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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Frustrated!!!!


Scuballerina

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Oh pals... Please let me rant here as I am quite frustrated and dont know to whom I should talk to here...

 

*Warning: kinda long*

 

For a bit of background: I did ballet since kid in a Vaganova-based school then moved to RAD school. Quitted for 9 years, continue dancing (mostly open classes) for 2 years and stopped for another 9 years. Re-starting this year, first in a Vaganova school (2 x 1.5 hr) then additional adult class in my childhood RAD school. Joined Intermediate Foundation class starting September (after approval for pointe by both RAD IF and Vaganova teachers, as I wanna be really really sure that I am capable on pointe after a looooong time). Currently 'operating' on 7-8 hours of classes per week, incl. private.

 

Recently I feel frustrated with my dancing, as if I am not supposed to be in InterFound level. This sentiment commenced when a girl in my RAD adult class applied for syllabic class like I do and got a clear for Grade 5 (her last grade before she quitted dancing 1.5 years ago). I was surprised as she has way cleaner pirouette and better flexibility than I do and I was cleared for IF and Grade 6.

 

Later on, another woman (never had ballet before taking one hour per week adult class for 3 years) in my class mentioned to me that she was surprised that my school, which is known to be very strict, permit me on IF. Seeing my experience, she would like to apply to syllabic class, especially IF class with me, although later she digressed, aiming instead to Grade 4.

 

Now, please don't think I am blowing my own horn or am a bitch. The fact is I have now constant fear that:

a. As I am the first in my batch to apply for syllabic class, the school was kinda lenient to me by admitting me to IF despite my lousy pirouette et. al

b. Now that they've seen me not being good, they are more stringent in the admittance

 

This feeling ruins my mood for the adult class, as now I feel depressed if I am not 'good' in class (especially since other girls know that I take more classes incl. IF class, and yet I am still not 'good': I still stumble in my pirouette and dont breeze through the combinations!).

 

Just for info, I've asked my IF and Vaganova teachers a couple of time if they feel my technique is not on par with the rest of their class, and so far they responded very positively to me.

 

Also as a note, another member of this board has taken the same route in same school with me several years back, i.e. taking adult class (different teacher from mine) then accepted to IF and Grade 6 after auditioning with IF teacher. Difference in my case, when I proposed to my adult teacher to join (any) syllabic class, she recommended me for IF and Grade 6. Based on that, I just 'appeared' in my first IF class, the teacher welcomed me straight away (or was it a veiled audition?) and I am not sure now where/by whom the decision to admit me to IF was made.

 

Anyhoo.... Putting all this on writing has calmed me down, I guess. Please please please dont take my rambling as wanting-for-praise. I am really struggling to feel I 'earn' my class; and I will put extra extra work (thinking to upped the class to 12 hours a week) so that whoever put me in IF will not feel they make a mistake.

 

And I hope my mind will sort itself out.....

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Aw! *hugs* I think we all get frustrated/question ourselves and our dancing sometimes! I don't think you should be worrying so much. If your teachers felt the class wasn't right for you, surely they would say so. Plus, if you've already asked them about it and they're encouraging you to continue, I think they feel you're where you should be.

 

I think you're being too hard on yourself! Its common for people to compare themselves to others, but I think we often do it with blinders on. Maybe you think the other girl has a cleaner pirouette and better flexibility, but maybe your technique is better and/or you're stronger? I think you're focusing on something you feel discouraged about (pirouettes) instead of things you ARE good at (jumps, adagio, etc.) Chin up! You've worked hard (and are working hard!) and you belong in that class. :clapping:

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I agree with Scuballerina - there must be a reason you are there! Perhaps the pirouetting girl can't remember a combination to save her life? Perhaps you have the performance maturity that is required for IF? Maybe she really actually just wanted to complete Grade 5? Who knows!?! There could be a million reasons why - there's no point beating yourself up over something that was someone else's decision.

 

Just get back to learning and dancing. So you're pirouettes are not great - what are you going to do about it? Practice balancing? Extra rises after barre to build strength? Whatever it is you need to fix, just stop worrying about everyone else and go do it! :)

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Scuballerina, you're going through what a lot of us go through. We tend to measure ourselves against others, for good or bad.

 

But as adult dance students, we can train ourselves in all sorts of ways, including to improve our mental health and happiness. So the trick really is, really -- don't compare yourself with anyone else. You're in class for you! Remember that, and just do what you enjoy doing.

