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 take...it just feels so perfectly complete.
*Seriously, I love this blogging community (check out my blogroll and maybe discover a new one!).