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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reality Check Monday

* I intended to post this Monday night, but was too exhausted to finish it then, so I left it until today...

Last night my summer ballet class started. I was really looking forward to it, excited to have another dance class added to my schedule and help get rid of the Bad Funk. I've also been worrying about staying in shape for Chicago, so I knew this would help me stop fretting a little bit. I was also a little nervous since I haven't done ballet in a month. I wasn't too worried about being out of shape... I've stayed active with hip hop, conditioning exercises and my Tae Bo videos for cardio. My concern was that I'd be slightly out of practice technically, plus I was (and still am) hella-uber sore from hip hop on Sunday, so I knew I wasn't going to do stellar. But it was only the first class back after a mini-break, and the teacher knew that so she shouldn't be too hard on us, so how bad could it be?

Let's just put it this way - I got bitch-slapped by ballet.

The hip hop soreness did not help, of course, but I'm pretty confident that my experience would have been no different had I felt fine.

My legs felt like they weighed 5 tons each. My turnout was, um, a bit lacking. I apparently left my brain somewhere else, because I couldn't remember the combinations to save my life. I was so discombobulated it was as if my brain and body were separate entities. My brain: "demi plie into releve, another demi plie, then grand plie... okay, got it." My body: "what's a plie? what is this 'ballet'? why am I wearing tights anyway?"

It was pretty pathetic and I was rather embarrassed. And I am SO GLAD that Professor C is offering these classes this summer, because I don't even want to think about what it would have been like getting to Chicago without taking technique classes beforehand.

Our professors are always telling us that dancers do not get to take time off. The Artistic Director of Diavolo, Jacques Heim, told us the same thing last fall when he and his company came to CSU to set a piece on us. He said that while everyone else with "normal" jobs get vacation time and weekends off, dancers don't. Ever. Not if you want to keep your job.

Time off to rest and rejuvenate is important, yes, and they do tell us to make sure we give our bodies downtime, but what they mean is we can't take huge chunks of time off and think we can come back and pick up where we left off.

And we all know this in our heads, but we quickly forget so getting a reality check every so often does a dancer good. While I had good intentions doing what I've been doing to stay in shape, and they have helped keep me in general condition, I was naive in thinking that they would keep me in dance condition.

I definitely was not the only one in the Reality Check Boat. One girl told me she has been biking, hiking and running, thinking she was doing such a good job of staying in shape. She mentioned her surprise to Professor C at how not in shape she realized she was during class despite all her activities. Professor C told her about some study done years ago to find which sports/activities required the most stamina, strength, flexibility, mental focus, comprehensive use of all the muscle groups, all at the same time, and only two won the prize: fighting (I assume this means martial arts) and dance. And so therefore, the only way to stay in that caliber of shape is to do the activity itself.

Silly, silly Jessi.

I have my excuses/reasons/justifications for why I wasn't doing ballet to stay in shape for ballet... the never-ending reason being money. "I can't afford to take classes at other studios, blah blah blah..." This limitation is very really for me, there's no doubt about that. But I can't let it keep me from moving forward and working at my craft - not if I want to succeed. I realized last night that it's not excuse enough. Okay, so I can't afford to take class besides what I've planned for, so then I do ballet in my kitchen after work at night. Its not ideal, but its better than not doing it at all. I also know that since I'll mostly be doing modern in Chicago, that means I also find a way to work on modern technique in the next three weeks.

So I accept the very humbling lesson learned here. I get very frustrated with my financial situation, but I have a choice: I can either fester in the frustration and work myself into deeper frustration, or I can use the frustration as fire to fight. I'm a fighter, so it's time for the gloves to come off.

1 comment:

  1. LOL ...such a great photo for this post! ...can you practice at home? where it's free?