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Modern Monday: In Which I Psych Myself Out

Modern Class largely went better today.

It was like my body suddenly went, “Ohhhhh, modern dance!  Why didn’t you just say so?!”

And I’m like, “Umm … it’s in the class title, so…?”

Some of this was the direct result of last week’s tiny class in which TB reminded me that I have no idea where my body is and should probably figure out how to find it.

Not that she put it that way — that was all me. TB always begins her corrections about my weird proprioception with, “You’re so hypermobile, which is great, and—”

So today I managed to remember some of the physical sensations that I’m using as cues to tell myself when I’m correctly placed and so forth. That helped.

On the other hand, I totally psyched myself out on the last combination. It was one that we started working with two weeks ago, then didn’t touch on last week. As TB began to demonstrate, my brain went, “Oh, this is knew,” but then when we started to mark it, I suddenly remembered that it was one we’d done before and found that bits of it were still familiar.

…And then, somehow, I completely lost it. At some point, some part of my brain said, “We are never going to remember this,” and I promptly lost the very beginning of the first phrase :/

So, basically, I totally used neuroscience against myself: I told myself I couldn’t possibly remember a combination that I ALREADY KNEW, got nervous, and not only failed to learn it, but started flying in “reaction only” mode, which prevented me from recalling the familiar parts.



Take it from me, don’t do that. It’s the dance equivalent of being like, “OMG, I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN HIT THIS TARGET; I SHOULD DEFINITELY SHOOT MYSELF IN THE HAND NOW.”

On the other hand, someone else mentioned that she couldn’t remember the very beginning, and TB replied that always happens to her in ballet class — which just goes to show you that the familiarity of the movement vocabulary matters. I essentially never forget the beginnings of ballet combinations, though sometimes I forget important things in the middle or the end.

So that was modern this week, and now I need to eat lunch, do a bunch of household tasks, go make DanceTeam happen (AM is sick), and then run away to the downtowns for the ballet stuff.

On Ballet! – The Definition of Madness…

Is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

I realized yesterday that I’ve been committing this exact folly in class.  As a kid, my weakest point was remembering choreography – but it never occurred to me to try different strategies.  I just struggled along and got it eventually.

So this time, with ‘adult’ (ha!) wisdom and free access to the Inner Google at my fingertips, I decided to find out what methods other people – people who are better dancers than I am – use to remember choreography.

I found a few, and I plan to try them out, starting with these two:
1. Stop following the dancer in front of me, because that makes learning take longer.
2.  Recite the combination in rhythm,  then do it again while marking the combination.  I’ve used this one to sort out Monday’s combo.  I’m hoping to try it again on Saturday.

Anyway, that’s it for now.   More to come!

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