What’s so wrong with being good?

I have one thing to say on the subject of class last night and that is:


Ruined what was otherwise a perfectly good adage because I don’t have enough legs for it and something isn’t computing. Boo. It made me all scowl!faced because I couldn’t make it make sense. Sadtimes, bruvs, sadtimes.

On the other hand… I remembered to attack my relevé in preparation only then (a) surprised myself by remembering and managing to do so and (b) totally fluffed the ensuing pirouette because I’d had my relevé praised.

The lovely Johanna over at Point ‘til you drop, wrote a fabulous post on getting praised in class and why it is so drattedly difficult to accept it. I’m open to constructive criticism (like making my legs longer in glissés f’rex) and correction (hi there, left arm) as opposed to “oh dear goodness, you suck”* and I can handle that – food for thought and all that jazz (no, not jazz, ballet!). But praise is a whole different kettle of fish.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being praised – being told that I’m doing well, good, amazing, whatever – I am a complete and utter needy attention whore after all but there’s something that doesn’t quite compute. I have two natural responses to praise: the first is to be so startled that I fall over/into the barre/whatever and the second is for emo!teen in my head to chime in with “well, durr, not talking to you really”. It’s that tricksy beast of self confidence, I guess – I kind of missed the queue for that one. If I could just pop down Tesco and grab me some, that’d be ace – sadly they never seem to have it in stock when I’m doing my weekly shop, rubbish.

It’s not just in ballet that accepting praise is a problem in – it translates across all areas of my life but it’s easier to laugh it off outside of class. F’rex, I’ve just done a ‘sarcastic victory dance’ in the office on being told by my boss I’ve just got something bob on (funnily enough won’t be taking that reaction to ballet). I’m hopeless at accepting compliments as well, always feeling the need to justify myself and try and make the complimenter see that they are WRONG. Why? I mean, just why is it so hard to actually accept/believe/whatever that YOU ARE NOT A TOTAL HOPELESS CASE?

You know what? My internal monologue should just be quiet around about now… nurse, the screens!


*Actually, I could probably handle that these days. I’d put my scowl!face on and be determined to prove a point. Whatever the point is.



Filed under I dance (not by Toyota)

4 responses to “What’s so wrong with being good?

  1. What can I say? I just recognized myself all over again. 🙂

    Praise is nice, and on a good day really sweet. But being an attention whore myself, I much prefer getting pushy corrections and stern commands. It tells me what I did wrong and how to do it better. Praise is too vague for feedback. Especially when a teacher uses “good” just for being in the same ballpark. It was also sombering to hear the exact same praise (good girl, excellent, yes!, very good) being used in basic levels for relatively humble efforts. Obviously, a sane teacher would not expect advanced skills in a basic class. But since I find even a that level a challenge, I never quite know how to understand and accept my praise. “Good” compared to what? Better than yesterday?

    As an adult dancer in an open-class system there is no way to gauge your personal level. I certainly can´t compare my dancing to that of my peers because we have all different backgrounds (ages too), facilities and talents. I have set my bar/re pretty high, but even I know that some heights are just plain out of reach. Still, I would like to know the truth. Even if it´s painful. I can do way much more with “not bad” than “good”. Now how weird is that?

    Thanks for the lovely shout-out! 🙂
    – Johanna

    • thepimwithacapitalt

      This, this and thrice this! Good is nice, good makes me go ‘oooh okay, not as bad as I thought’ but sometimes I am just all ‘good whu… err, right then’. It’s that endless pursuit of perfection thing again, isn’t it? I like to know if I’m doing wrong so that I can (try to) fix it and do it right.

      Your post on it is amazing, says it all so much better than I ever could 🙂

  2. Did I just forget to mention that I really liked this post? I also admire how often you manage to post new texts! You put my weekly wlog to shame, you do 😉

    • thepimwithacapitalt

      It’s the novelty value of having a new blog to play with – I have ALL THE THOUGHTS and want to make ALL OF THE POSTS AT ONCE – it’ll wear off soon enough… also I’ve discovered I am vastly more productive in the office if I have a word doc open in the background to flick to from time to time. My attention span is generally all of five minutes, except in ballet… work needs more barre clearly!

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