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What do you do after a disappointing session in class?

Guest joodiff

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Hi all,


Urgh, I did really badly in class yesterday night and am feeling very depressed now. Is that normal? I mean, no matter how hard I tried or concentrated last night, I just couldn't do anything right!


Just wanted to find out if any of you had bad days like that and what you do to feel better................Eg. Resolve to practise harder than ever at home, watch more instructional videos, etc?

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Yes, it's normal, in anything you do at all seriously. If you always have it easy in class, the level is most likely too low for you. :)


If it's one class every now and then, I usually try not to do anything about it, other than continue with my class schedule etc.


If I've tried my best and not succeeded, then, well, that's that. I tell myself that it's normal and I should not let it affect my other pursuits, or my attitude the next class. Next time better luck. This too shall pass. And so forth. :D


(When a time comes that I never have good classes, then it is the time to consider if the level is too high for me, or the teacher not suitable, or the time of the class such that I simply am always too tired then... but that's another matter.)

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I am the bad seed of the group.

When I have a bad class, I eat some ice cream or chocolate (or hot cocoa if it is cold out)! LOL!


(I work hard so I can do these things!)


Anyway. over the ice cream or chocolate, I try to figure out why I had a bad class. Was I hungry? Am I getting sick? Is there a major stressor today/lately?

I then take strides to fix it. Hungry? I bring a snack to have a little while before class. Sick? Take some medicine, get rest, see a doctor. Stress? Try to fix it, alleviate the problem, take a minute to relax before class, just breath and remember that this is why I dance, to forget and relax.

Then there is the simple fact that we all have off days once in a while. It is human and it happens to all of us.



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Tibbit, I must admit that I don't always manage not to do anything about it... though with me it's more likely to be dry cider and toast, ham and mayoinnaise than chocolate or ice cream. ;)

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Tibbit - I don't think you're bad at all! I very much enjoy going out for a drink or meal after any kind of class and chatting about it! It (after ballet dancing itself of course) is an excellent way to wind down and think through what has happened, what's gone well or badly, whether you think the teacher has been good etc...


We do all have our good and bad days and this depends on all sorts of things. Jaana's right too, if things never seem to be going right then it's probably time to think about looking elsewhere for tuition. A challenging class, where you might not be able to do everything, is a good thing but being made to feel rubbish and hopeless is a different story.


And also, naturallement, after class you can always come on BA and vent your spleen/ask intelligent questions!

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There are just those days that you have a bad class, or you just can't pirouette to save your life, or you cannot get the correct feet during petit allegro -- it happens. It's upsetting, yes, but there's always another class to try again.


My husband was the one who figured out that I had a pattern: I never complained after a Tuesday class, but I often complained about technique problems after a Thursday class and again, was pretty quiet after my Saturday morning class. I still haven't quite figured out why Thursday is my "bad" day -- perhaps because I'm tired from working for 4 days. Perhaps because my teacher gives us a more challenging class on Thursday. In any case, knowing that I have a pattern has helped.

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I like Jaana's point about a bad class being a sign of improvement. Ultimately it means you're able to compare yourself and your own growth. I, too, don't handle it well. I get moody. I walked out of a class once before it over, I was so upset with myself. I simply couldn't do a thing in center that day.


But time mellows one. Now when I have a day where I can't turn, I just shrug it off. Some days you can turn, some days you end up face down on the floor. :rolleyes:

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It's really kinda nice to know that I'm at least quite normal..........feeling upset over bad classes and all. Thanks people!


And you know what, now that Tibbet has mentioned it, I DO tend to eat more after a bad time. Not neccessarily chocs and ice cream, but I do tend to get really lax about watching what I eat. Maybe subconciously my brain figures out that I've already had such a tough time in class, I don't more pressure from restricting my food intake!!! :rolleyes:


And thanks for mentioning the pattern thing............I think I'm probably doing terribly in Wednesday night's classes cos it's the middle of the working week and I'm usually tired after a long day's work. But then again, I can't figure out how my classmates manage to get so perky and energetic.


So, do you people have any personal secrets or habits to revv (spelling?) yourselves up before a class so that you're really "on"?

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Guest fastfeets

I was actually very glad to have read this. I have this pattern as well....though not quite as on the mark as you.


Honestly, I dont know what prompts bad classes and good ones, but like others have mentioned, it usually precedes a leap in skill....for myself, it means I'm about to have a huge breakthrough, and if I keep reminding myself of that fact, I can work through those crummy times......it seems to cycle....the worse a class is, the better one soon to follow will be, and I'll look back and see a HUGE improvement on something relatively minor, but one change that makes all the difference....


example....after a disgustingly long break, I'd forgotten how to do a simple, slow turn....and one terrible class I nearly walked out in tears (never to return again, of course....oh it was awful!!!)...but I stayed, finished the class, in the very very back...and returned a few days later and was SO on the ball it was ridiculous....everything that felt wrong previously I now had a handle on. Turns were dead on...balance' was so smooth...en dedans felt natural again...just like that it came back to me. Maybe it didn't LOOK perfect, and truly it didn't FEEL perfect either, but the basics were there, and getting more grounded by the moment.....


