Don’t Make Your Ballet Teacher Depressed: Give 100%

May 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

I know, it sounds funny, but it is something I never have thought about. Thanks to my current teacher, Mirco Fila at Escuela de Danza María Carbonell  in Valencia, Spain for quite vocally showing his frustration at the class today for looking like zombies just going through the motions. I appreciated this as it shows he cares about our progress and thinks we can DO IT.

Many teachers spend much of the day teaching, or if not, perhaps they have a day job from which the come to do something hopefully fun and engaging. Imagine spending all day watching students not giving 100%, looking dead when they execute steps (and not dance!)….that must be depressing!!!

But trying to keep your adult beginner ballet teacher off the anti-depressants not only benefits her/him, it benefits YOU.

Reaching as far as you can, traveling HUGE across the floor, having some life and expression in your face…these things make you a better dancer. For example, if you really push forward to the maximum over your standing leg in pique’ arabesque, you learn to REALLY balance on your leg, to get over it. The more force you put into propelling yourself onto the leg will give you a higher and more dynamic arabesque. You might feel that you will totally fall forward and lose control, but that is exactly what makes it more exciting to watch! And certainly you will fall forward and lose control, but this is how you learn to go 100% under control.

This does not mean go all out crazy with ‘neighborhood ballet.’ You still need to do this under some control, using your muscles (abs, ouch!) to keep the form and line as correct as possible.

Listen to the music, feel something even if you have to imagine some corny scene with the music. I dunno, like pigs dancing on a lake. Whatever you need to feel the music and to give 100% of your body and effort to expressing it.

It is not easy to do, especially as an adult beginner ballet dancer. I know this first hand. Namely because you might not be sure how to do a step correctly so you hesitate; or the combination is long and difficult. Or you are kind of embarrassed because you think you look terrible. I still have these issues and get all zombie-like. But if these are the circumstances then give 100% at the points in the combination when you are sure of the step. Or, nobody will swat you with a stick if you are a tiny bit behind the music and follow the steps of others; you’ll see the step and then give it your all, just a few counts behind. :) Sooner or later you will gain the confidence to go 100% because you have practiced and you will know you don’t look terrible.

Keep your teacher out of a straightjacket, go for it. Think BIG.


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§ 6 Responses to Don’t Make Your Ballet Teacher Depressed: Give 100%

  • Jen says:

    I love this, and I needed to hear it. Thank you. :)

  • Jeff says:

    Definitely… the more you give, the more you get!

  • balletcougar says:

    really, i felt so bad for my teacher when he was so clearly upset with us. i thought about him teaching all day long, watching zombie dancers :(

  • Mirco Fila says:

    Hi Jackie,
    thank you I really appreciated that for posting this.
    I am totally with you and thanks for thinking like that. Sometimes also for a ballet teacher it´s hard to keep up the spirit to make the progress going on every day in class, but it gives days where sometimes students are on another planet and not with the class, disconnecting their brains. This is the most terrible moment for a ballet teacher, you try all the best what you know that students get their job right done and on this day you get nothing back. You give the corrections and they look at you with this empty eyes…….and you just think….oh my god they even don´t know anymore to do a pirouette. Sometimes you give the same simple correction to a student for a whole month and you thinking the student has to work harder on that and not take so long for that simple correction. But why simple corrections are not working, very easy, they are not working smart enough, they just do the combination and not analysing the movement with their body and not working on the correction as they should. That´s why I say – take just 3 corrections a day and work so hard on it that you can work on the others the next day, for one week you have a lot of corrections done. I love and care about my students and want that they work better, harder and that the work is more deep in progress. The more you give the more you get. You will feel better and the teacher too and than you go home and you can say it was a good work today. MF

  • balletcougar says:

    Hi Mirco! Thanks for your reply….I already miss your class :O( I am in Schweiz now and classes are too expensive haha. I can’t wait to get back to Berlin for ballet, and use what I learned from you. Say hello to all the fun girls and guys in class!

  • Tonda says:

    thank you so much for your post and your blog. I was in ballet in kindergarten but was unable to continue lesson due to my parent’ finances. after many years at the exploratory age of 36, i am back in lesson and i am SMITTEN! now i am considering going so much further, and learning as much as i can. the world will tell you you’re too old, too stiff, or too fat – and it all about what you set your mind to do. What we think about, we bring about…visualize and you can accomplish anything!!!

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