My husband has trained a lot of horses. A LOT. And he’s developed some very specific training methods after working with so many different animals. For example, when he is teaching something new to a horse, sometimes the horse just doesn’t pick up the maneuver. Horses (like dogs, children, and adult ballet dancers) learn through repetition. So when a horse is just not getting it, many trainers keep going and going and going, thinking the horse will eventually get the light bulb *ding,* and all will be well. And many times, this works, But horses (like dogs, children, and adult ballet dancers) are all a little different, and learn in different ways. So when the repetitive approach doesn’t work, my husband tries a different tactic. If the horse is stuck, unable to learn the new bit, he turns the horse out for a few days. No training, just time to eat grass and be a horse.
And something really cool happens. Three days later, when he gets back on that horse and asks for that tricky new maneuver, the horse just does it. Like he’s been doing it for years. Like it was never difficult at all.
The theory behind this is that sometimes the horse needs a break. Time to process. Time to think. Take a few steps back, relax, and sometimes the answer just comes.
And that’s how my first class back to ballet felt.
After a month off ballet, I was nervous about being out of shape, or forgetting terms and steps, or just being generally awful. But as soon as the music started and I sank into my first demi-plie, it all just clicked. Even my frappes were decent. All in all, I just had a great class. And I really think it’s due, at least in part, to my long break from the studio.
And I can’t wait to see where the next class takes me.