One of my favorite ballet teachers is quite the task mistress and really keeps us on our toes, so to speak. I just love her, and I love her classes. If your ballet technique doesn’t improve after studying with her, you might as well hang up your toe shoes and go home. She teaches a professional level class, and I have to work pretty hard just to keep up. This means thoroughly engaging my mind as well as my body, which brings me to the point of exhaustion at the end of an hour and a half, but it’s fun. I love challenging myself.
I often write down my corrections in a small note pad I keep with me at all times. Some of the younger dancers have remarked what a good student I am when they see me scribbling madly in my book. I smile sweetly and thank them, but the truth is, I can’t remember anything I’ve just been told. Also, I get just as tired of hearing the same corrections over and over again as my teacher does saying them, so it benefits both of us. And, it gives me the chance to think about how I can improve and gives me a deeper understanding of the technique.
I even had a dream last night about class, where my teacher once again was trying to get me to correct the position of my leg. It’s the same correction that she’s given me time and time again. I keep trying to fix it, but the harder I try, the worse it gets. Honestly, I really don’t fully understand what I’m doing wrong. Until I had the silly dream. I was standing at the barre, and in the middle of the crowded class, she stopped and mimicked my movement. That’s when I finally got it. I did a mental head smack, even in my sleep.
From the position of an observer instead of a participant, I could see that the slight bend of my knee and drop of my thigh wasn’t coming from my leg. It was coming from a lack of confidence. Even in my sleep I could see my confidence crumble just a bit as I attempted to extend my leg behind me. It was very slight, but it was enough to keep me from achieving my goal. Instead of trying to correct my leg, perhaps I need to change my approach. Because one thing I do understand is that attitude is everything. I understand that when you change your mind, you change your moves. I also know that if you can dream it, you can become it. I sure am glad I had that dream. And I can’t wait to go to class tomorrow.