I would love to be back in Paris, or Berlin or even back on the Prairie (never been there) - but I really don't like being back on the Plateau. The flatland of ballet's learning curve. Because inevitably there are going to be ups and downs and then a whole lot of going nowhere. Anyhow, that's how it starts to feel after a while. Even worse, you get the sense that you are loosing your footing. Literally.
I told my teacher as much, that I think I'm stuck in reverse. Not going forward. She said that I can't expect to advance with every class, not even on a monthly basis. In fact, it may take years for real progress to become apparent. Years? Years?? I'll be in retirement by then! Seriously, I am not the most patient person. But my teacher also had the good sense to remind me that sometimes it's enough to show up and give your muscles a work-out. And that "bad" days are for learning and "good" days the result of getting through those bad days!
Still, I can't help feeling frustrated. Take my pirouettes, for instance. They have always had a way of coming and going, from triples to frozen turns. One of my teachers told us that we have to be in charge of our own bodies, and decide how many turns we want to do. And that being consistent in the quality of our dancing is also key. For me though, turning is still more a game of chance. I never know beforehand whether there are going to be solid singles, teetering doubles or jackpot triples! Although in the past year (2011 included) I have been getting better, more secure - until I suffered another flare-up of frozen turn syndrome (FTS).
Now that I come to think about it, that FTS did not pop out of nowhere. Nor did the apprehension to "present myself", or giving up when faced with majorly challenging petit allegro. All of it was preceded by the limbo of The Plateau. I let my confidence be eroded by my short-comings, by comparing myself to more advanced and skilled co-dancers, and by not believing in my potential to learn and grow. It's like my teacher said, progress is not always apparent. So, even when you think you're going nowhere, you are in fact readying yourself for a change of course, and for possible new break-throughs! Which is why The Plateau is not the end of the road, but merely the beginning of another one..