Thursday, March 10, 2005

On Display

I love ballet, but one thing I don't love about it is that it's a performing art. I do not really like performing. I participated in a conference this weekend, and gave a presentation. It went well, but I did not like doing it. It's like writing: I like having presented, not presenting itself.

So I have this weird deal going on about loving doing performing arts (I love singing, playing music, ballet) but not liking to perform.

In ballet, we're always looking in those mirrors, always being told to look toward the "audience," even when we're just having a class. In class, of course, our audience is the mirror, which is a bit creepy to think about.

When I look toward the mirror as I'm supposed to, I begin to do this silent, female critique thingee that maybe other women will recognize: "are my upper thighs fat? Wow, my arms are skinny. I should have put on makeup this morning--I'm too old to go without it." That's one thing I do not like about ballet: the constant attention to appearance.

It's not that way with the kinds of physical activities my sister likes: basketball, softball, that sort of thing. You just do them, and it only matters HOW you do them, not what you look like. More healthy for a girl or woman's self-image, I would say.

That's one thing I do like about Tae Kwon Do. There is attention to how your form looks, but you wear this--OK--rather UGLY uniform, so you aren't able to be critical of your own body in the way you are in ballet. Still, you're being watched, always, like during the whole-class chun jee and the flying side kicks yesterday.

Maybe, though, this is only my weirdness and other women dancers aren't so aware of those critical voices popping up. Oh, and there ARE praising voices, too ("my waist is still small! I hope she notices my feet! Look at my great battement") but just that attention to looks--positive or negative, though it's PART of ballet, seems also to distract from it.

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