Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Teaching ballet again: How's that going?

It's... going.

Last week I was sick on my second scheduled day of teaching, so this was my first actual week of teaching both nights. Like I said yesterday, I'm having a hard time with my energy level. It's not those two hours each night that are the problem. I'm just not used to going somewhere late at night anymore. Late = 5:00-7:15, by the way. I'm a total homebody. I loves me some TV and I loves me some dinner at 5:00 at night. I'm also a total sweatpants girl after about 4:00 PM. Major adjustment: getting myself ready to greet the world again at 4:00 PM and then being intelligent and nice for two plus hours.

I know I can do it. I'm psyching myself up. When I was dancing with CORE, I had rehearsals until 11:00 at night some weeknights. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago--how is it that it's so challenging for me now? I think I got too used to getting home and being done for the night. It's the reason I can't go home for lunch--if I go home, my body thinks it is finished.

Enough about me being a wimp. The classes are going so well. Of course it's taking me a bit of time to adjust and see exactly where I need to be as their teacher--I need to get a sense of how strong they are and what they know--but the girls work so hard and they have such sweet, grateful dispositions. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that. They're a nice departure from the students' attitudes of entitlement I've dealt with teaching dance in the public school system for the last four years. It's nice to work with girls who understand the discipline and respect of dance.

My body is completely sore. Dance, namely ballet, uses an entirely different muscle set than running. I found this out when I started running in April, and I'm finding it again now that I'm trying to go back to dance after such a long hiatus this summer. I really wish there was more overlap. I'm consuming mass quantities of Ibuprophen today just to get through. I am already planning a nice hot bath when I get home. No idea how I'm going to get through my scheduled 4.5 mile run tonight. There will probably be crying.

The thing that I am finding is most out of shape for teaching ballet is my brain. When I transitioned from a small studio to my apprenticeship at Sacramento Ballet, it was my brain that took a while to adjust to the increase in complexity of combinations and memorization of choreography. The same thing happened when I went back to dance after having my babies and auditioned with CORE. The contemporary dance world was completely foreign to me, and it took an adjustment.

Now I'm returning to ballet that is based in Cecchetti technique--a very, very, very specific and academic code for teaching ballet--and my brain has to remember some very detailed and very old technical specifications. By the time I was in college I'd studied the technique extensively and earned my Associates' qualification in Canada with Cecchetti USA, (wait, I guess that it wasn't Cecchetti USA yet--it was still the ISTD... but you don't care about such details anyway...) but then of course as time has passed and I've trained with non-Cecchetti companies I've lost a lot of that knowledge. Good thing I saved my detailed notes--I'm just having to go back over them with a fine-toothed comb. I've had many hiccups in the last week or so--I'm finding that coordinating my combinations with counts and music has been a challenge in a way that I haven't seen in a long time. I feel like a baby ballet teacher all over again. I'm hoping that I can find my feet (and my confidence) again soon.

I feel like I could use a full body ice-bath right now. Or a vat of Icy Hot. Or a massage--but who am I kidding, that costs a ton of money and right now we don't have two nickels to rub together. Yeeeeooooowwwwch. Pain = gain, right? Or loss? Or strength? Or something? Anybody? Bueller?

It's good. It's good for me, even if I'm completely exhausted and I don't have a voice. I'm so completely excited about a night off tonight where I get to eat dinner at a decent hour and work on the invitations for Addie's birthday party.


  1. Good luck on your class and your run.

  2. I used to teach ballet and love it, I'm so jealous!

  3. Ah. I'm heading to Sarasota Ballet tomorrow to take photos of a rehearsal. I love taking photos of ballerinas!