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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A small attempt - perhaps a mini champagne


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Well today I've packed up my dance bag a bit different that usual. My usual dance attire consists of some sort of sweat pant over my leo. Today it shall be a pair of shorts. This may be a small step (one which my instructor will most likely appreciate) for most, but since I finished college and no longer have the body of an 18 year old I have been quite reluctant to be seen anywhere in shorts outside of my living room. So today I shall stand in centre in front of that mirror in the horrid ala seconde en face in my shorts. I predict the first good thing that will come of it, no more getting yelled at for having bent knees (I swear they aren't usually bent, just baggy pants make them look that way).

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Congratulations, Elise! Shedding the layers of clothing in order to help our teachers to correct us and look neat is probably the one most difficult struggle which adult students have but teens do not... I don't think it a small step at all. :)

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You're doing the right thing. Forget about your body image and go for the technique.

 

I almost always wear tights and leg warmers (it takes a long time for my legs to warm up). Because it's been so hot here lately I've been wearing short bike pants and no leg warmers. My teacher is all over me because for the first time in a very long time she can see my knees, and it appears I am not using the muscles around my knees quite as well as I thought. She hoovers over me at barre now constantly correcting my knees making me extend my legs to the fullest. It's as frustrating as it is helpful. The old habit got me through class but wasn't really helping things especially in centre. I've noticed an improvement in being able to balance over my legs in turns already. So, as hard as it is to bear ourselves completely in class it is worth it.

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Hooray!

 

That's a big step... and a healthy one, too. Don't get me wrong,

modesty is great. But I think what you're describing is a willingness

to see yourself and have others (such as your instructor) see you as

you are. That takes courage!

 

I hope you find what I have -- that the other dancers there aren't looking

at us as much as we think, and that facts ("this is me" "this is my (lack of)

turnout" "this is my attempt at straightening my leg"...) are our friends.

And that's because our goal as dancers is to improve.

 

Oh, and to have fun too! :wink:

 

I'll add one last thing -- I'm a guy, in my early 40's, reasonably fit, but

with a desk job that leaves a gap between what my body is and what

I would like it to be. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING (no swim class, no

gym class, no beach trip) ever made me feel as vulnerable and self-conscious

as taking adult ballet for the first few years, in tights. That's partially because

I was for the longest time the only guy in class, and the slowest student

of the group. I wanted to look good, to make up for how poorly I danced.

What I found, odd as it may sound, is that looking at my body, in detail,

in the unforgiving mirror and equally unforgiving gaze of my instructors

has actually helped me appreciate that same body of mine in wonderful

ways. Every little imperfection is visible in tights, yes, but so is every

little IMPROVEMENT, too! And that makes it all worth it. I'll never have

the perfect body, but ballet gives us the chance to make art with our

imperfect ones, and that is a rare joy in the world. Hold on to it! In

this air-brushed, photoshopped, media-driven, buy-it-to-look-good

culture, you are in pursuit of something more real and beautiful. Don't

stop!

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