On ballet and emotions

Engage your center! Your hips are not aligned – is your weight over your standing leg? No floppy feet – point them! Strong arms please – but graceful! Where has your turnout gone? What are you doing?!

Yesterday I had my first ballet class after a two week break. Anyone who dances regularly knows that two weeks might as well be two years because even a single day without training takes its toll on your technique and physical condition.

I can’t deny I was scared to go back. The days before all I could think about was how sore my muscles would be afterwards, how badly I would dance, how my teacher would be particularly hard on me as she always is with students who are away for longer periods of time. I entered class weighed down with all my thoughts and guess what, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – it was worse (please re-read the first few sentences of this post – my poor teacher was so frustrated with me)!

At one point I was making such basic mistakes that I seriously considered pretending I had hurt my ankle (UEFA league style) and then sitting out the rest of class – shameful I know, but I didn’t do it.

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On my way back home from class, I started searching for excuses for my poor performance. I am tired, two weeks is a long break, I think I am coming down with something. The truth is, I sabotaged myself long before the class even started. I was unfocused and scared, two things that will sabotage any endeavor in life.

One of the beautiful things about dance is that your internal state always shines through. Happy, angry, in love – it’s all expressed in your movements.

The true professional learns to channel their emotions, using them to express whatever the choreographer wants them to. The amateur (that would be me) cannot channel their emotion (fear in my case) and this can have a negative (or, like my class yesterday, disastrous) effect.

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Me, post class. Please notice the heavy beads of sweat adorning my brow.

I have another ballet lesson this evening and I have been pumping myself with positive talk all day. I am determined to do better today which should not be hard as it can’t worse than yesterday.

Bring it on!

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