Wednesday, January 22, 2014
We All Start With "Little Moves".
We all start with "little moves". What does that mean. Well, it's my way of saying that everyone pretty much starts at the same place when it comes to movement and dance. We all start out being a little unsure and feeling pretty uncoordinated. Very young children jump in with abandon and without inhibitions, and it is a beautiful thing to see. Yet often enough, when they reach a certain age they too feel the pangs of uncertainty in their abilities. Some people take to dance and movement very naturally, but even they will come across their struggles. Often steps are learned on a small scale and then as ability and confidence grows so too does the size (or speed, height, what have you. Sometimes slowing the speed down is the challenge). A "little move" becomes a "big move", executed with confidence, strength and grace. As a dancer and as a dance teacher it is a beautiful thing to witness because I know first hand how amazing it feels.
I still remember the moment that I finally "felt" my first pique turn. Here's a nice video I found of the step I'm talking about-
Pique Turns in Classical Ballet.
I remember struggling and struggling with them. I didn't start really training in ballet with any consistency until I was about 12, so I have very clear memories of the struggles that I had in learning many of the steps in the classical ballet vocabulary. Most of the time I felt like a wagon that had lost one of its wheels. Suddenly one day in class I felt the smoothness of a completed turn with a seamless connection to the next turn. I still, to this day, remember how it felt internally. That is the feeling that I get super excited about when I see my students really feel like they have nailed a step. Especially turns, which have always been what I am weakest at. Although I'm better now, at my advanced age in ballet years, than I ever was as a younger dancer. This is due to the fact that I have a much better understanding of core strength, and thus, a much stronger core. Even though I am mostly a teacher now, I am always learning new things and peeling back new layers of understanding. All the time. I guess that is what I want anyone who does any kind of dance instruction with me (or any instructor for that matter) to learn first; fall in love the art of learning the technique. The process over perfection.
Seeing exceptional dancers can be both inspiring and intimidating. A Zumba instructor that I got to work with for a licensing workshop who was very inspiring to me said something that I found brilliant;
"You are only as good of a dancer as the person standing next to you."
What that means is that there will always be someone better than you, and someone will probably be feeling that way about you at some point. So stay calm, focused and patient. Give yourself compassion as you push yourself further.
I remember sort of hating going to see big professional companies in S.F. I would watch and try to follow what steps they were doing. I was so wrapped up in my own frustrations with my abilities that I couldn't just sit and watch. And be inspired
Allow yourself to be inspired. Let it flow through you and it will flow from you.
Once I was able to allow myself to be inspired, and took a moment to take inventory of my own good qualities, I was also able to gain a greater understanding of what I was doing, what I wanted achieve, and eventually what I wanted to give to my audience and students. It was there that I truly found joy. I still do!
Thanks for hanging out for my rambling!
Enjoy the dance that is life!
What inspires you? I'd love to hear your story!