Dear Diary,

These are all notes given in just a days’ worth of rehearsal, I exaggerate you not.

It’s really important that you dance like an individual. You are your own person in the movement….but try to look like everyone else.

You want to be confident. Demonstrate that you’re commanding attention….but don’t be arrogant. Don’t stand out. Blend in, confidently.

It would be great if you could smile. This is happy dancing….but not too happy, don’t show your teeth. Try a smile with just your eyes…but relax the eyebrows.

We need you to pay attention to the marks on the floor. But don’t actually look at them. Also, follow the person in front of you even if they’re not in the right spot….but you need to hit your marks.

When you’re on the sides and no one is watching you, stand like someone is watching you. Someone might be, even though they’re all watching the center couple…but you never know.

Turn out your legs even when they’re turned in.

Make the movement look effortless but deliberate, every step is important but don’t focus too much on any one step.

Don’t be behind the music but don’t be in front of the music. Be right on the music, and feel the music the same way as every person around you.

Turn out your legs. Last time I checked Ballet was done in turn out.

When your partner is lifting you, you need to hold your own weight. He’s holding you….but you’re holding yourself.

Don’t focus on the technique, feel the movement…. but don’t neglect your technique.

It’s a movement that really doesn’t have much value, so you have to give it value. Like it’s the most important step in the world, even though it’s clearly not.

It would be better to make a mistake with confidence, then do the right thing timidly…but obviously don’t make any mistakes.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you gave it your best effort. You made sure your ribbons didn’t come untied and walked away with your head held high. You internalized what you could, and laughed at the silly stuff when you got home, while icing your feet (and cursing your aches). It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it. The artist endures insanity so the world can be sane.


Mad Swan