A (Rubbish) Dancer’s Diary – Swan Lake – the Performance

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Well, when you are suffering through the rehearsals and not finding your favourite ballet as pleasurable an experience as you thought and are seriously doubting whether you are up to the challenge, there is always the light at the end of the tunnel which is the post-performance glow that makes you forget the slog.  Although, performing is one of those things that you either love or loathe.  I am not a natural performer but there is something attractive and somewhat of an allure about it.  I remember dancing round my Gran’s little bungalow when no-one was looking, performing wasn’t overtly encouraged in my household, except for acceptable outlets such as music or sport.  Although if I had a friend at ballet or offered at school, it certainly wouldn’t have been forbidden, so I would obviously advocate children being given the opportunity to dance and as a friend pointed out, you see children when adults are still, dancing, it is a universal language that unites all ages but is definitely more evident in the freedom of childhood and we should not discourage or attach embarrassment.  Second Chance Ballet has certainly united many different people and age-groups and that is certainly something, from among the many things, that I take away from this performance.  We know our level and that we cannot in any way ever inhabit the same exalted plane as professional ballet dancers but we can provide an entry level to the music and structure of ballet for many people that would never have given it a second thought and to the next generation of kids at this friends and family event.

 

I will admit to feeling rather disheartened and sometimes disconnected throughout rehearsals and think might have declared, “I am never doing this again”!  The final rehearsal was pretty disastrous with getting to grips with the stage and lights and being defeated by my own brain at times.  The brain is very strange territory and I think you could study it continually throughout time and never fully plumb the depths of its secrets.  Although, that is the beauty of humanity.  And humanity allows you to appreciate dance and movement to music and your soul to soar to new heights.  The other majorly advantageous element about ballet is it is such a collegiate thing to do, everyone helps everyone and that when someone gives you a tip, it is not criticism but will help you out in the long-run, especially if someone has been dancing for some time.  I’m sure not all ballet classes are like this but then we are not doing this competitively but to enhance the experience of the thing that we have come to love so much.  Having this stage experience makes us appreciate so much more what our ballet idols go through and the absolute technical skill which cannot be obtained except for starting very young and with constant work and critical analysis.

 

So, maybe the ballet shoes will live again and the horror of the leotard will be endured another year.  I love that my ballet friend who is a little older than I is planning to do ballet into our dotage, so, if you wish, please donate below which by keeping ourselves active, both mentally and physically, will be for the benefit of others!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/second-chance-adult-ballet-swan-lake

 

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A (Rubbish Dancer’s) Diary – Swan Lake – Part 3

003In the final days before performance, at the moment, I am looking forward to getting back to class where steps are not constantly going round your head and your aren’t practising, in the shower (very carefully), in the kitchen and anywhere you can hide away or you have some brain space.  Although, I am more than glad that I am given this opportunity to get an insight into what it is like to perform.  My admiration of ballet dancers and performers grows day on day and I’ve been an amateur adult dancer and professional audience member for a few years now.  Performing, even on a small scale has given me the realisation of not just the body toughness but the oodles of mental toughness as well, not just to get through the formative training but striving for perfection and criticism never ends.  Of course, not that I, in my wildest dreams think that I will attain anywhere like perfection in the dance studio but I really have benefited from dancing as it gives a real insight and appreciation into the art-form that I love.

Sometimes in the back of my head, the amount of training and the very tender age that most ballet dancers start at, disquiets me but experiencing a little bit of dancing, it has made me realise that it is necessary to start at this tender age as it needs to be in your body before your body can form bad habits.  Although it is not too late for adult dancers to feel that glorious sensation of being the closest a human can feel to flying, there is an awareness that there is so much to learn about your body and there are so many little adjustments that need to be made.  A good teacher will give you tips in a way that you can relate to and I am glad that I have such a teacher that is interested in developing technique and not just providing a cosy atmosphere for people to do a little bit of movement every week.

I am sure that I will be elated come the day after the performance but at the moment, I am just exhausted.  What we put ourselves through! but I am enormously appreciative that I have the physical capacity, the opportunity and the means to be able to have such thrilling experiences.  I’m sharing quite a big milestone as well this weekend as it will be twenty years since I graduated from the University where we will be performing and when looking at my Graduation picture, I never dreamt that I would be trying to do a passable impression of a young maiden, trapped in the half world between a swan and a desirable woman.  In so many ways, modern society is imperfect but it has enabled us to indulge our pastimes more freely and I particularly enjoy ballet because it has one foot in a glorious past, taking you out of the cold present-day and giving me a life-long community of dancers.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/second-chance-adult-ballet-swan-lake