February 17, 2012

Delicious Dancers

Ballet class, Tuesday evening. We are doing fondues at the barre - feet are pointed, knees are over toes and it's all very clean and nice. However, it's also somewhat boring to look at, which is why our teacher is not pleased at all. M-P does not care very much for ballet school robotics, nor for eyes that are looking nowhere. She wants to see quality, artistry - and pesonality!

Madame never lets us off easy, but she has a real talent for coaxing the best out of us. If you have read my previous posts (or most of them), you know what I'm talking about. In M-P's class pliés are juicy, feet "caress" the floor and tell stories, and we are to dance big, long, sensual, and move like cats. Be elegant, always presenting yourself. Which is fine, except..

On a bad day I don't know what the heck I'm supposed to present! I can try to put those heels forward and lengthen my back, but as for the "elegant" and "sensual" part - let's just say it takes a great deal of suspension of disbelief. I look at our teacher (one of the most beautiful dancers I have ever seen up close) and it's obvious why we all love to watch her demonstrations. She doesn't even have to lift her long legs above six o'clock, the port de bras alone is stunning enough. Of course, I would be crazy to compare myself with her, and I am not.. but I have never really considered me and my dancing to be all that "presentable".

But that's when Madame told us to "make our fondues delicious." Seriously, our teacher was not kidding. "Dance like it's something special. Make it delicious." Everyone was smiling, but there was something else in the air too.. We repeated the exercise, and the difference was palpable. The atmosphere had changed, there was almost electricity in the room.. Instead of ballet school robots, the class was full of dancers doing their most delicious fondues ever! It's weird, but the moment she told us to be special, I felt special. Like I really have something beautiful to present. 


  1. We had a similar moment in class yesterday. I joined a younger students class (always daunting as an adult). The class was grade 5 RAD which should come across ok as im worling at grade 7 in my own class. We were doing the port de bras exercise at the barre. After two times our teacher stopped the music and asked us what we understood about dynamics in dance. About the feel and movent of what our legs/arms/fingers/toes are doing to really feel the music. She told us to forget the timings and just feel the music our own way. The third time around it was as if we had all come alive in our own way,looking fluid and soft. It was a small part of class but a nice moment to share.

    1. Nic, that's when exercise becomes dancing... Lately, my teacher has been telling me to "play" with my port de bras - which feels exciting and liberating! Of course, I'm not inventing my own choreography. It's like you described, I try to feel the music instead of counting it. Who wants to be a robotic dancer, anyway? :)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...