Progress Or Lack Thereof

Semantic satiation

It’s been the usual ballet grind lately—no forays into modern dance or scary new teachers.

I finally learned the name of the other lady that comes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Miranda. She’s really nice. We were chatting and I mentioned that class I went to on Friday. “Oh you went to Pedro’s class?!” she said excitedly. I told her all my woes and she was understanding but insisted that his class is great, if hard.

I didn’t go to any class last Friday. Just didn’t feel like it. I’ve been good about going every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday as I promised myself I would, but I’ve been less enthusiastic than I would have hoped about attending bonus classes. I’m just trying to survive the winter ok??

Class on Monday was good, but every person that came in mentioned they were tired. I was no exception. I was very tired from drinking too much wine out of boredom while watching the worst Superbowl of all time on Sunday. I had to drag myself to class. Of course after class, I felt great!

It’s been a lot of dragging myself to class lately. Seems like in every class I’m just trying to make it through. Not that I’m not enjoying it, I am. I’m just not really not thinking about improving or working on any one thing in particular like I was before. I’m tired, y’all!

In one class recently, I wobbled through an adagio (arabesque, attitude, change the arms, promenade, change the arms, back to arabesque, développé through, etc) and felt so frustrated after my group finished. In my head, I took myself into the locker room and sat myself down. “What are you doing out there?? You look like a wet noodle! Here’s a thought, why don’t you put in A LITTLE EFFORT. Are you even TRYING?! Could you maybe TRY?!” When we did the combination again, it was so much better and less wobbly. I mean it’s not that I wasn’t TRYING before, exactly, I think it’s more that I wasn’t focusing. My mind was two steps behind instead of two steps ahead. So the second time around I focused in and through sheer will, I performed better. If that makes any sense, I don’t know. Well what I’m trying to say is that there is a level I expect myself to be at, there are things I know I can physically do, and if I struggle at those things or if I’m not dancing at that certain level, it’s not because I’m an adult beginner or I don’t have the technique or even that I’m tired. It’s just laziness, lack of focus, lack of determination. I am allowed to yell at myself in that case. I try to be gentle with myself if I’m still learning something, still building strength, etc.

What else? Last week sometime Taylor gave me the correction that I was stepping out with a flexed foot to start a tombé pas de bourrée across the floor and ever since then I’ve been overly conscious of pointing my foot ALWAYS (which I already thought I was overly conscious of but NOPE, my feet have been flappin’ in the breeze the entire time. Figures.). Now of course trying to properly point my foot has been making all my tombés really awkward.

There are like 5 steps where this is happening to me lately. You know when you say a word over and over and until it sounds meaningless and wrong? That’s a tombé to me right now. And a tendue. And kind of a pirouette. I’ll be standing there at the barre doing tendues and my brain will suddenly say, “THIS CANT BE RIGHT.” Luckily I look in the mirror and my body is chugging along looking relatively normal and ballet-like. I guess it’s the same as when certain steps are easier if you don’t think about them (the ones where your teacher says, “Don’t think about it, just do it!”).

Ballet: be aware of and intentional about what every single muscle, bone and tendon in your entire body is doing at all times

Also ballet: don’t think about any of that or you’ll come across as stiff and weird





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