I will always be a student; and I’m an organized pupil too. I’m very good with note taking, calendars, to do lists, journals, and other sorts of information gathering techniques. When I started taking ballet class, I put my skills to work on my new subject as I would any other new course work. I keep a dance class journal and a dance class calendar. I can tell you when I took class, what kind of class, with what teacher, and what was covered in the class from the very first class I ever took. I have notes about exercise combinations, music, corrections, thoughts, and feelings. I know the exact date that I completed my first pirouette, first time I fell down in class, first time I held a balance to the very end of the exercise, and the day I went out from my foot injury and how many classes that I missed!
Currently I keep a calendar and a journal. In the calendar, I keep master calendars of all the classes that are available, with teacher info, studio addresses, and phone numbers. I schedule classes and keep track of class cards. I log in performances that I will attend and if I’m traveling to see a performance, I keep information regarding places to take class and ballet shopping in the calendar as well. Right after class, I take notes about the music, exercises, combinations, corrections, or other information that I want to hang on to before it all runs away from my brain. I also keep some sizing information for my ballet gear, particularly about shoes. Flatties can be sized so differently that I actually forget what I wear and which shoe I prefer so I have those kinds of notes written down too.
I also keep a separate journal. I use a notebook that I was given at Chacott on one of my ballet trips to Tokyo. Some time after class I try to find some time to sit down with a cup of coffee and my journal and write my more extended thoughts about classes and dance experiences. A lot of blog posts are born in this journal but it’s primarily a private place where I can talk to my ballerina self in complete honesty, even when I’m not feeling particularly positive about my experiences. In public, I try not to spread negativity, even when it’s an honest feeling because I have a thought that it is ethically unsound. The way I see it, we should be seeding the ground not salting it.
I realize that not every one is a writer by nature and spending extended time writing isn’t going to be everyone’s idea of a good time but I will propose that any serious student should try to keep a dance calendar/journal, even if it is just to keep track of class schedules and perhaps take a few class notes.
I’m interested… do you keep class notes or a dance journal of some sort? Why or why not?
p.s. Another favorite for journal keeping are Mead Composition books, they even have a class schedule on the inside cover that can be used for regular class schedules. Love ’em!