So, I simply remind myself that it WILL pass, and a few classes later I will forget what made that one so bad, because something remarkable will have precluded the negativity. (although I do indulge in the self deprecation in the meantime, just so long as hubby remembers to tell me I'm only in that downswing while holding the crackers out of reach...heh heh).




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Guest mathiskewl

I agree that sometimes a dissappointing session means promise of good things to come.


There are a few things I do outside of class that help me - especially since I can't make as many classes as I'd like. One, sometimes at work I take a small break and work on some of the fundamental elements that make up the movement I'm having difficulty with. Another thing I do is to visualize the steps when I have nothing else going on. I usually do this before I go to sleep. I use it not only to help me with the movement, but also to relax me. The visualization alone has worked quite well for me. Sometimes I'm surprised by how much.



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I'm with Kate and Tibbit - I often go out for a beer or glass of wine after class (and not just the bad ones :rolleyes: )


I think the points about a bad class (or classes) preceding a jump ahead in skill and understanding are important. Sometimes we struggle because our mind or body is on the verge of a break through.


Or it might just be a bad day :mad: . I've also noticed that Wednesdays tend to be my bad day. I think this is because I go to class after sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day, so my alignment is not great, I'm stiff, I'm tired, etc.


And then there are those times when it's more than a bad day - sometimes it goes on for a month or so :mad: A while ago I was having a horrible time - for weeks I felt like I couldn't do anything and my teacher was constantly correcting me. I couldn't pirouette to save my life. So I added a beginning class to my schedule for a while and worked on very basic stuff to help rebuild my confidence and try to get rid of some bad habits. Also my teacher said something that helped a lot - basically, she said "Of course ballet is frustrating sometimes. That's because it's HARD" It made me realize that it's normal to get frustrated, but you can't let it take over. I was getting so angry with myself that I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I realized that my teacher was correcting a lot because she was trying to push me to the next level. Hopefully next time I start to go through a bad phase I won't let it get to me so much.

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Guest beckster

I've actually cried in class due to tiredness and frustration at not being able to do something. Really embarrassing, especially since everyone else in the class is a teenager! I just try to put it behind me, which is easier said than done. Sometimes it's hard to let go of the days work and just concentrate on ballet, especially if you are stressed and tired to start with. I suppose it's one of those occupational hazards of being an adult.

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Last week there was a class where I just could not for the life of me remember how to do a contretemps. I've been in an intermediate level class doing this step for a year and a half, and one day I just couldn't get it. I can't tell you how many times I've done this step with no problem, but there I was staring at me feet like they were from Mars. Instead of getting upset, I just laughed. You take the good days with the bad. The next class I did them just fine. I even got the arms right!

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There are several types of situation:

- you're too tired, you've had a bad week, you've got your period, you hate everyone...etc... Those times count for nothing... I just think it's not a good day, have a bath and go to bed early :)

- you forget how to do a step, a combination, you go left when you should go right...etc... If I need to do it in the future again, I'd go through it when I'm more relaxed, the day after, or following instructions on a book, or writting it down to cut each step at home (marking it slowly)

- you just 'think' everything had been bad, but really, analysing it, it's one or two things that were bad (it could be general, like no balance at all). In this case, I go through it in my head, and think very carefully of what COULD go wrong... If it's the balance, have I really applied enough strength in my legs; have I thought of feeling tall, always; have I felt the 'corset' around my spine and body...etc... If it's a pirouette, where my arms well placed, was my head spotting, was my centre out...etc... On those days, I reflect very specifically on technique, and try to apply the principles on a future class... Usually, it takes a few more practice to get it back, and then, it's better...


There are days like this that are really really frustrating. It definitely goes in a cycle. For days, you seem to not get it, then you do, and lose it for a couple of days, then you definitely get it forever... It's a learning pattern. I never take it too seriously (well, in theory, because it's really frustrating... I know I could pull my hair out on those days! :mad: )

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For me, a 'disappointing class' is not generally one where I get things wrong... Like 2Left, I tend to laugh when I make mistakes - after a long day in front of a computer screen it is often hard to concentrate on the exercises - particularly the quick ones at the barre and petit allegro!


I've been through frustrating periods of time - but being 'bad' at certain things was only disappointing if I felt I wasn't getting anywhere or the teacher wasn't behind me, or the teaching and exercises were uninspiring.


I guess the main thing to bear in mind is to pinpoint exactly why you feel deflated after a class. Was it because you were tired? Was the work too easy or too difficult? Were the other people in the class showing off and making you feel like you shouldn't have been there? Did you get good corrections from the teacher? Did you get ANY corrections from the teacher? Was there a pianist or did the CD player skip and did the music fit the steps?


If you come out of a class thinking, 'I'll never get (x steps) right' you need to think whether you are being defeatist or whether there are other factors bruising your self confidence. If you have a good teacher and a good class, and you are determined to get it right and work hard, you will succeed. The bad times will pass.


I hope this makes sense. When you go to classes that don't inspire you or classes that harm your self-confidence I know it can make you feel like never going back to dance class. But you (and I mean 'you' in a general sense of the word) need to keep at it, because when you come out of a good, fun class where you've done your best and felt like you've made progress it is one of the best feelings in the world.;)

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