Merriam-Webster provides, among others, the following definitions for the word «advanced»:
- being beyond others in progress or ideas
- being beyond the elementary or introductory
- greatly developed beyond an initial stage
As of last Wednesday, all of these are applicable to my dancing! Yeah!
Well, maybe not applicable as such and maybe not to my dancing as such, but I was permitted to join the advanced modern class.
It started out in a less than encouraging fashion. I warned the teacher about my doubts as to my advancitude and she told me, rather strictly, that it was a very advanced class. I don’t blame her for the strictness – they do offer beginner and intermediate classes (on days I already have class) and beginners can really screw up an advanced class. The other students were more encouraging, but when I asked them how long they’ve been dancing there, one of them said «Thirty years or so». But by that point, my pride wouldn’t permit me to leave.
Despite my initial terror the class itself turned out to be survivable – and enjoyable! I could generally follow along in most exercises except floorwork, which they’ve been doing for weeks already. The class is advanced technically, but so, it turns out, are my Monday and Friday classes: I’ve seen and done most moves before and had them explained to me in detail by Beans and/or Carrots. Of course, I fumbled a lot, but I could always understand what I was supposed to do and keep moving in the right general direction. It was definitely difficult, but in a fun, non-frustrating way.
The biggest difference I noticed to my other modern classes was not so much the technical difficulty level but the pace the teacher set. She would show fairly large chunks of choreography at a time, explaining them only once or twice. This was perfectly fine with me – the snail pace and minute explanations were exactly what bored me so much about jazz. I prefer a difficult class that challenges me – success feels better when it comes on the twentieth try than on the first.
Still, there was a moment or two of instant gratification, such as when I nailed a jump on the first try and the teacher said «So you’ve done this one before» and I was forced to admit that I hadn’t. I think it was at that point that she decided I was worthy of her class.
The other people in class were mixed ages and mixed levels, like in any other adult class. Not everyone had perfect balances and not everyone could do everything on the first try (though everyone was better than me). They seem nice and vibe with each other and with the teacher very well, so I’m looking forward to get to know them better. We were only six people, with two or three absentees.
The teacher answered questions from the other students gladly and gave some sound corrections and advice. Her style of modern dance seems a little bit more classical and formal. I have to remember to ask her if it’s one of those techniques that have names. She started teaching ten years before I was born and has been choreographing and AD’ing all that time, so I’m really looking forward to learning from that wealth of experience.
After the lesson, the teacher told me I could definitely join if I wanted. She then gave me a cool compliment I haven’t heard before: «You dare to try». I am aware that there is only do or do not and no try, but actually makes sense in the context of modern. A lot of modern moves require you to throw yourself onto the floor or to jump or twist with your butt over your head, which is often scary. I did explain that I went to Beans’ class, and with Beans, you either dare to try or you don’t get to dance at all. They know each other, so the teacher knew what I meant.
And here we are: I take advanced modern class now. This makes my dancing sound way better than it looks, but it also makes me feel like I’ve gained a tiny little bit of dance cred!