Friday, January 8, 2010

Dear Sanna - Missing "unconsciousness"

Your last post describes exactly what our company is missing. Nobody tells the corps de ballet exactly how each step should be, with specific arms, heads, feet, let alone how we should look or feel in certain moments. Especially since our strongest ballet mistress has been out of town for the last 3 months. Thank goodness she is finally returning next week. We all noticed this lack of direction and chaos among the corps while she is not here. Even when she is, the company is such a mess of free-spirits, it's still hard for all these different cultures to come together to look like one cohesive group.

I saw an amazing performance last night of a dance theater group. It was more contemporary dance with a lot of acting in the movements. There was so much personality and care put into each step. I loved the way they used their faces, and it really made me wish I knew what to do with my face when I dance. It is not a natural thing for me, and I either find myself naturally making ugly or expressionless faces, or I am self-conscious about it and just looking awkward. This is my biggest challenge, I think.

Today in rehearsal I exploded. Did I mention in the part my friend was taken out of, I actually had to switch sides because the other girl used to do my part, and since she is higher up of course she gets whatever she wants, so I have to change. This is normal for me, I believe in respect for seniority, but it is still annoying. It is also uncomfortable now for a little while I get used to my new spot. There are also a lot of things my opposite is very stubborn about that she does differently than we learned, which I need to change. But she is not that clear about it and gets confused or annoyed or just has to turn it into a big deal every time I ask for clarification. And sometimes while we're dancing I notice different things than what she said or she screams at me, along with the ballet mistress in a language I am not exactly fluent in.

So today I was trying so hard to remember all the corrections, dance nicely, not look like I want to kill someone, and listen to 3 different people around me screaming different things. And the artistic director was watching. When we got to the end I was dying (as usual because it is a very difficult variation) and the ballet mistress was screaming head and I thought I was using my head and I didn't know how to change it and my opposite was screaming at me about spacing and my partner was screaming something else about spacing and I was trying to just finish and I just could not continue with about 8 counts left I was so mad and tired and frustrated. It was so embarrassing and I was on the verge of tears while I had my partner translate to the teacher that I just can't listen to everyone's corrections and try to remember the previous ones and dance all at once and I am so tired and I'm trying my best. So she said "well it's too late for corrections now" and walked away. I don't even know what that means. She can't correct me after the variation? Or I blew it when I stopped? I have no idea but it was horrible. I need to figure out how to work with this woman.


1 comment:

Nichelle said...

When the pressure in the room gets too great something is going to blow. Some teachers/directors have a special talent for diffusing a situation before it hits boiling point or recognizing when to push and when to back off, but this is a rare gift I think.

Janie, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself - everyone loses their cool sometimes and it sounds like you were under a lot of stress with everyone talking/screaming at you. Obviously you weren't the only one feeling stressed. In that moment perhaps your teacher was not prepared or in a state of mind to be generous of spirit: to offer the corrections or guidance or reassurance you needed at that moment.

It's hard to not explode, especially when you are tired, frustrated, and stressed. When it happens, it's best to just remind yourself that things will cool off, that tomorrow is another day, and do your best not to harbor any bad feelings. Probably everyone in the room could have handled things better than they did.