You are frustrated.
You feel like you’re not good enough to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. You feel incompetent. You question everything that used to be the verified truth. You are uncomfortable in situations where you used to breeze through without second thought.
I’ve found….It’s all about how one approaches things. It takes patience, mostly. A willingness to wait, but also to attack each day like that day is your only opportunity to transform yourself and your life into what you want it to be. But patience—patience is key.
In dance, progress is painstakingly slow. The fact of the matter is, nobody can really improve in a noticeable way overnight. Or even in a few days. It takes weeks, months, years. Active work. The mentality of a soldier. Discipline. Know yourself and what you need. Look around for inspiration, but inspiration only (don’t compare, don’t compete). If you know what needs to be done, then just do it! What are you waiting for? What’s today’s excuse?
It’s raining, so moisture in the air is inflaming the tendons in my body and I’m in pain. I slept funny last night so my back is hurting. I have my period! I’m bloated. I don’t want to look weak in front of everyone else. I’m exhausted. My shoes are dead. I look fat in the mirror. My bun feels loose today, it might fall out.
As a result of these excuses that pop in and out of my head, I’ve found that if working on one thing isn’t going well that day, move onto the next thing. Meaning…
Work comes in many different forms.
You can work on your feet with a Theraband. You can do crunches to strengthen your abs. You can stretch big muscles in splits, and you can stretch little ones behind your toes. You can go over choreography. You can re-do combinations from class. You can practice variations that you’ve seen on Youtube. You can refrain from eating the chips at a party. You can prepare your pointe shoes for rehearsal. You can roll out your IT bands on a foam roller. You can do any combination on demi-pointe. You can work on your por de bras. You can do stabilization exercises for your ankles. There are an infinite number of things on which to work. I could go on for a long, long time.
The frustrating part comes along when you feel like you can’t work on all of these things in one day. That’s where patience comes in. Obviously, one cannot think of everything that needs to be fixed at once. You take a few corrections at a time, obsess over them, fix them, and then move on to the next thing that needs fixing.
A ballet dancer has to be rounded out, in a sense. We have to put our dancing together piece by piece, over the years applying a thousand corrections and somehow still managing to move through space in an aesthetically pleasing manner without having our brains overload with all of the things we could have done better.
We take time to create. We take time to strengthen, to lengthen, to coordinate, to balance, to dare.
Be patient, Sarah. Things will come. Just make sure the work is there.