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wijnmoer

definition of "beginner"

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wijnmoer

Last week on a business trip, I managed to take some ballet classes. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot, but boy it was soooo hard. 

2 classes I took where open classes labeled "level 1, level 2: you should have some experience in ballet and know the basics of tendues, pliés and retirées", the other class was labeled "beginner II".

It turned out the only beginner there was myself. At least half of the others looked professional to me, the other guy in class even stayed for the pointe class afterwards. The combinations for each of the excersies where really long; 3-4 different things en-croix with all kind of in-betweens and "encore en dedans". At the end of the explanations I had completly forgotten what the whole thing started with, at least I knew all of the terminology that was used. (not that I ever did a fouetté or assemblé before) 

Standing in between some regulars I could 'sort-of' follow allong, skipping the doubles frappés, forgetting the arm, cheating back the leg that went the wrong way and finishing the developé while their legs still kept rising upward.

I loved watching the allegro's because I finally saw how those isolated steps and jumps you learn in class melted together in a fluid movement. 

It was awesome joining the group while they were dancing the allegro's (and I was trying to keep the right direction and out of the way).  I think it actually felt like dancing B)!!

However, getting to the topic of this post, the above didn't seem to me like beginners level at all. Is there any explanation why these classes would be called beginners and not advanced or medium or anything the like?

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Redbookish

I think the clue is in the number 2 attached to each class. These were not basic beginner classes, which is what you need. These are classes where students have been attending for a couple of year. 

You could console yourself by thinking that they may have done much the same class for several weeks, so are more familiar with the combinations.

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BalletFamily

I've seen this before and our studio does it too.  The level of the classes are set up for the needs of the student community at the time, or the perceived needs, and then it morphs (or the teachers change) and the class descriptions stay the same.  Plus there are classes that change week to week based on who is there at the time.  And yeah, some places don't use the labels the way most might.  Or they're using them in different ways.

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gav

Class levels definitely do evolve with the progress of the regular participants, but the other challenge is that learning ballet rightfully involves about 10 levels of dedicated training: see how kids are taught from introduction to contract-ready. Even adult if classes are split into intro, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional, that's no where close to 10 levels! 

So... yes, I would classify most of the things you described - patterns en croix en dehors and en dedans, some kinds of fouettes (but not the pirouette kind!) and assembles - as appropriate for a broad adult beginner category. But that category, more than any, encompasses a huge amount of learning, and different people will be at different points on that journey. Just hang in there! 

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sheahuang

wijnmoer- I have found that to be the case in other cities where I have tried open classes. Every city is basically far bigger than the one I live in so whenever I travel I try open classes.The very first time I tried an open class I even showed the class descriptions to my teacher and she recommended advanced beginner- there were all levels in the class and since there were back to back ballet classes, many of the students stayed for multiple classes no matter the level. As others have posted the same local people take these classes and have grown but the levels have stayed static. 

I also find that you tend to get accustomed to a certain way of teaching and patterns. It is very different for adults who didn't grow up dancing to adapt to different teaching styles. I think these challenges help me to grow as an adult student.

 

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wijnmoer
17 hours ago, Redbookish said:

These are classes where students have been attending for a couple of year. 

I think that is exactly the point I am trying to make. Why would one call somebody who has been doing something for "a couple of years" a beginner. 

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wijnmoer
7 hours ago, sheahuang said:

I also find that you tend to get accustomed to a certain way of teaching and patterns. It is very different for adults who didn't grow up dancing to adapt to different teaching styles. I think these challenges help me to grow as an adult student.

I fully agree the different styles helped me a lot as well. During my short career I have attended ~55 classes given by 15 different teachers. 2 of them were replacements for my 2 regular teachers when they were ill, the other classes I took abroad.  

In the beginning I had a lot of difficulties with slithly different combos, between one class and the other or if the teacher changed the routine. Now it is much easier to adapt to that. Remembering longer routines is still an issue but I learned to copy quite well. Obviously this only works if others do know the routine. More often now I am going in the first group on the diagonal, because I am more confident. 

9 hours ago, gav said:

So... yes, I would classify most of the things you described - patterns en croix en dehors and en dedans, some kinds of fouettes (but not the pirouette kind!) and assembles - as appropriate for a broad adult beginner category. But that category, more than any, encompasses a huge amount of learning, and different people will be at different points on that journey. Just hang in there! 

Since I was able to somehow stumble follow along I can relate to you saying that it must be beginner level. Maybe it is just the fact that most of the attendees were so advanced that I perceived the classes as much more advanced. Which will then lead to my next question of how 'more advanced' will look like.....:unsure:

Anyway I still enjoy ballet a lot and I am really happy that I have had the priviledge to experience these classes!

If someone had asked me a year ago: "what would you do different if you won the lottery?" The answer would have been:  "Nothing, just go to work and keep everything as is" Now my answer is: "work less, take more ballet classes!"

 

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kr12

Also, adults can have busy schedules, so they may take the class they can fit in at a lower level versus not taking class at all.  I know, while I am not a beginner, sometimes that class time is the only one I can attend due to my work schedule.

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iceberg*lover

Yes, same type of issue as kr1. After 2 yrs of a drop in beginner class I  am ready for a challenge of the next level but that class is held during my work hours (and I work a normal weekday 9-5 schedule) I feel I am stagnating but what to do?? The issue is as well the drop in structure, there have been times when th skills and pace have progressed in the class but then we’ll have an influx of newbies and the class will grind to a halt. Understandable for sure. 

All I can do is try to attend drop in classes in the city when I visit. 

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Redbookish
On 19/04/2018 at 11:32 AM, wijnmoer said:

Why would one call somebody who has been doing something for "a couple of years" a beginner. 

In ballet terms, an adult who's not danced much or at all before, attending class once or twice a week, is still a beginner, even after 2 years or so. Ballet is hard!

And I often find myself in the same situation as KR12 and Iceberg*Lover. Since I moved to a very regional; area, I can't get the Adult Intermediate & Advanced classes I used to be able to do in the evenings & Saturday mornings. I have regular very basic beginner classes twice a week, and then get to more advanced classes every month or so in London. I'm losing skills, sadly.

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Redbookish
On 19/04/2018 at 1:22 PM, wijnmoer said:

If someone had asked me a year ago: "what would you do different if you won the lottery?" The answer would have been:  "Nothing, just go to work and keep everything as is" Now my answer is: "work less, take more ballet classes!

Hear hear!!!! 

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sheahuang

I would take it one step further and say work less travel more so I can try different ballet classes around the world!

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wijnmoer
13 hours ago, sheahuang said:

I would take it one step further and say work less travel more so I can try different ballet classes around the world!

even better!

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ToThePointe

Every school has their own thoughts on levels. For me, there is the children's division ages 3-5  (A - C). "A" is the lowest level in each division.

This is followed by the Preparatory division. Ballet I. Most adults that are just starting I place in IC.

Then the Beginning division. Ballet II... Intermediate division. Ballet III. Advanced division. Ballet IV. 

I have many adults in these classes, and like their younger counterparts, it takes around 3 years to complete each division.

I tried my best to logically make rhym and reason in its structure.

So, longingly drawn out, you'll spend on average 3 years as a beginner.

Going into the high beginner class (IIB) you would be taking 3 days a week.

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