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Ballet Talk for Dancers

must relax

Guest Medora

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Guest Medora

When I am turning, or doing anything for that matter, I carry all of my tension in my neckand shoulders. This is preventing me from spotting my turns. I have had trouble with spotting all of my life. I have a nice double piruoette, but my neck is tense so it doesn't look so nice when I do it. My teacher says I have to relax on my turns. I'm trying but I'm not having any luck, I feel like my body does it involuntarily so I don't know how to fix it.

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Ah! The dreaded flinch mechanism! Flinching is a sometimes-involuntary physical reaction to a threatening stimulus. People who fire flintlock muskets in competition know it well. After all, what are you going to do when the priming powder explodes about four inches away from your eyeball? Now that's threatening!:eek:

What we do in that case is build the flinch into our aim and we can hit the target every time, but dancing is different.


What needs to happen is a little inside-the-head work to reduce the idea, if not totally obliterate it, that a multiple pirouette is somehow very dangerous. What's the worst that can happen? Fall out of the turn? Not very dangerous. What's the worst that can happen in a fall out of a turn, fall all the way down and end up sitting? Maybe dangerous, more likely not. After all, how often have you seen that happen? Not often, I'll bet! Get embarrassed? I've never seen anybody carted off to the hospital for embarrassment! You're not in class to be perfect every time. you're there to learn how to get closer to perfection! Mistakes are allowed! What's worse than a double pirouette? My money's on being chased by a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex (No, not your Social Studies teacher). Being chased by MY old Social Studies teachers would be worse than a double pirouette! In the general scheme of things, a multiple pirouette is just another step! Just do it, don't anticipate it, dread it, or whomp it up into some great green scaly monster! It isn't, you know. You can even go - "It's just a balance that turns, it's just a balance that turns, it's just a balance that turns. etc....):)


A flinch starts with a little gasp, which is a rapid short inhalation. The fix here is -- ready for it, here it comes -- don't inhale! Exhale during the turn, and you'll already be starting to relax!

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