|A fitting t-shirt for ballet class, don't you think?|
It's happened again. My pirouettes have gone haywire. The moment I go up, I loose it. It's the weirdest thing - and seriously annoying. With all my years in dance, I should be able to pull off consistent double pirouettes, right? But I do have an idea why my turns have become deranged. It's like my system operations have been updated, but those darn pirouettes are still running on an old app. Seriously, I have been getting so many corrections, that my brain is frizzing out trying to implement new alignments and dynamics. And since I can't really re-boot myself, I'll just have to accept that turning is going to be rocky roads for a while.
It's again about quality, not quantity. My teacher doesn't care for "dirty triples" (neither do I). What she wants to see is clean, elegant, refined dancing. The very thing that defines classical ballet. For my turns this means paying attention to the turning pose, specifically my en dehors and heel-toe alignment. There is still a slight tendency to sickle the foot in passé retiré, making the dreaded banana shape. I have been working on this for the past two years, and it's definitely gotten better. My teacher keeps a close eye, and she's not just pushing for a correct position, but for my maximum best. This is not limited to pirouettes alone, but to every other step and movement.
It's not easy to change ingrained habits. Especially not in ballet. I'm not going to say that I was a poor dancer before, but there was more room for improvement than I even thought possible. I'm talking about the basics: pliés and degagés, turn-out, placing toes above knees, stretching your knees to the max, pointing the toes, forwarding heels, keeping the shoulders down (and the popo), the back and neck long, the hips in line, and the list goes on.. Ballet is hard, but the choice is mine. I could continue dancing the same way I have done for umpteenth years, and have a fairly good time. Or, I accept that change doesn't come easy, that it can be frustratingly slow work - but it will make me a better dancer.
Yesterday I was feeling a little shitty, with my pirouettes all over the place and a general and persistent feeling of insecurity. After class I had a talk with my teacher, and she pretty much confirmed what I had been suspecting already: I'm trying so hard to make all the required adjustments that it's throwing me off balance. In other words, now that I'm aware of what I should be doing, it's messing with my old way of doing, well, basically everything. But whereas I thought that I'm just not getting it, Madame informed me that it's perfectly normal to feel this way right now. Then she told me that I have improved a great deal in the past years, that I'm doing really good work - and that I should be proud of myself! Can you imagine what it felt like hearing those words? I swear I grew an inch right there and then.