Tag Archives: Karen Eliot

“Like” and “Ballet” Can Go In the Same Sentence?!

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Throughout the first three of five years I have been dancing, nobody could convince that I would remotely enjoy ballet. From the form-fitting tights that showed too much information to the stiff torsos that meandered around the stage, everything about the form disgusted my Hiphop being. I could not wrap my head around how anyone could dance to slow music played by the piano…where are my drums!? Straight legs and pointed feet, I laugh at the thought! Nobody is going to catch me looking like I got a stick up my butt! It did not help that my resistance to ballet went beyond Hiphop. My peers within my undergraduate dance program at Penn State (dirty hippy modern dancers as they liked to call themselves) even despised the possibility of going back to that-which-shall-not-be-named. However, after constant discovery of limitations in my dancing, and hearing many words of wisdom from professional dancers, I decided that my senior year would be dedicated to practicing the bunhead movement.

My senior year of ballet was amazing. I had a wonderful teacher (Spence Ford shoutout!!) and great talent surrounding me through the musical theater department. Although I was improving, and had found peace with ballet, nobody would ever hear me say I liked the thing. I was enjoying the fact that there is a lot of right or wrong within the form. There is not as much room for conceptualization and abstraction. My analytical mind was satisfied that there was a goal to accomplish, and there were specific ways to obtain that goal. Despite that fact, I still was having a hard time dancing! I felt stiff: constantly trying to scoop my stomach, press my sternum in, stand straight, etc, etc.

And then my first course of ballet at The Ohio State University happened… I transferred a level down right after that catastrophe of a class was over. The course was actually amazing, it was just that I could not keep up for the life of me. But, I made a promise to myself that I will survive and thrive in Karen Eliot’s ballet class before my tenure is done at OSU (it’s documented now, so I guess I have to actually do it).

In stepping a level down, I never thought I would enter one of the best dance classes I have ever taken- yes, I said it- A BALLET CLASS WAS ONE OF THE BEST I HAVE EVER TAKEN! Throughout this 2013 Fall semester, I have battled my way through to the point where I now feel like I can dance to some good, soft, balletic music. There were growing pains, but an encouraging instructor (Maria Glimscher shoutout!!), a great cohort of classmates, and an open mind allowed for me to find a deep satisfaction within the beauty of the form. I still cannot get my leg above 90, or turn even two or three times without stumbling, and Lord knows petit allegro has me looking like a fish out of water; however, I can express who I am through ballet movement, and I feel as though that is a breakthrough that will go down as an ultimate highlight of my OSU dance career once I graduate.

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