Ballet isn’t the first thing that I have learnt as an adult, that most people start as a youngster. I picked up the violin for the first time in January 2014 and have started to go through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams. I’m currently working towards my grade 5 music theory and I have my grade 3 violin at the beginning of July.
There are a great number of similarities between learning ballet and learning an instrument and I am certainly experiencing the same kinds of frustration learning ballet as when I very first started to learn the violin.
The first frustration is the fact that just because you’re older, doesn’t mean that you are going to pick it up any quicker. In fact, quite often it’s the opposite. Our bones are already formed and not as flexible as those of a child. You are more ‘set in your ways’ as an adult and sometimes I find it tough to adapt my brain that it’s okay to be a beginner and the fact that it is going to take time to get this.
I’ve always said ‘I’m like a bad doctor, I have no patients (patience)’. And this goes for learning a new skill, whether it be learning the violin or taking up ballet. I fully understand that this is going to take time, and I discussed more on this on an earlier blog post, but it still doesn’t stop me, unfortunately, sometimes frustrated when I can’t quite get a one-turn pirouette just yet. The best advice I have been given with this is just to leave it for the day. Or move onto something else, and then come back to it another day.
As an adult you do tend to be more harsh on yourself and if I ‘fluff up’ a move in the middle of a combination, then it does linger in my mind, when I should just be concentrating on the next step, not what has gone before. It’s something that I’m aware of, and need to work on it a bit more!