Excellent, Noachka, my dear.
Did she really say that to me?
Class yesterday was good! My teacher paid me more attention and gave me more corrections than she had been giving until now, which is a relief and a huge motivator to keep going and keep improving and be the absolute best I can be! One of the things I found was the biggest struggle for me thus far was the lack of corrections/personal attention/explanation of movements compared to what I get at home. Well, that’s not entirely true – Lidiya Grigorevna does explain the movements and she does give corrections – it is due to my not-yet-developed proficiency in Russian language that I have a hard time following and understanding every detail; still, I try to understand the main points of what she says, and to apply them to myself. I know that, with time, it will improve greatly! But it is true that I found it difficult to cope with getting less personal attention and corrections than I do at home; naturally, I expected this. Being the new kid at school, a foreigner at that, and joining into a Second Course class [that had already been taught by L.G. Ulanova for a year prior], it was something I prepared ahead for and it didn’t catch me by surprise. Still, it certainly brought about feelings of “in-adequateness” [did I just make up a word?], even though I knew that it’s too early to start worrying that I’m not getting the attention I’m used to because my teacher is not happy with me.
And yesterday, I was pleased to have been given reassurance that my teacher is happy with me after all! Ok, maybe it was more like a little hint; but I got corrected and I got several personal comments from her and at one sublime point in class, as I was trying to apply a correction she gave me, I got that sweet taste of a compliment from her [ok, compliment is not the best word, but it was a positive remark from her nevertheless!]: ”Молодец, Ноачка, моя дорогая.”
I was cheerful about that for the rest of the day, but when night came and then this morning arrived, I was feeling somewhat sad and I don’t know why. It’s been happening often lately, that I seem to get sad for no clear reason at all. I’m doing well here, I’m making more friends each day, improving my Russian one word at a time, my ankle even feels significantly better than it did upon my arrival here – and really, I’m very happy! I mean, I’m doing exactly what I’d always dreamed of doing. So it can’t be real sadness! And yet, when it hits, however momentarily, it still hurts.
But! I’m going to make an effort to stop those periods of being down in the dumps because I want to enjoy my happiness in full! And I’m really excited to tell you guys about what happened today that made me happier than ever, extremely motivated, and very confident in both my potential in ballet and my ability to do away with the periodic negative emotions.
You see, today we had an exam in Classical! Ok, I lied, sort of. We don’t have our actual exams until June. But last June, one of the girls in my class sprained her ankle and was unable to do her exam; therefore, today our class did an exam, although only that one girl would be getting graded. I wasn’t nervous, just thrilled at the prospect of being able to get a feel for what my real exam in June would be like before actually doing it; I’ve never had an exam in ballet before, after all. I’ve watched the videos on YouTube…and that’s about the extent to which I was familiar with ballet exams in Russia!
The only thing that made me a bit apprehensive was that I was caught more or less off-guard, and only understood that we would be having the exam a couple days ago; and that meant that we were expected to memorize the class we had ‘set’ and do it in full, almost without stop, during the exam. I don’t have trouble remembering combinations even the next day, but the reason I was a little anxious was because by the time I realized we were doing the exam, I had only one day to learn the whole class; and also, I was scared that I might not have understood my teacher correctly as far as what combinations we’re doing for the actual exam, since she was changing some stuff here and there. [Note: that’s why I put the word ‘set’ in single quotation marks.]
Apart from that, I really had nothing to fear, and by the time I had finished my usual warm up, that sad feeling from earlier in the morning had dissipated completely and I felt eager to experience an exam for the first time!
The exam came and went – quickly! And I really do mean that it was quick. We did our entire barre in the span of about 15 minutes, and the class in its entirety lasted no more than 45 or 50 minutes. But it felt so good to go from combination to combination without stop, save for a few moments to catch our breath here and there [I say that now, but during class I think I was more concerned about the cramping in my feet and being out of breath than I am willing to admit now, hehehe.] I worked really hard and I was absolutely drenched in sweat and I love that! Moreover, I felt that I did a good job executing all the combinations, and I was rather pleased with myself 🙂 I stumbled on one combination, but that’s normal, and I saw some of the other girls have a few mishaps, so it didn’t worry me one bit. I felt good! And what my teacher told me later made me feel even better.
Before we would hear the comments from the committee that was watching us (and grading the one girl), however, we had to wait patiently in the room for several minutes while the teachers all went into another room to deliberate. We passed the time by stretching and sitting and talking and just not doing anything! I have a feeling that in June, this period of waiting will be less relaxed and significantly more tense, though, seeing as we’ll be minutes away from getting our ever-so-important grade then!
Finally, they came back in, and gave everyone their corrections and comments and whatnot. My teacher told me that I have a smart head, and that I know what I need to work on and that I am working very well in class! She seemed really happy with my progress so far and mentioned a couple key points I need to really think about during class. FINALLY I got some feedback from her, and not just feedback, but good feedback! I am so happy about that, that I can’t imagine anything stopping me now! I feel refreshed and so absolutely ready to take things by the reins and steer my way to the top. I’m going to apply my corrections, and make her even happier, and I will be the best I possibly can be! No, wait – I’ll be better than that 😉
Now, last week, after my last blog post, I got so many supportive and motivating comments from the awesome people over at DDN (shout-out!), and with that I got some requests for the next installment of my blog:
a detailed story about a ballet class. About the differences with classes here, about the corrections you get, how you get corrected, the atmosphere in class, the teacher, the music, the floors, anything.
More info on your technique classes please!
First of all, a sincere apology – I said that my next post would most certainly be about the technique classes, and instead I’ve gone and written all about our exam! Oops! Blame it on the excitement 🙂
And second, I was hesitant to write about our technique classes so soon, but I couldn’t put my finger on the reason why; it’s only now that I can pinpoint the reason, and that is because I think our classes have been run slightly differently these last couple weeks than how they usually are laid out. And I believe this is because my class was preparing for the exam (although I did not know that all that time). I didn’t understand/was somewhat surprised that we were repeating combinations from day to day (at home, I’m used to my teacher giving new combinations almost every time), and also found myself tilting my head in curiosity about other such aspects. Now I understand that it was for the exam, and now that the exam is done with, I too am curious to see how classes usually go here!
With that said, I don’t know how accurate it would be to compare my classes thus far with my normal classes at home. For example, we have had set places at the barre (and the places are determined by how good you are, the center barre being exclusively assigned for the best students), but I’m not sure now if that was just for the exam, or if every day in normal class we are expected to stand in those assigned spots as well. And for that reason, once I get a better picture of the average, day-to-day class here, I will share it here without hesitation and in the most detailed way I can!
Until next time – which I won’t promise when it will be, as I’m still adjusting to my schedule (which is still changing a bit – I just got piano lessons added, wahoo!!!) and still figuring out when I actually have free time, when is the best time to blog, and when must my free time be put toward some other use – до свидания!
*Note: I made a post a few days ago with many pictures, but it seems to have not worked so well, because as far as I can tell, only one picture shoes up, and everything I wrote disappeared along with the rest of the pictures I had meant to include. Tonight or this weekend I will try to fix it or re-post the pictures. Does everyone else only see one picture too, or can you see the post in full?