I didn’t have any struggle grasping this – I had learned it every day in ballet class. As a dancer, I grew up with an early understanding that no matter what I achieved today, there’d be something even bigger that I’d have to accomplish tomorrow. Mr. Ohman knowingly instilled an understanding, not necessarily a fear, in each of us that what we achieved today wasn’t going to cut it tomorrow – that you don’t rest your technique; that the most important thing was not how many fouettes you can do, but how frequently you are in class, focused and working. It was important principle that I didn’t know I was learning.
At other schools, programs and companies - and as dedicated I’ve been to the Ohman School, I’ve also been to aplenty others– your teachers and choreographers may tell you that work ethic is most important but it is nevertheless always the dancer with the highest extension and who can do the most turns that is front and center –whether she relies on talent or work. With Mr. Ohman, it boils down to one thing – his ability to work with you so that you both have a mutual understanding of what the choreography is trying to achieve, and that you have the tools in your technique to achieve it. Sometimes, the one that can do the most turns and has the highest extension ends up front and center, but that’s only because she’s likely been in class every day.
If you’re going to improve in ballet, you’re not going to be thinking about the end result: the Dewdrop fouettes or Sugarplum’s shoulder sits or pointe work, or the pirouettes in Tea for that matter. Instead, you’re going to feel strange on days that you miss class – a little down, knowing that you didn’t take that small step forward. While you’re in class, you get used to putting yourself in awkward situations, nearly falling down (or actually falling down if it’s a good class), looking stupid, muscles shaking in effort and sweating so much that a roll of paper towels won’t do as the office staff looks on in disgust. You get used to the feeling of effort, life’s purest sense of satisfaction, and you really miss it. And that’s how you know you’re on the right track.