16 May 2013

Life as I know It: How I got Booed by My Ballet Teacher in Class, Part 2


Before I continue my ballet saga, you should know something about the picture above.

Those are my feet. You had no idea, did you?

My right foot has been swollen for 4 days now. It happened at this past Monday's class. So i squeezed my tiny big foot into my slipper for you. What I won't do for the art of blogging.

Now if you missed Part 1, I suggest you read this first before continuing on. It gives a nice mental back drop to the story.

Here we go...

To be quit honest I should have seen something coming. Not necessarily a "boooooooo" from across the ballet floor. That's hard to predict, unless you're on stage & really bad, & you know it! But even then, you assume people will be nice & just give you some type of mediocre applause. Enough for you to save face. The possibility of predicting or expecting a boo, is just unheard of. However, I should have expected something. My teacher Marsha has never been shy about singling me out & helping or correcting me, while others looked on. At first I found this slightly embarrassing. I would think, "Please woman leave me be...everyone's looking & listening to my failures." As time has gone on, I actually appreciate her help & correction. I look forward to it. I believe she knows I love ballet & take my hobby & her instruction seriously. I also think, she knows that I really appreciate her as a teacher. As such, she watches me. She watches everyone. However, she has cried out on more then one occasion, "Danielle wrong leg! Pirouette on the front leg! Pirouette on the back leg!" She has even gone so far to correct me in between center work in Ballet 2. A class she encouraged me to attend, that is very challenging for me to say the least. It is also very challenging for others in the class, not so much for basic reasons as which leg to pirouette on, more so as to how can I do this extremely fast combination across the floor.

If you're not familiar with the routine of ballet, let me give you a brief explanation. All my classes are 90 minutes long. The first 45 minutes we start at the barre. That is where we warm up our feet & legs. The barre "exercises" get progressively faster & complex as the 45 minutes goes on. Much of what we do at the barre prepares us for the center work which is the last 45 minutes of class. Center work is basically everything you see ballet dancers do on stage {without the assistance of holding on to a barre}.

It was during the barre that my "booooooo" occurred. The exercise was this: face the bar...do a certain number of beats, go into passe {bringing your front foot up to the knee of the other leg, creating a triangle of sorts while on the tip toes of your other foot}, go back down to fifth position, & do an outside pirouette {that means turn away from the bar-not toward it}. Got it? Yah. That's how I felt.

Right before the exercise, I turn to my friend Katie who was right next to me & asked: "We're suppose to raise the front leg and pirouette on the back leg, right?"  Here was the problem with that question. I knew the answer. I was correct. I had my other ballet teacher, Renee give me a rule about this. I wrote the rule in my iPad. I said it over & over again in my mind. I should have trusted myself. Darn me! But Katie looked at me so self assured & said, "No. Raise the back leg." I remember thinking, "What? That's not the rule." But of course why should I trust my ballet teacher Renee over fellow ballet beginner Katie.

The whole class is facing the bar. Our live pianist starts playing after Marsha's tempo instructions. The music is going at a nice clip. We are well into the 45 minutes. I do my beats with my right foot. I passe on my left leg with my right foot at the knee of my left leg while in releve on my left foot. I drop down to fifth position. I situate my arms for the turn. And...I pirouette on my front leg.

"Booooooooooooo Danielle!"

That's what I heard Marsha yell at me from behind. Way behind me.

Then again....

"Boooooooooooooo!"

By this time I was onto the other leg, or everyone else was at least. You'd think that I would have stopped dead in my tracks. But I didn't! It was exactly the same when I was on my way to Spain & during our landing in the dead of night, the oxygen masks came down, and all the overhead luggage spilled to the aisles because the turbulence was so bad. But we didn't know that. We just assumed our plan was crashing. Now I abhor flying. And I have no compunction about grabbing an absolute stranger's hand during a flight if they are seated next to me & look calm. I have done this on a couple of occasions. Crashing in a plane is my real nightmare. But when I actually thought my plane to Spain was crashing, I was oddly calm in the midst of all the passengers' screams of terror {no kidding...screams of terror}. I just looked up at my oxygen mask. Didn't touch it. I looked around at everyone on the plane. I said calmly to the big G {that's God if you don't know} "I actually never thought I'd die in a plane crash?" Funny thing is, consciously, I never knew that.

My ballet boo spurred the same unconscious attitude that the flight to Spain did. None of the horrors of ballet past as a little girl flooded to me, unlike the first day of my adult ballet "career." Instead I was oddly calm. Actually, I thought the "boo" was quite humorous. But instantly, like a mercenary in front of his target, I knew what I had to do.






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