Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Amended Self Critique...

...doesn't read much like a self-critique if you ask me…
...but I’m just following directions.

Last week, I was assigned to do a Self Critique of my performance during my skills test for the Jazz 3-4 class I am enrolled in at Orange Coast College. (You can read the paper in my previous post, "A Reflection on My Journey Back to Dance"). However, if you read this post, you'll see that the paper was not received very well.

March 19, 2013
OCC Jazz Dance Class Self Critique Part 2

Though I feel the original Self Critique I had written and turned in last week is sufficient enough to fulfill the assignment, I will take a moment to make the suggested amendments in order to specifically address the choreography/combination, and to more clearly state my long and short term goals regarding dance, and the active steps I am taking in order to achieve them.
It has been over twenty years since I have been enrolled in a college level Jazz Dance class, however, I believe my experience as a former professional dancer, and health and fitness professional working with current and former professional dancers to rehabilitate them from injury, lends me the experience and perspective to give an objective opinion about the choreography/combination we learned over the past few weeks. I found the choreography to be absolutely appropriate for accommodating students of a mixed-level, Jazz 3-4 class. It included all the dynamics usually associated with what is expected of a level 4 jazz student to be capable of mastering, yet not too challenging to discourage the level 3 participants. There were no jumps included in the choreography, but the direction changes, turns, and floor work complimented the music beautifully, and presented an excellent opportunity for the instructor to assess the skill level of each student. Though I rarely had the opportunity to participate in the combination, I do remember it was an absolutely enjoyable experience to perform it on the one day I did attempt dancing it full-out during a class in early February.
As I mentioned in the previous paper, I have only taken about fifteen non-beginning level dance classes in the past five years. I no longer have a flair for picking up or retaining choreography, and I no longer move with the confidence and skill I did.  I was under the impression that last Tuesday was the day of the skills test and assessment, so I put my best foot forward and gave it my best try. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the previous paper, when it was my time to dance in a group, my emotions took over and I do not remember even doing the routine. Thankfully, when I had the opportunity to watch the video later that evening, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the worst thing I had ever seen, and I reminded myself that I would never have to attempt doing that combination ever again. I also gave myself the permission to put the experience behind me. Little did I know, last Tuesday was NOT the skills test! Uh oh! Imagine my surprise when I arrived to the next class and was informed that we were to “get ready for the skills test.” I was stunned, exhausted, and completely not prepared to do that combination ever again! My body was completely over-worked from my other obligations and I had not thought of that combination since I had written that paper on Tuesday evening.
Though I was completely unprepared, totally uninspired, and on the verge of injuring myself, I did it. I was a train wreck, but boy, it was entertaining! I did the combination in the wrong direction, which I later realized was the result of the last time I had thought about/seen the combination. The last time I had “seen” it was while watching the video of it, so when I had to do it on the spot,  the only reference point available in my memory was my wonky, mirror image. I was fortunate that I had already written the previous paper or I wouldn't have been capable of finding the humor in it; the entire time I was attempting to get through the choreography, I was laughing inside thinking if anyone had ever seen the I Love Lucy Ballet Class Episode, they would totally think I was trying to do a Lucy impersonation. ;)
The experience of “just going for it” was great. I didn't die of embarrassment, and it solidified my realization that, though I know I will still occasionally yearn for the dancing days of my youth, I can still do more than most people, even completely unprepared.
The experience of “just going for it” has influenced my short term dance goals. My short-term goals for this class include: Just getting through it, and allowing myself to “just pass”; honoring my body more than a grade; Finding joy in the fact that I have had the courage to stick with it; and continuing to glean valuable information by observing the dancers in class as they progress both personally and technically. I also look forward to tackling the next combination. I know if I just keep showing up and staying present, I will meet these goals.
As for long-term dance goals, I had already begun working on my long-term personal and professional dance goals prior to enrolling it this class-that is what brought me here. I had put off going back to school because the success of my business, Controlled Burn Fitness, demanded too much of my time. Fortunately, (yes, I mean fortunately) the business suffered a fire and had to be closed in 2011. This unexpected event helped me to make the decision to put my business, and the majority of my clients, on hold and head back to school full time. The active steps I have taken to achieve my long term dance goals include continuing to excel in my core-curriculum academic classes. And though I have no desire to ever dance professionally again, I know I will continue to take dance classes after this semester, wherever I can and whenever it is convenient.


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