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Ballet Talk for Dancers

November Whine...


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I am having one of those nights where I feel like I'm never going to get any better; my turn-out is stuck, my flexibility is stuck, my technique is stagnant and I am just stuck right here. I'm wishing I'd trained as a kid and that my body had been adapted to ballet somehow as a result. I feel like one of my teachers must look at me and think I'm a waste of time and effort, that it just isn't going to get any better. I'm only two years into this endeavor, and my fear is that this is it. It's never going to look pretty, it's never going to be balletic. It's just going to be this older beginner always looking like a beginner. I feel so discouraged, and I'm really hoping this feeling passes. :wacko:

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I gotta say, "this too will pass" - or at least, I have to believe it if I am to retain my own sanity!


Seriously, I'm 5 years into this endeavor and I have felt the same every year. But every year I am a LOT better than last year. I just never feel I'm better than last month... the fact is, it takes on average about 10 years to get as good technically as you are likely to get. Artistically of course nobody stops improving if they are paying attention. These comments are a summary of things I have read and things I have observed, so anyone may feel free to differ but they'll have a hard time changing my opinion. :wacko:


For example, I pulled off a couple double pirouettes today. They weren't pretty but I didn't fall down and I got to the next step in the enchainment without incident. It was no big deal, just another thing I am working on and dissatisfied with. Last year I could not do a double of any sort to save my life. I should be delighted, but all I can think is "geez, I wish I could have actually spotted that second turn".


Check the thread on the dance camp video for more of us oldies whining about how imperfect we are. :shrug:

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The feeling of getting stuck on a plateau has been mentioned many times before on this board. I guess one way that it happens is that a teacher and an (adult) class become comfortable with each other, and the teacher stops challenging the students. One thing that has certainly helped me get off such a plateau is a teacher deciding that I can improve in a certain area, and has worked me hard in that area. Or when I've got a new (and good) teacher (rather a drastic solution).


I wonder if you can ask your teacher whether he/she sees any area where you are ready for an improvement, and then drive you hard to improve specifically in that area?




PS - two years is NOTHING! You have decades of improvement ahead of you!

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I was starting to wonder if I needed to do a search to find the November whine couch. I thought I'd missed it. Isn't it amazing that half the month went by without it starting up? Are some of us getting near perfect? Would we still find stuff to whine about if we were?


I didn't put my observations about the camp video in the whine department because it also had deep life questions in there about what comes after the "Oh Crap" and the whining, and stuff about how that happened and all.


The whining about how class went afterward should have been here.


Boo Hoo. :wink: and all that.


Now I have to face class today. :o


I don't think my mental trick of pretending I look like the lovely young dancer in the room is going to work today. I have to figure out where to put my mind. I can't go inside myself. I can't go inside that other person. I have no idea.

I am "hearing" the phrase put yourself "out there" in my head right now. Maybe I can find "out there"?????


Anybody got a map?

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dancingjet, I do think it's fair to say we've all had that "stuck" feeling. I definitely have, sometimes even when I'm trying my hardest and I feel like everything should be improving. What I've noticed (each time in retrospect) is that I can be "stuck" just before I have an "aha" moment, almost like my body is going through an awkward stage in the middle of a big transition. But when the big transition is done, it's a lovely feeling... until I realize there's a whole new set of challenges for me to tackle! I certainly hope you're in this boat.


Laschwen, maybe you can deliberately turn inward for a bit to help you past your concerns this week? What I mean is, forget about ballet looking nice for a while as much as that's possible (ha!) and think about the nitty-gritty of the technique. Maybe if you only think about what's going on inside with your bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, you can improve on some basics before you turn your focus back to the performance aspect. As adults, we have the luxury of building our own overall curricula, setting our own goals, and picking what to focus on in the short and long term. If you were to do this, though, you might want to let your teacher know so that the corrections you get are on point and don't distract you from what you're trying to do or -- worse -- come across as critique of the one thing you're trying to escape!


I'm luckily mostly whine-free on the ballet front. Even the hip that went "clunk" a couple weeks ago (I wasn't doing anything... just stepping onto an elevator!) and became sore now feels better, and I'm only limiting the height of my grand battement to second a bit -- the other things I've been cautious about (attitude swings to the back, some grand allegro) are all back to normal now. I whine only insofar as I should probably figure out what went wrong in the first place!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a new whine today; and not the good kind.


It is weird timing to be complaining on the day after Thanksgiving, which was very nice except for my eldest dog being in the vet hospital all week. I am thankful that he is doing better with his bad kidneys and is coming home today. We are, however, on "notice", but that is not the whine actually. It is the aching body for lack of my normal dance and exercise schedule.

I realized it when I got up to dance along with the Macy's Parade yesterday. Yes, I am that geeky if the Rockettes are involved and then there was that group of Ailey students too.


1 ballet school is already closed until January and I missed the last one this week. There is not much time left at the other ballet school until they close; maybe one more week?

I found today out the warm pool where I go for general fibromyalgia maintenance isn't just closed for a few days of repair which I was missing anyway, but rather for three weeks of repair, cleaning and re-painting. Yikes.


They are usually open for the holidays.


It is getting colder where I am and my body is beginning to turn to stone already. I have already seen some loss of range of motion in my feet/ankles since dropping to once a week ballet after adult dance camp. It happens so fast despite my home stretching. The annual holiday back pain is here, but I am not sure how much of the usual Santa Bomb I am going to set off in the house this year yet. I may not be aggravating the back much. Most years I would be under a pile of decorations already. I am not really in the mood yet.


Plan B for maintaining some decent level of activity so I don't shrivel into a painful ball of tight knotted muscle before January begins Monday....I am in planning stages now.


I just have to see what classes run through December besides Body Recall with my senior buddies at the "Y". Maybe the local ballroom school keeps their Friday night lesson and dance party going???


I had some of the sparkly pink Zinfandel yesterday. I think some more is in order today. who is joining me?

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I just deleted a big old whine post.


I'm a 32 year old freelancer and need to stop being a baby about Nutcracker casting, and accept that it's a job I'm being paid to do :dry:

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My first thought is that it probably has nothing to do with how well you are doing Spanish. Somebody else probably just isn't cutting it with the Marzipan and they need you.


Geesh! What a late date for deciding who is doing what! I like things more settled than that, but somehow it never really is.

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You're right Laschwen.


Although sparkly pink Zinfandel isn't really my style. LOL! I'm a big fan of dry reds.


I'll get it sorted out. I really take these things seriously and should be more mature about it. :blushing: It'll get clarified tomorrow. Thanks for letting me "whine" here. I've been chatting with fellow dancers who are also upset. It's all just to put on the best show possible. I am reluctantly OK with that and respect the AD quite a bit :shrug: . sigh....

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You're right Laschwen.


Although sparkly pink Zinfandel isn't really my style. LOL! I'm a big fan of dry reds.



Most folks seem to go your way on that. More of the reds they say go with deep dark chocolate for me! :shrug: I did a tasting at a local winery last week. That special sweet red stuff nearly made me swoon with delight. Of course an Arbor Mist will do in a pinch for me.

I am sorry for those of you who just gagged.


I have to get off the OH My Aching Back wagon myself. I found that classes go through the 20th at one school. I started the holiday decorating and found myself singing "We Need a Little Christmas" under my breath. Then it hit me that the song was more than appropriate this year for many of us. Reference the Musical and movie "Mame" for you non musical theater geeks.


My dog is home too. We have to give subcutaneous fluids twice a day until his next blood test, but that is OK. He feels much better, is eating well, and back to toy chewing for now. If he wasn't spoiled rotten before, he will be for sure now.

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