Monday, July 23, 2012

Guidance for the Young Dancer 2: Regrets and Thanks

Being where I am in my dance life now, I have enough regrets. If I were to do it again, I might have:
  1. started serious training earlier 
  2. broadened my training to include different and more styles
  3. broadened my horizons to include multiple teachers and studios
  4. studied ballet more intensely (I quit for 2 years)
  5. enhanced my ballet performance quality (despite good technique, I think bland ballet performance caused lots of auditioners to glaze over me with 200 others in the room)
But every person is different. With all of these regrets in mind, I know I feel deep down that somehow, things were destined to be this way. Had I started serious training earlier, I may have burned out or been unable to take harsher criticism. I was defensive and easily hurt as a child, and didn't feel much passion for anything I was doing. I feel that my early introduction and dedication to all things visual art burned me out of my attraction to art in the first place. The studio I attended (and still go back to) didn't allow students to take anything but ballet or tap until age 10, and did not even offer contemporary classes until my last 2 years of high school. I tried to shift into another studio, but it didn't work out for me that well. I took 1 day a week of ballet for all of my elementary school years, quit for a few years in middle school, and only started back up when I realized that I would need it if I wanted to dance in college. But looking back, there are a lot of things I'm thankful for as well:
  1. not attending a competition-based studio (I've only competed a handful of times)
  2. not being forced or pushed into more or different lessons before I was ready
  3. being allowed enough time to mature and learn how to push myself and find my passion
  4. my parents, for endlessly supporting and nurturing my talent and love
  5. my ballet teacher, for emphasizing proper placement and solid technique over high extensions and flowery performance
  6. my contemporary teacher, for introducing me to modern techniques (Limon) that made the transition to modern in college so much easier
  7. my mom, for constantly doing research on summer dance intensives and colleges that had a good balance of dance and academics.
  8. my family and relatives, for paying for my schooling and dance lessons no matter how hard it got.
Sure, there's things that could have been better, but there's also a reason things worked out the way they did. "Wasting" time on learning things that I didn't end up pursuing only taught me how important pursuing my real passion is in the future. Not having quite the level of training to match my dance classmates in college made me focus, dedicate, and improve more than ever.

So in conclusion, every single person is different, and every child's journey with dance will be different as well. Look for the right studio, teachers, and amount of training for you. It's okay to change a few times. I was just lucky that my dance training fell into place as perfectly as possible for me. Find the right fit for you, but remember that you need ballet no matter how much you dislike it.

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