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The Fat Lady Dances

Greetings! Plus size/plus age beginner here

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The Fat Lady Dances   
The Fat Lady Dances

Hi, all. I am a starting-over dancer who took a couple of years of ballet in childhood (grades 4-5) and a half year in my late 20s. I have recently started beginner ballet classes in hopes of improving my flexibility, balance and toning,

 

The studio I attend is adults only. The owner is a former professional dancer in her 50s and teaches several of the beginner classes. I'm not sure I'm the oldest one in my class (I'm 58) but at U.S. size 22, definitely the widest.

 

My childhood studio was not very good, looking back. I learned no technique and only a handful of terminology (plie, battement, arabesque, and first, second and fifth positions). Classes were half an hour of ballet, half an hour of tap ("for rhythm") ... and I was put on pointe after the first year!

 

Since it's been 50 years, I don't have much to unlearn, but I do have a lot to learn. I would like to hear from other older and/or larger beginners, and would appreciate being pointed to any threads/topics/stickies that deal with topics of interest to dancers like me.

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vrsfanatic   
vrsfanatic

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. It is always lovely to have a new Adult Ballet student on board. You will find the Adult Forum filled with a lot of information that you might find interesting. Enjoy your journey through the wonderful world of ballet.

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BalletFamily   
BalletFamily

Hi, welcome! Fellow fat ballerina here! I'm 53 and have been dancing as an older adult for about 5 years. I did ballet as a child, then gymnastics, then ballet again as a teen and modern and jazz through a couple years of college. I had a bit more technique than you but not tons more. I never did pointe.

 

Obviously there will be places that aren't welcoming but the studio where I dance is awesome and I'm not the only plus-sized dancer. I've also felt welcome in all the classes in other cities I've tried. I find that, if I get the level right, it's going to be a good fit.

 

The adult forum here is excellent and has a wide range of posters. Some are top-level adults on pointe (or males at that level) who are former pros or could have been pro. Some are total beginners. And then there is lots of inbetween.

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Redbookish   
Redbookish

Welcome, LadyDances. Glad you found us, and as others say, you'll find a diverse and extremely supportive adult ballet student community here.

 

We don't discuss weight on BTfD, and for adult students, it really doesn't matter, as we're not aiming for dancing careers.

 

The main thing for you is to start dancing SAFELY. I'm your age, and I find that while I can't do what I used to do. For example, I'm more than a few inches off the ground in front splits, but it really doesn't matter. I have good turnout that I can hold at 90 degrees in leg extensions, so splits just aren't necessary. So that actually, even though I might feel I can do less, actually my technique is better than it used to be, as I have to go right back to basics, because - what I've really noticed is that I am far more prone to injury now. I've never really had any injuries before, but in the last couple of years, I've found that slight misalignments have become more aggravating for example!

 

So I do quite a bit of cross-training. In a good week, I can get 3 one-hour ballet classes at a very well-taught, but basic beginners' level. I also do another 4 hours of contemporary & jazz. In between that, I do Pilates, yoga and a bit of aerobic cross-training. So this might be a good strategy for you, coming back to activity. Walking or swimming are essential I think, as they gradually tone muscles, so you avoid soft-tissue injuries from ballet.

 

And basically, as you say, you're starting as a beginner, so keep everything low, and try to clean square technique. It's just wonderful, coming back to dance, so I hope you find the joy as well! Otherwise, for adults, why bother?

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Scotty   
Scotty

Heya, I'm another larger lady, I don't let it stop me at all! I have lots of fun, and I've found that I'm more toned. I love doing ballet & my fellow dancers have a great deal of respect for me since I just keep going!

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