Improving: The Proper Work Ethic (Part 1)

5:10:00 PM

It's a common problem for all ballerinas: improving! The simple truth is, if you work hard and smart, improving is a guaranteed result. As you are reading this, you're probably thinking, "Well, DUH!" or "Easier said than done," which is true, of course. Therefore, as your faithful blogger, I'm offering a template of sorts that I have created from experience so that you can improve at the best of your abilities.

6 Stepping Stones on the Road to Happiness (Part 1)

A lesson on discipline, efficiency, and maintaining a healthy self esteem.

1) Don't be obsessed with comparing yourself with others. Sure, it is practical to have a little check-in once in a while, but doing this too much can turn into a dangerous distraction and self-esteem murderer. Instead of focusing on what you don't have and others have, focus on the positive; think of what you are blessed with (and believe me, everyone is blessed with something special) and try to figure out how you can leverage your strong points while working on your weaker points. Additionally, always pay attention to the corrections your peers get; after all, it is impossible for the teacher to catch everything wrong, so it is up to you to be your own coach. If you do want to be a professional ballerina, note that the lack of a teacher figure is one of the hardest transitions from student to ballerina. Might as well start becoming your own coach earlier!

2) Write down any corrections/notes and read them every other day before ballet. Not only does writing down something help you remember it, but it also forces you to analyze the correction. I started doing this, and it actually helped me to focus tremendously in class. Reading the corrections every other day is great too; reading everyday can make the corrections meaningless since your brain has seen them so many times, while reading every other day (or several times a week, depending on your schedule) lets you remember some corrections that you may have forgotten. Personally, I keep journals for almost everything: corrections, notes from anything that might be helpful, useful exercises and stretches, my goals, and a traditional diary for my thoughts. While some people might think a diary to be cheesy, it's actually wonderful to let out your thoughts and even look back at some older entries to see how you've grown. Putting your thoughts down to paper helps your mind slow down and take a step back, especially since our brains tend to exaggerate stressful situations.

3) Set goals that are both long-term and short-term. It's awfully easy to just keep telling yourself, "I want to improve, I want to improve," and not thinking, "How will I improve?". The best way to set goals requires both discipline and an honest reflection at where you are. For a short term goal, I recommend simply trying to execute a perfect movement by the end of the week; start off simple, such as being able to do a perfect tendu from muscle memory. Look at yourself in the mirror, study the movement, how it feels, and make it become muscle memory. Long term goals are a little harder to set; oftentimes, we either underestimate or overestimate ourselves. Therefore, I've found it best to set three goals for the month; two goals that don't ask you to physically accomplish something, but goals that force you to work a certain way. For example, instead of having a goal to be able to do a triple pirouette en pointe, make one to practice your pirouettes everyday before/after ballet. Then, the third goal can be a goal that asks you to accomplish something, such as being able to have your leg above 90 degrees in Adagio in the center. (You also have to be specific!)

Remember to tune in next week to find out what the next three steps are!

please leave a comment :)

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