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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Protect Joy......

Clara 76

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Ok, Joy is not a damsel in distress, but simply, a concept that I wanted to take a moment and discuss with you adult students.


As a teacher, I want to encourage you to protect the joy you feel when dancing, and not allow others to do anything to destroy it.


Am I making any sense?

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Yes absolutely, Clara! There have been times when I have come out of a studio after class feeling absolutely rubbish, because I have been concentrating so much on technique and steps I didn't "get" (pirouettes top of the list nearly every time!)


I consider myself very lucky now that I am in a full time dance course. Being with the teens who's just come out of high school with legs wrapped around their head, I constantly have to remind myself that I am doing some that I love and I am very lucky to be dancing at 9am in the morning instead of being in the office. Need to stop comparing myself to them and how much more behind I am in terms of technique.


Some teachers are brilliant at remind us to smile and enjoy the dancing, but I feel, generally, not enough! :offtopic:



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Well, I see lots of posts from you guys that break my heart- you're dancing for the sheer love of it, and it would appear from some of what you say, that there are people out there who are not being supportive.


I want to encourage adults to 'protect your joy'. Adult ballet students are some of my absolute favs to teach, and I justw ant the best for you- that's all.

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Clara 76 - thank you for reminding us of this. Yes, we forget our joy too easily.


Why do we do it? I think it’s because as we move further and further into adult life, we increasingly use a strategy which turns out to be very successful for us: we control. We control ourselves, and we control our surroundings, as much as we can. We try hard, we self-criticise, we correct errors, and maybe we achieve success. But in the middle of it all, the joy gets lost.


As we move into old age, in some people, the process goes too far. We become suspicious, paranoid, protective, and excessively worried about dangers. This is control gone too far, trying to control the basically uncontrollable, and to an excessive extent. Unfortunately, this narrowing of focus is I think part of the mental sclerosis that sets in in old age. And I think that we have to start fighting it by setting up good mental habits much earlier in our adult lives (while our brain is still malleable) – being joyful, and generous, and realising that we will not be able control many things our lives.


I wonder if it relates to a question I posted many years ago; noticing how young people had hopeful screen names (“dancing princess”, etc), while adult posters’ names often reflected gritty realism (“2 left feet”, trying hard”, etc), and asked “how is it that we lose our dreams as we get older?”. Well, one reason is that by the time we’re adults we’ve either lived our dreams, or found that they are impossible. But again it is part of the same mental sclerosis, that we do not get NEW dreams to take us on for the decades to come.


So, I am trying to focus on the joy, and also have dreams. Actually, in ballet class, every time, I do live a dream – I never for the slightest moment when young imagined that I would be admitted, even just a little bit, to the wonderful world of ballet. And I will try to retain that joy, as I fail, yet again and for the umpteenth time, to do an assemble, or a pirouette on my left foot, and all the other things that leave me stumped. So thank you Clara 76!



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I think it is a great idea! We don't do that in my studio but fo rme this is okay. When I went to my SI the teachers there really emphasized that dancing should be fun and we should enjoy it. They never ever put us down, they were all extremly friendly and made a lot of fun in class but still made us work very hard. It was really an eye-opener for me: I felt really privileged to be a part of this kind of dance world. I came home with the knowledge that I do something very special and that it is great for a person to love something so much.

Part of this is accepting your personal limits but still try to be the best dancer one can be! When I watch class I can really tell who is enjoying the class and dance and who not.

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Yes, Jim! The studio is the one place where you can let go of the nastiness of life, and let go of yourself mentally which actually is the fountain of youth!


It is such a gift to be able to move in the way that we do when we dance.....so many people would give anything to change places with us....


And interestingly enough, when you 'protect your joy', and allow yourself to just experience class, some of the things that were biting you in the 'donkey' as far as technique, will magically disappear!


Just dance..... :yes:

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Thank you for your reminder, Clara!

Yes, we adult ballet students are a privileged group, because we've consciously chosen what we love and do it only for the love of it! Gotta learn to let go of frustrating thoughts about technique.... :D

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I had a little dyslexic fit when I read the title line. I saw Protect when looking at the word Project and didn't catch it until I saw the post about noun vs. verb. Funny, it was making sense that way too.





Never mind. I wasn't the one who mis read the title after all....... It seems to be shaping up to be one of those days.

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I don't know about other adult dancers, but I find that I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to taking joy in what I'm doing, as opposed to others. I've had quite a few teachers, all of whom have been supportive. Most of the times in class that have not been joyful for me have been due to my own frustration at my limitations, or catching sight of myself in the mirror and seeing that what I'm actually doing is very far off the ideal I have in my head. If anyone is going to put me down in class, it's usually myself.

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I love this topic. :P We have a student in our adult class - she's a high school student and a "hope to be professional" (and could possibly make it). What all of us adults love about her dancing is the Joy she projects - you can read it in her face and her body - it's a glorious thing to watch. I'll remind the other adult students that we all have that joy in us - we just need to protect and project it!


Thank you Clara!!

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Sorry! :shrug: (post deleted)



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Is it just me who is not getting what some of the posters are saying? This thread has nothing to do with "project" joy. The title is "protect" joy. Webster's: "To keep from harm, attack, or injury: Guard". I believe, if you read Clara 76's initial post this will make perfect sense...

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:shrug: Dance class has always been a "joy" to me - I take class from a great, witty teacher who teaches only adults, we have no mirrors, but a wonderful floor, little studio and mostly same clientele for the past 5 or 6 years. She's quite serious in class, we don't "chat" much, technique is important, but so is the "dance", she's always chirping at us to "Enjoy this! or "Give me feeling" or wanting movement like her slinky "cats"...


I try not to focus exclusively on the technique (as that can be such a stressor!), or my sore getting-old feet, what helps is to "shed" (as advocated by my younger classmate) all my workplace and personal issues at the door, come in, listen to the music and her voice and be in a completely different space for 90 minutes. Now some weeks are more successful than others - but I couldn't imagine my week without ballet class or her Friday Pilates class for that matter.


We get to do crazy things, like dance in rapids/water, dance at our local "Herbfest", dance for the Solstice with lanterns and the community - we're far from professionals, but all of us have learned to be less inhibited! Next project is a video of the studio dancers, shot outside in an urban setting, dancing for short 5 second spots, edited for 1 minute to advertise "Dance" on YouTube, with a jingle and music...it's great fun.

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