Today was a most discouraging class in kabuki. For weeks I had been doing a lot better, secure in the idea that I wasn’t doing all that much worse than everyone else, that I was sort of starting to get it, and that basically I wasn’t being held to the same standard as everyone else, so I could just sort of give it the ol’ college try, and it would be good enough.
But today we got back our grades for midterms for the movement class, and thank god these grades don’t really count, but are just sort of guidelines for knowing how well we’re doing. I got a 76%, and a “please see the instructor after class.” Hoo boy. I didn’t see anyone else go up and talk to her after class. I wonder what sort of numbers other people got.
Further, we self-selected groups for the next series of movements we’re going to be learning, and I somehow ended up with, well, the bottom end of the class. Which isn’t to say I dislike them, or that they’re bad people; someone has to be at the bottom of any class, and I’m certainly among them. And they’re all very kind, nice, friendly, supportive people, just not exactly my close friends. So, I did not end up with any of my friends, who all grouped up together with each other in a flash, leaving me high and dry… And while, yes, I do feel like I’m missing out on the social benefits of being in a group with *any* of them, and therefore becoming closer friends with any of them, there is of course also the aspect of just getting grouped in with those guys who are easily as sloppy as myself, and who are not going to be able to help me get any better, neither in technique, nor simply in being supportive. I feel like the boy picked last for dodgeball, like the kid who’s kind of your friend, but apparently not a good enough friend to get picked for your group.
I understand the sensei’s criticisms… I hadn’t memorized the sequence of movements quite well enough to move between them smoothly without having to think about what comes next. My movements are sloppy, not tight and strong and exactly where they need to be, like I’m just going through the motions. But, you know what, all of that is easier said than done. I can stand there and say, yes, yes, I know what you’re talking about, and I do. I do know that I don’t have it down 100%, I do know that I’m having trouble with it. But, telling me I need to be less sloppy is not the same as walking me through it, showing me exactly what I need to do, providing me the opportunities to get enough practice in doing it… Yeah, sure, granted, I could have been, and maybe should have been, practicing more on my own outside of class. But that’s really besides the point, to my mind. Practicing outside of class with no model for how it should be, no mirror or video tape to look at to see yourself doing it right or wrong, and no teacher to guide you, is really no replacement for sufficient time spent in class.
I tried my best during the midterm to show that I knew the sequence correctly, that I knew what the moves should look like, and that I knew which moves were which (there was one section where they called out swordfighting moves and we had to do whichever ones were called). I knew two spots where I messed up, but thought I did a fine job overall. Apparently I was mistaken.
And, I just don’t feel good about going forward… I don’t anticipate myself getting any better, but rather just muddling through, trying to get through each day without making too much of a fool of myself. …
and to top it all off, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting to be a barker/hawker in the show. See, in addition to the actual cast, we’re going to have people out in the audience during the break selling goods and reenacting small bits of the play… I thought this sounded like a great way to get to be involved without actually trying out for and getting a real part. How hard would it be to just do some shouting and selling goods? But, apparently, Julie and everyone else have much more complex intentions for the hawkers, and it no longer sounds like something I can do.
So, I guess I won’t be in the play after all. I can’t be a musician, because I dropped out of that class to take these Voice/Movement classes. I can’t do tsuke or ki, because apparently we have people for that, and I can’t do other sort of behind the scenes stuff – lights or scene changes or whatever – because we really very much have people for that, the whole theatre department full of people who do that for all the shows, who do that as one of the main things they’re actively involved in at the theatre. So… what can I do?