It can be hard to take criticism. Especially when you are trying your absolute hardest to do your best. But sometimes, despite how you feel, your dance teacher picking on you is actually a good thing!
In my first few weeks of my 3 month course at Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School, I got a lot of corrections. Which I’m sure is true of everyone. However, I’m talking a lot. Like, a lot a lot! Every other exercise I had a long list of things I needed to improve and work on.
So, apparently, my placement is all over the place! I lean forward in second plie and pretty much whenever I extend my leg. If I’m not sticking my bum out, (hello flexible lower back) I am tucking my pelvis way too much, which is probably not helping the afore mentioned back lean. I have never, it appears, had my weight properly over my standing leg which is probably why I can never balance and/or pirouette. To top it off my arm goes super floppy whenever I need to think too hard about an exercise. And that is honestly just the tip of the ice berg!
I won’t lie, it is disheartening to learn you have been doing so much wrong, for such a long time.
And it certainly isn’t fun to be singled out in class. Not just the most out of everyone else, but everyone else put together. A particularly horrific moment for me was having to do a fondu exercise in front of my class. An exercise that effectively incorporates nearly every single thing I do wrong. And they all critiqued my technique. Nerve wracking and a little humiliating.
I found myself becoming frustrated and annoyed. Not just with myself but with my teachers. I felt picked on, singled out and even humiliated at times. It started to affect my ability to learn and I questioned by place on the course.
Why am I here if I am even here?
I eventually sat myself down and did a bit of soul searching. There was no way I was going to blow this opportunity because my pride was taking a beating over some technique issues.
I came up with 3 reasons why this was all actually a good thing.
It shows the teacher believes in you.
The very fact I am being given so much attention by the teacher is a sure-fire way to know that they think I’m worth a damn at dancing! Sure, I have a huge amount to work on, but they just wouldn’t bother if they thought it was a waste of time! So, whenever I feel picked on I tell myself that. This person believes you are worth the effort of taking a moment during class to tell you, you are doing something wrong. They must believe you have the potential to do it right.
These corrections make you better.
This seems obvious I know. However, it’s easy to forget that the personal corrections will improve you so much more. When we are singled out and specifically told to improve something, we far more inclined to do so than if it was just generally said to the class. I should feel privileged that I am getting such personalised feedback as it will make me a lot better in the long run.
You learn how to improve independently.
I learnt how to critically assess and apply myself. With this specific help from my tutors, I can now identify what is wrong with my dancing much more easily. The criticism has allowed me to understand my body and therefore take steps to improve it. It is almost impossible to think about all corrections at once, whilst trying to remember an exercise and sometimes learn entirely new steps in the process. I had to come up with ways to work on all of these corrections in an efficient and helpful way! Whether that is simplifying the exercise or picking one correction and working on that for the whole day, or class, or exercise. It was just important I find a way to improve it in a way that works for me.
But don’t forget…
It is very important to take your corrections seriously and work hard. The small experience I have had of dance training, is intense, draining and often an uphill battle. But, above all, it should be rewarding. No matter how hard you’re working in class or how much you focus, you still need to find joy and happiness in it.
Otherwise, you’d forget why you’re even there in the first place.
What do you think?
Let me know in the comments section!
If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to share and like it!