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What do you do when you have a bad class?

Miss S

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I love this website and the members that belong to it. Without coming off as Eeyore, I'd like to find out what some of you do when you've had a particularly bad night of dance class(es). I'm tired of the emotional roller coaster - desiring to do well, but not being able to accomplish that. And yes, it is painful to watch me dance...trust me. However, I really believe that I have it in me to dance well (at least somewhat respectively for a returning adult after 20 years off), and I want an outlet for expression. I do see teeny baby steps of improvement once in awhile.

My teacher told me I'll probably go on pointe this year, and that was one of my goals. However, I'm tired of feeling awkward, looking awkward, being embarrassed in front of teens, or in front of the few adults that dance, too. I'm tired of not being able to pick up the combo's without having it very slowly and precisely drawn out for me...and then I have to do the steps a few times before even really doing it...and that's just starting out at barre! In the end...I still want this, but am feeling overwhelmed.

Can anyone offer tips on how you cope with the bad times? I also practice yoga - am somewhat a beginner to that - and I'm completely able to honor myself where I am at rather than wanting to the point of anxiety. It's something I can completely rejuvenate myself and grow with. Dance should be similar in some aspects for me since I'm doing this as recreation. Any advice as always is very much appreciated.

Edited by Miss S
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Recognize that you got caught up in the current American trend of "Naval -gazing". You're overthinking things and not allowing your emotions to drive you in the right way since you're all caught up in the whole "Oh this isn't god and that isn't good" trap.


How does it feel? The movements, I mean. How beautiful can it be to perform the port de bras rather than just opening and placing arms.Find the joy within every movement and express it. Feel you dancing. Give yourself points for:

1. I am not sitting at home burning through a bag of Zipps Chips. Instead I got myself ready and went to class.

2. I am wearing a uniform and communmning with people who are possessed of like minds and spirits.

3. It feels amazing to move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Some classes are good, some classes are not so good. Sometimes if I am having an off night in class, I go back to the very basics, and quietly work on those. For example, If I'm all off balance in pirouettes, I go back to doing plie-releve instead, and use that to centre myself (physically and mentally).

It is also good to acknowledge that just by being there I'm doing something that most people aren't game enough to try!

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I had a crappy class last night, but I also learned from it. It was an intermediate class, a class I've been attending for quite a while, regular teacher. Well there were only 8 of us ( usually more) and of the 8, 2 of us were of an intermediate level. The class was slowed down , barre went well as did center, petite allegro on the other hand, a disaster. I am not experienced/confident enough to be a leader in this class and this coupled with the fact that the majority of the people couldn't do or remember the combinations frustrated me. I knew the steps and have executed far more difficult combinations, not last night. What did I learn, that I need to have more self-confidence and that I do know the steps. Having things broken down, being able to work on technique, in an intermediate class is a gift ( generally this doesn't happen in this class as people who go to the open intermediate classes are expected to know what they are doing - teaching technique comes in the open intro and beginner classes). When I think in retrospect the class wasn't so bad, any class where I learn something is good. It of course also depends on what makes the class "bad," ( people, combinations, disruptions, etc). When I focus on myself and my own needs, go back to say concentrating on having a awesome 5th, or port de bras, things generally go better.

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I don't think it's unusual early in your dance career to have your expectations and desires exceed your ability to do what you want. With time and patience you can overcome this disconnect.


We all have bad classes. I've been lucky in that I've gotten to the point where I can just sluff it off and forget it. I wasn't that way at first of course. At first I'd get upset, angry with myself, and depressed. But I just kept going back to class. My rigid behavior I guess. Eventually I got to the point where I accepted my limitations and concentrated more on enjoying what I did rather than how I was doing something. Time and persistence did it.


I believe a lot of time we adult dancers think too much. We need to relax more and just do our best for the time we dance.

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Yes...we all feel this way sometimes:) For me, I feel more this way when I have actually kind of progressed to the next tiny level and then I see how much I still don't know or can't do! I often feel particularly bad when there is a pro in class and I realize that I will never be any way as good :(

We all have to stop and pat ourselves on the back for actually, yes, being there and also for all we DO learn!! :)

A year ago, I couldn't do a split, but now I can go down to the right. I couldn't lift my leg to the side, now I can:)

I coudn't do any petit allegro...now I am often getting the combinations! I can usually get the combos in grand allegro! I am en pointe!!! That was a dream for me...and you are also starting soon! that is wonderful!!!!

Think of all the ways you have improved:) You are present and you are getting fitter, firmer and more balletic with every class!

I admire you for doing class with the teenagers...I am sure that that is harder as I am in an adult class but look how much more you know about life than they....and you must have more depth of emotion to "feel" the music, etc.. too :)

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However, I'm tired of feeling awkward, looking awkward, being embarrassed in front of teens, or in front of the few adults that dance, too. I'm tired of not being able to pick up the combo's without having it very slowly and precisely drawn out for me...


Give it time. And think to yourself, if those teens are still dancing 20 or 30 years later, then they can make you feel embarrassed!


And, in the immortal words of Scarlett:


"Tomorrow is another day."


It's really not worth getting upset -- it's a waste of emotional energy which can stop you actually working out the things you need to do to improve. A blanket "I'm a bad dancer" is probably as much of a handicap to improving as thinking you are perfect!

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Thank you all for the replies. Really great nuggets to keep tucked away for the difficult moments. I guess the point to dancing for recreation is to enjoy it, and I do dance better in my own home where no one can see me. That is when I can feel the music more, so I know I'm letting my head and insecurity get in the way at the studio. It's another day, and it's off to tap tonight! Thanks again, everyone. :-)

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