Journal Prompt: Analyze your personal dance practice.
1)What are my goals for dance in 2015?
2)How is my personal practice structured (or not structured)?
3)Do I feel like my personal practice is adequate to meet my dance goals for this year, and if not, what do I think I need to do, what help do I need, and how can I restructure my personal practice in order to better reach my goals?
I have written about this a few times, I wish I could go back in my Facebook Posting and find the Status I just posted a few weeks ago, so I could copy and paste the Bare Bones of the situation. But I’ll not be lazy, and I’ll do my due diligence in fully addressing this again.
My Dance Goals for 2015
I usually try to stick to one Goal per year. And obviously, every year the requisite ONE Goal is simply to “Only Perform Things I am Proud to Perform.” That’s just a given.
So usually my Goal is technique-based because I am always needing to refine my technique as my body gets older and changes away from being able to youngandsuperhuman-ly be able to just learn things.
I mostly take Ballet Classes, as they’re pretty much the only thing regularly offered in my area for Adults. I’ve been taking classes since I was 11, almost weekly. With just a few years’ exception where I stuck to Tap or Jazz. Even while I was Belly Dancing, I was still taking Ballet, weekly.
So most of my Goals have been surrounding my Ballet Class and refining technique there.
I can’t remember necessarily in which order, but some of the last few years’ Goals have included:
–Getting my heels down in First Position Demi-Plié. I had gotten lazy, and had let my Achilles tendons shorten, and my Demi-Plié was suffering. So I took a year and paid all the attention I could to working through this and making it muscle memory with no thought behind it.
–Articulating my foot through tendu; every time. This one is hard for me because also previously one of my Goals was Point Your Foot Through Your Big Toe because my toes are terrible… I have bunions on both feet, I usually have some weird callous… I love to dance barefoot; I’ve crammed my feet into pointe shoes, I’ve just ruined them. So pointing all the way through my big toe was something I had to really work on once my feet were just trashed. You can’t really articulate through tendu if you aren’t pointing properly, so this one had to have a base Goal before it could even happen. Over the course of a large span of time, I corrected both of these and now I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I whisk through a Grand Battement and feel every bone of my foot lift off and return to the floor.
–Turn Outs! Who doesn’t need to work on their Turn Out?! Everyone does, always and forever. This is another one of those unwritten Goals, but I have to comment on it because my improvement is marked when I bring it to the forefront of my practice, and becomes lax when I push it aside.
This year, my one particular Goal for 2015 (aside from Pride in Performance and Turn Out!!) is:
–Stop Sickling my Feet. This is definitely a serious one for me. Over the course of a year, about five years ago, I detrimentally tore the ligaments in both of my ankles. I needed more physical therapy and rehab than I got at the time; we (the people who were my support system at the time) were more about working through the pain than properly healing the injury. So my ankles got very weak. And they’ve just never been the same. So my leg-line took a hit. And my foot started sickling. And it HAS to stop. I am tired of looking at my leg and seeing that hooked foot at the end of it. So this year, that’s my goal.
My Personal Practice is Structured to be ridiculously Personal and highly Unstructured. Because I am a Group Fitness Instructor, as well as a Burlesque Performer, as well as just an overactive person who hates to sit still, I tend to want lots of change and excitement.
I’ll do pretty much anything. I have my Regularly Scheduled Ballet, once a week every week. I’ve been to this same class with these same people for the last eight years. It is not a Professional or even beyond Recreational Level Class, there are some older women who are in their late-50s/early-60s in the class, so the instructor pretty much lets the class work at their own pace after Barre; with lots of variations on Center and Across the Floor exercises. We’re a group of good friends now, too, after so many years. So there’s typically a lot of talking going on in the class. We call it Group Therapy some weeks instead of just Ballet.
But I make it my own. I work harder than I need to some days just to make sure I’m sweaty and exhausted when class is over. I always take the more advanced exercise option, always take the rélévé over the flat foot. I make sure my Goal is firmly in the forefront of my mind and keep an eye on myself in the mirrors and in my own vision to check for my own rigorous approach to the Goal at hand. It works well.
I also practice a lot while I’m bored. I’ll sit in the car and work on a Belly Dance rhythm (3/4 shimmies or glute squeezes) while sitting in traffic. I’ll do belly rolls while at a red light. I put Beats Antique on in the car, drive it like I stole it and shoulder shimmy past the slow pokes. I’ll work on my Tap Dance while in the grocery store line. Shuffle -Heel-Toe in place while I try to get through Check-Out. I’ll Shuffle off to Buffalo down the hallways at home and back. Anywhere there’s a hard floor surface, I’ll be working on it.
I practice my Routines for Burlesque as often as I need to. I verbally rehearse them in the car or the shower, I work on my arms in the mirror in a bathroom of a restaurant if I catch myself in there alone.
There’s pretty much not a time when I’m not picturing choreography, or watching videos for inspiration or Working out or Dancing as part of my profession. I’m always practicing.
Well, it becomes a little bit obvious that YES my Practice is Structured to help me Accomplish my Goals when you gather it all together to understand that the only reason I DO practice is to Accomplish my Goals. To be Proud of my Performances and to get through whichever technique-based Goals I currently have.
Without Practice I would not be able to take pride in my work. Without Practice I wouldn’t be able to claim improvement. Without Practice I wouldn’t have the strength or mastery of an element that I sometimes need to perform certain tasks in my Performance.
So I’m pretty happy with how my Practice and my Goals influence my Performance. I can only hope that in the future I will be able to have more resources available to me to expand my Pride in Performance even more!