For me, figuring out ballet has been like trying to work out a puzzle. When a teacher gives a correction I don't always understand it right away. I get frustrated when trying to piece it together with the misleading feeling that my previous habit made more sense. Even more maddening are the contradictions found among corrections. One teacher will say something completely against the teacher I had for my last class. I've decided to pick and choose which corrections are worthy enough to be practiced. I don't mean that to sound arrogant, it's just that not every one's body takes kindly to every idea of technique. I'm starting to get a feel for what I should doing but there are still times when it's hard to pull it together.
This week I had the pleasure of taking class with a teacher I've never had before. At first it seemed like I would run into the same problem of being confused about what he wanted from me. Some of his corrections sounded odd. Thinking about the the standing leg more than the moving one and relaxing my legs were two of the many he gave me. What teacher tells you to relax your legs? He explained that the only thing working should be the abs. I tried all of his corrections regardless of my skepticism. Suddenly this new way of looking at things fell into place. My legs were free to move! Instead of squeezing the life out of every muscle I realized that my legs knew what to do on their own. All that work of focusing on technique paid off and muscle memory kicked in. Now it felt better and looked easier.
When I kick my leg to the side I have a problem with my hip bone clicking. I never knew why, but it always made me apprehensive. My teacher explained what I was doing wrong, now it's up to me to consistently follow through with his advice.
He opened up a whole new world for me and I'm excited to go back to his class. Unfortunately, just because he gave me all these treasures doesn't mean it automatically makes everything perfect. I still slip into my old habits and have to concentrate on his words of wisdom. But it will be worth it.
I'm still figuring things out. Sometimes I'm sure I'll never get something, but then I remember where I was a year ago when I re-started ballet. I was under the illusion that I would never reach my former accomplishments, but now I've managed to grow stronger. This didn't come easy and there were times when I was overwhelmed. If I can get through that I can certainly get through the fine tuning of details. I can't wait to see where I am after the two year mark of my return to ballet.