All the Things I Meant to Say
It seems that every class I say some of these things but there’s never time for all of them. Here they are again, and a few more.
1. The hardest thing you did today was to come to to class. You made it. Congratulations. Everything else is extra credit.
2. The second hardest thing you did was to climb the stairs. 🙂
3. Welcome! This is an open level class. There may be brand new beginners and people who have been taking ballet a long time. Don’t be intimidated. In ballet, no matter how long you’ve been dancing, we are all beginners. You will build on the foundations of dance your whole life. Welcome to a beautiful journey.
4. Ballet is about expressing. Don’t hold on too tightly. Even in a dance form as structured as ballet, there is also a letting go. Within the structure there is freedom and that is where the expression comes. Don’t be afraid to enjoy it or maybe even smile!
5. Breathe. All of dance is about breath. Even flexibility is about bringing your breath into the muscle fibers. Don’t hold it in-let it out.
6. You may have heard that ballet is hard. “Oh Ballet–that’s so hard!” It isn’t though. Ballet is built on principles of physics, and how bodies move in space. Ballet is easier than you think–so don’t think, just dance. (It’s sometimes more about play.)
7. Sometimes you get in your head and all you can do is judge yourself–I understand. I do it too, it’s the nature of the beast. Go easy on yourself. If this is your first class or your first class in years–celebrate that! Celebrate being here.
8. Listen to the music. It will help you get out of your head and you will dance better.
9. If you get a correction, it doesn’t mean you are a bad dancer. On the contrary, it means the teacher sees something that can be corrected that will make you a better, safer dancer. In old-school ballet, it is considered a compliment. If you don’t get a correction, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad dancer. Don’t take any of this personally.
10. Celebrate every win. Don’t focus on the stuff you didn’t get in the last combination, focus on what you did get! I don’t care if all you got right was the first walking step. Keep your chin up and keep hanging on. Next class your mind will be more focused, and after that you’ll find a little more balance, and pretty soon you’ll find that the things that once challenged you are coming easier. That rocks!
11. Improving is about building one win on top of another in baby steps. And sometimes it seems to take SO long to get to the next level. I get it. But don’t despair or kick the wall. (One of the most beautiful dancers in my studio when I was growing up kicked a big hole in the wall!) We all get frustrated. That amazing dancer next to you was once a beginner too. Instead put your focus into reaching your leg longer than you think is possible. Balance a little longer than you think you can. Lift your leg a little teeny bit higher every time. Stand tall, lift your chin, show yourself. You are a dancer!
12. Finally, be kind to yourself. I can’t say it enough. You are beautiful. I am so glad you are here.
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