While you are in ballet class, it is so important to remember that you are competing with yourself and not with another dancer in the class. Your class time is for you to bring your overall dance performance to excellence. You, as a dancer, need to think of observing other dancers in your class, as a way of stimulating yourself to do better, rather than feeling overwhelmed because you aren’t as accomplished as another dancer in the class. Taking small steps, class by class, combination by combination, to improve your dance ability will lead to better ballet technique.
A wonderful thought about taking ballet class is that there is always room for improvment. You can always do things better than you did in the class you took before. For instance, your extensions, your flexibility, your endurance, your strength and balance can always be improved. Taking several ballet classes per week is a wonderful place to start imporving your technique. Some classes may not be to your level, but remember…….in ballet there is always room for improvement. Taking a ballet class beneath your own level will refresh what you have already learned and now you have the ability to perfect it because you already understand the material. In a class of your own level it is nice to get inspiration from other dancers who are your peers, who maybe already have accomplished their triple pirouette, or eight fouttes in a row. Things that you may be trying to perfect.
Be sure to listen to corrections that are given to anyone in the class, not just corrections that are directed to you. And pay attention to detail! Just because your teacher may not have pointed you out does not mean that what she is correcting in that dancer does not apply to you as well. The best dancers are the ones who listen to other corrections so that they don’t make the same mistakes.
Keep your eyes and ears open while your teacher is giving new combinations or choreography on your dances. It saves much time in class if everyone is listening and following along. You need to learn the counts, what the feet are doing and where they close, and what the arms are doing, Sometimes it may help you to first watch a combination as it’s being shown to get an understanding of it, then focus on the pattern of the feet along with the counts and then finally add in the port de bras.
Then again, often times it will help you to mark in place, a combination while your teacher is showing it to your class for the first time. It will help you to remember it better if you mark it in place with her. Also, while another group is doing the combination in the center or someone else is going across the floor before you, mark the steps in place on the side so that the combination will be more clear in your head. Too often class time is wasted because while waiting your turn, you are in conversation with another dancer, and that conversation has nothing to do with your class. Try to refrain from such nonsense. It just wastes your precious class time. Those conversations can wait for after class.
Always try to push yourself a little harder. If your teacher doesn’t specify, for example that a pirouette should be a single pirouette in a particular combination and if other dancers in the class are pulling out doubles successfully, go ahead and push yourself to do the same or better! Extra effort in class is always appreciated by your teacher. If your output is technically incorrect, your teacher should tell you to tone it down to perfect your technique.
In a previous post, keeping a notebook or journal was discussed. Write down corrections after class in your journal and you can look back at them when you get home so you will be prepared for your next class. You will see how quickly you will improve by keeping all of the constructive information you have just received in class, at your finger tips!
Be sure to set small goals for yourself. For example, if you have a hard time keeping your feet pointed, or keeping your body lifted in higher extensions, lower the extension so that your feet are pointed and your body is lifted. It is ok to sacrifice height for proper alignment and proper use of the feet. If you aren’t using your feet properly, nothing else is going to get better. If your alignment if off so will your balance be. Keep your focus on your total look, and appearance and one day you will see a perfect picture in the mirror.