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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  1. Past hour
  2. Ballet and Level =)

    I started 6 weeks ago now. Taking 2 classes 1 hour a week.
  3. Today
  4. Taking notes

    I totally agree with that. That is why i figured if I would know the combinations and figure out the patterns in between classes I would be able to focus more on the movement itself. Using the Gretchen Warren book I have been able to identify some steps. But it is also hard to distinguish one from the other and to decide which one was the intended one. Maybe I should learn to accept this, be patient and I will keep your sentence analogy in mind! Thanks a lot for the advice.
  5. Meeting the cliché by breaking another

    Wijnmoer, welcome. We look forward to getting to know you.
  6. Recent information on shorter companies?

    I’m a bit confused... I am now 35 years old and when I started to audition for companies I was always worried about growing too tall. Fortunately I was 5’5” and most companies wanted between 5’-5’6”. But that was years ago. I do not believe that is the case. It is not unusual for US companies to now have a Minimum height for dancers at 5’4” and above. There are still some shorter companies, Colorado Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Tulsa, and San Francisco off the top of my head. But I’m finding now as a teacher that 5’6 and 5’7” dancers have it the best of both worlds. I believe it is the same in Europe. Just my observations. So maybe that was also the mom’s experience? Things can change drastically in even 10 years.
  7. Hah! I had to smile at this discussion. My DS has NEVER been in a Nutcracker! He has been too tall for any of the children's parts since he was old enough to be considered (and not advanced enough for a serious role). Now that he is serious enough, he isn't interested. C'est la vie
  8. Yesterday
  9. Stretching Knees

    When you say your knees are tight and the outside of your knees especially, what exactly do you mean? Knees need to be treated with care because the joint itself is not the most stable of joint types.
  10. Vocabulary/Terminology

    The Royal Ballet also have some videos, but they only cover the basics. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7E40E6E2DAB561B5
  11. Taking notes

    There is a ballet notation called 'Benesh Notation' which would be the closest thing to math equations! But it does require a very good, solid, ballet and music knowledge before you could notate using it. Personally, I would rather my adult students worry about how they are doing a combination, rather than what they are doing. I would rather that during your tendu exercise you pick one thing to think about like holding your posture and turnout, working you feet on the floor, alignment of the legs, shape of the arms - whatever! As a beginner student, getting the actual combination right is secondary to me. I would rather someone do 3 lovely tendus (I don't care where!) than get the combo right but not use the correct technique. To me, writing down 3 things at the end of class would be enough - You can't do and fix everything all at once, it will take time and patience. Picking up the combinations will start to become easier as your learn more of the step names and the conventions - things like en croix are very common, look for patterns in the exercises like reversals or repeats. Then if you can remember the first part, you can just repeat it or reverse it etc. Look at books or videos to get the actual step names to speed up the process. I always say learning ballet it like learning to write. The positions are the letters, steps are like words, and exercises are like sentences. You need to know your A-B-C to spell a word, and you need to know words before you can put them into sentences. Don't try and write sentences straight off the bat! Hang in there, it will get easier
  12. Recent information on shorter companies?

    The mom whose daughter we were talking about is 5'7" and she was informed by many companies that she was too tall for them. I don't know what the cutoff would be for each company but it is probably dancer specific. For example, she was told that she was too tall for San Francisco Ballet, however I do know of a dancer who just joined at 5'9". The other companies were Atlanta Ballet and Orlando Ballet. ABT was considered a borderline company in terms of her height. There were other companies but I don't remember them. What I do recall is that we could only come up with Ballet West, PNB, and maybe Boston as companies favoring taller dancers.
  13. Recent information on shorter companies?

