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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Example of good thinking

Jaana Heino

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Yesterday at swords class we had an excercise I had more difficulties with than the most. We were practicing it in pairs, and the teacher came and started correcting me. He explained and demonstrated how to do the movement, and then asked: "Do you see?"


"I understand the theory," said I, "but I just can't do it right."


"Oh, yes you can," he said. "Just not quite yet."


I found that to be extremely well said, and such a good attitutude to practicing anything, that I wanted to share it with you. :)

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Balanchine had an elegant variation on this sort of thinking when he would introduce a difficult or strange passage for a ballerina.


"Dear, I am man, I don't know, is this (demonstrating) possible on pointe?"


He knew entirely well what was and wasn't possible on pointe, but he was using it as an attention-grabber. The dancer he was setting it on, if she were smart, followed his thinking, and answered,


"Well, it isn't right now, but this afternoon it will be."


(Translation - I think I can do that, let me work on it?)

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