I’m slightly frustrated with ballet at the moment. The more I learn, the more I realise how terrible I am at it. Birdie’s teaching style certainly draws attention to my ineptitude. I love her classes, the way she will point out technical mistakes – that is much better for learning than receiving no corrections. On the downside, if you don’t receive any corrections, you can delude yourself into thinking you’re actually good – not great for learning, but much better for the self-esteem.
I need to start carrying a notebook with me to write the corrections down right after class. I sometimes use my phone, but maybe having a dedicated paper notebook would help me be more consistent. I’ve been getting corrections about keeping my hips parallel when doing tendus or jétés to the back, about my arms and about maintaining the bloody turnout. The latter I even heard from Grace, my new Advanced modern teacher. I must ask Birdie if there are any exercises I can to to improve this, because my deep rotators insist on remaining deep potaters, as Asher calls them.
All of this is especially frustrating when I’m browsing Instagram. It’s full of wonderful people, but they all seem to be en pointe and/or preparing for RAD Intermediate exams and/or have many years of ballet experience. It seems as though everyone has very nearly got the splits, their arabesque is at least 90 degrees and their single pirouettes are perfect. This is not motivating at the moment – I feel inflexible, weak and altogether inadequate.
The solution to this is obviously to spend less time on Instagram. Because in reality, I’m making progress and so are my classmates. I have surprisingly little difficulty remembering Birdie’s combinations, my legs come higher and higher, ans as for flexibility, I’m not actively working on it at the moment and expecting it to materialise out of thin air is not smart.
We are progressing in our exercises under Birdies sweet but firm guidance. This past week, she taught us entrechats quatre and I only stepped on my own feet a few times. She’s also been teaching us the head positions during barre exercises: looking to your hand in second when working to the front and to the back with a graceful head tilt to the opposite direction from where the foot is going, and facing forward when the foot is going to the side. My pirouettes are also coming along nicely, especially if I remember that vital correction about not letting my rear end depart in directions unknown during the preparatory plié.
Have you experienced periods of frustration with your dancing? What did you do to overcome them?