Saturday, September 29, 2007

Janie - Making Stronger Corrections

Let's say there is a combination you want to improve.

the corrected version, not what you do wrong. Keep your mind power on
the corrected version. In this way you keep reaching for your

DO NOT SEE the error. Make the change visually.
Feel the movement. Listen to how the movement sounds. (tempo, speed,
rhythm, etc) Tune into the 'experience' of the corrected version as you
watch teachers or other dancers.

It is easy to focus on the error. DROP THAT FOCUS like a dead pointe shoe.

Continue mentally rehearsing in class out of class.

This is on the Audition CD, track 8, disc 2. You take a piece of choreography and review the experience mentally. When you approach it in this way you gain more strength to make the changes more quickly.

You still have to work hard, yet with a mind focused in the direction you want to go, you can correct.

It is like driving a car. You face the direction you want to move. Right?

Use your mind power!
I've noticed in class that I can relax a little more now, since I've taken the time outside of class to separate what I can control from what I cannot, and what is worth worrying about.

(Janie said the above statements in a post below!)


Janie - Make stronger corrections

Corrections... They are desired because you want to improve and yet can feel exhausting. Especially in ballet, being corrected by the instructor is considered a good thing because you are noticed, yet it can be very frustrating because you could hear the voice and tone of voice repeat the same correction over and over again.

Self sabotage can easily happen ... when you hear a certain combination being called and you say, "Oh here comes that combination and correction." You set the stage beforeyou have even moved. Sometimes it is better and sometimes it is not.

In ballet you are always striving, moving toward dancing "better."

I am still messing up? Why can't my body just do it? She is going to scream at me if I mess up. (your teachers mosy likely do not scream, yet you perceive them as screaming!)

The 'corrected' combination/movement happens with a bunch of little successes that support change. Your willingness to change, courage, mind set, work ethic, openness to change, attendance.

YES, I have all those qualities you might say. Yet if
you put your mind on a correction, You might experience something
else... a flood of negativity that runs counterproductive
to actually correcting the movement.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Janie - Corrections

I am leaving myself a little note here on the blog to talk about the corrections when I return later on. I have some great suggestions for that...

Janie - Injury

Let's also take a peak into the time line of this injury.

You have been hurting for some time, yes? Hiding the injury. Not communicating about the injury. Stressing.

All of the above aggravate the injury.

A teacher sees you icing your body. She shows compassion and gives you some helpful advise that works for you.

Hmm-mm--m ... In retrospect, what were your beliefs? What do you know now?

Janie -- Your Writing

I am happy to hear that the writing exercise was helpful. You must
realize that it is true for all of us that we carry home, life, dance,
relationships into other areas of life. It crosses over and can be very
Recognizing that not having a parking space is truly unrelated to dance yet can influence dance ability.

that you realize that 'other' stuff enters the studio and has the
potential to enhance your practice one way or another,you can take
deliberate action to set boundaries, or even to apply the frustration.

Anxiety and anger can move you lots of ways.

Try writing for 5 days straight. Can you do that, Janie? Make the effort can each day after let us know what happens.

Writing in this way is certainly not for publication, yet has enormous healing potential.

Back at you later today ....

ballet is fun!

I've noticed in class that I can relax a little more now, since I've taken the time outside of class to separate what I can control from what I cannot, and what is worth worrying about.

Sometimes I guess a need a little reminder of why I love ballet so much, but I definitely get that every week in variations class. Some ballets are just FUN. I can honestly say that a good variation puts a smile on my face and even makes me forget about my pain and exhaustion. Maybe I'll try thinking about those ballets I love so much next time I am frustrated or upset in class, because it's hard for me to imagine dancing them in a bad mood.

Might I add that watching rehearsals for the company's upcoming show also makes me absolutely giddy. I am completely in love with the choreography. Once again, it puts a smile on my face, and I could watch it over and over without ever getting sick of it. What could be better than a ballet like that?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Whew! What a rant! It just went on and on and on. I guess I should not have been surprised to find that a lot of it didn't even have much to do with ballet, either. Everything just builds up, from worries about school, ballet, and my future, to things as silly as road rage and finding an effing parking spot every day! I also could see that some of the things I get angry about are really not worth the energy. It's not really that big of a deal if I spend an extra 5 lousy minutes looking for parking.

Every time I went to post, I kept thinking I needed to get that rant out first, so I apologize for missing out on the past few days. Luckily, a teacher saw me icing and asked what was wrong, so I explained that it was bothering me, but it didn't seem too serious. She gave me some advice, which seems to be helping, AND now I feel a little better about taking it easy since she knows about the injury.

