Tag Archives: confidence

The center of attention

I’ll be the first to admit, my confidence level has never really been that high as an adult recreational dancer.

I seek out the barre on the side in the classroom where most of my classes are just to avoid the mirror.

I depend too much on watching my neighbor when trying to do the step in a combination, and at times, to stay on the music.

Mr. O, our artistic director and one of my main teachers, senses it and will challenge me in class.

Such was the case during Wednesday’s class.

There were 10 or us. We were to divide into groups of five with two in front, one in the center and two in back.

I began to walk to my usual back. One reason is etiquette. There are two other guys and I generally go with them. And at times, I go in the back just to be as hidden as a I can during a combination in which it’s just me and company wonders.

Nothing like being at the absolute bottom of the class talent-level wise.

In this open class, there are two teenage girls who are really close to my level.

My plan was thwarted.

Nothing like being singled out.

I was to be in the center of the group with the company girls.

Just to work on my confidence.

It was a slow, graceful, adagio combination. Walk three steps, pique twice, then pique arabesque turn (pique attitude the second time we did the combination), tonbe pas de bouree pirouette (repeat).

I actually got praise the second time we did the combination, but it was a bit scary when I was told to look in the mirror to see “my line.”

Mr. O is always quick to point out that I’m a better dancer than I think I am. And if I’m showing any lack of confidence in doing steps in a combination he knows that I know … there I times when I’m made to do it solo.

That’s scary in itself. But maybe it proves I’m not always the helpless cause I think I am.

Confidence, musicality and jetes

Jete, coupe, assemble’ seems like a pretty easy combination, right?

My jetes have never been as clean as I’d want them to be, but they are improving.

Well, tonight the bombshell was dropped as we were learning parts of our school sketch (recital) dance. We’re about 90 percent of the way through, it’s kind of hard to describe except that it’s set to Requiem for a Dream (from Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers) and includes elements of adagio, petite allegro and grande allegro with a lot of cool steps that I love (tour jetes, pirouettes, sissonnes, Russian pas de chats, ect…).

And despite the fact that some of the combinations are a little complicated and advanced (for me at least), I think I’ve done pretty well so far … the key phrase being so far,

So far, we’ve done all of the steps together as a group.

Then the bombshell was dropped.

Evidently, I have a short solo part where I come front and center. The girls split off to the sides with their own little short combination.

I come front with the jete, coupe, assemble’ right and left combination.

That means upping my game in the next month in three areas that need work: Confidence, musicality and jetes.

I found I do much better in a group. When it’s me out there, the confidence drops. I did see this coming. When you’re the only male in a dance, there comes that point in time where you become the center of attention. And that hasn’t happened since I was in a pas de deux in an in-studio performance.

And this time I’ll be on the same stage where we performed Cinderella this past weekend. And we’ll be in front of a larger audience than the one I performed in a pas de deux in front of.

My musicality is improving. It’s much better than I thought … but when I’m nervous I rush things, and when I think too much I go too slow. It’s so much easier for me to stay on the music when I’m in the group.

Now, if I can just clean up those jetes.

You’d think I’d have a little more confidence considering the roles I’ve performed in Nutcracker and a few of the other ballets I’ve been in.

But this is by far the most complicated dance I’ve been in. And this one puts me front and center.

It’s a fun dance, but at the same time, a little scary.