Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

I'm an absolute beginner!

Guest beckster

Recommended Posts

Guest beckster

I am rather depressed and annoyed to discover that I am unable to cope with anything other than beginner classes. When I started ballet I had to "sink or swim" in an intermediate-ish teens class, since adult beginner classes weren't available. This means that two years later my technique isn't all it could be because I missed out on the basics. My new teacher wants me to stay in the level 1 class. Level 2 are working towards the exam I passed last term. I know I have to get the basics right, and I know my lowest exam mark was for technique. I know my arms in second aren't always right, and that I tend to lose control of my upper back in jumps, and that I have many other faults. I know I need to work on these things, and I know should be glad to live in a place where I have the opportunity to take so many beginner classes. But it is so depressing! I'm sure it will be good for me, and I know it's the right thing to do in the long run, but I really don't want to spend the next year with sautes in first position being the climax of the class. It feels like the last two years may as well not have happened, and that all my hard work for my exam has been pointless. Bahhhhhh!

Link to comment

Come now, stiff upper lip! You've enunciated your technical problems very clearly, and also vented regarding frustration with having to go back and strengthen the rudiments. At least you haven't been sent back to charge over ground already charged over! Here is a golden opportunity to gain absolute mastery over the basics, and from there things can proceed rather rapidly. It is very frustrating, I know, to take classes below which your intellectual grasp of the material stands, but it's a matter of getting that uncooperative body to go along with where your mind is now! No wonder so many philosophies consider the body a rather cloddish thing!

Link to comment
Guest piccolo

I feel your pain.


After dancing for over 15 years, I moved to a small city where the only ballet school that was producing decent dancers required that all new students start classes at Level 1, no matter what your previous training was. Well, suffice to say that I was really taken aback, but I really wanted to take ballet classes on a regular basis. So, I started at Level 1, doing tendus in first position with my arm resting on my waist, etc. And you know what? As painful as it was to start over, my technique improved a lot.


I know it sucks now but if you trust the school/teacher, then try and make the best of it.

Link to comment

Beckster, Get over it honey. ..now stop pouting ;) You're only causing yourself more distress and heartache than necessary.

I take a basic ballet class..even more basic than beginner, and I've been doing ballet since the age of 5...I thouroughly enjoy it, and spending half an hour getting plies correct is not a waste of time. Sometimes I ache so much more after the really basic classes than I do my intermedaite class.


Never think you are beyond or to good for basic classes. We get dancers in from certain SF dance companies that in my opinion are way beyond basic and beginner classes, but they still take them, because at 10am on a Sunday morning, its a good warm up to the day, or because they want to ground themselves before their professional/advanced classes.


Also, you came from a small school, and small class where you were one of the top fish, and now you are going into a school and class where you are a small fish amongst many. Its an adjustment to your ego. Onc eyou realize this and recognize this and accept it, you will progress so much more.


Basically you will get out of a class whatever you put in. If you take in the attitude that 'I am too good for the this class', then you wil get absolutely nothing out of it and you may just as well save your money.


Jeanette xx


P.S In case you all thought this was a bit harsh..I do know Beckster and she will most likely give me a good thump when I get back to Blighty! which is why I said this 6000miles away out of reach


Link to comment

right on Xena!


Speaking as an artist and musician - you can never practice drawing too many straight lines, and you can never practice scales too often.


The fundamentals are what makes you solid. Do you really want to be mediocre? Or do you want to soar?


Patience is so important here, you will probably find yourself really enjoying what you are doing. Your brain won't shut down in boredom, rather you will enjoy it more than you know. You will be discovering "that's why I need this" so frequently, it will be a joy.


I just love my very basic classes, it helps me focus on the fundamentals while pushing for better line, extension, placement, balance, and on and on.


Just go for it - you have so much to gain! :)

Link to comment
Guest beckster

I feel like I've been misunderstood here. If I felt I was too good for beginner classes, I could just ignore this teacher and go and take any other elementary level class I wanted. I know that no-one is too good for beginner classes. I certainly wasn't being arrogant about it. I believe this teacher is right to put me in the beginner class. I'm just disappointed to realise that I'm not good enough for anything else!


I realise it's better to be with a good teacher, doing good saute's, than to ignore this warning sign and go and do crappy entrechats in some open class with a teacher who doesn't care. I'm sure I won't be bored, and getting my technique sorted out will be a challenge in itself. I am going to set myself the task of working really hard though, so I can earn my place in the next level as soon as possible.

Link to comment

Hi Beckster,


I certainly didn't find any arrogance in your posting - rather disappointment in all of your hard work resulting in going back to basics, and having to slow down. You were being totally honest, and needed some shoulders to water down! :)


I feel for you! You have to make tough decisions sometimes, and it is hard to come down the mountain when you have already climbed so far!


Just want to encourage and hug you and uplift you!


All the best!

