Being a beginner can be pretty nerve wracking, especially sometimes at Aerial Dance when the class you signed up says beginner but everyone but you seems to know what they are doing and seems so much better at everything. What you may not realize is that those other students have already taken that exact beginner class 20, even 50 times already! There is no cap on how many times you take a class that is lower than your actual level, and so these “beginners” in your class may not actually be beginners but rather advanced or intermediate students.
Now you may be thinking “why would someone retake a beginner class so many times?” For some it may be their only free hour to come to Aerial Dance, and for most of us honestly it’s just good for you to get really good at those beginner moves because they are the foundation for so much more in those higher level classes. So never feel bad for staying a beginner for a long time, because some of us found ourselves revisiting a beginner class because we really needed that refresher whether we knew it or not. Think about it this way, if you’ve been working the same job 40 hours a week for 20 years, you’re probably an expert and maybe even have some of your own tricks up your sleeve to get the job done. Dance is the same way, if you’ve spent 2 hours a week practicing beginner pole for even one year, that’s 104 hours of pole under your belt. 104 hours spent building muscle and the knowledge or muscle memory to do all these moves more seamlessly.
When I first started I did not like free dance time because I had no idea what I was doing. I felt like it was really obvious during the free dance that I didn’t know what I was doing because I would be doing warm up moves or just following others. However, now it’s my favorite thing because I get to practice and piece together things to see how they work and look together. Free dance isn’t meant to be perfect so just flow or copy until you get the hang of it. If you are still having some mental blocks about your progress, start recording everything! This was honestly the best advice I had received when starting at Aerial Dance. Record everything! Take videos, take photos and or journal every move, accomplishment and feeling. One day you’ll look back at your beginner videos and truly realize your own progress. Plus it’s a great way to see what does and doesn’t work together.
Moral of the story, focus on you and don’t worry about how quickly someone else picks something up because although it may seem that we are all on the same journey, that journey is unique to everyone. Not everyone is taking the same path of 10 hours a week and not everyone lives the same lives, has the same bodies ect… Our journeys will all be unique and beautifully tuned to us.
Comparison as an artist not only steals your joy, but also hinders your creative voice. You would never compare yourself to your work from 2013. 10 years spent doing something is going to look a lot different. Whether you are in year 1 or year 5, have the courage to have patience and give yourself some grace.