One of the concepts that teachers and dancers need to learn to balance is encouragement with corrections. Ballet is particularly picky when it come to the technique, and since it is executed by humans, it will never be perfect. Never. But that’s okay, because part of the excitement and challenge is to see how close we can get. Of course, since art is subjective, people will argue over who comes closer to that elusive concept. In reality, we can all rest in the fact that no one will ever be perfect, because the standards constantly change anyway!
I was working with a dancer in a private class recently, and as we worked on adjusting this and that, she said in exasperation, “It’s always something!” Well, it IS always something. Just as one body part is adjusted, something else goes out of whack. When that’s fixed, something else needs to be tweaked. When that’s fixed, we add something else to the list after the adjusting, tweaking, and putting the “out of whack” back in. And so it goes.
I find that it’s so parallel to life. Every day, in every situation, there is something to tweak, adjust, and put back in place. All that re-adjusting is making us more aware and stronger for what lies ahead. Whether it’s a family crisis, health issue, or mastering that difficult variation in the new ballet, learning to adjust helps us analyze the problems before they become even bigger issues. Hopefully, and MOST importantly, being perfect (whatever that truly is) should never be the goal. For a dancer, being fluent in speaking through your art is the goal.
The fact that there is always something to fix shows that there is constant traffic going on. There’s constant effort, constant trials, and then constant triumphs.
Busy roads, like one’s technique, constantly need attention. They are never perfect, but they do lead the way to where you want to go. The only way to get where you want to be is to constantly fix and re-adjust. It’s not a weakness to need constant fixing – it shows strength to keep working and moving forward.
Robin Conrad Sturm