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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Working with an outside choreographer


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A little background: I am 13, have been dancing for 3 years, and am currently in a pretty nice pre-pro school. This is my first experience of working with a choreographer, so there are many things start wearing me out.


Yesterday, we have to do sissonne, sissonne, sissonne to coupe, releve attitude. It was really hard for me because we have not done a lot of one leg releve things, not even at the barre. Everyone went for it but I was so scared; my sissonne were tiny because I was so focused on the releve attitude. The choreographer wasn't happy. I know he wasn't just talking to me, but I feel really bad because I do, I DO, try my best to dance like what he wants.


I am not very good at turning. There is one part that we have to do pique turns, then coupe, coupe, coupe (like the half turn) and into something else. I still haven't managed to do that well, but I practice everyday, doing them slow, doing them in different tempo, trying to spot faster...etc, but my coupes are messing, and I always have to pause a bit before I continue to the next thing. Sometimes, it gets better, but when I have to do it in a class or in the rehearsal, I still don't look good. One teacher helps me a lot, and we work on different ways to make it better. He was there to watch the rehearsal yesterday, and I just feel sooooo bad and sooooo sorry about not doing it well. I feel frustrated and defeated. I am wasting everyone's time, but I am not sure what else more can I do, so I can turn better - especially turn better when people are watching.


If I can't do steps well and nicely, how can I show that I want and try to work professionally? Also, since we dance in groups, when others people aren't traveling much, should I still travel because the choreographer asks us to? I would be standing out, and we get yelled at for not dancing as whole too!


Sorry, it is a lot & thank in advance for any advice.

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e_bunny, you need to give yourself a little leeway here. You are very young, and very new to ballet. Choreographers working with students know that some of them may have had less training, and cannot realistically expect them to do everything at the same level as older and more experienced dancers. No one is going to think you are not serious just because you have not reached a certain level yet. If they see you working and really trying, then that is all they can ask. If the choreographer asks you to travel, then travel, if you can. But if you have remain in a line that is supposed to be traveling and the others in front of you are not moving enough, there really is nothing you can do about that. It is up to those moving first to set pace. Dancing in a group, or a corps de ballet, one has to stay in line, and if you are not at the front of the line, you have to follow whatever the front person does.

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