Thursday, September 1, 2011

Can you be perfect?

Don't spend too long thinking about the answer. I'll tell you: no, you cannot.  And you shouldn't try to be.  Good things happen when you fail in ballet.  (Not "fall," that's a different matter altogether.)

One of the biggest differences between beginning ballet students who are adults and those who are children is that the kids just throw themselves into turns and jumps, usually without any regard for form.  Adults, on the other hand, are often too smart for their own good.  They think and think and ponder and then very tentatively attempt one pirouette.  They are afraid to do it wrong.  They want it to be perfect.

It ain't gonna happen.
Gillian Murphy, one of the most gifted dancers in the world yet only occasionally perfect!
When you go for a double pirouette instead of a single - and you tip over- that tells you something.  Where you weight is.  Where your arms are (or are not).  What your head is doing.  And so on.  All of those things lead you to better pirouettes the next time around.  Don't bother analyzing a thing before you try it.  Just try it and then analyze it.

One of the most important things you can do in the center is to free your mind and allow yourself to move.  The discipline we learn at the barre, the constant repetition of steps and corrections, the little voice that is me (your teacher) telling you to always lift up your hips, etc. - all of these things are important for you to incorporate and then forget when you come to the center.  You don't want to be actively thinking about those corrections; the goal is for them to happen on their own because you have done them so many times.  Then when you do turns or jumps or adagio, the dancing takes over and you give yourself room in your brain to concentrate on other things like artistry and expression.

You can't be perfect.  No one can.  Even the most gorgeous and naturally gifted ballerina will only be perfect for a moment in time.  As with any athlete, constant training is necessary to achieve even one second of perfection.

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