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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Inspirational Classroom Mantras

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As I have mentioned on another topic, I have been working on thinking upon that which is helpful and good rather than critical and discouraging in class. Over the last week my so-called mantra or meditation has been, "If nothing else, respect the music." This has helped to free me up from way too much self-consciousness and self-preoccupation. Perhaps focusing on the music is a little like focusing on your breath in yoga; it releases you to be in your body instead of so much in your head. Anyway, I'm not trying to get too philosophical. I just wondered if anyone else has a mantra or meditation they focus on in class to help keep them centered.

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When I'm having a notsogood day in class I try very hard to focus on the music. I think that's why I love to dance anyway- the marriage of the movement and the music. Even if I have a terrible day balancing or turning or whatever, I feel like if there was at least one moment where I felt the music within my body, then it was a worthy class. :devil:

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Well, it doesn't necessarily do much to keep me centered, but

"just keep on trying" seems to be a common one for me. It often comes out when I am frustrated with not getting a combination and feel like a fool in the center, or I come down off my box prematurely for the umpteenth time in pointe.

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There's always Samuel Beckett: "Fail again. Fail better." But seriously, that's sort of what I tell myself, and I also try consciously to think breathe out.

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My favorite is "Oh well, what the hell". Perfect for right after messing something up, perfect right before trying something hard. It helps loosen me up and get me ready to fling myself into a combination no holds barred, then helps me get over the resulting mess. :devil:



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Well, to stay centered (literally, in balances), I speak to myself very sternly. Sort of like, "you *will* stay up, missy!" I think something about pretending to be a strict disciplinarian gets me to hold myself more upright.


To make myself go running, though, I just repeat over and over, "You don't have to go very far, you don't have to go very fast, you only have to go." That might be a more calming kind of thought for ballet.

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I've actually started using the "if it is worth doing, it is worth doing badly" I learned here a couple of days ago. Me not being able to do something does not make it not worth trying!

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This may sound overly simple, but "breathe" (and then actually doing it) usually works for me.

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I usually forget to breathe!! Whenever our teacher reminds us i think oh yeah i was holding my breath in an effort to stay still - not that it helps much anyway i think its just a result of deep concentration :D


If im worried about certain steps or combinations, i throw myself into it and concentrate on the music, it helps me relax and not worry too much about making mistakes. I find it helpful to imagine there is no one else there - just me and the music :dry:

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Guest dancer'sheart
I find it helpful to imagine there is no one else there - just me and the music :dry:




I have to agree with you. I'm in my own little world when I dance...except of course when doing a pas de deux because you have to be conscious of your partner :D

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When I start feeling self-conscious and "stared at," I start to project the command, "Watch -this- dance, to -this- music." This keeps me Performing, Musically, in the specific Moment, but leaves no room for "I must look stupid," or whatever other random thought is crowding my head.

Another favorite, "Just dance it. Whatever it is, just dance it." This is good for incorporating emotions into your dance where they can actually be made to do work, instead of just floating around.

And what someone else said, "Dance what you already know."

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Actually, my best strategy has been learning to turn my mind off during class. That has come with time. Yea, occasionally I’ll have a bad class, but I know those sometimes happen, so don’t get worked up at all any more. I take a Spanish Dance class where I am the absolute worst person in the class when it comes to doing heelwork (everyone has to solo so you easily know where you stand). A goof-up on my part is almost guaranteed. My attitude about it is that I know exactly what to practice during the week. Don't have to think up a practice routine.

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dancer's heart

I guess you are right - what will i do when it comes to pas de deux! B)


Well i will have to think of something else for those occaisions :wub:

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I find it helpful to imagine there is no one else there - just me and the music :yes:

I have to agree with you. I'm in my own little world when I dance...

Oh, me too. I'm more of a beginner than either of you, but it's something I really like about ballet. The more difficult it is (it's ALWAYS difficult) the more I retreat inside my own head; often I'll just close my eyes to better concentrate on the body mechanics. I've tried a few times to take a ballroom or other "normal" dance class, but interacting with other people absorbs too much of my limited ability to concentrate, and I totally lose focus on the physical motion. With ballet, I can go inside and pay full attention to the movement; other people just ceast to exist until the music stops. I learn a lot faster this way, and there's no room to worry what anyone else sees or thinks - until, of course, the music stops...


Not really a "mantra" I guess, but certainly a coping strategy!

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