If your warm-up includes scrolling through the latest posts (ballet or not) on social media, it might be time to consider how long it takes to shake off the screen time, and whether your ballet classwork is suffering.
Ideas and advice on social media will only carry you so far – only you live in your body and understand its every nuance. Learning to tune into your body rather than relying on an outside source to be the expert on what you need is extremely important, as this will help you feel in control in your ballet class. Of course, your ballet teacher will guide you through your technique, but even they can’t tell exactly how you are feeling. Spending the time before class to check in with how your body feels is an important part of warming up. It allows you to notice any potential issues or niggles that may crop up when you start to move beyond your everyday range of movement. This will also help you to gauge fatigue, something that is easily ignored when on social media. Hop off your phone and pay attention to your body!
Using your warm-up time to check in with your body also quashes the period of mental detachment that occurs when we remove ourselves from our devices and try to operate in the real world. It takes time to refocus attention and even to communicate effectively. You need only pay attention to others when they are using their devices. Are they able to answer your questions with respect and focus? Do they even hear you? Spending the first fifteen minutes of class unwinding from your smart phone is not a good use of your ballet class time. If you can treat the studio as a social media free space, you will notice improvements in your mental capacity and attention span as well as your ballet technique.
Many of us have forgotten how to connect with ourselves (mind and body) as opposed to filling our time with ‘checking in’. Our brains are capable of creating amazing habits and processes. Developing good habits will ensure that you depend on your brain and body for preparation, rather than what the latest ballet post tells you. It’s more than okay if an ‘expert’ opinion does not resonate with you. In fact, it’s better if you can be guided by your own understanding of you and treat everything else like a serving suggestion. Once you know the best way of warming up and mentally preparing yourself, you can tweak it as needed. It is important that you empower yourself with knowledge of yourself, and not expect an outside source to dictate your actions.
Social media has a strong role in keeping us connected with those who we deem important. There is a danger of falling into a tit-for-tat trap with your ballet buddies. Try not to become competitive in how you share your successes, or how you respond to others’ successes. Your ballet journey is a deeply personal and individual affair. It should never be the subject of flippant remarks, yours or others’, as this erodes feelings of worth in the studio. Take care to support others and yourself in your collective ballet journey.
Social media plays a big part in most of our lives. It gives us connections and allows us to communicate and understand the world at large. We should embrace all that it has to offer, whilst being carful not to lose ourselves in the process.