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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Wonderful class...

Guest ryana

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On Friday I had the most wonderful open ballet class, and I had to share the story. There were only two students taking the class that day, myself and another dancer. She had never been to the class before, but was introduced to me as a dancer with 12 years experience, the last 5 dancing professionally and undertaking tertiary qualifications at a performing arts institute. Thus, my teacher was presented with the challenge of taking a class where the experience level ranged from the above to my 6 months of beginning/intermediate ballet.


He rose to the occasion admirably, however, and gave the best ballet class I have ever taken. Too often I find that when I am separating what I do in class (i.e. focussing on perfecting a glissade or a single pirouette) with what ballet can be. The other dancer executed what was probably (to her) an extremely simple petit allegro combination with such grace and elegance that I was in awe. In comparison, (and I am not comparing myself to her, just an observation) my movements were rigid as I worked my technique. Seeing her move made me realise how beautiful the art we love can be, and taking the class with her and knowing how much one puts into the movement I appreciated it so much more.


I found that taking a class with a dancer so much more advanced than I am only fueled my passion for ballet, for it gave me a goal. One day, I too will bring that elegance and grace to my movements. I too will work on my technique so that one day I will not have to think about my feet in a glissade derriere, but will just do it so my entire combination will seem easy to perform. One day...


I apologise that there seems to be no point to this post. However, all these semi-inspirational goals were floating around in my head, and I had to put them down somewhere. I thought I would share them with all of you.

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Well, I for one will jump in and thank you for the "post with no point." I know I use this site so much for areas of frustration and confusion that it must seem that I don't love what I'm doing!


But I do, and so do we all but it's nice to read it explicitly.

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...  The other dancer executed what was probably (to her) an extremely simple petit allegro combination with such grace and elegance that I was in awe. 



Hi ryana!


Thanks so much for writing -- I think dido's exactly right; it's easy to get focussed on

the tiny cambium layer of this thing called ballet and lose sight of the acres of shade it

provides when lots of us are leaping and spinning and (well for me at least) stumbling

through the forest of it all.


I liked your observation about this very talented dancer doing petit allegro. Ages ago I

completed a "self development" workbook (with coloring and drawings, even!) whose title

was How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything. Frankly, I liked (and remembered)

the title more than the book, but I think it connects to what you're saying. Ballet is all one thing,

I suppose, from the basic plies and tendus to the steps that I dream of doing one day. And,

like for you, seeing someone up there in the ballet stratosphere do the simple exercises is

inspiring and also reminds me that I can enjoy the beauty of the simple things that I actually

CAN do instead of always berating myself for what I cannot YET do.


Or, to put it another way... When I was in my teens and in college I used to

work on cars, mostly mine, and I had a clunker Ford that I kept running with lots

of fiddling and fixing. A guy in my dorm was from a wealthy family who

had supplied him with a Porsche, and I remember the first look I got at that engine;

I was AMAZED at how beautiful even the tiniest parts were. (I'm a nerd,

so I'm allowed to think that car parts can be beautiful... but I digress..)

Anyway -- so, it may be nerdy, but I'm convinced that you can't do the big

things well unless you embrace the little things first. And, I think I picked ballet

as an adult student because it reinforces that belief. No shortcuts. But, hey, as

you described -- it sure is nice to get out from under the hood once in a while,

and think about where you want to go in your body's sleek machine.


So, have fun, and keep dancing (and writing)!

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