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Ballet Talk for Dancers

adult frustration

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First I'm sorry if there is another similar topic, maybe I didn't look at the right keywords, I used frustration/frustrated (ended up with casting/SI frustration and mostly pointe shoes frustration), learning curve(one topic on SI), plateau/plateauing, and I didn't find something that could help me.


I just find myself being at a plateau in term of my dancing. It's getting frustrated right now. After struggling last year with foot injury (a bone moving, lot a chiropractor, a tendonitis because of the bone moving, and finally I twisted the same foot while landing backstage on an electric cable), now it's finally almost painfree (I can feel the sprain when it's raining or changing weather, I'm now "weatherwoman"). I find myself plateauing in ballet classes.

I've been taking 3 to 4 classes a week of ballet (only 2 last year), and I find myself struggling with stuff that worked last year: my clean double on both side are now one clean on both side and I'm happy, don't talk about double, do not even talk about attitude pirouette (half turn is exceptionnal where before 1 finishing in arabesque was mastered), the same way do not talk about pointe work in the center (barre is better than never but center work has never been that bad!) ... I know I'm not a turner but a jumper (at intensive this summer they said that I have the grand allegro of a boy (not the small though) !) but even that part going weird jeté entrelacé are nice this year (not really last year) but I struggle woth other simpler jump (big assemblé for example). The only thing going uo is the use of my arm apparently it's more flowy.

So as you can notice a lot of stuff are going on bad or not, but I'm really feeling frustrated right now.

I know that ballet like other activities have learning curve ususally progressing fast then a plateauing before going up again, but now I feel that my plateau is more like a going down.

I still enjoy being in class, it's just after when going out of studio/in my car that the frustrated feeling shows up. This week after each class I found myself kind of depressed and closed to teat. After today's class I even fell in tear once home even though the class was great the teacher has always something nice to say to everyone, she use a lot of facial expressions and humor (she made us laugh while dancing, a first !). I start reaching for support from my family, but none of them are interested in sport or art (they prefer hiking gardening cooking...) so they weren't a big help.

I just don't know how I can surpass this feeling and was hoping for help from this board.

thank you very much

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Take a deep breath. First, we adults are dancing because we enjoy it. Yes, it's great to want to improve, but do not let your amibition get in the way of your fun. There's virtually no point continuing if you're not usually having fun -- you may as well find a different activity you enjoy more.


Second, as you say, plateauing is normal. Even feeling like you're moving backwards is normal, and it's not at all surprising to me that you feel that way as you're trying to get back up to speed after a year's worth of foot injury: you are trying to recover skills you had before, and your body is probably adapting bit by bit by bit and throwing you off as it does. It will, in all liklihood, improve with time.


In my opinion, the absolute best way you can speed up the process is by trying to relax and project calm during class. That does not mean "no effort.," but it does mean "no excessive effort." If you can figure out how to get into this mindset, it will probably help your emotional frustration too, which will help you enjoy yourself, which will help you relax, which will help you improve, etc... Full circle, you see.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

Hi jd29 - It sounds to me like you are having trouble because of your foot and ankle injury. Have you considered having a P.T. assessment? This kind of injury can really mess up our alignment and stabilization (which is why turns and pointe work are affected) and how the muscles of our feet work (which is why some steps like assemblé that involve a coordinated push off the floor are affected).


Dancers can return from injury and continue to progress if they can get some help with working on the underlying issues.


Good luck to you and please keep us posted as to how your are doing! :)

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After the sprain ankle I got to the sport PT and we only did half of the sessions that was planned because my ankle was doing very well for him. Once rehab was over I have gone to 2 summer intensives were i was able to all of the things I normally do. It's just now, when everything is fine, that's things do not work out anymore. I still have the balance on one foot just the turb that doesn't work out... But pas de quoi I understand your pointe of you it's really logical now that everything can be relates to one event. I will try to find time to work myself on a balance board more (I'm better at this with my injured foot) maube it will help either the trust and/or the stabilization. Unfortunatly I don't have access to a ballet/dance PT, only sport PT that don't know anything about dance

I still enjoy going to class however, it's just after that I get frustrated. As gav said I will try to be more relax in class.

I will keep you posted this week !

Thank you dor your advice

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Oh jd29 - we commiserate -- we've all been there - you're on a plateau. It's hard, but as Gav says, we do it because we love it, we do it to enjoy it.


And one excellent teacher I had throughout my early 30s (her ballet classes kept me sane while I finished my PhD) used to say:


"It's when you're falling over your feet that you're learning."


Trust to the process.

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So I not the same in this situation ballet (with horse riding) are the only thing that keep me same while finishing my phD ! I've been through a plateau when horse riding intensively when younger but the plateauing was not as frustrating maybe because you still have the horse to take care of and maybe to talk to after...but in ballet it's benn harder to live...

I will try to trust the process

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Guest Pas de Quoi

jd29 - Have you investigated any of the resources offered by Lisa Howell? She has a new program out regarding returning to dance after an injury. My computer program won't let me post links here, but if you google "Lisa Howell Will I Ever Dance Again" you'll get to some sample videos and her website. I have taken workshops given by Ms. Howell and I think her work is valid and useful.


Good idea working on the balance board - they are great tools!

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As promise,

an update, unfortunatly this week I only have one ballet (instead of 4 this week) and one contemporary class, due to multiple factors : first their was a holyday, thn the teacher was sick and no one was avalaible in a such short notice, then I hurt myself (again!). I block my lower while... hanging my clothes to dry (no kidding, I just move and then ouch !!) I got to see a chiropractor who was amazed as to how I hurt myself (fun discussion however), I can move now but omg the muscle soreness !!. So back to class next monday, then I will tell you how it goes as to feeling better with the plateau !!

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