How To Get The Most Out Of Your Daily Ballet Class
Author: Eka Mastrangelo Date Posted:16 October 2018
The daily ballet class!
A necessity and opportunity all wrapped up in a sweaty, 1 ½ hour slot.
Ballet dancers are familiar with the daily grind of warming up, taking ballet class then rehearsing for hours, but have you ever felt absent in that daily class? Felt some lack of motivation or drive to continuously push for more? Felt as un-prepared for your day after class? For many professional dancers, daily ballet class is the opportunity to excel, fine-tune and perfect this highly technical craft; as we all know, perfection is unattainable, so there is always something to be working toward.
I am no stranger to feeling a lack of motivation, frustration and to be honest sometimes boredom. It is easy to fall into the ‘auto-pilot’ trap while taking class. However, taking a constructive ballet class in the morning will benefit you throughout the rest of your day, whether it is to go onto rehearsals or anything else.
I’ve come up with a couple of tips and thoughts to consider when you next take class.
Have a goal
Now this may seem a little broad but hear me out…
I learnt this from my teacher (and now dear friend) while training and it has helped me immensely throughout the many ballet classes I’ve taken.
Enter each class, each day with a small goal/correction in mind, and keep it for the ENTIRE class.
Something that perhaps a teacher has told you repeatedly and has now become a habit. It could be as simple as “keeping my thumbs in”.
Now as we are usually thinking about a million things at a time, give your chosen correction an abbreviation. A one-word reminder that can flash through your thoughts and prompt the action of self-correction… THUMB… remembers to put thumb in.
This is an easy way to work on those niggly, little habits that can sometimes make or break your overall dancing. Now this trick may take some time to develop into a habit so, my suggestion is to stick with a single, small thought for a week; everyday, constantly trying to remind yourself of that one word which will trigger the action. Prompt yourself at the beginning of every exercise; every time you turn to the other side or swap legs etc… this will build a positive habit of instigating change.
Let the frustration go
Okay trust me when I say… “I know the feeling”!
Class can get extremely exasperating – all you want to do is nail every exercise, but there are days where nothing seems to be working. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there and while it is annoying, these days are inevitable (if you’re a human) and harnessing the feeling of frustration will only make things worse. Allowing this negative emotion to gnaw away at self confidence and overall mood will only continue to bring you down and ultimately effect your day.
This sign can however be seen as a good thing; this means you care enough about your art form that you want to do it justice every time. It’s important to take that notion and flip it into a positive working mindset – and accept the fact that everyone has ‘bad days’ and its not your job as a dancer to bee 100% on it 100% of the time… besides, that’s impossible!
Keep focused + work smart
I always found class time to be almost a meditative therapy session. It’s a time where you can practice the art of focusing your mind onto one stream of thoughts. Life can get so hectic and whirlwinds of thoughts can often cloud our minds and take over; so take this time to silence those external issues, leave them at the studio door and apply your attention solely on class - one and a half hours of mindful, silent working.
This can open up a whole new world of rewards and benefits. Quality over quantity – concentrated, quality work during class values far greater than hours and hours spent in the studio. Working in a smart, effective way has proved to be far more beneficial and time friendly! No-one wins when you are bashing out exercise after exercise in an attempt to improve – it will only bring on frustration and exhaustion.
There are my tips for getting the most out of your ballet class everyday. Remember that it is such a privilege to be able to dance and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted! When things get frustrating or even ‘boring’ sometimes, take a step back, assess, tweak and move forward calmly!
Happy dancing friends! x