Fall Flat On Your Face—Then Get Back Up

Maddy Graupmann checks in with Pointe from the end of Houston Ballet's summer intensive.

 

Well, here we are in the last week of Houston Ballet’s summer intensive. Man, did that fly by! I still can’t believe I’ll be flying back to Minnesota on Saturday. I am taking so many lessons away from this summer. And I’ll be back in Houston for the 2011-2012 year-round program, so I can put my new knowledge to work!

It’s hard to pin-point exactly which summer—this one or the last—I learned more. Last summer was my introduction to Houston Ballet, so it was mainly changing my technique to their style of training, then improving from there. This summer, I already knew the technique from training at the Houston Ballet Academy for a year, so I could really concentrate on improving other aspects of my dancing. Overall, I’ve noticed that I’m more eager to jump into difficult combinations, when before, I would be a little timid. That, alone, improved my dancing 100 percent.

I think I matured this summer, too. My artistry has always been pretty good, but it improved when I realized that I couldn’t live if I couldn’t dance. Whenever I get into a ballet slump where I just don’t feel like working, I remember all the times I’ve had to sit out of class and immediately become grateful for a healthy, able body and the gift for dance.

Now, the shows are right around the corner, and I’ve never been more honored to perform. Balanchine’s work is amazing, and we really pulled Serenade together well, in my opinion. “Friends” from Coppélia is a treat to watch and perform as well, because it’s so cute and fun.

 

I’m so excited for next year here, for it will be the first full season at the new Center for Dance. On the top of my goals list is still working on my turnout. My teacher, Ms. Rojas, still believes I ‘have more turnout in me’, and I’m going to show to her I can make full use of it this year.

If I were to give anyone advice, I would say give it all you’ve got! If you try really hard, then fall flat on your face, you hopefully learn from that and the next time you try, you see if something else works. In my experience, this is what gets you noticed by teachers. It’s not all about your legs and feet, or your turnout or how many turns you can do. If a teacher sees you do 3 pirouettes, fall, get back up, then work on getting a perfect single pirouette, that is what is going to grab their attention.

This summer helped me in so many ways, but even for those people who feel as though they did not get as much out of their program, or do not have “it” (whatever that may be) for dance, just read this quote from Ms. Rojas: “You can have all the ‘less-than-lovelies’ and still have the entire world.” Best wishes to all of you dancers out there for this upcoming season of dance!