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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nerves


Animefleur

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Whew! There's nothing like holiday classes with guest teachers to get a fresh perspective on yourself and your dancing. Never have I gotten so many corrections and advice from a teacher in one day :D. One thing he kept saying to me over and over, but in different ways, was to chill out and not be so nervous.

 

Because this was the holdiay session we ended up with a whole bunch of levels combined--I did barre with the advanced girls, which was a good challenge, but I drowned in the centerwork, so I discreetly exited myself and ended up staying for the next class--which was with 9 and 10 year olds. Thankfully two dancers my height were there and one 12 year old, but it felt a little weird to be dancing with people half my size (and age). Even more embarassing was that my ability was closer to what the ten year olds were capable of than what the older teens could do. It was frustrating to not know some steps these little ones knew and yet know some of what the sixteen year olds know and not fit in with either one. I've been working hard and do see a lot of improvement, but what can I do about all these "gaps?" For example, I can do an echappe battu, assemble combination, but can't do a brise to safe my life!

 

Back to my initial question--I approached the guest teacher after class to ask about one thing I still didn't understand (after the poor guy had already gone over it with me about 5 or 6 times in class). He showed me it again and then asked me to show him. I started to and then he stopped me saying, "never apologize for your dancing--either with words or with your body. First you drop your eyes, then your shoulders go, then your chest.... Other dancers taking the class are pretty much oblivous to another dancer, but the moment you look down they start thinking 'what's the matter with her?'" He then asked me to try it again. I thought to myself, gosh I hope I can make everything come out right this time because he's really trying to help me. Without even realizing it I kind of cocked my head to one side. He stopped me again--no, see, you're already starting to apologize for it not being good enough. He then gave me some places to look and I did (finally:rolleyes: ) get it. What he said has been haunting me, though. How do you "trust yourself?" How do you not get yourself all tensed up? Help!

 

I've had a lot of questions on my mind, lately and thanks for taking the time to read all of this.

Wish me luck as I get to dance with the 10 year olds again tomorrow (different teacher, though).

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Animefleur, as a late starter you basically just have to bite the bullet and be patient. Confidence comes with knowing what you are doing and knowing that you can do it. That is not possible for someone who has not had enough training yet, no matter what age!

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Plunge on! As if unafraid. Remember, courage is not made in the absence of fear, it is made in the despite of fear. After all, what is the worst thing that can happen to you? Fall down, maybe? How many people have you seen fall in class and were completely OK afterward? Almost all of 'em, I'll bet! So, what then, you make a mistake? Life is full of mistakes! Class is made for mistakes! And when they get made, they get corrected. Remember, if you act unafraid, very soon you will BE unafraid!

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Guest dancer04

I used to have a lot of nerves in classes especially with our male teacher. I don't know why him, probably because he very rarely teaches our class and he just intimidates me. But the best advice I have gotten is this: "If you make a mistake, make a big one!" He tells us this because he says that if we screw up we had better screw up with all we have!

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Guest Angel2Be

The point is you were able to get it eventually!

 

I remember on the first day of a dance class my teacher pointing out in front of everyone that I looked shy. It was rather embarassing, but I think I got her point: you can be shy or afraid, just make sure no one can tell that you're shy or afraid. Now I make sure not to let any inhibition interfere with my dancing or show on my face.

 

Good luck. :D

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Thank you all for your responses. I've refused to let any shortcomings in my technique bother me during class and the rest of my classes this week HAVE been going better from almost every aspect. It is very diffiult to be a late starter, but this week I've realized just how much I have progressed at this studio and also why I'm not fitting in any more. You see, I've been taking several adult classes and also an intermediate class, but I'm seeing that I've gotten about everything I can out of the adult classes as far as advancing. I'm going to ask my teacher again (it's been 5 months since I did) if I can take an intermediate class with the 12, 13, 14 year olds so I can go back and pick up some of the steps I've missed, continue with my other classes, and take barre (and as much adagio as I can handle) with the advanced girls. Does this sound like a good plan? Some steps are a lot easier to pick up by watching the other dancers whereas (for me at least) I need the jumps to be explained. Arms and head need a lot of work, but I've picked up a lot of that by watching the advanced girls this week. I can't really watch the adults to be able to pick up those sorts of subtle refinements.

 

Mjr. Mel, I'm not afraid of falling, but I can think of two things that are worse: stepping on your own foot--which I did yesterday--and being front and center, not more than five feet away from the teacher, and then having the combination completely fly out of your head just as the music starts!

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Stepping on your own foot? Shucks, everybody does that! No problem. It's only a problem if that's all you do - no steps, just stepping on your own foot!

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