I also have been really focusing on corrections I tend to get over and over, almost like I'm trying to get to it before the teacher can, and I think the teachers are noticing and maybe it will be helpful to me to nitpick at one of my own flaws every day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Janie - Consistency

Consistent thoughts shape my viewpoint of reality.

Consistent thoughts become beliefs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Janie - Let's talk.

Your last post indicates that you are holding in your rant and you will
soon (no doubt) be juicy, ripe and ready. You also stated that you have
not had the time to rant in a ten minute word doc (see last week's post)

Let's look a little closer at a disaster waiting to happen.

You have an injury and you are busy with life, dance, etc etc etc.

All good stuff. (not the injury of course.)

Janie, Rants are NOT mere words. They create emotions that create feelings in the body.

you will be juicy, ripe and ready -- to explode! You may already
realize that those back up, held inside thoughts, constrict muscles, inhibit the
immune system, cause forgetfulness, clumsy behavior,distractibility.

When the mind runs and rants like that you create enormous tension in the body.

Here is the clincher -- you increase the risk for injury, illness, accident, even simple forgetfulness ( to name a few) There are all symptoms of stress, Janie.

The more you hold, the greater the likelihood of a difficulty.

Do you have 10 mins?

This is an opportunity to clear your mind. The more you do it, the freer you are.

It is easy to fall into trap of old habits. They are subconsious and automatic.
Let's pull the curtain down on this --- Write them out (of your mind, and body!)

Janie - Your body

That is a dilemna for you.

no time for ranting!

Sorry I haven't had a chance to really rant yet - maybe now it will be really juicy since I'm letting it all build up ;) Anyway, nothing too exciting has been happening lately at ballet. I'm having hints of an injury, so I'm trying to be cautious without drawing too much attention. Such a fine line between letting a teacher see why you're not dancing your best and marking yourself as damaged goods and giving her a reason not to cast you. Promise to rant soon and tell you all about it! Until then...

Friday, September 21, 2007

No apologies

No need to apologize, Janie. You have a lot on your mind.

Rant Rant Rant

Janie, So much too say.

Let's do it again. Cause I know you can do better than that.

This time -- sit at the computer and really rant. Here is how...

Take a pause, breathe, (a time or two) and get ready.

Put your hands on the computer... and Begin. Do not stop typing until you are finished.

There will be a natural break to tell you that you are finished.

Rant. Rant. Rant.

Only rules are no names, no cursing (as this blog has readers of all ages)

and you have to keep the focus on 'I'

So, here you go ..... I ....... WAIT WAIT !

I am thinking that you would be freer to do it on your computer and then blog us what happens.
This exercise would be better done that way.

Follow the instructions above ... except say what you want, onto a word doc. let it out. when you feel finished maybe after ten minutes (DO NOT STOP OR LIFT YOUR FINGERS FROM THE KEYBOARD)


I look forward to hearing from you. (If anyone reads this post try it NOW).

I am still feeling mixed about your sharing. I want you to be free to say what you want, yet it can get very personal filled with words that are mere words with little value or truth. Plus then it is documented. Yes DO NOT post it. I think if someone wants to have the experience they can rant at home...

So I look forward to hearing from you AFTER you rant without stopping

Answer gone rant - sorry!

I'm discouraged really easily. I can definitely notice a change in energy, be it a drop if I sort of give up in frustration, or start fidgeting and going nuts because I'm trying way too hard to impress people.

Also, sometimes I'm thinking so much about what's irking me, I forget to pay attention to the combination or really concentrate on my technique.

And while I'm ranting, I also get really upset interpreting things teachers say and do. I get so worked up when a teacher praises the dancer who gets in everyone's way because she practices ALL THE TIME. I know practice makes perfect, but even if I could manage to keep up with these energizer bunnies in class, what would it be like if everyone acted like these people? Nobody would have any room to dance and everyone would resent everyone else for knocking into them or stealing their spots. But I obviously can't say this in response to the teacher's sneer at the class for not being more like the offending dancer, so instead I just think all this and become silently discouraged in the back of class, complaining to myself that I had just been practicing the same amount as the other girl. I just had the decency to work on the side instead of in the middle of the floor, which prevents anyone else from practicing and interrupting the teacher's correction/lecture. Okay sorry I realize that was a huge run-on whine, but it just feels so good to let it out! I promise I'm done for now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Janie -- Notice


I can only imagine the 'feel' of this inner struggle.

To Janie -

Wow, you are busy during class.

What do you say to yourself? What happens to your energy? (when someone takes your spot, a director walks in, a combination is screwed up).

PSST -- This is our secret ... YOU ARE NOT ALONE !!!

