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Improve your ballet


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#1 Xena

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 05:39 PM

If you find you are getting bored, or feel that you aren't advancing enough and want to progress faster then read on.
I haven't copied this from anywhere, it came about from a combination of what my teacher said and from listening to other adult students woes, and helping them to progress. It seemed to work so I thought I'd share.

1.If you want to improve you have to push yourself. Your teacher will not push you unless you push first...so be pro-active and don't wait around for someone else to motivate you.

2. If you want to improve, always keep your mind active ballet-wise during class. This means, when a group are doing their combinations, don't just stand there and mindlessly watch/chat/look out the window/chew gum. If you have space practise behind the group that combination. If you don't have space, practice improving your arm positions or head. Practise your pirouettes if there is space, or concentrate on following the combination in your head, try it facing the wall and see if you can do the steps without looking at someone,but while the music is going. If you can, and again if there is space, keep joining the groups so you do 4 or 5 reps of the combination or more. Its exhausting but it help improve your ballet.

3. When your teacher corrects you, don't just stand there and nod enthusiastically that you understand him/her. Do the step in front of the teacher incorporating the correction, and keep practicing it when you can throughout the lesson. If you still have difficulties, go see the teacher after class and work it out. Don't shrug your shoulders and walk away until the next lesson when you find you have the same problem with the same step next time. Listen and absorb what your teacher says to you.
Also, if the teacher is correcting someone else, listen and never think it doesn't apply to you. Try and see if the correction applies to you first and then if not, try harder anyway.

4.If you are having problems with a step and the teacher has spent time with you already going through it. Work on it at home, do what you can to get into your head. You will feel more satisfied when you get it right in your next class, and your teacher will see that you are working hard, even if you haven't mastered the step, a teacher can tell if you have been practicing or not...they have eyes everywhere :)

5.Try not to sit out a section of class, just because you can't do it or don't want to. Sometimes you may physically be unable to do it due to injury, in which case learn the arms, anything is better than just sitting there. With beginner adults I literally have to take their hand and go with them, and they love it after that. If you don't know how to do a grande allegro step, then go up to the teacher and say "is there a simpler step I could do to build me up to this?". its what I do as I can't do some grande allegro steps because of my knee. So I ask for an alternate combination, which is great as it means I no longer have to sit out.

6. Try and watch ballet videos/dvds/. I know they are expensive though. Although the Prix de Lausanne is coming up in february and it's online and free. Its great to watch and they have a fabulous documentary from a past Prix de Lausanne to watch and inspire.

7. Challenge yourself. go into classs with a mental thought such as 'today I'm only going to do double pirouettes', or 'today I'm really going to work on those developes to second'. if you challenge yourself it makes class innteresting and fun, especially on those days when you are feeling a bit down.

So, go into your next class with some of these points in mind, and make the most of your hour and half-two hour lesson. Remember you are paying for these classes, so get as much as you can out of them..that is if you want to.

Have fun you crazy kids



:D

#2 Guest_sparkle j_*

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 01:15 PM

A very good reminder that we often have to ask for what we want, sometimes directly by asking the teacher a specific question and sometimes indirectly: If we want the teacher to give us work to do (ie corrections) then we have to deomonstrate that we want to do work.

Thanks... I'm going to keep this in mind.
Joelle.

#3 Garyecht

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 03:25 PM

Excellent Xena. Like corrections in a class, we need to keep hearing these things. Only then do they really sink in and become part of our behavior..

Let me just add my little favorite and that is not to get carried away by your expectations. Sometimes when we improve and we really know we improved, we create expectations that we will improve even more even faster. Of course we donít, and wind up depressed or disappointed. Improvement is a seesaw affair. We get better. We regress. We get better, we regress, and on and on. But over the very long term, with persistence, we get better.

And the rates at which we improve differ too, so comparing your improvement with someone elseís improvement is usually misleading.

#4 Guest_MTdancer_*

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 05:20 PM

Xena - Thank you so much for the posting! I recently posted about some issues I am having with my current studio ... it is much less challenging than the one I left in Montana.

Yet, with your list of pointers, you reminded me that I can work in class to challenge myself. I am looking foward to my classes tonight with renewed engergy and excitement! Thanks!

MTdancer

#5 antbobby

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 07:20 PM

Great ideas Xena! Thanks for posting this!

#6 Guest_BBNButterscotch_*

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 10:31 PM

Great post! I will try some of those. Another big one that alot of people in my classes have problems with is come to class every week! They will come one week, miss one week, come back, miss two weeks, etc. And they wonder why they aren't improving quickly. It is important not to miss classes, and also to take more than 1 class a week. The more classes, the faster the improvement.

#7 Guest_Giselle83_*

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 02:54 PM

hello!! great work!!!
but one question...I really work hard and think alot during the class. Why my teacher still doesn't correct me alot? Maybe she thinks I'm not pushing myself, so she doesn't bother to push me either...? or could it be cause I'm really shy and I get sometimes very worried when I get corrections? =) There is of course alot of people in class...but she looks at me soooo often but says nothing. Why? there is ALWAYS something to correct...why she doesn't tell me them?
Maybe you can't answer...=) thanks for great text anyway!!!

