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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Victoria Leigh

Back to SCHOOL/Back to BALLET!

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Victoria Leigh   
Victoria Leigh

This article is one I wrote several years ago, when we were still Ballet Alert! I copied it over here where it is easier to find. :rolleyes:

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL/BACK TO BALLET

 

(Some thoughts for dancers on returning to ballet classes at the beginning of a new school year)

 

First, come back with a positive, excited to be back attitude! Your approach to your school, your teacher, and your classes makes all the difference in how well you will do in those classes!

 

Do some thinking about what you would like to accomplish in this school year. What did you learn during the summer that will help you progress now? Make a plan as to how you will use what you learned to add to your work throughout the year. (Be realistic though, as there is no "ballet fairy" out there who is going to give you instant turn-out, extension, exquisite feet, and the ability to do 32 perfect fouettes! :) )

 

If you learned how to better align your bones and establish your balance point,then concentrate on how you will maintain this and continue to strengthen it. If you learned that your port de bras is not quite wonderful, then concentrate on that in class, and also prioritize your days to have a little time to yourself to work just on port de bras. If you do not have enough turn-out or extension, then find a way to spend some time outside of class working specifically on that. In class, concentrate on working correctly so that you can use your turn-out to the best of your ability and continue to improve it. The same goes for extension.

 

Try not to waste time on comparisons. Work for yourself, and with your teacher. Do not compare yourself constantly to someone else in the class, as you will rarely have a realistic idea of the differences, and what someone else does is quite irrelevant anyway. The better your peers do in class, the better the whole class will be, and that includes you!

 

Communicate with your teacher! If you are not happy with the way you are working, or feel that you are not making the progress that you think you should (like moving to the next level), then talk to her/him and find out why, and what you have to do to accomplish that. I frequently have students who have the ability to do very well, but, for various reasons, miss a lot of classes every year. Sometimes this is the main reason that they do not advance, and do not accomplish what they could. It also gives the teacher the idea that they are not serious students and are not really interested, because we all know that one does not learn to dance by not being there! If ballet is what you want to do, then it must come first on your list. But you have to be very smart and learn how to deal with all the hours of dance and still get all of your school work done, which, while admittedly difficult, is definitely possible. It takes major organization and commitment on your part, and a good bit of cooperation from your family. Remember, if you want something badly enough, there is usually a way to make it happen. (The key word here is MAKE.)

 

In terms of not missing classes, I might mention here that it takes a very HEALTHY person to be a dancer! Therefore, taking care of yourself is primary. We just don't have time to get sick! So, enough sleep for your needs, proper diet, lots of vitamin C, and a positive attitude are the absolute necessities for a dancer! (Don't underestimate the power of your own attitude here. The human will is quite extraordinary, and I really believe that you can make a huge difference in your overall health with a mental approach that almost refuses to admit sickness into your life. If you get a lot of colds, take more C, and perhaps some other daily vitamins, on a very regular basis. If you get headaches or upset stomachs, find out why, and then deal with it. Learn to control it. You don't have time for that!)

 

Last, and perhaps most important, learn to focus. Make each day one where your dancing is the focal point, and the time spent doing that is happy and productive because you have the ability to be totally into that at the time, concentrated, focused, and believing in what you are doing. Do not dwell on what you do not yet have, but put the energy into improving it! Energy spent in negative thoughts in class, in being unhappy with your body for one reason or another, in not liking how you look today, or in dwelling on one badly executed pirouette, is wasted energy. Take that energy and put it into making the next move or the next turn better! The students who learn to work intelligently, and who do not get overly upset with themselves over mistakes or missed turns or whatever, are the ones who will improve everything the next time. When one step, exercise, or combination is over, it's over. Get on with the next one and make that one better, if the first one did not go well. If it did go well, then make the next one spectacular!!!

 

Good luck to you all, and HAPPY DANCING!!!

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