Before my second ballet class of the day, I sat on the bench swiping through my phone while hoping that one of the students from my class would walk through the door. It was already 5 mins late and still no sign of any of the students. I wished that I wasn’t there so that I could avoid my worst nightmare.
My teacher came out to check on the students, but only to have found me alone in the reception hall. She was puzzled at the attendance. But still she told me that we’d start the class first, and that class would probably end early because
“… you’ll sure die.”
I put on my ballet slippers and went to the barre to stretch. I sent a silent prayer to God, asking that I’d be blessed with brains that could work fast with the free work, and limbs that could sustain throughout the class. It was nerve wrecking. I was afraid of my having private sessions with my teacher simply because I still couldn’t get use to her teaching style (blunt comments, big eye staring, and name shouting). I was still lost with the hellish free work that she gives. My confidence level was zero. And there I was staring down on an hour of one-on-one session.
A few minutes later, my teacher came in and while trying to get the music ready, she asked me some questions, such as
How did you find out about the studio?
Were all your previous classes done only with set work?
You mean you danced set work every week till you get bored?!
I answered everything honestly. I even told her that I was struggling with the free work. The more I spoke, the more at ease I felt. She wasn’t as scary as I thought. Although her words did sting, she spoke the reality of the situation. Every week I went for classes and trained technique nonetheless, but also I trained my mind and body to be robotic.
We did the normal class routine. Started from the barre with pliés, and gradually moved towards the center. I struggled with remembering the combination. Usually I wouldn’t dare to ask for her to repeat, but for that class I did not hesitate. I would rather get the death stare from her for requesting than freeze in the middle of the exercise when I forget. She went through it with me again patiently. But once the music started, I blanked out.
Just by having a private session with her, I learnt so much about my dance. I was made aware of mistakes that I had never realised, and was given new perspective of how to train my mind when dancing. I’m really glad that she also gave me a full run down of my physical weaknesses, as well as how to overcome them. I finally know exactly where I should focus more when I train.
I’m extremely thankful for that class because I’ve gained so much insight. But I do hope I won’t have to go through it again… at least not so soon!