#8 Xena

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 08:56 PM

Just like you worry a lot about being corrected, teachers also worry about correcting certain individuals who are very shy or who obviously feel uncomfortable. Its hard for them as well you know.
You probably have to try and meet your teacher half way, try to be more confident, and ask questions., Maybe also having a little talk to her after class about your problem areas..or areas that you feel are problems. Maybe , compared to the rest of the people in your class, you are pretty good, but I would really suggest talking to her. She won't bite you..honest ;)

#9 Guest_Giselle83_*

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Posted 22 March 2003 - 07:15 AM

thanks for reply, Xena! but...I can't speak to her! It's just so difficult! when she even asks me something, I can hardly open my mouth. I'm not THIS shy in real life, but after a teacher who did 'BITE' us and shouted when we asked something or if we were quiet she shouted at us being stupid NOT to ask enough...=)
And I'm not even sure what should I ask her exactly...
But I will surely try to think about this matter! thanks for advice!
:-)

#10 lsu

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 03:55 AM

Giselle, I am new to ballet (started in February) and there are teachers and long time dancers in my class. At first, I was afraid to ask a question because I felt like the village idiot. I am a little bit shy and nervous because I have never done this before, (and I'm in my forties) but I realized that if I didn't ask questions about my specific problems that it would take so much longer to improve. So, I bit the bullet and just started asking. The teachers didn't mind and are correcting me more often now because they know I am interested in improving. The class gets the benefit because of the elementary questions I ask sparks other questions from them. I still get that dose of humility three times a week, dancing with good dancers is a very humbling experience, but I am enjoying it more.

#11 kellylynn

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 03:42 PM

All of those mentioned will help you improve. But why limit it just to class or days you have class? Every day...even if i only have a few minutes to spare I do a quick little bar routine using my dresser then i practice things that we just learned in class or things that I want to improve. Just doing that helps me remember whats going on in class and the teacher notices.

#12 Guest_adancingartistforlife_*

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 08:41 AM

Giselle, I am new to ballet (started in February) and there are teachers and long time dancers in my class. At first, I was afraid to ask a question because I felt like the village idiot. I am a little bit shy and nervous because I have never done this before, (and I'm in my forties) but I realized that if I didn't ask questions about my specific problems that it would take so much longer to improve. So, I bit the bullet and just started asking.  The teachers didn't mind and are correcting me more often now because they know I am interested in improving. The class gets the benefit because of the elementary questions I ask sparks other questions from them. I still get that dose of humility three times a week, dancing with good dancers is a very humbling experience, but I am enjoying it more.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



LSU - Congratulations to you! In your forties and studying ballet! Don't be shy about asking questions. I know I wouldn't mind if you were in my class!

Remember, turnout from the hip, spine straight knees over the feet at all times, and FOCUS

#13 jddancingqueen

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:35 AM

Hello,all! I'm so happy to have found an active, intelligent message board for adult ballet students! I'll give a quick intro before I post my thoughts on this topic...I studied dance(mostly ballet)from the age of 4 all the way through college-never with a thought of going pro because I just didn't have the talent or the body. After taking 12 years off, I returned at the age of 33! I'm 36 now, taking ballet,jazz,modern,tap, and hip hop as well as teaching two classes a week! Ok, so enough about me...Diselle,my instructor doesn't give as much correction as I would prefer,either. My advice to you would be to watch more advanced students carefully and make your own corrections in the mirror as much as possible. And don't be afraid to ask questions. Also, someone mentioned earlier trying to take more than one class per week...in my experience, two classes a week will maintain your current level. To make any real progress, you've got to take more, and the more the better!

#14 Guest_purplepixie_*

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 05:45 PM

If I can quote jddancingqueen

"I'm so happy to have found an active, intelligent message board for adult ballet students!"

I've just taken my grade 5 exam today, I'm 36, with an 10 year old who also took her grade 3 today!
I danced until I went to Uni, but my last serious class/exam, was when I was about 15!

I was petrified today, shook all through the barre and needed a bar at the end, a large glass of chardonnay may have stopped the shaking :D

I finally relaxed after it was over, and then wanted to do the exam again, as I was now ready to take it! I felt so awful that I put my daughter through this, in the name of pleasure! But talking to her after her exam she was cool as a cumcumber :D "Don't get streesed mummy", she said, "it's only an exam" - oh the wisdom of the young!

Never mind, we started grade 6 tonight, now I've got one exam under my belt, I'm feeling ready for the next!

#15 jddancingqueen

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:09 PM

Welcome! I'm so proud of you for coming back! Your story is very similar to mine, only I found a small local studio to return to after all those years...not a graded program! That must have been scary! :shrug: Good luck and I know I'll talk to you again soon!