January 07, 2013

Dance Moms Season 3, & Some other things...

So.. yeah.

Dance Moms Season 3 is here after what feels like forever.
I just finished watching the pre-show interviews (Smoke Before The Fire) and the first episode.

And as I'm watching new mom Shelly try to fit in with the Dance Moms (especially Christi),  I found myself leaning more towards Shelly's opinions rather than Christi.

And finally, I fully understood why Abby teaches the way she does.

Yes, I FINALLY figured it out after 2 1/2 seasons. ><

After constantly hearing Abby preach about good technique and performance quality and whatnot, and knowing how 'high standards' her dancers are due to her very demanding criteria, it hit me.

The reason she's so strict and always finds the kids' faults instead of praising them, is because she wants them to constantly improve themselves. I guess she thinks that if she praised them too much, it would get into their heads and make them think that maybe, "hey, Miss Abby praised me so I must've done pretty darn good," and if she praised them a lot, maybe they'd think they were already very good and wouldn't put much effort to correct themselves anymore.

So by constantly reprimanding them, she creates this desire and want for the kids to impress her; to gain her approval. And by craving her approval, they would have to push themselves harder and harder every time; thus constantly improving themselves along the way.

Yes, I finally got it.

And to be honest, I would act exactly like how Shelly did.

I mean, she's the new mom, and her daughter just got the lead role in the group number. When Christi asked Shelly to tell Abby that Ally won't dance if the 'angel' role became a solo, of course Shelly wouldn't do it. It's the time her daughter gets to shine and show Abby that Ally is worth it; how could she tell that to Abby?

And Shelly's right in a way; who is she to question the dance teacher? Of course you have to voice it out if the teacher crosses the line, but as of then, it's all good. And I mean, of course I can understand the other mom's dilemma as well, so.. I'm kinda torn with opinions, really. Hahaha. =p

But I just wish Christi would see it in Shelly's perspective though. Of course you could tell that to Abby if y'all have been together for so many years and are practically family, but Shelly is new and you can't expect her to give the same amount of loyalty to the other moms when she hardly know them! 

Which... brings me to my next, rather related topic, to be honest.

If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that in almost every post, there would be some declaration of how much dance means to me. I have never put much thought into it; ever since that fateful day years ago when Lika taught my group our double classes and showed us that ballet need not be all strict rules and CAN be fun.
And yes, you've probably read about that in a few of my previous entries, so you would know that dance is everything for me. I grew up on dance and while I'm VERY MUCH AWARE that my technique and 'size'; if you want to go there, isn't of 'ideal' proportion, especially for my age, it never really bothered me.

Don't get me wrong though, of course I try to take the corrections I've been given and apply them as much as I am able to.
But it never really bothered me that my dance skills are not up to par as others my age should, because here in the small town of Kuantan in Pahang (which, as of 2012, has the population of 366,229 people - Pahang, I mean), learning ballet itself is a rather unique thing, because there are only two ballet studios in Kuantan.

Up till about middle last year, when I started watching Dance Moms, that is.

Ever since I watched that reality show, it opened my eyes to just how talented kids are nowadays; and I'm talking about 13-year-olds and below. The standards have been notched up SO high now, that looking at the girls' dancing, when I was their age, I couldn't do a even a quarter of the tumbling they were doing.

Partly, I guess, due to the fact that I have never danced professionally; it has always been leisurely, also due to financial issues amongst others.

Dancers nowadays, if they want to dance professionally, REQUIRE tumbling and technique classes. I never had any of those.

Dancers who want to dance professionally take at least 5 classes per week, each ranging from 2-3 hours per class, sometimes more. I take 2 classes per week; 3 at most, 2 hours max.

So the more I reality hit me at how far behind I am compared to others HALF my age (of course I knew I was nowhere near as good at them, but this was kinda a slap to my face), the more I ranted about how I wish I could take more classes; how I envied kids whose parents fully support their dance both emotionally and financially, and how I wish I had the chance and had the money to do so.

I was also very aware that the other girls who had been grades below me are in fact, overtaking me now because they were able to afford going to courses and still take classes.

It sucks knowing how much I want to take those courses and continue taking classes as well,but can't due to financial restraints, but I tried not to let that bother me although, very obviously, it did.

Still, though, I made dancing a part of my life wherever I could. I started teaching adults, though it were VERY few.

So I was utterly flabbergasted when my passion was questioned. My first, initial reaction was a blow up. I was close to exploding. Because I thought it was well known the reason why my participation is not as active as the rest. 
But I did not blow up. I bit my tongue and explained.

After that, I myself began to question my passion. I mean I thought I was an okay dancer. Not brilliant, not great, but at least I qualified as a dancer. 

But that statement made me think. Was I really even as 'okay' as I thought I was? Was dancing even suitable for me? (Yes, hearing that now, I want to slap myself.) 
I even had the scariest thought a dancer could have: should I just stop dancing all together?

I started imagining my life without dance in it. I thought of all the weekends I'd be spending at home, doing nothing. Of all the dance shows I'd watch, and started imagining that if I really stopped dancing, how I would react to that.

And something snapped.

I came across the music video of The Script & Will.I.Am's song, Hall of Fame.

Sure, I've heard that song a few times, but when I watched the music video and paid attention to the lyrics, I understood.

My brain literally slapped itself.

"Are you fucking kidding me??" It literally said.

I watched the video; and cried.

Part of me was disappointed in myself; how could I even let such a thought infest my mind?

Stop dancing completely? Was I crazy??

And then I realised: I was just going through what the deaf ballerina in the video is going through. Whispers and rolled-eyes, snickers and sneers. If I give up now I'm definitely going to regret it later.

Moral of the story is, I know I'm still not dancing professionally (DUH). I know I'm probably no where near (farther now, in fact/to be honest) being able to do the kind of acrobatic stunts that are required of a serious dancer.

But I also know that I happen to be teaching. Whether it is just 1 student or 100, I'm still teaching. And that already gives me a chance to dance. Sure, I would LOVE to do other genres of dance. It's DEFINITELY on my list. 

But I know that for a good few years probably, I wouldn't be able to due to my financial crisis. I am also aware that I'm not young anymore, and that the chance of a professional dance career are already out of reach.

But I'm not giving up hope.

Anything can happen within the next few years, so while I've accepted that my performances on stage have been limited, at the same time, I'm hopeful.

As long as I can walk, I will incorporate some form of dance in my life. I will never let anyone question what I love again; because like I mentioned before, I don't care if others take no notice of my efforts or fail to see it. As long as I know that I have put in effort. I won't let others determine if I've put in effort or not, because at the end of the day, I know, and God knows.