One of the dorkiest things I do in dance class is getting utterly amazed when the teacher gives a suggestion to improve my, say, pirouettes, I implement it and it works. I find this facinating beyond measure. For example:
We were doing pirouettes in ballet on Thursday. There were only three of us, so we got a whole lot of minute feedback. This is awesome: Our teacher, M., is studying Human Movement Sciences and Sport and seems to be channeling everything she learns into mad technique-explaning skillz. She’s great at pointing out to you where exactly and how exactly you went wrong down to the individual muscle level. (She then tells you with equal precision how to do it right, so we’re good.)
I wasn’t having a great day for turning. I have managed to gain about two kilos, of which one is probably traceable to London’s varied and delicious pub food and the other is a gift from the summer break. Such things can have an effect on your balance, as I have first read here on the now-inactive but still wonderful, informative and hilarious blog Adult Beginner. I had all but resigned into waiting a couple of weeks for my weight to normalise before turning properly again. And then M. fixed my turns with two easy suggestions. None of the suggestions was «eat less cookies».
The first was «Don’t leave your shoulder behind». I was letting the shoulder opposite the direction of the turn (the left shoulder for turns to the right and vice versa) drag behind, losing half my torque in the process. When I brought it forward while closing the arms to launch into the pirouette I did one-and-a-quarter turn instead of three-quarters with no additional effort at all. Which I celebrated by shouting «OMG, it works!» to M.’s great amusement.
She blew my impressionable mind a second time on soutenus. Due to the weight gain or maybe just random brain farts I have started falling over backwards out of the soutenus – and I used to take such pride in them, I even wrote a blog post about it. After watching me wobble from one corner of the studio to the other, M. calmly suggested I lean forward a smidgen.
Lesson learned: If you keep falling over backward, leaning slightly forward will solve your problem almost instantly. Amazing.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I asked M. about spotting double turns in jazz and she casually fixed that, too. I was having trouble keeping my spot on the second turn. And basically, that was it: I wasn’t keeping the spot. I would keep it at the beginning of the first turn, then turn my head quickly to face it again and then turn my head a second time immediately, instead of, you know, keeping the spot for as long as possible. As easy as this, so of course, I was utterly blown away again.
Did you ever get a seemingly minor correction on a dance move that fixed your problems instantly? Were you suitably impressed?