Confessions Of An Adult Ballerina
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Confessions Of An Adult Ballerina

The art of learning and growing is essential especially for the adult ballerina. If you have courage to pursue your dreams you can make the impossible possible.

Confessions Of An Adult Ballerina
Michaela DePrince

Waking in my truth. I'm always self conscious when I have to talk about what I do...never feeling good enough or worthy enough to own my achievements. I have some sort of an imposter syndrome thinking I'm never quite qualified for the opportunities that are presented to me. Maybe it's because I started ballet later in life or maybe it's because I've had this jaded perception of what success looks like especially in the performing arts field. Not realizing that I've had quite a few successes of my own and even though I'm still on road to discovering my ultimate success, I am learning and growing on the way to my final destination.

As a songwriter, I've always been pretty confident in my ability to write a song but I don't just want to write music. I want to create a legacy wth my art and I believe that ballet will allow me to do just that. It was only 4 years ago that I stepped into a ballet studio to study dance professionally. I believe l have the knowledge and experience that I need as to be successful as a songwriter/ recording artist but in order for me to be an all around entertainer I feel like I need to go back and take the steps to becoming a better dancer/performing artist. After studying the craft of music and navigating the music industry for years as a songwriter, I felt that it just as important for me to study the craft of dance. More specifically the art of ballet. As a performing artist, I decided to dedicate my time to learn the art of dance so that I can become a better artist. Starting ballet as an adult hasn't been easy but I am determined to become as proficient as I can in the technique so that I can execute the movement properly when I perform on stage. I consider myself a visual performing artist and my ultimate career goal is to become a trained professional performing artist so that can tell the story of the songs that I write through my dance. I want my body to be an instrument and one day everyone will know Princess through my art!

This summer, I'm taking my third ballet summer intensive at Ballethnic Academy of Dance. It's a four week long intense study of dance Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 p.m. everyday. Each day I get hours of ballet, pointe, pas de deux, contemporary, jazz, tap and African classes. It's an intense process but everyday I feel myself getting better, getting stronger and most of all more confident in my ability as a dancer. I have a long way to go to master the technique. Though I don't think it's entirely possible to master the ballet technique, I hope to execute the movement in a way that fits my body to convey the story of my songs.

I've taken a few notes from my ballet intensive this summer and I want to share them here to track my progress as I continue on this journey as an adult ballerina.

7/5/2016 Ballet class notes:

My memory is getting better. Still need work on my extensions and turn out especially when executing the faster movement in center. Starting to get a better grasp of petite allegro when it is broken down and done slowly. Need to be able to perform the movement up to tempo.

Still need to work on keeping my head up and stop my eyes from looking at the floor when doing combinations.

Flexibility is getting better. I am almost there in my split but I am not sure what is keeping me from going all the way down. I am just a few inches from the ground.

Need to start working on my movement quality and finding my own sense of artistic expression when executing the combinations.

I realize that I learn better when I repeat the combinations while the teacher is demonstrating and if I go over the steps on the side a few times with the groups that go ahead of me.

The goals that I hope to accomplish when this intensive is over at the end of four weeks:

  1. Improve flexibility
  2. Manage petite allegro (get better with executing steps from memory)
  3. Higher leg extensions in arabesque and á la seconde
  4. Dance basic steps on pointe in center (get comfortable with échappés and bourrés on pointe in the center)
  5. Work on confidence (dance with head and gaze up...get comfortable with dancing so that I can perform the steps without looking at the ground)

In one of my ballet classes my ballet teacher Ms. Nena said: "Excellence must be maintained. You don't maintain excellence by being inconsistent." Consistency becomes a habit which brings about excellence. This is why I strive for consistency in all that I do. In order for me to achieve excellence I have to develop the habit of not only being consistent but working at my highest potential so that I can achieve greatness.

Ms. Nena also says that when you dance you give a piece of yourself but you have to know who you are first before you can put YOU in the dance. This summer has been exploration of finding ME! I've become more spiritually in tune with myself and the more that I access my spiritual self the more I become confident in my artistic abilities.

I'm also starting to really love pas de deux because it forces me to be confident and to look at my partner while I am dancing. When we executed the across the floor movement with our partners, I started to feel confident looking into the eyes of each male partner, even smiling as I completed my movement. This is one of the first times I felt connected to another person while dancing. Mr. Waverly also gave me a small solo piece in pas de deux and I'm excited about that. We have our final performance for the summer next Saturday and I'm looking forward to showcasing all that I've learned in this four week intensive!

Slowly, I am developing into the artist that I dream to be. Eventually it will all come full circle when I produce my original contemporary ballet production which will include my own original music. In the end all the hard work will pay off and I can wait to see it all come together!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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