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Tenacity and Performance

Performance season is nearly upon us. Here are my thoughts on what is a usual tough time for both students, teachers and parents.........

Now that most dance schools are getting into rehearsal and performance season, it is great to revisit the most common mistakes many students make. Even though rehearsals are an exciting time, it can also be the time many students expect more. Many times students will "drop" technical classes to hope to only do rehearsals. This is a very big no-no, technique needs to be always foremost in keeping the strength, stamina and training in top peak during a rehearsal. Not all students are dancing many classes and the recreational, once a week child is more likely to lose interest or become "bored" because of the repetition needed to reach a standard of proficiency.

The commonplace comment of today's students and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the words "Ballet is boring" or "I'm bored". I never remember feeling this way and I never remember any of my peers in the dance class I grew up with ever feeling this way, let alone saying it to a teacher. Parents need to encourage their child to "stick at it" not quit as soon as they feel defeated by a task, a job, or an activity that seems beyond their expectations or abilities. As they become adults we want them to have the ability to follow things through and not run or give up the moment something difficult arises. Speak with the class teacher and source out what you can do to help your child. Teacher and parent are a partnership to bring out the best in your child. Talk through what can be done on both sides to lift your child's spirits.

Today's students think that a challenge is doing multiple, badly performed pirouettes, split jetes with unstretched feet and bent knees, flips and tricks with horrid technique. They want to perform the steps, but they have no care about how well or safely they execute them. Many students have the "I want it now " mentality that comes from this current generation of indulgence, immediate gratification of our internet world. The world is bigger but our communication has become immediate at the click of a button. Hence the short attention and impatience to get things done quickly.

It is incredibly frustrating when I hear students say a class is not challenging enough for them, yet when you correct them time and time again it is never accepted that they are not ready to progress. A great example is Margot Fonteyn who notoriously took beginner classes several times a week in order to perfect her technique. She challenged herself in the lowest class levels even though she was at the top of her profession. How many times have we watched more proficient dancers take a lower level class to revisit their basics and top up their skill levels. Now that is the mark of a great dancer, one who commits to always believing that they will never stop learning or discovering that to be the best or to be top of their craft is the power of knowledge.

A great thought to have as we enter this final stretch of the year is: patience, hard work, focus and above all repetition is the architect of accomplishment, your partner in life........R.Eicens

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