One of the best things about studying on the foundation course were the friends, and future collaborative partners, I made. Hels and Alex now studying at Laban. Jessamin studying at The Place, Issie here at NSCD and Franzi at Balance1 in Berlin.
(Skip this part if you feel queasy easily) I love each one for their talent, passion, support and thoughts.
And its great that we are all at different schools. It gives us chance to compare our learning experiences and share the differences/similarities of life in a dance school.
After reading my entry 'words of wisdom' Alex sent me a particularly good facebook message relating her experiences at Laban. She describes it as a 'rant'. I think its more of a reflection of her passion for dance. I thought it was important to share a few extracts with you;
"i ask myself are we that insecure that we need to ask others their grades, not out of compassion or simple curiosity but so that we can build a little reference ladder of who got what and place ourselves among this group? do we seriously need that much validation?
if the answer is yes then i think that teachers like the ones you mentioned are an invaluable source of reminders that grades aren't a personal reflection of how hard you work"
"what frustrates me about grades is that they seem to make stationary what we all know and experience to be an on-going process. in the run up to assessments, i fear having my work crystalised. that day i get an A,B,C,D or E and immediately come to the conclusion that i am that kind of a dancer."
"case in point, i haven't opened my ballet assessment grade from last term...just yet, i can't face that my struggles to spot, maintain turn out, do petit allegro or present myslef convincingly as a ballet dancer will mean that (for now) i am a bad person unable to apply herself well enough to succeed."
The intention of this blog was to inform, not terrify, potential dance students, and all this talk about the pressure of self judging induced by technique grades may be giving the wrong impression. But to deny the sometimes intense nature of a dance degree is to devalue it. Its just a matter of relation.
When entering a dance school your are entering a little bubble. You spend the majority of your time there, so naturally (and generally speaking of course) what goes on in the bubble is a big deal, as its your life. (I feel a potential risk of over philosophising fast approaching. So I'll stop and hope thats clear enough.)
Part of our education is learning how to put things into perspective. How to take on board the importance of what we do without it becoming a 'big deal'.
I particularly like Alex's closing sentence;
"maybe when i'm fifty and still dancing, i'll open my ballet grade and laugh."