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Eeeew, horrible class...

Guest prokofiev

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Guest prokofiev

Well, the teacher was just fine, and it was a normal class (no terrible combinations, no insane tempos, a few new things but nothing wacky). But it just seemed like nearly all the students were "off" tonight - yours truly leading the pack...


Do any of you have those classes where you mark something, or demonstrate a correction - all very nicely - and then when you do it full out, or on the other side, it's like aliens stole your brain? :wink:


My teacher thought it was just that we weren't thinking, or didn't want to work today, but that's not true. I just couldn't remember anything, or I'd say, "OK, leg, don't go lower in the back in that grand rond de jambe" and foop! my leg sagged down. :shrug: I can't believe she was so patient with us, actually. She probably wanted to cry, too, after seeing us slaughter everything.


I wanted a big hook to come out of the ceiling and take me away.


And just when it couldn't get any worse, the school director came to sit in on the last fifteen minutes in class... she hasn't come into our class all year... guess who couldn't do a single decent glissade en pointe. :(



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Oh, but definitely. In fact, whenever I take an Intermediate class (instead of an Elementary or Adv. Beg) aliens steal my brain. Last Saturday I took an Elementary and and Intermediate class back to back and I managed to thoroughly screw up an frappe combination at the barre in the Intermediate class. . .


Only it was EXACTLY the same combo as in the Elementary class. Of course it only got worse from there. I plan to go back, because how the heck else am I going to make it out of Beginning Ballet, but I wish I could wear a paper bag over my head.


Anyway. The point is, there must be a million reasons why we have off days, I have no advice or coping strategies for them, but I sure as heck can relate.

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Oh yes. Just a few weeks ago I was so off in beginner 2 (my usual level is intermediate 2, which is two levels above) that after doing glissade, pas de chat to one side I could not "turn" it and do it to the other one. Of course I did not try the other way before my turn, since it was such a basic thing that I should have been able to do it in my sleep! And there I was in the front row, not knowing which way the pas de chat goes and feeling like a complete moron before all those other students who knew I was in a class that should have been very basic for me. I just wished that the floor would open beneath me and I'd just disappear. :)

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This happens all the time to me, and when it does

(after the initial pangs of anger and self-recrimination)

I see it as an opportunity to practice my rationalization...

For example:

1) "Well, OBVIOUSLY! I didn't wear my 'lucky' tights"

2) "This would never have happened if I had worn my Gumby t shirt"

(this is my foolproof ballet wardrobe accessory)

3) "It was too hot/cold"

4) "Who picked THAT music?? It was way too (fast/slow/odd)"

5) "The seam in the mirror messed me up"

6) "The floor had a slick spot right THERE..."

and so on.


This, in fact, happened last night. My nemesis du jour:


(starting in 5th with the left foot back)

glissade right, glissade left, glissade front, glissade back,

glissade right, glissade right (no change) assemble,

changement with a quarter turn clockwise.

(now you are facing to the right)

Repeat the combination going to the left; the quarter turn

clockwise this time makes you face to the rear.

Then to the right, then to the left, making a square.

So at the end you're facing front again.


And THEN, we did the whole thing starting to the left,

turning a quarter turn counter-clockwise on the changements.



To quote that great philosopher, Calvin, from Bill Watterson's

magnificent comic strip Calvin and Hobbes:


"Some days, even wearing your lucky rocket ship underwear doesn't help."

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One day last week I couldn't even do a single pirouette. This after several really good days of solid doubles. It was downright freaky.

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Guest prokofiev

Thanks, you guys! :grinning:


DPR, you're RIGHT!! I wasn't wearing my lucky tights! (Alas, no Gumby option; we have a dress code...) And it definitely was too stuffy in there. Not to mention that my line in center ended up on a marley seam and the tape threw me off.


