Yesterday’s class felt like it crept up on me, but I was excited to get into the studio.
Two of my friends from Instep were supposed to come to class, but got sick and weren’t able to. (they’re sisters.) I’m hoping they’ll be able to make it tomorrow!
Before class started, we noticed a new face in the studio; specifically, a new face speaking to Ms. Munro. She was introduced shortly after her arrival as Hadley; a new teacher who recently moved to town (as in, last Thursday) and had impressive credentials. I was instantly nervous, as is common for me.
New teacher. Do I just come right out with all my issues? Do I stay quiet and give them time to figure it out? Will that come off as an excuse? Do I point them out at all? Does she know I’m an adult? Surely this mixed class would lean me looking more towards the adult side, right? Does she expect me to know more than I do? ugh.
I pulled myself together and managed to keep my mouth shut for the most part and left all my anxieties inside, keeping me from looking as foolish as I feel and alleviating most of the embarrassment. Hadley (Ms. Hadley?) opened the class, her temperament calming most of my panic. Her combinations favored the simple-yet-technical type, which are my favorite, and great for feeling out a new class/studio. She was great at giving analogies (and new ones, even. Like thinking of your rib cage as kitchen cabinets that you want to keep closed) and explaining things well, as well as showing the combination. She gave the combinations with clarity and confidence, reflecting that back onto the class.
I was impressed.
And honestly, relieved.
Not just for me and what I would get out of this class, but of what she could be for the studio. If my hunch was correct that she would be a new hire permanently and not just through summer, she could prove to be a real asset for us.
She gives hands-on corrections, over just general ones, which are wonderful. Even correcting my arms in a place I hadn’t been corrected on before–which made me really happy–as well as lifting up in my standing leg’s knee cap, which is an important one for me to remember right now. I was grateful. (And managed to keep my awkwardness inside and not say stupid things I regret later. yay!)
I opted not to wear my pointe shoes for center. Partially because I wanted to get a feel for her center combinations first, and partially because I forgot to buy more toe tape, haha. It worked out. There were enough of us to cause us to need two groups, and instead of just splitting down the center, she picked specific people to be in group one and others in group two. She put me in group one, which I think communicated to me that she can see that I’m not simply the hot mess I sometimes convince myself I am. That I have a grasp for this. I dunno, it felt good. Reaffirming. Maybe I’m just lame. *shrug* I did decently in most things, and flubbed up others, nervously speaking afterwards which always ends up being those things I lie awake thinking about how I was so stupid to do so. (thankfully my friends are gracious and don’t hold it against me.) There was a jete combination where we went forward, then reversed that I hadn’t done since Instep that confused my brain, but was fun to try anyway. We did a zig-zag of grand saut de chat’s across the floor (which she correctly called a saut de chat and not a grand jete, because there is a difference, making me like her more)
Edit: just learned that there is actually, like, huge differences in this. (Jete vs saut de chat.) I was told from my teacher at my old studio that the above is the difference, but now I know better! And it makes sense as to why people call it a Grand Jete (leaving off the develope) instead of a saut de chat. Maybe I was told that before and it just didn’t click? Anyway. Yay learning new things! Thanks to those who pointed this out!
which is where she specified that she wanted us to use certain arms on the tombe, pas de bourree before the glissade into the grande saut de chat. She described it as “Taking both boyfriends, Tom, (she opened the leading arm) and Ray. (as she opened the second arm.) Get it. TOMbe pas de bourRAY. Puns. I love puns.
As if I wasn’t already sold before, I was then, and I laughed in the corner harder than most people probably would, but it was so clever and cheesy, it was perfect.
Anyway, when we went across the first time, I actually felt myself get off the floor in my saut de chat’s. I don’t know what it was, but even glancing in the mirror, they got somewhere. I finished and took a second to let the bit of shock set in, and tried to figure out what it was I did different, but honestly I couldn’t tell you. I could tell you that the second side I was thinking so much I messed up royally and they were terrible, but hey whatever.
As she corrected a few of us about extending the back leg fully, she addressed us all as a whole on a very good point;
“It is your job as a dancer to feel.”
In relevance to this, it was referring to how we need to be able to feel when our leg isn’t straight, or our foot sickled, or a million other things to think about. We can’t just go through the motions and get into a sort of pattern of this-is-what-we-do-because-she-said-so. She had brought up a similar point in explaining how our tombe pas de bourree’s should be like taffy (which is an analogy I’ve heard, but she explained it, so it clicked with me) and not just singular movements. It’s should be an entire phrase, not just separate words put together. And it’s our job to feel if we are doing that or not.
Similar to corrections that inspired me to start this blog in the first place, (for you newbies, it used to be called “Everything I need to know about life I learned in ballet class.”) This resonated deeper with me.
It’s our job as dancers to feel. Not only the placement of various body parts, but to express emotions. Our chosen art for happens to use ourselves as the medium, and in such we are required to express; to feel. I realized that even though I’ve told myself over the years that letting myself feel is bad, and though I’ve gotten better about it, I still hold back.
But it’s okay. It’s safe. And, quite honestly, it’s necessary.
I don’t owe anybody anything. I don’t owe them attention, explanations, time. I can and do give it, but I don’t owe it. I feel what I do, and I don’t have to explain it or justify it.
I’m pretty sure I’ve realized something similar before, but this really resonated with me.
I left the class feeling great, and excited to have her. She’s teaching again next Monday, and I’m looking forward to it.
Mrs. Alex showed me the teaching schedule to see if I am good for the classes they have me down for tentatively. They’re good for me, which is exciting. I do have two Saturday classes, which will be interesting since they are more rambunctious, but it’ll be good.
It hit me that I now have recital pieces to choreograph and costumes to pick out and lesson plans to come up with. I’ve got a lot of researching to do in the next month and a game plan to come up with. I’m grateful to have had the summer so as to be able to get a feel for what to expect, as well as which tactics are effective and what I should try. Laying the groundwork is so important.
Once again, I have failed to get pictures. I think I just get nervous and afraid of judgement. Hah.
I don’t want to be that vain person. But I know if I don’t do it, no one will.
I hope y’alls weeks have started off well!
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.