Hello there!! Last night I had my first “real” lessons at a new ballet studio I’m going to. I take the Beginning Adult Ballet and the Advanced Beginning Adult Ballet which equates into 2 straight hours of class!! This studio, unlike the other 3 I go to, is very serious and technique-centered. The teacher is serious. The students are serious (as serious as adult non-professionals can be). There is no talking in class. Everyone must have their hair in a bun. Leotard and tights must be on. The teacher at this studio, who I will refer to as Ms. Poe, started out as an adult beginner herself many years ago. She walks around to each person as we work at the barre or in center and critiques us. Whether it’s moving a foot to the correct position or making you stretch out just a little farther, she’s very involved in the class. In my first class, I was the only student who had taken ballet before. This was very evident by the “deer-in-the-headlights” looks of all the other girls/women and their pretty, untouched, ballet shoes. That class went fairly smooth for me. It was mostly just very basic steps and technique. It was the next class that was a little bit more intense for me. I was familiar with all the technique we were doing, it was just a little more faster and the combinations were more difficult than I was used to. During one of the combinations, I misplaced my arms. I placed my arms in a sloppy second position and of course Ms. Poe was right there. She told me, “Can you open your arms a little more please?”. I was fighting muscle fatigue at this point, but said, “Of course.” And as we went in to the next step in that combination, I mistakenly placed my arms wrong again. “You either can do it or you can’t,” is all she said with a stern look at my face and walked away. Ugh. This class is proving to be just what I though it would be, I said to myself. I began to doubt myself and then realized that the other girls in my class, some who have been dancing for years and were quite good, were also getting the same kind of critiques and comments. That’s when I realized….Hey!! I’m doing just fine!! I’m doing the best I can at the moment. I strive to prove to Ms. Poe that I CAN do this stuff. So next week I will be ready!! My goal is to hopefully be allowed into Adult Ballet 1 this fall. As much as I know this studio will consistently kick my ass every week, I yearn to be there more and more.
So my advice to anyone out there taking ballet as an adult beginner or even as a youngster- don’t give up and don’t let anyone intimidate you! You will not pick this stuff up overnight! Heck, you will probably have to practice for months! But don’t get discouraged. Good teachers will critique you and call you out in front of everyone. It’s the only way you will ever improve. Just keep your bunhead up and keep trying!! 🙂
Up next this week….my first pointe lesson in class!! I’ve been doing some private lessons, but this will be my first one in a class setting!! Wish me luck!!