I am wondering how your dance potential could improve if you had a clearer, freer mind. Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

tough answer from janie

I think many times I have to physically try something to discover how hard it is, since a major part of ballet is making it appear easy. Sometimes I don't know how hard something is until I tire myself out doing it, or fail to do it at all.

Although, it is easy to get discouraged and then jump to conclusions about situations being "hard" before I ever even try. It's funny though, because I am constantly aware of how much I psych myself out. Sometimes if I decide something is hard before I even try, it's like I'm proving myself wrong by doing well, but then when I over-think stuff and assume I'll do well because I'm trying to disprove my notion that it's hard, I mess up. I know that was incredibly spastic, but there's a taste of while all that goes on in my head in the short length of one combination or step!

So many factors go into what makes something hard one day and easy the next. Things as stupid as somebody stealing my spot or "negative vibes" that I may or may not be actually getting from the teacher can completely throw me off in a class. I am so self-conscious, I even find myself holding back or freaking out if I think somebody might be looking at me. The other day in class, I messed up every combination that began with a glance at the doorway and locking eyes with the artistic director. Every time someone important comes along I screw up!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It is not always as it seems

The scenario below reveals that it is not always as it 'appears.'

She believed she was terribly flawed. It was a difficult situation that she handled in the best way a 5 yr old could. She found her way to survive -- to do her crying before the little class. Her way of survival - interesting, huh.

Who would know that, unless she confided in you, or others. The studio or stage is not the place for that as you know.

What appears easy and effortless has a lot of blood sweat and tears behind success.

There is a saying in business that goes like this -- "I carry my own briefcase." I guess you can apply that to ballet -- You carry your own dance bag (with everything in it)!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dancer, Part 2

This is the continuation of The Russian Dancer story ...

Our phone discussion led to a session. She wanted to eliminate the severe stress she expereinced prior to all performances.

Her dancing was absolutely beautiful. Her technique was clearly executed. Not to mention she had the face of an angel.

She was also worried that reducing or stopping the feelings of terror would disrupt her dancing. (It had become sort of a pre-perfomance routine. Something she did before dancing)

She stated that before performances, she would scream very loud and cry. She would yell, "I can't do this. I can't do this. I just can't." She had images of falling, fears of stopping on stage and forgetting every move. NIghtmares during sleep. Stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting (due to the upset). She also had chronic digestive upset.

The interesting thing is that she HAD TO CRY at least so many hours before her rehearsal times because of the puffiness in her eyes. The outbursts were timed perfectly.

In session she learned the root of her fears ... She described a very tiny child, almost waif like who had a very stern ballet master who yelled and yelled, calling the girls names, and was fiercely demeaning. (This was in the '70's). She would tremble and shake in class and never dance without fear for about 2 years before he left the studio. She 'had to get her tears out before going to class." (Notice the patterns!)

Well, we resolved the situation using what is called inner child work. I asked her to imagine if she could walk into her memory of the trauma as an adult .... and scoop up the little girl in her arms and hold her safely and securely.

I inquired -- "What do you want to tell her?" Her response was that "You are free to dance with your spirit.You can dance without fear now. I am here for you." The small ballerina melted in her arms and cried healing tears. (This was in her mind remember. The mind can do this)

Well we placed the child in a safeplace with guardians and I directed her to release the mean instructor, to banish him because he did not deserve to teach little girls. He was mean and nasty. She told him a thing or two and 'cleared' him out of her mind.

She felt so much better. There were some other parts of the work, but this was the best and most healing...

I spoke with her once after that. She was so happy because she was free to dance finally. (she had no clue that her mind was still stuck back there with 'that man.' She said she could now use her emotions more in her dancing rather than wasting it on HIM!

Her terror had dimished to mere butterflies which were set free to dance with her.

Interesting ... It was amazing.

Dancer Story

Here is the story of the Ballet Dancer from Russia.

She was in the USA on temporary contract. I met her at a reception after a ballet performance. After the initial introductory discussion, we talked at length about
the rewards and challenge, similarities and differences of performing
here in the US vs Russia. After several minutes I asked her if she had
to prepare herself differently for performance given the change of not
only stage but country, etc.

She flushed and looked away. Her eyes teared up.

I quickly redirected the conversation (she was relieved by the look on her face. So was I !)

Later she approached me and commented that no one had ever asked her about
her time before performance. She apologized for tearing up and 'being difficult.'

She explained that the time just prior to every performance was very very
difficult. In her words "I am terrified every time I dance on stage.") My seemingly simple question had penetrated a very private painful period of time.

She had the status of principle dancer in Russia and was guest dancing here.

