More than just the steps…

This time next week I’ll be warming up for my performance. “Eek!” doesn’t quite cover it…

I’m simultaneously really excited about it and also really nervous. The steps aren’t crazily complicated (but not exactly easy either) consisting mainly of grand jétes en tournant/tour jetés (depending if you’re UK/US taught) and the partnering mainly involves promenade arabesques. The problem really comes when I’m trying to nail the steps and look half-decent whilst doing them! Here’s my absolutely epic variation music though, it’s so cool I can’t help but be inspired when listening to it.

This week in class/rehearsal we ran through the whole piece (about 8 minutes) and one of the guys from the ballet group (who is an ex-professional and really cool guy) watched and gave us pointers. It was a little bit scary (although I guess next week I’ll be performing in front of a lot more people!), but he made some really useful observations.

My pointers can be summarised by him repeatedly telling me to act like I’m showing off my really big…, well, you get the idea! To phrase it in a more pre-watershed manner, he kept asking me to act confident and manly. As if I owned the stage. Problem is, that’s a lot harder than it sounds.

For a start I’m not a hugely confident guy. I can’t do a manly strut as if I own the place. I can’t put on that knowing smirk without looking like a demented chicken. And I definitely can’t do these things whilst also concentrating on not falling on my face.

Which has made me realise that ballet is about so much more than the steps. It made me appreciate just how astonishing it is to see dancers who completely inhabit roles and do so whilst dancing steps I can only dream of doing.

Things I need to work on include: walking (seriously!), arms in arabesque, my arms and back when landing tour jetés, my arms in sissonnes and my lifts in assisted pas de chats. There’s a whole other layer to work on above the basic movements and it can be a little intimidating. I’m only just getting to grips with the basic steps and it’s hard to concentrate on everything at once.

But I’ve got the studio booked for two hours today and again tomorrow so will be working hard on the variation this weekend and all next week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard but I’m determined to nail it! Bring on next week!

Until next time, keep dancing!