Ok, so here's the part two to yesterday's post that I promised you. Where I tell you how to turn any class into an ideal class for you. Because sometimes class feels too easy. And other times it feels too hard.
I've been in both situations.
And here's what I've discovered
When class feels too easy, it's usually because I've got my lazy pants on. No seas floja, Laura.
When class feels too difficult, it's usually because hard-on-myself me has taken over. Tranquila, chiquilla.
We can get a lot or a little out of class
And it's really up to us. I mean it.
Basically there are two main concepts we need to understand, one to make class harder and another to make it easier. But before we get to those, some specific ideas on how to make the most out of whatever class you find yourself in.
Some things you can do when your mind says this
Oh no! I'll never progress in here, it moves way too slowly.
Idea #1. Watch the instructor less. You know how it goes, we become unnecessarily reliant upon watching the teacher. I do this! I do this! I DO this! It's like if I stop looking I'll fall off the horse. Bad example, but I can't think of a better one. Stop watching. Get disoriented!
Idea #2. Watch yourself more. Not to admire your beautiful self, though that's not a bad idea. But watching yourself is really good for your technique. Our bodies are different. What looks good on one person may not look good on another. So look in the mirror. Fix things. Sometimes you have to let go of what you're being told or have been told about technique and just play around until you find positions that look good to you.
Idea #3. Watch the instructor and yourself at the same time. If you have a step down, focus on the nitty-gritty. What is the instructor doing that you're not? Examine both yourself and the teacher.
Idea #4. Pay more attention to the part of the dance that you don't like. If you're like me there's likely that one part (or the two or three parts) that you don't like, or that you actually do like but you've convinced yourself that you don't because it's hard for you or it's not looking good. Ah-hem. See #2 above please. This difficult part may warrant some serious study in the mirror...
And now, some ways to make it easier when your mind says this
Oh no! I have no idea I'm doing.
Idea #1. Get one thing down. If the teacher has set arms with the feet and it feels like too much, leave the arms out for now. Get the step and add them later. Feet first, then arms, then hands, then head, then hips...
Idea #2. Focus on the parts you like the most. If you're starting to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, let some stuff go and just focus on the moves that you most enjoy.
Idea #3. Notice one detail to help you remember the others. For example, if you find yourself struggling with the same step over and over, notice which foot it starts on, and keep reminding yourself of that. (advice from Ricardo)
Idea #4. Give yourself permission to do it wrong. Another piece of advice from Ricardo, and so many others. Mess up! And then mess up again.
If it feels too easy,
Focus on the details.
If it feels too difficult,
Focus on the basics.
And either way, if you're feeling frustrated, stop for a moment, breathe, and
Remember why you're there.
Your ideas please
I know you have many more ideas. Why not share them with all of us? You can do so in the comments.
The Flamenco Tour with Mercedes Ruíz is happening in May.
Workshops with Ricardo López are happening this month in Portland.