Ok, so far I seem to have survived!
Since my surgery on Friday I’ve had 2 days of rest, 2 days of teaching 5 hours each, 1 rehearsal, and tonight 1 Entwine class. It has been a hectic week and it’s not about to slow down. I’m sure if my doctor found out how much I’ve still had to do she wouldn’t be impressed with me.
So far I’ve been getting around ok on my crutches and my foot is all bandaged up and in a moon-boot for the majority of the day. I religiously followed my nurse’s instructions post surgery in regard to keeping on top of my pain medication so that I don’t wait to take them until after I feel pain, and that has made a huge difference. I have been able to manage a lot better than I feared I would.
The biggest challenges of the week for me, have been teaching and rehearsing without being able to demonstrate. I tell you, it is a whole different ball game. There are plenty of dance teachers who are unable to demonstrate and still produce fantastic dancers. May it be due to injury, age, or a number of things, but for me I am finding it very hard because I am a very physical, hands on type of teacher. I guess also because I am still working in the industry, I find it helpful to be able to show the students myself the lines and movements I am after.
Most of my classes faired well, due to the fact that they have had me teach them for a while now and they are used to my style and my vocabulary. Ballet classes were undoubtedly the easiest to teach, because the language is so absolutely detailed. Ballet terminology can describe to the students exactly what arm or leg I want and where, what alignment of the body or where to face on the stage, everything can be described right down to the fingertips if the dancer knows their terminology well.
The best thing about this, is that no matter where you go in the world, you will always know what the Ballet Master wants you to dance even if you don’t know the country’s native tongue. There are only small differences from place to place, for example the Russian Vaganova method using “Eleve” or “Releve” in place of the English “Rise” but the differences are so small it wouldn’t phase anyone.
I think that even if ballet isn’t your forte, if you are familiar with even some of the basic terminology it stands you in good stead for your career. There have been so many times that I have been working on cruise ships, or performing cabaret, or in a new contemporary piece, where the choreographers have used ballet language to communicate what they want to the dancers. It is universal and it really empowers you as a dancer to have this under your belt.
The hardest classes for me this week were my younger students, the pre-school children and my younger tap dancers. They are very visual and haven’t yet got their own regular vocab under their belt, let alone a dance one. Thankfully I had some help from my senior students who demonstrated for me.
What was funny, was that even though I had my assistants demonstrating, the pre-schoolers would pop their foot out flexed as soon as they saw me move my moon-boot. It was very cute, they really hone in on the visual aspect in class.
I tell you what, I may have been a teacher for many years, but I learn something new from my students all the time!