An Engaged Student Part 2

Here are my results as I tried out the principles of being "An Engaged Student" during several dance classes.

Class 1: 
I reflected on my class, decided to become organized and wrote the previous post.

Class 2:
I felt I received and absorbed an increased amount of the material and enjoyed the class. In hindsight here are the characteristics that were difficult to sustain for the entire class:
Paying attention to detail, staying focused, committing/pushing through.

Class 3:
I felt engaged with the teacher. One feels as if they are fully focused rather than scraping by. However, committing to every step, exercise and moment are difficult tasks; I will continue to work on them. 
I would add these ideas to my initial list: 
1. Going overboard. It's easier to pull back from too much, than to bring up to little. 2. The performance aspect of class should not be forgotten!

Class 4: 
I definitely noticed that as you learn the habit of committing, it becomes easier! Also, if you have the guts to push through it's satisfying.

Class 5:
I confess today I felt tired from the week -- but keeping these concepts in mind definitely helps the tiredness not to show. They were also were helpful at an audition I had for a summer program!

Class 6:
I felt in tune to what the teacher said and planned to say. I had a few moments where I committed and went for it, it felt exhilarating.
Yes, I feel engaged, I feel part of the class. I notice I learned more in class. Now I need to extend beyond that. I need to show my teachers how enthusiastically and tirelessly I can work! I want them to ask, "what's up with her?"

Day 7
So today's class wasn't the best. I had trouble focusing and I had trouble performing simple combinations. I'm tempted to say I had a terrible day, but no. I have a more useful solution. Today was a brilliant day. Tomorrow I know exactly what I need to do to improve. Not everybody has that luxury!

Day 8:
Class improved today, but not what I had hoped. I will keep pushing forward.  I did have a few wonderful moments and that's what counts!

Day 9:
Class improved greatly! I worked hard and it payed off, I'm excited for what's coming ahead, I, still, need to extend beyond this. I want to pull more out of myself!

(I know 9 is a strange number. Due to the lovely New England weather, snow has kept us home for 3 classes, possibly another tonight and it's killing me. I love snow, but not snow days.)
Now, here is the difficult part - I will work on applying these ideas every day! Once the basic concepts were learned and executed the concepts that surpassed the all others in difficulty, simplicity and importance for me were:

Smile. Eye contact. Be sweating profusely by the finish of plies. Focus. Connect.

I hope you find this list useful. Comment below on what you found helpful or what you would add!

In conclusion of this experiment, I will quote a wise little man:

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda

- Julia

An Engaged Student Part 1

I didn't want to call this post "how to be a good student," you and I are good students. The question is can we become better students? Every girl who auditions for so-and-so's summer program is a good student, why do they stand out?

I've complied a list of of characteristics, practices and habits of those students who seem to stand out.

Here is my list:

1. Before class:
Arrive early: This gives you the chance to warm up, fix your hair, and mentally prepare yourself.
Be prepared: Review yesterday's class corrections and choreography.
Positive energy: Nothing kills motivation as nervous energy does. Turn that energy into positive thoughts, expectations, and affirmations.

2. Your "stance:"
By stance, I am not referring to your placement, turnout and posture, I'm talking about general attitude. 
Smile, chin up, shoulders back!
Look the teacher in the eye. 
Be (or at least look) awake. 
Be open, don't put your hands on your hips or cross your arms, look open and ready to receive information!

3. During class:
Be engaged with the teacher: listen and pay attention to every detail.
Work hard and focus through the whole class.
Commit to doing every step the best you can.
Be self-aware, mentally and spatially.
Think ahead, otherwise you're late.
Make connections; bring what you learned at the barre to center.

4. After class:
Write down corrections/class notes/choreography.
Carry the characteristics with you everywhere -- not just in the classroom!

I will be trying these ideas out over the next few weeks -- stayed for the next post with results!

- Julia

Dance Smarter, Not Harder


I am a ballet student. I want to be a ballet dancer.  What more is there? Well, a great deal!

These coming two years will be quite thrilling. I have auditions, applications, classes, performances, tests, and finishing high school! I decided to write this blog to bring more focus and organization to my goals. I also hope that by sharing my experiences, other dancers will find this blog useful and enjoyable.

I have an audition for a higher division at my dance school in April. These next posts will be leading up to that audition, as I work on technique, strength, artistry, maturity, flexibility, musicality and more!

Dance smarter, not harder!

You know what? This is ballet. Do both!

- Julia