She was terrified of performing, absolutely terrified. And no one knew because they only saw her performances, which were amazingly beautiful.

I said that perhaps she could get some help for that. She
was surprised that one could even get help for such a thing. To be
honest, I had never worked with a dancer, but I thought, I have helped
others feel better, so at least let her know that she can 'get help.'

I gave her my card and told her if she wanted to talk further to call me.

One week later she called.

To be continued .. I am sorry. It is a little longer than I thought. After my work today I will finish.

Just this part of the story was "hard for her." :)

Hard Question for Janie

questions == Really
listen to this question -- At what point does it become 'hard.'

Does the body communicate 'that it is hard' to you

through a lack of ability (after you perform), or perhaps
an instant low/fatigue (even before you move) concludes that 'it is hard?'


Does your mind observe
a demonstration by the teacher/other dancer, and you might make the decision that 'it is hard' before you even move your body


Has "hard" become a pattern of self-criticism?

okay i'm assuming that wasn't a rhetorical question...

I guess when I use the word "hard", I mean something that doesn't necessarily come naturally. If something is "hard", it isn't the most convenient or effortless choice. People who really care about dancing and push themselves despite the challenges and obstacles they face are hard workers in my opinion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hi 'Janie'

Well, errands and season 3 of the Sopranos carried me away ... before I tell you the story about the Russian Ballet dancer --

(I am still doing domestic errands and such) ... would rather be dancing?

I have been wondering about the word "hard."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blood, sweat and tears

Yes. We all know 'it is hard.' The blood sweat and tears make it 'appear' easy and effortless.

Yet, as you stand in the studio, you do not know what other dancers bring with them into the studio. What is behind the eye? In the heart? In the mind? The body?

Easy is an illusion.

I will tell you about a Russian ballet dancer I worked with in the '90's. She was the first dancer I ever worked with in the area of performance.

I was trembling in my knees ... my heart was pounding ... and my words were jumbled. She was so beautiful, so talented. You won't believe this story. (she gave me permission back then to tell her story without name, of course because she was a client her name cannot be used. Gee, is everyone anonymous!)

I do have to go to dinner. Back very soon and i will tell you.

hard work

I like to think that Janie Taylor struggled and worked hard to get where she is now. She did begin dance when she was 4 years old, so she definitely at least devoted many years of her life to ballet. I think her accomplishments seem even more impressive if she had to work for them, rather than everything coming easily.

Higher Powers

It is true that we want to associate with those who 'have made it.' She is beautiful, talented and without a doubt has worked 'beyond hard' to achieve such status.

Smooth sailing. eh?

It's easy to believe that it all came easy ... that they didn't have to work, that they had no problems or injuries. It is easy to forget that they were, and still are on a journey.

I know that you are on the pre-professional level of ballet, as she was.


To be perfectly honest, I don't really have a good reason why I am like Janie Taylor. I don't even really know her all that well, but I do know that she stood out to me when I saw her dance in the few New York City Ballet performances I have had the pleasure of attending. I loved her energy and her way of captivating her audience. I hope one day as a dancer I will have that same quality of jumping out at my audience and making ballet exciting for them just like Janie does for me. Being a principle for NYCB may also contribute a little to my desire to be associated with Janie.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


You are hereby called Janie!

Renaming yourself can be quite an exercise. When it comes down to identifying yourself with a new name, it gets tricky. We make associations with someone who is called by that name.

When I was little I wanted to be "Karen." (Mostly because she could jump really high when she cheered.)

I am wondering - How are you like Janie Taylor?


This seems like a good place to start. I racked my brain trying to think of a ballet or a ballerina that seemed to represent me and my situation, but nothing was jumping out at me. So, instead I decided to use a professional ballerina I really like. Since Janie Taylor is one of my favorites, maybe my name for this blog can be Janie. If you can think of any names with more symbolism, let me know, but for now how about that?

Welcome ... a name.

As this blog begins, I wonder how to begin. Do I ask a question? Strike a chord with a declarative. Blogging is mind-ful, of the moment, so I begin with what is on my mind.

I realize that you have no "name."

Even though you will remain anonymous, I want to call you something, address you in some way. I need to hear a name in my mind, say it out loud, and write a name as I blog.

It also connects me to you like a bridge. I know who I am addressing.
And I certainly don't want to reveal your true name in error.

Maybe others may feel more comfortable with a name for the same reason.

Anonymous feels intriquing, creates wonder from a readers perspective. However, between us begins this relationship of amazing possibility and I need to address you.

Any suggestions? Hmm-mm What could your name be? Maybe you have a favorite character in a ballet that inspires you?