Grass and Poppies

There are two kinds of (serious) adult ballet students. The ones who want to ‘progress’ as fast as possible, doing difficult steps and maybe performing. A few people come to mind. They sort of learn from the outside in. And the ones who really want to learn, from the inside out, from the basics. GPS, whom I mentioned before, is of the first faction. And also Bunny. I meet her from time to time: a sprightly, tiny know-it-all. 

I am of the second faction, even though the title of my blog may suggest otherwise. And I DO want to advance, but not at the cost of quality. It makes more sense to progress slowly. In Vaganova, they start learning pirouettes in third grade. Why do professional schools spend such a lot of time on basics? Because without a strong foundation, your house will not stand in a storm. Yes, you can do beats and double pirouettes within a year, but how will they look?

I feel as if taking classes labeled ‘beginner’ seems a disgrace to the ‘advancers’. They find them boring, perhaps. They think they are ready for more, and many teachers seem to encourage them to do more. So they do more. They may never see how bad they actually are, because this quality good basics give you eludes them. They get around in the turns, they get up en pointe, they can keep up with the group. Therefore, they must be good. And the sad thing is, they are like colourblind people in a field of poppies. They don’t notice the difference. The longer I study, the better I can tell. When I started, I thought everybody who had ok positions was good. Now I notice people’s alignment, the épaulement, the correct use of dynamics, resistance, of feet and head. I recently watched Franca’s ‘advanced’ class. They were all limp from the waist up. I don’t want to end up like that! I want to learn REAL ballet, as clean and expressive as my body allows. Thank God I have other teachers.

GPS did beats this Saturday, apparently deeming herself above simple changements. She did them with bent knees, feet flopping about, arms twisting. They were so bad, the teacher quickly looked away when she saw her. I imagined her having to bite her lip not to say anything. GPS doesn’t take corrections well.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
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