1. Some people seem to have it easier than others, however hard work can payoff in dividends!
If you love dancing, let it bring you joy. You will be rewarded for your hard work as you put your best foot forward. Little milestones will begin to show!
The day you land your first pirouette or the first day you go on pointe can be euphoric. All the blood, sweat, and tears that went into landing that glorious pirouette should not be taken for granted. Set goals, work hard and celebrate even the small wins with your friends in class.
2. You will balance better and improve if you let go of the barre or of a fear
You first start studying classical ballet at the barre, doing exercises to warm up the body and build technique. The barre reflects your future dance partner, so try not to hold on too tight. Your goal is to move away from the barre and dance freely in the center without support.
Without the barre, you will feel like your body is unable to function like at the barre. At the barre, your balances will be better, your grand battements stronger and higher, but once you let go you will notice the difference! Test your balance during the barre so you stay on the ball of the foot, not your heel. Students cannot progress unless they let go of the barre! You will be surprised how you may not need the barre so much. It is there to assist you, not to be a crutch. Step out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and dance free of the barre!
3. Consistency pays off in improvement and strength
If you are serious about ballet or any dance form, then you need to increase the number of days you dance as you get older. When you are ten years of age you should be taking ballet 3 times a week. This includes stretching and doing your exercises to build strength at home. You may not notice progress for a while. Slow and steady wins the race! Over time, your body will start to remember movements, often called muscle memory. You will surprise yourself how you can progress over the months with consistency.
You need to be consistent dancing including over the summer to retain what you have achieved and to continue to build strength. Muscles loose strength and muscle memory as we grow along with our minds. Consistency is key to all you do. Never stop practicing, keep learning! It will pay off one day.
4. Flexibility is not required; it can be improved
Flexibility in ballet is physical and mental. By dancing in the annual show, you may learn to be flexible with a wardrobe malfunction, falling, facing the incorrect direction and maybe choreography changes before you go onstage. Dance with an open mind, and it will help you cope with life’s stresses.
5. Try not to stress about mistakes including bumping into others; we learn from mistakes
Keep dancing until the music stops playing then apologize to one another. It was not intentional; we just need to be more aware of our spacing—try not to sweat the small stuff or hold grudges. If someone does something nasty, brush it off like it’s no big deal. You will be happier this way, trust me. Life is too short to be holding grudges. Forgive and move on.
6. Young at heart is always a good start
However, it’s never too late to start to make positive changes in your life. Don’t let your age stop you from doing something you love. It’s never too late to try something new!
7. Someone will be better than you and offer you another opportunity for growth
It is hard to accept, but there will always be someone better than you. At something. Remember you are better than someone at something too, so don’t let that bring you down. We all compare ourselves to other in class and can get depressed with thinking, “Why can’t I dance like her?” Instead, look at what they do and try to analyze how they can do certain things and apply that to improve your technique.
Feeling happy for other in classes and applauding their success will lift you up as well. Never compare yourself to others. Celebrate other people’s successes with them and use them as a source of inspiration!
8. Never think you’re too good to go for a lower level class
Did you know the great British ballerina, Margot Fonteyn regularly took beginning ballet classes to clean and perfect her technique!
Sometimes I attend a class that is at a level below mine. Doing the simplest things slowly can be much more difficult than attending an advanced-level class. In an advanced class, the combinations are more complex, more difficult that sometimes you are focusing all your mental energy on getting it right the combination correct, but not doing the steps well. However, in a beginner class, you already know all the steps and it gives you time to work on executing everything perfectly.
These slower classes remind me of how much work I put into dance. And it’s always nice to see other motivated students and witness their progress. Sometimes beginning dancers are more motivated than advanced-level dancers.
Never think you’re too good for something. Stay true to your roots, your values, and your beliefs.
9. The best way to give back is to teach others
If you see someone struggling, offer to help. Helping others, helps ourselves refine our knowledge and technique and can spread the knowledge and joy.