Today’s class was awesome… challenging, fun, got some compliments, got some corrections, got some good turns in, and pushed through when I got tired… and watched a little meltdown that didn’t have to happen.
Here’s the story… lovely girl in class, very very new to ballet, nice facility but needs to work on focus first and then realize that ballet is not something that one picks up easily by taking class once a week for a couple of months, especially if one likes to chat during class rather than work. I have no idea what exercise in center freaked her out but at one point we were separated into two groups and when we switched groups, she ended up crying in the corner. In her words, she was the only one who wasn’t getting it and she had never been more embarrassed in her entire life.
First off I have no idea what exercise caused her little meltdown because I was paying attention to what I was doing not what any one else was doing… that’s pretty much the deal in ballet class, no? I mean, the truth is who could possibly manage to do frappes and rond de jambes en l’air in center AND scope out everyone else in class? Not me!!! The only time we really watch other people is when we are following someone and we usually pick out the “good” dancer. I didn’t judge everyone else as sucky in comparison, I just located the person who seemed to get it and followed along. I’ve been in plenty a situation where I was just not getting it and I can tell you my main focus was not worrying about looking stupid as it was about trying to figure out what to do and how to get my body to do it! And no one ever came up to me and said, wow, you looked terrible out there, you must be really embarrassed! Never.
My Awesome Ballet Teacher always says it’s just ballet, no one ever dies in ballet class. He also says that ballet is a process, even when we fail, we learn. Even when we fail repeatedly. So here’s the thing, my dear friends, ballet is not meant to be horrid. It’s meant to be beautiful and joyful, but it’s also incredibly difficult and it’s something that we never finish learning. Have you ever had a class where you did everything perfectly? me either and I’ve never heard of anyone achieving absolute perfection. Have you? didn’t think so. If we just accept that there will be mistakes and that we seek perfection but its an impossible journey then we can accept that making mistakes does not ruin the joy of ballet class, we can be ready to have a GREAT class even when we jacked up a few things. We can still rock a post ballet glow even if our turns sucked and sucked bad.
Part of enjoying ballet class is coming together with my fellow ballet class-mates. We work together, we sweat together, we dance together. And when it’s over we share the happiness of ballet class. I love that. When I tell my teacher thank you for the great class, I mean it with all my heart.
I feel bad that my little ballet classmate was not to be consoled today and I do hope that she will learn to listen to those of us who want so much for her to discover the joy of this insane challenge that is ballet. And I also hope that we will all continue to be happy in our dancing, to learn from our errors and bask in our progress and to continue to welcome with arms in second new and difficult challenges because ballet will not kill us, it will make us better.