasp the full concept, and can sometimes get really frustrated if I don’t understand how I’m doing something, even if it’s correct. Why is it correct? It can get interesting.
But she made sure we all had clear understanding, and without difficulty. It’s like it just rolled right off of her.
I’m notorious for having incorrect arms. (Which, I now have a better understanding of, as she was able to show us efface, ecarte, and croise. Not just show us, but explain them in ways I comprehend.) There was one point where we were going across the floor and realized I had the wrong arms. I switched them and said, “ah, sorry!” kind of under my breath. (I’m also notorious for speaking without realizing it, although I’m getting better at this…)
To which she responded,
“Never apologize! Every movement is important!”
This was a new concept to me.
I have been told before that if you mess up, just go with it. If you’re confident about it, most people don’t even notice. I actually won a debate round at a speech and debate tournament with this logic. I debated affirmative while I was supposed to be negative, but I was so convincing, they gave me the win anyway. Ps. I suck at debate. PPs. The topic was interracial couples.
But in dance, you’re always told to strive to be better, to work harder, to be perfect. Having the wrong arms to me was imperfect.
But she didn’t merely scold me or correct me, she noted that doing it incorrectly is an important part of learning the correct way, to not apologize.
We aren’t here to be perfect, we’re here to learn. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need class and she wouldn’t have a job. It’s not bad to be wrong, we just have to learn how to improve, and being wrong can be just the ticket to learning correctly.
Needless to say, my mind was blown.
I wish this class was more than once a week, but I am beyond grateful to be in it now.