March 18, 2012

The List

Wrote my name on the spring-recital list. It's an open call, no-audition, come as you are kind of list. From basic levels to advanced, everyone who is willing gets to participate - which is not at all that common for adult dancers. Usually it's the kids and the teens, and the pre-professionals and then the pros who get to have all the fun on stage. And yes, the pres and pro ballerinas work damn hard for it! But why should us adults be excluded? If you have a committed group and choreograph according to ability, you can put a fine number on stage. Something that both dancers and audience can enjoy!

Sadly, I know of teachers who think recreational adult ballet dancers should be confined to the studio. Maybe they fear the cringe-worthy, maybe they think we are a bunch of wannabes, ready to turn our beloved ballet into travesty, a big joke. They are wrong. You don't have to be a cute little thing in her first tutu, nor a gifted teen or a former semi-pro. Like I said, committed and dedicated adults are quite capable of forming lines and groups and of repeating on stage what they have learned in class so far. Whether that would consist of simple temps levés, glissades and pas de chats or bourrées, brisés and grand jetés. Performing is an essential part of learning ballet, as ballet is obviously a performing art. Rehearsals alone offer a wealth of learning experiences. How to memorize steps, even if you have to change placements, working and dancing together, pacing yourself so you will survive the 1.5 - 4 minutes on stage.

And then comes the performance itself! Getting ready, helping each other out with make-up and hair-spraying buns and fixing costumes, then the last warm-ups, group-hugs, waiting in the wings for the cue. Lights out, take your place, breath in and all the jitters out. Lights on, music - and you dance! It's a big head-rush and a happy buzz and then over, much too soon! The audience applauds.. and that's what it's all about. Sharing the joy of dance.

My name is on that list now, waiting, anticipating.. We do not know yet what our teacher has in store for us. It will be a big group number, with all levels on stage together. There might be solos, certainly pas de trois, different entrances, lines and patterns - and it's going to be such much fun! In previous years our dances have been inspired by Coppélia and Swan Lake, with recognizable steps and elements but modified to our skills. I have really no clue where this year's inspiration comes from - maybe Don Quijote or Giselle? Or perhaps Paquita? I will keep you posted!

18 comments:

  1. I want to thank you for bringing up your dance school in one of these blogs (this or balettikassi), since I found a new ballet teacher from that school. THANK YOUU! :) //offtopic

    Hope you'll have a pleasurable performance! I just heard our jazz teacher wants us to perform too in spring-recital even though we are beginners - she thought we were so "talented" since many of us have danced something else too. I wish I could perform ballet too some day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ree!

      That's terrific, glad you got some practical use out of my blog :)

      Of course you should perform - it's your chance to show what you are learning in class! And I'm sure your teacher will come up with a number that suits all your various talents.

      When did you start with ballet? This year or earlier? At least "my" teacher lets basic levels join in! But maybe next time? :)

      Delete
  2. It's exciting, isn't it? I am performing in a show in May for the first time in many years. There will be lots of different dance styles and my beg/inter class is doing a piece. Everyone who wants to is allowed to take part. I'm very excited, but also really rather nervous. I do kind of fear the 'cringe worthy' myself, and then feel cross with myself for feeling that way. I want to just relax and enjoy, but I feel I also need to get over some kind of pride too. It will be good for me on two different levels. I can't imagine I will feel anything other than elated afterwards, so why do I feel worried what people might think of me?...hmmm, I'm glad of your post today, it's helping me to have a less mixed emotion in anticipation of my show.Good luck with the preparation for yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine, I'm not immune to the cringe-worthy factor either. Fact is I saw several on the DVD of our spring performance.. But you are not going to be 100% perfect on stage (nor in the studio). Some steps will be as good as in rehearsals, others less so. Most important is to have good energy and perform as a group - and remember to enjoy and smile!

      Also, invite some friends/family - they will certainly be impressed! And even if the audience should have professional critics, they understand that you are a recreational dancer. Everyone wants to see you succeed and have a great time on stage!

      Delete
  3. How fun! I hope you enjoy the whole experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, ELizabeth! I will enjoy, nerves and all :D

      Delete
  4. I'm glad you have opportunities to perform! I love dancing for an audience myself -did it for 15 years as a fold dancer- and doing it as an adult recreational ballet dancer has made the experience brand new again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenna!

      I wish I had your experience.. I feel that one can only get better at performing by performing - and those opportunities have been very rare. And I still get very nervous, as I suspect many dancers do. But I would not miss it!

      I'm glad you now get to enjoy the experience from a ballet point of view :)

      Delete
  5. Oh how exciting! I had my very first ballet recital last spring. What a rush! I was all nerves. It was a sensation I'll never forget though!

    This year I'll be in the recital again-- as part of my class's group and in my very first solo ever. I'm terrified and exhilarated all at once! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blondie, I remember my first time on stage (dancing ballet) - I was scared stiff. Literally. I don't know how I managed to stumble though the moves! But the second performance was better already, and by the third time I even remebered to enjoy myself and smile :)

      Your first solo?! Wow! That is very exciting! I can only imagine.. as I have never done any steps on my own. But I consider myself lucky if I get to be part of a pas de trois :)

      Hope you will keep me posted on your progress and rehearsals!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, here's hoping that this next time won't be quite as scary! Guess we'll find out! Haha.

      And yes it's so exciting-- but terrifying since I have to choreograph it myself. Ahhh! I'm not ready for this! :)

      Good luck on YOUR recital too, of course! Let's be brave together!

      Delete
    3. You get to choreograph yourself? Cool! Think about your strengths, your favorite steps and moves - and then go from there. Add something unexpected as well, and above all: have fun! You might not be ready for it, but you will learn as you go along.

      Thanks, Blondie - we shall be brave together! Adult performing dancers united, we stand tall and proud ;)

      Delete
  6. So cool :) I'm already longing to read all the updates to come about this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lalatina! First rehearsal date has not yet been announced, it's either this weekend or the next one.

      Delete
  7. "choreograph according to ability..." the key words I think my teacher forgot. I had my very first recital last summer, and it was one of the most stressful, upsetting experience of my life. the teacher I had at that time preferred to choreograph as she liked and the dancers had to perform that, rather than creating choreography based on the skills of the dancers (a very mixed level group). I had never in my life done a cabriole and suddenly had to do a whole series of them, paired w/the best dancer in the studio (b/c we were the same height). It was not that challenging sort of hard that helps us improve, is was the defeating, getting yelled at, feeling like a failure, bawling after the recital sort of hard. I'm not doing the recital this year because of that experience, which makes me sad. Because as you said, ballet is about sharing dance with others, and now I'm not sharing it. You're lucky to have the opportunity to work with an understanding instructor to create something that makes you feel beautiful and capable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shannon, I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience! A recital should be the highlight of your ballet year, not the worst time ever! I'm feeling really upset at your teacher right now. :/

      Although you would want to show-case your students, no one gains if the material is just too difficult! On stage everything is harder anyway. We practice quite advanced steps in class, but when we perform we do less demanding technique. So we can still enjoy the show!

      I hope you get another chance, with another instructor who knows better. At least you have had your baptism by fire already, if that is any consolation at all!

      Delete
  8. So exciting! Congrats, can't wait to hear more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hannah! I still have no news, but perhaps this Friday.. :)

      Delete

The Balletlove Interview

A while back, Singaporean dance wear company Balletlove.co  asked me if I would like to do an interview. As it happens, Balletlove.co is no...