Link to comment

So is the teacher being unsupportive then? Because if so go and find another one. It always takes a little time to land on your feet so to say and find the right school wher eyou fit in and the right support you require and need. There are other places and schools within London, you just have to probably go to a few. But it will be worth it, honestly.:)

Link to comment

Beckster, I used to be an Adult Beginner. I restarted ballet after about a 10-year absence following four years of poor training as a child/adoloscent. On occasion, Gelsey Kirkland -- then at the top of her form (and sometimes not) would take those classes, along with accountants, lawyers, ad execs and nurses who fell out of single pirouettes. It was her way of reinforcing the basics. Other professional dancers would also take that class as a pre-performance warmup, but Gelsey did so on nights when she didn't perform.


Gelsey may not be the greatest role model in all regards, but in this regard, her example might be worth considering.


Would it be possible for you to concentrate on Level 1 and add one or two Level 2 classes each week?


Hang in there!

Link to comment
Guest beckster

No, Xena, I think this teacher is very good. I wanted to have one constant class every week that I would definitely go to and could supplement with other classes when I had time/money. After trying practically every open class in London, I decided that two things were very important to me. Firstly, that the class was english style (reduces confusion over names of different arabesques, etc). Secondly, that it was a termly course so I would be more likely to make an effort to turn up, and so that the teacher got to know me. This teacher is right for me in those respects.


Can anyone tell me what contemporary dance is like? There is a class near where I live, and I am thinking of giving it a try in the meantime - will it complement ballet classes?

Link to comment

Contemporary/modern dance can be a useful supplement to ballet, and there are different styles, based on different leading practitioners of the art. Graham is completely different from, but has a strong affinity for, ballet. Horton technique is also highly compatible with ballet. In Europe, Wigman/Jooss is well-liked, and also complementary to classical ballet. You'll use muscles you've never used before in ballet, but you'll find that you will be able to gain control over a broader range of movement, as you will learn to move into and out of positions and ways of moving which are "wrong" in classical ballet, but requirements in modern. If you can take some classes, I think you'll have some fun!

Link to comment



I don't think you have any reason to think you're not "good enough for anything else". That's not true. After all, you've already passed the exam that some people on a higher level are working for.


I'd say that it's not that you wouldn't be good enough for something else, too. It's that you choose, out of your teacher's recommendation, to do this thing (rehearsing the very basics to better your technique) out of the several other options you'd be good for, in order to be even better faster than you'd be if you were in the higher level classes.


I hail your courage and your good sense, and congratulate you on finding a teacher who tells you what you most need, even when you might not like hearing it! In my schools, I respect much more those more advanced students who come to beginner classes (too, or only) to master them than those who rush up levels and neglet the basics.

Link to comment



keep at it, it's only hard for so long... If you really really work hard (and I mean really!!), I can guarantee (and there's not many thing I'm as certain as that :) ) that you will get better. You can hit a plateau and stay at the same level for some time (and that doesn't mean you're not progressing actually, it's a necessary step to go through too!) and you can progress. I don't know anyone who has gone from bad to worse, so there's some hope ;)


I have been in your situation, changing school, method, teacher, friends and even language :rolleyes: I was pretty lost and after a few months, I expected to have caught up and I was dissapointed: I hadn't! And you know what, it doesn't matter, because I set my goals too high at the time. Now, after 2 years, I FINALLY reap the reward of my hard work. It's like it's landing on me like a comet on a different planet (everything at the same time, I'm a walking miracle!). I cannot spend a day without realising I've improved in that pirouette, in that arabesque, and in that jump too! Well, I kind of take it for granted :eek: because after all, you only dwell on the bad times, but I'm amazed at how everything seems to make sense now.

My teacher noticed too, but the important thing is that she always believed in me. She complimented even on the smallest improvement and she could see (I hope) that I was trying hard, and after all THAT is what matters: How HARD you try... So are you? If the answer is yes, then I wouldn't even start to feel an ounce of failure :cool: It's the journey, not the destination that's important :P

Link to comment
Guest beckster

Thanks to everyone for their support. I've now come round to the idea of being in the lower class and can see that it has many advantages. Because I'm one of the better ones, I can't hide at the back, and because I don't struggle too much with the steps I have time to get posture right and work on corrections as they are given. Also, I've been given permission to take the higher class occasionally, so it's not as bleak as I thought! Hopefully next term will be a good one :)



balletowoman and Jaana Heino, I just wanted to say how great it is that you are both so active on this board and express yourselves so well in English. I am very jealous of your command over a second language!

Link to comment
Guest ducklingdance

hey. don't think that putting back into basic is not good. i used to think of that. but it's the most important. the greatest ballerinas also do their basics everyday. i usd to hide behind too. but now i understand that i have to show everyone that i'm improving. i stood in the front and lead the rest.


od course i hope your term will be better that you can go up the level and learn even more things. good luck! ;)

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...