Monday, September 23, 2013

What does "competitive" mean?

Just before Sunday's class, a new student was looking for a place at the barres. She asked one of the other students, who replied, "You could stand at that barre, with Reece. He's competitive, but nice."


What does it mean to be "competitive" in a beginner ballet class? We aren't competing for limited slots in a class or company. We aren't ranked with respect to each other, other than some people are more willing to stand in front during center work.

Maybe some might say I "compete" with myself. I'm more likely to kick myself for not trying or quitting than for trying and failing. I try to do things as best as I can at that moment, and I want to improve over time. I do compare myself against others in the class, but that's because I have no other points of reference. But I don't see myself as being in competition with anyone.

Does this make me "competitive" enough for someone to mention to another student? There's plenty of barre space, and if I'm in front of someone I'll move to avoid blocking their view of themselves in the mirror.

What does the peanut gallery think? Anyone? Bueller?


  1. I find that an odd comment to make, for all the reasons you mentioned. The only thing I can think of is you concentrating so much on yourself that others see your closed face or measuring glance, thus interpreting it as competition. Which is probably the opposite of your intentions. A little like the infamous "bitch face" amongst women where the neutral, resting muscles give the impression of arrogance or dislike. (That's me.)

  2. I have "bitch face" too...I blame my parents :) My neutral expression is one that looks unfriendly, even though it's not and my concentration face is rather intense. I try my best to remember to put some other more friendly look on my face in public/in class, but when I'm struggling to learn something new, I can't help it! I think the word "intense" is what your classmate meant rather than "competitive" :)


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