Yeah, the unlucky tights, that's the ticket... Shoulda worn my good mesh seamed tights, not the old stretch-and-holds... :yes:


Dido, Jaana - it was my frappes and my glissades that were the worst, too! Well, at least I don't feel alone now. :(


I wish I knew what made me so awful yesterday so I could make sure I get over it by tonight's class. When things just seem to get worse and worse, how do you pull yourself together in class and just deal with it? I feel like putting my face in my hands and running out in shame (clearly NOT an option! :wink: ) I can cope in all kinds of other disasterous 'performance' situations, but haven't figured out how to push myself beyond the frustration in ballet yet.

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Yesterday I was in a great mood heading to class. When I got there, only 6 people had shown up out of the normal 15. I knew immediately that meant my teacher would be hoovering over me all class making tons of corrections, which she did. And it was little things, hands, fingers, stuff like that.


By the time we got to center, I was so worn out from thinking of all the corrections, a relatively simple center became impossible. I completely blew petit allegro which is usually my favorite.


Did it make it a bad class? No, but it was pretty uncomfortable.

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Personally, I believe all combinations on the left side or to the left should be banned from ballet class.


I think the good thing about being an adult and in a ballet class is that no one other than you really cares how well you do or don’t do. Tomorrow, and another chance always comes.

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I totally lied before about having no advise about coping, aside from the rationalizations (which I totally dig, I have a lucky Dropkick Murphy's t shirt with a flaming skull that sets the right tone, but is always dirty by Tuesday) and that is you absolutely CANNOT take it seriously. I've mentioned before that I used to have to bribe myself to go to Intermediate classes with a hamburger and chocolate malt (fortunately it was only once a week) but have made it past that phase.


I think especially with those things that are just moronic on our part (screwing up a frappe combination that I did with complete accuracy and even a little panache not an hour ago) you have to let it go. I like to make a grotesque face at myself in the mirror. Not a "you-idiot" face, not a :green: not a :crying: not a :D and definitely not a :angry:. I know that by stressing out I have turned a bad turn day into a bad turn year myself.


With those things like that hellish glissade comb. of DPR's I don't know what to do. Hope the teacher forgets it?


p.s. Can I come to your No Left Side ballet class Gary?

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Another option is to do whatever it is you end up doing, right or wrong, as well and as confidently as possible. In other words, try to convince the rest of the class that they've done the wrong thing, and your way is the right way. I've had various teachers who prefer this rather than mincing through the combination with doubt. Of course, this is much easier said than done!


The worst brain twister for me is when we're asked to reverse a fast and long petite allegro combination (eg. en arriere instead of derriere) immediately after finishing the given combination.



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try to convince the rest of the class that they've done the wrong thing, and your way is the right way.


I love it! Or as my father used to say, "If you're going to be wrong, be wrong LOUDLY!" :D

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And what about when things are going well, and then your teacher says, "Today, we'll do class in the centre." And just when you think your bottom isn't sticking out too far in grand plie in fifth, and you see yourself in the mirror? Somehow, thinking about dropping the pelvis down in plies is a lot harder without the barre!


So, the only thing to do is to take a deep breath, and try to make the next exercise better. Step by little step ...



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Ballet is a physical pursuit with good days and bad days. I'm sure your teachers understand when they see you're having a bad day. I know mine do. There are days when I'm stiff, days I'm weak, days I'm uncoordinated or unmusical. Sometimes all at once. I try to be philosophical and patient about it. I find I still enjoy class, even if I'm terribly fustrated at myself. :)


The upside of that variability is that sometimes I get good days. Just last friday I successfully pulled off a whole series of pique fouettes to arabesque on pointe. That is something to savour on those inevitable (and far too common!) future days when my spine resembles boiled spaghetti. :thumbsup:



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In class about two weeks ago, we were doing a combination across the floor, one at a time. The steps were simple - I don't remember them exactly - and the combo was designed so that you would do it several times before reaching the other side of the room. Well, I managed to do the steps correctly twice on my turn. Right at the end of the second set, I somehow ended up dancing back in the direction from where I started! I couldn't figure out what was going on, but I knew something wasn't right. Then it clicked...and me, my teacher, and my classmates all had a good laugh at my expense.


So yes, I have definitely had one of "those days"! :)

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