Friday, November 20, 2015

Faking It

Sooo there are certain things that I fake in ballet class sometimes, because I don't actually know how to do them and nobody ever explains how to?  I'm almost embarrassed to write this entry, because now you will know how amateur hour I actually am.  But I figured it's more important to be honest here than anything.

In class with (the perfect) LF yesterday, we were doing a combination in center.  It was tendu croisé devant, transfer the weight, ballet walk twice and close (maybe?  there was some plié in there I'm forgetting), reverse it to go backwards, tendu with the front leg to second (can't remember what line), turn to the other corner into a first arabesque, extend and close, sous-sus and finish.  Something like that.  ANYWAY, after we do it the first time, LF turns to look and me and says, "Okay...we need to work on ballet walks."  Caught!

Because...I have been faking it...this whole time.  I've actually been (whisper) doing pas de chaval instead of ballet walking, because I didn't know how to do it.  And nobody corrected me.  I knew it wasn't right, but I didn't know what was?  I said this to LF in an abbreviated fashion, and she said "There's no faking in my class."  Haha, LOVE LF.

So now I know how to ballet walk!  It's actually not hard once someone explains it to you.  It's almost like normal walking, who would have thunk it?

Okay, the other thing that I've been faking is piqué turns.  Teachers always just seem to tell you to just do them?  And so I've been just kind of throwing myself into them and hoping they turn out?  And I get around and whatnot, but I don't actually really know what I'm doing.  So of course we're marking and LF is basically like WTF are you doing, we are breaking this down.

So now I know you're supposed to open your arms as you turn and look to the corner before piqué-ing and turning.  And actually, piqué turns are not that bad either...when you know what you are doing!  Surprise, surprise.

Honestly, it is so easy to fall between the cracks in adult open classes here.  There are usually just too many people of varying levels for teachers to explain everything.  When LF was correcting everyone's attitude position a few weeks ago, my friend mentioned, "Other teachers will make you do attitude turns without even explaining a proper attitude position."

That's why I love my Thursday class with LF.  She will correct and explain things that other teachers just sort of ¯\(ツ)/¯ over.  A lot of teachers expect you to mimic those around you and improve.  Sometimes you figure out why yours doesn't look like theirs and you can correct yourself, but sometimes you can't and you just fake it (or at least I do).

It's helping me improve a lot and it shows in my other classes.  Like in chassé.  I couldn't figure out why mine looked kind of sloppy even though I've been doing them for a year now.  A few weeks ago, LF corrected me that I wasn't landing in a clean fifth.  So she just kept saying fifth, fourth while I went.  This Monday, we were doing chassé in class, and that teacher says to me, "That's so clear.  Pretty!"  I do love my Monday teacher, but I feel a little bit like, this could have been easily corrected earlier.

I always feel a bit...chagrined with these easy fixes.  Like how deficient am I that I haven't figured this stuff out?  I said this to the boyfriend yesterday, and he said that's what class is for.  And then he made me teach him how to ballet walk and was like, it's really not that easy!  It was actually pretty hilarious watching him, which made me feel marginally better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Random Thoughts, Feelings and Scenes

I've been away on vacation, and I only took class once the whole time I was away.  I bought lots of dance stuff though!  For anyone in Los Angeles, Danny's Warehouse is definitely a must do if you are into scoring deals on dancewear.  Adult Beginner wrote about her adventures there if you are curious.


I had lunch with a ballet friend after class on Sunday, and I was able to articulate some thoughts and feelings I had been having about ballet.  She was talking about committing more, doing more, etc...and I was able to say that I am personally okay with not doing more and pushing myself in that way at the moment.

I haven't really talked about it on this blog in depth, but I've dealt with mental health issues for a lot of my adult life.  I sometimes wonder if some of the things about ballet are triggering or unhealthy for me.  It definitely can play up my anxiety, and I'm having some body dysmorphia issues that I don't really want to get into as yet.  I think it's manageable, but I think I should be mindful in the way I do ballet.  It's very easy for me to push myself and be a perfectionist; it's much harder for me to be kind to myself.  I want ballet to be healthy and joyful for me.  I want to maintain my interest in it in a sustainable way.  I definitely got pretty burned out on Other Movement towards the end, and I don't want that to happen with ballet.

Even though I am writing about this in a rational way here, I do feel a bit inadequate compared to my friends who do more and push themselves more.  Am I just being a baby about this?  Am I just avoiding challenging myself?  Insecurity...


After class on Monday, I had a conversation with a woman I see semi-regularly in class.  She mentioned that I said something to her about a combination a few weeks ago that really helped!  And she said that I was really nice and friendly, and that some people were very serious and competitive in the studio.  I said I took ballet very seriously, but not myself.  As an adult beginner, one has to have a sense of humor and perspective, don't you think?  Anyway, in light of a post about introvert problems on balletandorbust, I'm happy that more people are comfortable chatting with me before and after class.


We were doing a combination across the floor (saute arabesque saute passe twice, one more saute arabesque, glissade, pas de chat).  My first time across on my right side was pretty good...dare I say even pretty!  So it made it really hilarious on the left side, when my pas de chat was terrible because I didn't hold my upper body at all!  A girl I know came up to me after I did it and I was laughing at myself, and was like, you are ridiculous, what was that!?  I shrugged and said, my body thought we were doing modern dance or something, and then starting doing Graham style contractions for a second before my next pass.


I will have to remember to write out notes from that Monday class, as it was a good one for me and I had some realizations.