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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Best Way To Learn A New Skill

Jumping into a new ballet studio with 3 different ballet teachers each night can be disconcerting.  Since starting ballet so late in life I have only danced at two other studios until now.  The first studio I attended I stayed for 10 years until she had to close.  The second studio I have been for about 5 years or more.  It becomes like a home away from home.  I have stayed with ballet for longer than I have both my marriages.  And to think I hated ballet with a passion when it was first presented to me at Marylhurst College where I was getting my B.A. in Social Sciences.

Since I did not dance as a child or play sports learning to use my muscles was like learning a foreign language.  Even though I was always physically active in my own way playing hop scotch, jumping rope, all the kid games that we played out of doors I loved.  Recess I went straight to the jungle gym to hang by my knees and learn tricks.
Joan Harmony by first dance teacher with me in the background in white top
 My love for dance came when I fell in love with my dance teacher at MHC.  I was in awe of her and she taught various forms of dance and fitness conditioning.  She introduced me to Benny Bell who taught African Jazz and that became my focus.  I studied jazz dance and adored learning the traditional African dances with the live drumming.  It was so exhilarating and transported me to a different land in body, mind, and spirit when I stepped outside I would forget where I parked my car.
Benny Bell my African Jazz teacher who moved to Belgium soon after 
When Benny moved away I turned to ballet classes the only thing I could afford at the time.  Somehow I had evolved because I learned to love ballet and have pursued it ever since.  Today I was reading in my notes "the evolution of learning a new skill."  Practice in three's.  Make three attempts with maximum concentration, then relax and breathe and feel the awareness of tingling out to your finger tips.  That kind of practice is hard but soooo much fun when you feel even the slightest improvement.


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