Friday, January 29, 2016

Correction Craving

Does anyone else LOVE corrections? Well, it turns out that I really do.

I've been getting increasingly frustrated over the last couple of months because the current teacher of the advanced class, while complimentary of my dancing, does not give me corrections (and Lord knows I'm not perfect). She'll sometimes give other adults corrections, but mostly she leaves us alone and concentrates her efforts on the teens/kids. Which makes a certain level of sense. I mean...she can't train any of us adults towards a goal like YAGP, or for auditioning to be in a professional ballet company. But that doesn't mean we don't want to be better dancers.

In addition, she's been obsessed with choreographing a piece for the summer show so we haven't been doing much center work. We've also been sharing the class with kids, because attendance has been sparse. Barre and anything we do in center is fairly simple.

Personally, I like having something to focus on, something to work towards and improve. Sure, I'll never be a professional dancer, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be the best dancer I can be, no matter what my age is. In addition, corrections are helpful to me as a teacher because they remind me of things to look for in my own students.

At any rate, this frustration hit its peak recently, and the other evening I decided to take barre in the adult open class. The teacher of these classes was originally the teacher for the advanced class, but scheduling conflicts have moved her elsewhere. Her class can be difficult (lots of long or tricky combinations. It's always exercise for your brain as well as your body), though the level of difficulty depends on who is in class. I thought it might do me some good to take from her again. Plus, I sometimes substitute for her, so I thought it would be beneficial to see what kinds of combinations and steps she usually works on.

When I approached her to ask if I could take her barre (and to explain that I have to limit releve and not jump because of the on-going ankle rehab [more on this in a new post]), I mentioned that we hadn't really been doing a lot of technique in the other class and I knew I needed work. "Please fix me!" I begged.

Well, she didn't hold back. She had no qualms about adjusting my body and arm positions, or giving a slightly exasperated, but good humored "Oy vey" when we all managed to muck up her tendu combination. She is always patient and friendly, but also very determined for us to get it right.

My favorite moment of the night, though, was when she said to us, "You should all always work towards improving your dancing. Always try to do a little more, be a little better. Be the best dancer you can be."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Step Nemesis

One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to quickly learn and adapt to new dance steps and styles. I think ballet is a fantastic foundation for all types of dance, and my background as a classical dancer has been a benefit more than once.

However, every once and awhile I come across a step that completely befuddles me. Most recently this is a tap step, not a ballet one (I don't often post about tap on this blog, but in addition to ballet I take jazz and tap classes).

Y'all. PULL BACKS. I can't figure them out.

The entire class was struggling with them at first, but slowly, one-by-one, everyone else in class has gotten the hang of it while I'm still scrapping across the floor like a goober. Very frustrating.

Part of my problem is that I have trouble letting my ankles relax (something tap does that is very contrary to ballet). I also haven't found a visual that speaks to me. "Think up," my teacher tells me, ever so patiently. "Think of flipping your toes back to your head," a fellow student advises when I ask. None of it is helping.

I ended up asking the AD of the school for help the other day, just to get some more visual suggestions. She started pull-backing around the lobby in her Ugg boots (SO UNFAIR): "Think toes first," she suggested. Guess I'll try that next time.