My New Little Corner

I’ve gotten used to certain places at the barre. I usually prefer perimeter barres over free-standing barres and I usually like corners. I also prefer the least amount of mirror possible. If I can stand by a window or a wall, I will gravitate toward it. Even if your preferences are 100% different, you know what I’m talking about – you find “your place” and there is a sense of comfort about it. I’ve always been at war with the mirror, we’ve never been friends, not even freniemies. No likey mirror, no likey. And that has been a big determiner to where I stand. I’ll even deal with minimal amount of room and just adjust in order to keep my place.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time was in class. She beckoned me over and after a series of hugs and quickly catching up, she asked me to stand in front of her. This put me in a totally new place in the studio – a corner that I’d never gotten near. It is the corner with full mirrors and not just any mirrors… the FAT mirror. But one does not abandon a fellow ballerina in her first class back after a long time away! That would be kind of cruel, us ballet peeps have to stick together after all. So there I was standing in front of these big, FAT emphasizing, full length mirrors; standing right in front so that there was nothing to look at but me, me, me in that FAT mirror.

Want to hear something crazy? I like it. The ability to self-correct was amazing. I discovered so much about the difference between where I thought my arms, legs, hands, and feet were positioned versus where they actually were! and the ability to make those adjustments with a simple glance in the mirror… why did I resist this all this time? Well, of course, because I have body image issues and I still do but this amazing thing happened that night and has continued to happen class after class… I still judge myself harshly before class but as I start to warm up and class starts, my attention diverts from my unwanted poundage to my dancing, to seeing myself move and to matching up what I see with how it feels to move.

I have a new little corner in the studio surrounded by mirrors and I like to look… who would have thought!?! Practically by magic, I have learned to harness the power of la glace and it is amazing what there is to be learned. It’s about watching my form and watching the effort that I put in to my technique, not about worrying if I look chubby. I actually can concentrate on dancing rather than focusing on the size of my thighs – even when I’m actually looking at my thighs!

Here’s a thought… what if we begin to think that when we look in the mirror that there are dancers looking back, not girls with tummies or thighs that we don’t like; that we begin to see ballet dancers moving and dancing instead of boys and girls that are just making believe. Let’s try it, I think that we will like it!

15 thoughts on “My New Little Corner

  1. This is awesome, I love it! I feel much the same way and recently got over my phobia of doing yoga in front of the mirror. I was amazed at all the corrections I could easily make just by looking at myself!! My practice has improved tremendously!!

    • It’s funny, right… taking an amount of ownership for endeavors. Not because we don’t take them seriously or for lack of enthusiasm and effort but because we perhaps did not feel good enough to discuss ‘my practice’ or ‘my training’ as if only professionals or someone other than ourselves are allowed that kind of attachment. I like to refer to my training and my dancing now. Regardless of how good or bad it is, it is mine.

  2. Pingback: The dancer’s mirror |

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