Advice

Improving: The Proper Work Ethic (Continued!)

6:41:00 PM

Continuing on from...

6 Stepping Stones on the Road to Happiness (Part 2) 

A lesson on discipline, efficiency, and self esteem.

(See previous blog post to discover what the first three steps are!)


4) Have the right mindset in class. This is also arduous - just about everything in ballet is! You have to focus on executing the movement properly, but you also have to remember the combination (this is the part where your brain is ready to explode). Of course, the ideal would be for you to be able to perform the movement correctly from muscle memory, but most of us are only working towards that.

First, if the class isn't a set class, try to think of what you want to work on while the teacher is giving the combination. That way, you'll already have a mental plan as you execute the combination, and will most likely not mess up. Also, try to remember the combination by thinking of the correction that goes along with the movement.

Second, think about how you want to execute the movement for every count. Frequently, I find my mind wandering off as I do the combination, even when I try to focus. The thing is, wanting to focus is not enough; thinking of how to focus is the way to go. For example, if the movement is a demi-pliĆ©, as you go down, think of opening your knees, and as you come up, think of growing an extra inch instead of only thinking "demi-pliĆ©".

5) Maximize your time. A ballet career starts relatively early, so it is crucial to refine your technique as much as possible and as fast as possible. Hence, practice whenever possible: practice on the sides of the studio during class when it's another group's turn (but don't be obnoxious about it!), stay after class for a few minutes, and even think about your corrections as you go around daily life. For example, if you're working on posture, trying to maintain a perfect ballet posture throughout the day can actually help you in class. However, it is important to remember not to overwork your body so remember to massage, take ice buckets (even if it takes lots of squirming and squealing), and eat healthy!

6) Take and watch videos of yourself. I am the first in line to scream "EW!" and punch a million pillows when it comes to watching videos of my own dancing. Movement often feels better than it looks, which is why it can be so frustrating to see yourself in less appealing positions than you thought or felt you were doing. That being said, watching your videos is actually a very healthy reality check as long as you don't let it affect your self esteem. Believe me, I used to cry my eyes out after seeing my dance videos, but I am growing to learn to accept my mistakes and correct them. It's much better than not knowing and repeating your mistakes. If you feel humiliated, which I can definitely relate to, remember that people are most likely not as judging as you imagine them to be. And if they are, why should you care about their opinions? Does it define who you are? Should it affect how you feel? The answer is very simply and plainly, NO! Always remember that as long as you work your very best, nothing else matters - anything else that happens is beyond your control.


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