Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Classes In Between

As an adult ballet beginner, I am of course obsessed with the idea of progress.  Especially with a blog...if only every post was one about documented improvement.

I feel like in the beginning it seems like everything IS progress.  When you are starting from nothing, there is nowhere to go but up.  Every class is one where you can say "I learned how to do X!"  But as you learn more and go to class regularly, the progress feels more like plateaus and small steps, with triumphant progress moments seeming few and far between (like being put on pointe, or moving up a class level) and higher expectations for your performance.

My class yesterday was not a class of breakthroughs.  I did not finally nail pirouettes (definitely not) or have some realization that solved some problem.  Like most classes now a days, some things were a little better and some things were a little not.  The progress made is as yet undetectable; my body and brain have probably improved by a drop.

This post might sound kind of down, but I'm actually not discouraged at all.  I left class yesterday incredibly happy to have done it.  I am writing this because sometimes it's hard to read all the adult beginner blogs with all the exciting posts about this breakthrough or that achievement.  Not that I hate on any of them at all*, it's more of a fear of missing out or that I'm not doing it right.  But I realized that it is much easier to blog about the big progress moments (I wonder if that is why so many beginner blogs fade away), and that everyone is probably also having classes that are just a drip of progress rather than a splash.  That there are always going to be classes in between the big moments.

I often tell students in Other Movement that the achievement is in the work.  You just have to keep doing the work and love it for the process.  I should remember to learn this for myself in ballet.

Okay dance journal note for yesterday: Teacher changed up the across the floor combination yesterday, and it was hilarious to see everyone try to work around their muscle memory.  It went saute-arabesque (arms in second arabesque) three times, saute-arabesque (ARMS IN FIRST ARABESQUE for this fourth one so you just change the legs not the arms, everyone's brain just exploded), saute-passe, saute-arabesque (arms in second arabesque again).  It really is my favorite class to just feels so perfectly complete.

*Seriously, I love this blogging community (check out my blogroll and maybe discover a new one!).


  1. First off, I would like to say that I love reading your blog and I love that you're positive about everything. Not every class will see progress. But these classes feed into other classes and this class was a learning experience that will make you stronger and will lead to you progressing. So even when you're not progressing, you really are. Does that make sense? lol.

    Secondly, I really would like to have a blogroll on my blog as well (thank you for adding me!) but I don't know how to do that. Mine is Blogger/Blogspot too. I'm just newer to it, I guess. My old blog was more of a everyday diary but I would love to have a blogroll on my dance blog.

    Bearika Ballerina

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes, after writing this post, I do think of progress more like how you described. I kept thinking of a drip of water. It may not seem like much at first, but after a while, you have filled a cup. And then after longer, you can have a bucketful of drips of water!

      It's actually very easy to add a blogroll on blogger. Go to the "Layout" section for your blog and then click "add a gadget" for where you want it to go. On the "add a gadget" list, click on "blog list" and you will get a window where you can add URLs and customize it all. Save and you're done!

  2. I feel you so much about your fear of missing out. We mostly share our good times on the internet and that's what we end up reading. But I absolutely agree with hysterika. "Bad" classes are part of the process. You have to go through them anyway so let's work hard to get the most of it :)

    1. Yes, excellent perspective!

      FOMO is why I don't really do social media.