Ballet is hard. Like, really hard.
Today I went back to class for the first time in at least three months, having spent the last week sleeping on an air-mattress in a field. That combination of factors is not making the hard ballet any easier.
The two and a quarter hour class was hard work, and I wouldn’t attempt to suggest that much of what I was doing was amongst my finest dancing, and yet, for one moment, during one of the exercises (petits pas de basque en tournant, in case you were wondering) I did some of the best work I’ve done since I took up dancing again, and I received the much coveted, ‘good job’, from my teacher.
Praise doesn’t come easily in a ballet class. It’s not that ballet teachers are mean, it’s just that, however well you dance, there’s always some way to improve: toes to point, knees to straighten, different shapes to arms, or hands, etc. And because the teacher is trying to help you improve, those are things that they’re yelling out while you battle your way through the exercise.
A shout of ‘well done’, or ‘lovely’, or ‘good job’, while you’re dancing is rare, but pretty darn sweet.
In summary: praise.