This week ballet taught me an important life lesson, attitude. A lot of people describe me as a downer, always talking down about myself (a defense mechanism from when I was young and confident and often called a snobby b*tch) and an all around negative person. I’ve often described myself as an epitome of Murphy’s Law: If it can go wrong, it will. Well this year I’ve been working hard to try and change my mindset and break that thinking pattern to build a successful life. I’ve been reading book on the Law of Attraction (“The Secret”- some of it is kinda iffy, but all in all a great read), and currently “You Are a Badass” at the recommendation of one of my favorite photographers when she started a book club. Many of the things I’ve been reading talk about how your energy attracts like energy. If you go into something feeling like it’s going to fail, it probably will. If you go into something saying “yea I got this!” You have a much better chance of success. Right now in my life, I’m trying to build my photography business, work full time, and improve so much as a dancer that maybe I will someday end up with a chance to perform. So many things (that could go wrong shhhhhh! Stupid negative voice go away!!) happening at once with so many different goals.
When I got back into serious dancing 3-4 times a week it was about 3 months ago. I started by going back to beginner classes, but quickly realized that I was bored in a lot of them. Sure I’d still leave sweaty because the barre work, but center, where I need to improve the most, was just not at the level I needed. Step out of beginner classes and they are wayyyyy above my level of needing everything broken down and demonstrated for me to understand. The classes I’m taking now are a good balance, and I’m really glad I found this studio. While it’s still faster paced, I feel like I can kind of keep up and there is something to strive for. The teacher is wonderful and answers questions and explains things if slow little me asks!
Back to how the attitude comes into this! The past 2 weeks at the studio I felt good, barre went well, I didn’t make a fool of myself until petite allegro and a bit of grand allegro, but that’s my weak area. Last Thursday went awful and I left in tears. Everything went wrong. That morning I was late for work and stuck in crazy traffic. Work was busy and stressful with constant edits to projects that in my opinion were unnesicary and very annoying. I was exhausted on top of it. I went to class in a bad mood, hoping it would cheer me up, but it didn’t, it got worse. I got the most terrible spot at the barre, the one where you have to start facing the back of the room where there is no mirror and no one to follow. I panicked and knew it was going to be a disaster. The voice in my head said this is about to be an awful class. Awful. You’re going to fail all over the place. And guess what, I did. I was on the wrong foot through half the combos, my feet were getting tangled on each other, and my balance was off completely. At the end of class I as I held my head in shame leaving, I walked across the studio floor in street shoes and completely got called out on it. I went to my car and cried all the way home feeling like a miserable failure.
This past week, for my first class of the week, I went in with a better attitude. I acted like I belonged. I felt like I belonged. I got my spot at the barre that I like (made sure of it!) and while I still made mistakes (no one is perfect, I’ve even seen company members loose their balance and misstep!) I didn’t let them affect me, I shrugged them off and danced on. When I got a correction I applied it and worked harder. I left with a good feeling and ideas in my head on which things I wanted to improve upon next class (tonight!). What did I learn? If you go in thinking everything will go wrong, it probably will. If you go in saying I will do my best with what I have and where I am now, you have a much better success rate! So now, I’m going to give myself that pep talk before every class, as well as this great quote from Dance Academy: “Success is 90 percent hard work, 10 percent raw talent. I am not a cross. I am a tick. I don’t deviate, I don’t loose focus; this will happen for me. It has to”- Abigail Armstrong