 

It's simple to say, but harder to do -- but keep your enjoyment of class.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

Thanks for posting this, Redbookish. I myself have been very frustrated of late. I moved to a new area and am trying my hardest to find the right classes. There is a very nice class, my level, attended by other teachers and ex-pros as well as other adults of the same level, with a great teacher that is about 40 minutes away. It meets four times a week. I'd like more of a warm up but generally it's quite good. There is another class (meets two times a week) that I was recently invited to join. The class is billed as advanced/professional and it is but it's also the company class of a small chamber ballet company. I feel so uncomfortable - as this class is new, no other non-company members have yet come to the class. So that leaves me as the only dancer who is not in the company. No one knows my name (not even the teacher) and no one says anything to me - at all. Yesterday, I finished barre and just could not bring myself to do the center work, so I left

 

I know I should have been able to complete the class, but just as you state above, it's simple to say but harder to do. I count myself very fortunate that I can go to the studio where I teach anytime in the morning when there are not regular classes and do my own class... which I will do this morning.

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Pas de Quoi: I am in the same situation (nearly). There are no professional classes available in my area but because I want to keep in shape on high level I contacteda nearby contemporary company if I could take their morning ballet classes and I was invited to join and take one lesson. Where I live, good trained people are rare and obviously the AD wanted to see me and check if I would not disturb the class. That they, only the balletmaster notice me, the AD appeared but she kind of did not seem to see me so by the end of the class when I approached her, she gave me a puzzled look and then remembered that her office girl told her something about me. She was okay with me taking class every friday (no idea why not on monday, since they have a set class for one week...). Anyway, I go there now nearly every friday. The company members are much younger than me, they are doing a performance year and try to get a first job. There's a lot of concurrence going on (not in a bad way but everyone from the outside could be someone who steals them their job). They don't know my name, the teacher does not know my name and is trying hard to ignore me. Acutally I caught him a couple of times turning towards me, wanting to say something and stopping himself from doing it because he realized that it was me. I say "hi" to the dancers and I am happy when they reply at all.

 

First I thought I would be the odd one out in this class, being about 10 years older than everyone there (but I am so short and slim that I was estimated many times around 18 so maybe the difference is not so obviouse), just being able to take a professional class once a week and not everyday but in the end, I realized that I kind of disappear in the mass, that I don't stand out in a negative way.

 

Same goes for my first SI I attend when I was a teen: My (back then) recreational teacher told me that I could easily take the highes level because I would be "so good". There was no audition and teachers might move you around when you don't fit in the level the first day. I found myself with a whole lot of pre-professional teens, training many hours a day (and me twice a week) with a level that was completely above my abilites (what I thought). There were another couple of recreational dancers but I thought I would be the only one who was behind everyone else. I talked to the teacher but she said that the class would be perfect for me and that it would be good to take a class that would be challenging for me. I was not so terrible as I thought I would be. By the end of the week, I realized that I might not be so flexible than the others and that I might not have so many pirouettes, such a good memory to remember long combinations but my technique was much cleaner and therefore the level was totally okay for me.

 

We are extremely critical about ourselfs. Recently I got a video taken of me rehearsing the Grand Pas Classique variation, just to see myself what I was doing wrong. I was horrified. I watched it six months later and I was like "nice dancer, needs to work on xyz....wait a second....that's me!" It was only as half as horrible watching it and not getting in the first moment that it was me.

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Scuballerina:

Just a point that has been discussed over and over on the Teachers Board. There is so much more to ballet than pirouettes and flexibility...however, pirouettes and flexibility seem to be how dancers judge themselves and each other. I am fairly certain that you were placed in the classes in which you belong...and if you didn't belong there they would ask you to change. I have seen many unimpressive dancers that can "kick and turn". Those skills are definitely part of ballet...but they don't make a dancer. Just keep doing what you are doing and try to enjoy every moment. I really feel that every moment in the studio is a gift.

 

Enjoy!

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Dear all, thanks thanks thanks a lot for your support. I feel a bit embarassed with my outburst. Thanks for the advice of not comparing myself to anyone but myself, that my teachers know better than me (heh heh supposed to be obvious) on placement, and ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF DANCING!!!! < especially considering the challenge of reorganizing dayjob to attend the class on time!

 

Willimus, thanks! noted that flexibility and turn are not equal to dancing (although this is still a concept that is difficult for me to apply).

Tthe irony is that my teachers said my pirouette is good if I am not too tense... Oh well, ballet is such a mindgame, right?

 

Am off for my class now, and will cherish every small improvement I experience!

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And breathe ...

 

 

(but seriously, breathing as part of your technique is so important)

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hahaha! thanks a lot for the reminder, Redbookish. Agreed. My cambre has so far improved after breathing (read the tips in this board as well)

 

happy weekend, everyone!

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So yesterday after my class I hanged out with my vaganova teacher. He complimented my classmates, saying that their progresses are great. I finally bit the bullet and asked whether I am progressing. His answer? "Yes, you are. But you are taking more classes, so my expectation to you is greater."

 

oh well...

 

Good side is he invited me to his advance class, as he noted that I am a serious student. Too bad the class is in the morning...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on my situation:

 

My IF teacher was absent last week and was substituted by my adult teacher (the one that gave me clearance for IF). They discussed afterwards on the students' progress, and my adult teacher mentioned that I have progressed a lot, compared to when I first joined the adult class.

 

So.... YAY!!!!!

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