As you prepare for your upcoming ballet competition, selecting the right repertoire solo is crucial. Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, the esteemed founder of Progressing Ballet Technique, offers invaluable guidance on this journey. Here's how to approach this significant decision with insight and grace.
Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Self-Appraisal: Begin by engaging in a thorough self-appraisal alongside your teacher. This isn't about focusing on your limitations but recognizing what comes naturally to you at this stage of your training. List down your strengths—be it effortless pirouettes, a natural jump, or a striking line in adage. Simultaneously, acknowledge the areas you're still developing. This positive approach lays the foundation for choosing a solo that showcases your best.
The Journey Over the Variation's Name
Your Unique Journey: Remember, it's not the name of the variation that clinches the prize but your journey in mastering it. Select a solo that resonates with your personal strengths, allowing you to leave the stage feeling proud, not self-critical.
Research and Selection
Study and Discuss: Explore the list of allowed variations for the competition and watch professional recordings on YouTube. Discuss your findings with your teacher, focusing on why a particular repertoire aligns with your skills and artistic vision.
Understanding Artistry and Musicality
The Essence of the Ballet: Beyond steps, delve into the musicality and artistic content of the repertoire. Understand where your chosen solo fits within the context of the entire ballet to grasp its artistic meaningfully.
Refinement and Alignment
Working with Your Teacher: With your teacher's guidance, refine your alignment and artistry. Focus on each section of the solo, ensuring technical precision and expressive depth.
Stamina and Breathing
Stamina and Calmness: Although short, repertoire solos demand stamina. Discuss breathing patterns with your teacher, often an overlooked aspect, to maintain calmness and control throughout your performance.
Study Various Interpretations: Observe different ballerinas performing the same solo. Draw inspiration from how each artist makes it uniquely theirs without deviating from the original choreography.
Favourite Interpretations: Reflect on your favourite performances during your research. Ask yourself why they resonated with you and how you can infuse similar qualities into your rendition.
Making It Your Own
Personal Progress Log: Keep a logbook of your journey. Strive to make the solo authentically yours, adhering to the repertoire while infusing your individual artistry.
Valuing the Journey
In the world of ballet competitions, remember that the journey is more valuable than any trophy. Choosing the right repertoire solo is a personal and artistic exploration that goes beyond mere technical execution. It's about discovering your strengths, embracing your artistic voice, and presenting a performance that is uniquely and authentically yours.
This guide, inspired by Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, is designed to help you navigate the intricate process of selecting a repertoire solo.
Embrace this opportunity to grow not just as a dancer but as an artist, and remember that your journey is as significant as the destination.