Dance Is In Between

Amy said something in ballet class a while ago that’s been making me think. It was something along the lines of «Ballet is more than just the positions. Dancing takes place in between.»

She was encouraging us to put a little individuality into our port-de-bras. I realise that proper ballet beginners are supposed to learn the technique first, but I doubt anyone will mind an adult class enjoying themselves occasionally. Amy has a completely different teaching style from Bee. As the lovely Swiss saying goes, «a small world will be mad about this».

When you think about it, it’s fairly obvious. What good is a perfect arabesque if you proceed to slump out of it? The beautiful line of your arms in fifth is as naught if you then transition to second through «plucked chicken pose». That’s also the reason that our ballet teachers have been slowly trying to wean us off draping ourselves over the barre after every exercise like gravity is just too much to bear.

It makes sense to learn the positions first, since they are essential in ballet. But it wouldn’t hurt to remind myself of the transitions every once in a while. Amy has been doing a great job: she tells us to keep our movements fluid and not to forget to express and enjoy ourselves. The fact that she does a brief warm-up before the pliés and ends the class with a little port-de-bras, stretching and reverence routine helps me get into my body and feel the dancing part of ballet much more consciously.

Incidentally, this consciousness of your body and its movement as well as the room you’re in and the people you’re with is one of the things I love about modern and really miss in jazz class. Sure, once you get used to this mindfulness (buzzword alert!) in one class, you can practice it yourself in all the others. But I feel like it makes for a much better experience if the teacher starts the class by encouraging people to be mindful of their bodies and surroundings. It certainly helps me to feel like I’m dancing! Then again, I have three other dance classes for that. I’ll settle for technique in ballet.

4 thoughts on “Dance Is In Between

  1. This is so true, and incidentally is the #1 reason my AD recruited me—a great many serialists have great”tricks,” but lack the dance background to link them smoothly together, so one of my jobs in the company is to help infuse that sense of correction from one skill to the next into my fellow performers.

    (Meanwhile, I’ve developed the terrible habits of simply ending my barre exercises instead of finishing them and, yes, slumping all over the barre between—BW put me on notice about it last class!).

    I love that Swiss saying. I’m going to borrow it! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your AD sounds sensible! I watch quite a lot of performances and they are much more captivating to look at if the performwe can dance! I once saw a dancer juggle and it was incredible! A whole new level! (I also got to touch his butt afterwards, but that’s a whole different story.)

    I’m glad you like the saying! In Swiss German, it goes “S’isch e chlini Wält verruckt” and to pronounce it properly, just imagine that you have something stuck in your throat and you desperately need to cough it up. Such a mellifluous language, Swiss German.

    Liked by 1 person

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