Last week, I officially made it past the half-way mark at CPYB and I have many mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m thrilled to return home and to be with my family. There really is no place like my wonderful home and I have missed everything about it, especially the people, family, friends, teachers, etc. But, on the other hand, I have lived my “attending a summer intensive” dream for the last couple weeks and I don’t want it to end. It’s a thrill to get to dance ballet all day, everyday. Yes, it’s tiring, and it makes your body beyond sore AND it’s very difficult at times. However, that moment when you see improvement in your technique and you realize that things you once found impossible are now doable makes everything you endured and felt worth it.
My goal is to absorb everything I possibly can for the remainder of the program and to enjoy every minute of it right down to that adagio combination that feels like an eternity (for those unfamiliar with this term see here . ). 🙂
Here are some lessons and highlights from week three.
1. Are you REALLLY on balance?
This sounds like such a simple question. However, it isn’t that simple. When I came to CPYB, I was under the very incorrect impression that I was on balance while dancing. My teachers at home always ask me the question, so when I had a CPYB teacher ask our class, my immediate reply was “yes.” OH BOY, was I wrong. These past couple weeks, I’ve had a lot of teachers challenging me to relevé, balance, turn, and jump from every position. I honestly never know when I’m going to be asked to balance out in center on relevé during adagio, which by the way, isn’t the most pleasant thought for anyone who’s ever done so. 🙂 The emphasis is on using the correct muscle group in order to go anywhere and do anything.
2. How does one make a body be on balance?
Honestly, for late comer me, it’s quite the undertaking. There are so many muscles groups that must work together and oftentimes, it takes a while for them to make that connection. All I can do is share with you some of the tips given. Please understand, I have heard these corrections before and often BUT during intensives – they are all DRILLED daily by EVERY teacher until they are internalized, hopefully.
- Test your self constantly during barre
- Hold your seat under
- Picture your stomach muscles and spine connecting like a zipper
- Head must always reach up as its the heaviest part of your body
- Engage your back, never hunch over
- Grow, lengthen everything
- Straighten knee as soon as you leave plié
- Don’t drop weight into your heels
- Engage your turnout and always turnout evenly on both sides
3. Ballet comes from the heart
Ballet is the pursuit of perfection. That pursuit can be stressful and it’s very easy to forget you are actually dancing. It’s so easy to treat a combination as a technical mountain that you must conquer. During week three, I had one teacher address us about the above. He looked at us and said “show me that you love to dance” while we looked at him surprised and chagrinned. Of course, we love to dance, didn’t that come across? We wouldn’t be at CPYB for the summer, if we didn’t, right? He went on to say, (paraphrasing, here) “I see nothing in your faces, you look like robots. Ballet exists to show emotion and it’s your job as performers to open your heart and let your audience see what’s in there. The love you have in your heart must come through. People come to see live performances to have that momentary connection.” Since attending here, I’ve made up my mind that this elusive thing called “performance quality” is merely a reflection of what’s inside you while you dance.
Week three was a great one and I learned a lot from it. Although the program is more than half way over,there is still so much more to soak up and improve upon. Thank you for following along on my adventure, so far. I appreciate you reading the ramblings of a dancer away at summer intensives! Have a great rest of your week.