Modern Frustration

Can you pinpoint your favourite dance class of the week? I can’t. I have three great classes with three great teachers and I honestly love all of them. (And none of them know of this blog, in case you were wondering.)

Now, the most challenging class is easy to pinpoint: modern. Which makes sense, seeing how I just started it. It is tremendously enjoyable nevertheless, from the various warm-up sequences through swings and floor. But then we start on the choreography and it all goes downhill like a drunk rhino on rollerskates. The moment I think «I kinda get this part, now I just have to practice it ten more times», Jaina moves on to the next part, all the previous ones now counting as mastered. Combined with her propensity for teaching large chunks of choreography at a time and not repeating the whole thing too often, this makes the last fifteen minutes of modern class somewhat frustrating to say the least.

What I’m trying to figure out now is whether my difficulties with the modern choreo are caused by my personal ineptitude or by the nature of the steps themselves. It’s not the teaching style or even speed – I was able to cope perfectly well in hiphop class which had a similar if not higher «choreography density». Sure, I could learn this choreography better at a slower pace, but I should be able to learn it at the current pace.

I have a pet theory that my difficulties are exacebrated by the nature of the steps. It’s not that they are terribly difficult or even too unfamiliar. But the choreo is 90% turns in ever-changing directions, which makes it almost impossible to reliably follow the teacher – or anyone else for that matter. There is also a ton of weight shifts inbetween the turns, which have clearly been put there just to torture me, because those are the types of movements that I nearly always have to think about before doing them properly and at the right moment

Jaina does indicate the steps with her voice, by the way, so you can theoretically follow along even if you can’t see her. Except her preferred way of doing this is by using the words «left» and «right» rather than «change leg» or the names of the actual steps. «Left» and «right» being the first concepts my brain helpfully blanks out for me when I’m tired (like on a Monday evening) or distracted (for example by my inability to remember a choreography).

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my brain: a powerhouse when it comes to remembering extremely useful things such as random medical terminology and Latin species names of tarantulas, but completely oblivious of such trifles as the name of the person I am currently talking to or the concept of left and right.

Anyway, these circumstances have made for a somewhat depressing end to modern class these past few weeks. I wonder if it’ll get better with time and practice or only with a different choreography. I guess I’ll know when we start a new choreography and I’m still awful at it. And if I’m not, well, I might just have a favourite dance class then.

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