I Might Actually Have Been Dancing!

My Ballet World – Week 4

Between my Trocks trip to Chicago and a night in Irvine with La La La Human Steps, I only went to one class this week. But with that in mind, let me just assure you that watching dance is more than just entertainment. Watching dance teaches you about performance, technique, and musicality; it’s inspiring and energizing; I would argue that watching dance is really an intriguing and necessary part of participating in dance.

I was really nervous about how stiff and/or lost I would be after a week without ballet class – isn’t that funny? One week and I was all in a worry. I did not want to even consider anchoring the barre but got moved there anyway… thanks for the vote of confidence Awesome Ballet Teacher! “I am the boss of me” became the mantra for the afternoon but before too long I was starting to think someone out there has some kind of mean and evil remote control and I was not the boss of me, at least not my feet. Deep breathe, focus, chin up – “I am the boss of me.” There is a lot of be said for that stupid mirror because as I started to become less obsessed with counting to 8 and more intrigued by watching and correcting my own lines and being my own boss. Pretty hands, pretty feet, pretty lines.

The other issue with watching my own lines and being aware of my whole movement rather than just focusing on my feet and a few joints, was that I stopped following the “good” girl. You know, the girl who is obviously far better than I am, has much more talent, and even has pretty feet. Yeah, that girl – we hate her. But we all want to stand behind her and follow her, dang it. Actually, I really like the “good” girl in my class, on top of everything else, she’s really sweet and helpful and rides a wicked Ducati. Anyway, I stopped following her  in the mirror and amazement, people! The combinations became easier and the more I reached for pretty lines as whole movements, the more it made sense, the better it felt! I think I might have been dancing for a minute or two!

I was so inspired that I came up with a fun idea for dealing with the dreaded mirror on the way home. I’m working on it now so stay tuned and you’ll be the first to know!

8 thoughts on “I Might Actually Have Been Dancing!

  1. You are so right when you say that if you do not follow the ‘best girl’ in class everything becomes easier. I had exactly the same at the beginning of this month. Our ‘best girl’ is unfortunately very sick and won’t be able to come back for a long time 😦 So, there isn’t a best girl to follow anymore.

    It’s really interesting because you really are on your own. Of course you can follow the rest of the class, but I noticed soon enough that it was not a good idea, because you’re trying to follow everyone except yourself. So, it only took me one class without the ‘best girl’ to really focus only on myself! And it works! Everything seems much easier, I am much more aware of all my body parts and not only my feet, I feel this flow that I didn’t feel before because I was paying too muhc attention to others ppl body.

    I’m curious about the mirror idea :3

    • Isn’t it amazing! I hope the “best girl” in your class heals well and gets back to dancing soon. I find that I am challenged and inspired by the really good dancers in my classes, especially when I take the more advanced classes, but I don’t rely on them any more! It’s kind of freeing. The strange thing is I think that I’m becoming one of the girls to follow. My teacher asks me to anchor on the main barre in most of my classes. It’s very strange to be barre leader!

      I’m working on my “mirror project” and hope to roll it out soon! 😀

    • That’s so cool! I know that watching dance is an energizing experience for me! I WISH I could take a class right after because despite the usual late hour after a performance, I can never sleep from excitement!

      Onegin on Friday!!!

  2. Great post! I thought I’d respond to Jeff:
    It is SO true. As a former ‘rina, who hasn’t danced or even taken class in a very long time, but who goes to (and writes about) many ballet performances, I can tell you my muscles absolutely still have their memory (or, rather, they THINK they do.) I truly feel every little chasse, tendu, and pirouette when I’m observing dance. It’s difficult to sit still, actually (though I do manage it.)
    Obviously I’m not ‘feeling’ 32 fouettes, at this stage of my life, but my body wants to correct itself as I’m watching the performance-totally as if I’m attempting them, myself.
    Mmm hmm-‘Once a dancer, always a dancer’.
    Teri McCollum

    • Thanks, Teri! That is really awesome! As a beginner, I still don’t fully understand the feeling of all of the movements that I watch, but wow, the difference from watching ballet a year ago to watching ballet today is like night and day. I thought I loved ballet before I started taking classes myself but it was more of a cerebral adoration. Now when I watch ballet, it’s much more palatable, the connection to the joy of the movement – it’s really so much more intense.

  3. Oh! Are you local to the SF Bay Area too? (Sorry, but I just started following your fabulous blog…) I am attending my 4th ‘Onegin’ tomorrow in an effort to cover all casts; I’m a true die-hard, but 3 performances were all I could handle last wk-end.
    All the casts have much to recommend them, but you will be seeing one of the most popular and eagerly anticipated of them (as I’m sure you’re aware!): Yuan Yuan Tan and Ruben Martin as Tatiana & Onegin, Jaime Garcia Castilla & Dores Andre as Lensky & Olga, and Damian Smith as Gremin-quite the line-up. You will be amazed at the challenging partnering (difficult for even the company’s best and brightest stars, though they master it quite well) and gorgeous choreography and music. It’s a truly great show. 🙂
    Let’s keep in touch and meet up sometime during the season? I am so glad to hear someone else can’t sleep and feels really pumped after attending the ballet. Sometimes I cannot ‘come down’ till 3-4am.
    (Which is not at all conducive to my day job, if it’s a week day.)
    P.S. I was a small time ‘rina, not a big time ‘rina. As in better than the scenery. But WAY better. 😉

    • Thanks so much for following, that’s kind of you to say 😀

      Actually I’m in Los Angeles, but flying up is so easy and I love SF Ballet so much that I head up several times a season. One of the many (many many) things that I love about ballet – it’s possible to watch the same ballet over & over with different casts (and different companies as well) and each time its different and potentially wonderful. I wanted to see both Yuan Yuan Tan and Sarah Van Patten dance Tatiana but time (= day job) didn’t permit. I bought tickets before the casting was released. I am SO excited WOOT! I’ve seen Manuel Legris & Maria Eichwald dance segments of Onegin but this will be the first time seeing the entire ballet. Legris & Eichwald set a really high standard of excellence but I think SF Ballet is up to the challenge. Plus, SF Ballet is such an ensemble company and Onegin is a story/ensemble driven ballet (vs a star driven ballet) so I think they are made for each other. I was dropping dead of excitement from the very moment SF Ballet said they were going to perform it this season!

      I’ll make sure to let you know when I’m headed into town, I’d love to meet up some time! Having a day job is such a bummer when there is ballet to dance and to watch… I could stay up and talk about the performance for hours afterward. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as a small time ballerina 😀

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