    Most US companies take shorter dancers? I didn't think that. Wow.
  14. If auditions don't pan out

    I think U of U is also open to auditioning again.
  15. Taking notes

    great, the en croix helps a lot. To be honest being an engineer I was kind of hoping for some equations or other math like notations
  16. Taking notes

    Also, I was really surprised to discover that I was much less hazy about what had happened in class when I'd had a snack before starting; I was just out of sugar.
  17. If auditions don't pan out

    It sounds like some schools are open to a second audition, based on the University of Arizona thread and doing some more reading and researching. I would not have thought that to be case, but apparently it is! So never say never...
  18. LadyElle, as I’m not a teacher, I have no idea if that is done or not. I suppose a teacher could be interested to know if something is missing in their curriculum that makes it harder for their dancers to gain admission at UA, but other than that But when it comes down to it, admission into these programs can be serendipitous at a certain level. Not everyone can be admitted, not even all that qualify. So perhaps it just wasn’t the day for her stair when they tossed all the qualified applications down the stairs and chose stairs. Other times it is “okay, have enough from this city, state, geographical area.” As this school was not her first choice, I’d say just move on and concentrate on those she is really interested in. Best wishes! I, too, believe the kids end up where they are meant to be. And if not, one can always transfer.
  19. Vocabulary/Terminology

    ABT has an online ballet dictionary you can search for that shows pictures and short videos for steps. The images are kind of small, but it helps to get a visual of what the step is supposed to look like.
  20. Lady Elle If the UofA is one of her top choices I also concur with the others that she re-audition in January. I had 2 students audition during the Fall 2 years ago; one got full acceptance by Nov 1 and the other nothing. UofA was her top choice so she called and spoke with the department. They encouraged her to audition again but the date was impossible for her. They allowed her to come and spend 2/3 days taking classes with the current students. Several weeks later they call with and acceptance and partial scholarship! Last year I had another student audition in January; not accepted. It was a big blow and she made plans to major in something else and take dance classes. To her surprise in late March they called her with an acceptance to the department. Never say never if this is one of the schools she is interested in.
  21. Taking notes

    I was very dedicated about that the first 2 years- in the beginning it was hard to remember all the combos- so I had to selectively pick the ones I really wanted to focus on- maybe 2 per class. I find that if you use your hands to mimic the movements or even remark with your feet , it helped me recall them enough to wirte them down. I filled an entire journal- I still have it to remind me how far I've come. It's been 10 years now.
  22. Taking notes

    How about 3 tendus, 1 double piqué en croix. (En croix is the term for exercises done front/side/back/side.) (Port de bras, if not just held side, is usually en haut for front, side for side, arabesque for back, and side again..)
  23. Recent information on shorter companies?

    It's funny you ask this. I had a discussion just the other day with another ballet mom and we were lamenting that most of the companies in the U.S. looked for shorter dancers. I am interested to hear what people have to say. From my observation, San Francisco definitely takes dancers 5'3" and below. I believe Tulsa Ballet also has shorter dancers.
  24. Taking notes

    I have just started ballet a few weeks ago and I am enjoying it a lot. However I am struggling a lot with remembering the combinations, especially while focusing on the execution of a step. I did read about taking notes after class and I have started to bring a journal. The thing is that at the end of the class I can't remember anything from the beginning, and I ended up scribbling down just a few keywords. Last class I tried not to forget the first barre exercise to be able to write it down afterwards, but this distracted me from doing the next exercises so I gave up on that. Is there a strategy on how to take meaningful notes after class? Is there a convenient notation to describe combinations like the one below? 2 tendus to the front, then 1 with double pique, then the same to the side, and to the back and to the side again. (+ something with the arm I don't remember)
  25. Yes Dancemaven - I totally agree! It just sounds to "dance momish" if I call. I'm glad you responded here as I almost PM'd you. Do you think it is at all appropriate for her teacher, who has taught master classes at the university, to call and ask what areas they feel she needs to focus on. Is that ever done?
  26. How far do you travel to class?

    about 5 minutes
  27. For purposes of college age student interactions, it is best if SHE does the calling and inquiring--not her mama. Nothing personal here, just that college folks expect the students to be their own advocates and not to rely on parents. It is part of the college apron-string cutting process.
  28. Apparently picking a new hobby at the age 43 is a cliché associated with midlife crisis. Signing up for 2 ballet classes as a male at that age and volume definitely is not. Yet I am very happy I did it a few weeks ago. I was looking to do something new, something with music, exercise for body and brain, when I saw this report on TV about adult ballet classes. I did a few trial lessons and was directly hooked. It is really difficult and confusing, especially trying to execute a move correctly while already thinking about the next. But I love every bit of it and usually can't wait for the next class! I am also trying to learn as much about the art as I can, although every answer seems to cause a million other questions. Luckily I found this forum which might offer a lot of answers. Looking forward to interesting discussions!
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