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BA members in Richmond and roommate?

Guest *Lili*

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Guest *Lili*

Hello everyone!


I'm going for the first time to the adult dance camp in Richmond, and I would love to hear a little about you Ballet Alert members who are going this summer. :rolleyes: How many years have you been dancing? Which level will you take? Are you working, studying? Which session will you attend?


I'm a french girl from Québec who writes better than I speak in english!! Haha! ;) And I'm going to the 3rd session. I've been taking ballet for 2 years now (doing pointe for a few months), but I also had one year of ballet and a few years of jazz much younger. I'm now 24, and I'm currently working as a computer science technician, earning money to dance and to go to Richmond! :D I'm thinking about doing level 1 or 2 in ADC, but I'm really not sure about these levels..


And I would love to have a roommate in Richmond.. Someone with a little bit of patience to understand a french accent! :D Seriously I'm not so bad.. but I really have that french accent! So, if you are looking for a roommate too, let me know!



P.S. Where are you Sylphide from Montreal?

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Don't get all obsessed about levels. The first class on Sunday is designed to help place you properly. You can pick your own level but the class is there so the teachers can watch you to make sure you're in the right spot. You can even ask them after class which level they think you should be in if you still have questions. Again, don't get yourself all bothered about this. It's not like you're auditioning for a company or something like that. The placement class is simply to make sure you're in the appropriate level, nothing more. Remember, it may only be a week but it's more dancing than you're used to so pick a level you are sure you can handle without doing harm to your body.


The First session is approaching, anyone going to do a diary this time?

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Hi Lilli,

I'm sad we're not going to be at the same session, because I'd love to practice my French! Oh well, maybe we'll be at the same session next summer.


2 Left Feet,

Does the hotel have internet connections for guests? If so, I'll probably have my laptop with me...

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Guest *Lili*

Thanks 2leftfeet for those informations! I do have a tendency to try too hard sometimes, forgetting about my body's well-being... I will keep your advices in mind. However, I was not all obsessed about levels.. :) I meant that I was not sure about what the levels are really (compared to levels here in Québec). Sorry I have some problems to write correctly in english what I'm thinking! But don't worry, I'm not obsessed, only very excited!! :D And just curious about the levels, since they are different from one place to another. I can't wait to take my first class in Richmond!


About the diary... don't you go to the first session 2leftfeet? I remember reading your diary over and over last summer, being very inspired (and really jealous I must admit!) and trying to convince myself that I could also be a part of that experience. And here I am now, talking about my first class in Richmond, in august... Your diary was great, inspiring and so well written : it changed my life. Thank you again :)


So, a diary about ADC is a great idea, but I'll let someone else (with better english) do it!

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Sorry, hotel dial up only. They may have some internet ready rooms. You should call and ask.




Hard to say in terms of "levels". Levels are very subjective. Here's how I would rate it:


Level I: Very basic beginning. Slower class focusing more on basics.


Level II: Advanced beginning. Faster class, but nothign terribly tricky (except when Pedro teaches).


Level III: I would really call this an intermediate level. People in this class should have a firm grasp of technique and be ready for a challenge.


Level IV: Experience shows this to be a very advanced class I could only watch for a few more years. It got pretty intense in there a few times last year, but everyone looked like they were having a great time.


It also depends on how many people attend each session. The first session last year was to have 4 levels but ended up having only 3, and there were not a lot of really advanced people in that session.


In the three sessions I've attended, the average seems to be a big level II and a bit larger group in level III

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I'm not even coming to Richmond, but this started to interest me too - maybe keeping in mind next year :)


One thing that gives an idea of how levels go to an outsider, I think, is if women taking that level mostly are on pointe or not. From what you describe, I'd guess that on level II most or all are not, and on level III most or many are at least beginning pointe?


Did I go completely wrong? Is this even a valid way to get an idea of how technical levels go? :)

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Well, some people indeed do choose not to go on pointe even when qualified, at least in my school. The reasons vary - I can think of four cases now, all with a different reason: one felt it doesn't add anything to the technique when she has no intentions to perform (and I think she might be right, actually), one can't take the required amount of classes you need to be on pointe (she'll stay on the lower level, though, and maybe advance to pointe next year), one just didn't like the experience in her childhood and doesn't want to try again, and one has structural problems with her ankles that makes it too difficult.


But that's one of the reason why I said "most or many", not "all". :)

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The level IV is where people usually go on pointe. If memory serves most do not go on pointe in that class.


I don't think pointe is a fair evaluation of ones level. Some teachers allow women and girls on pointe far earlier than they really should. I've never understood this. I know its a big thing to get onto pointe, but one really needs to have solid ankle strength before tying on those satin ribbons for the first time. Teachers have an obligation to their students health to make sure they're ready and not just cave in because someone wants to go on pointe. And, just because one does not do pointe at Richmond does not indicate a lack of technique. The women in the level IV class could spin circles around me because they have many more years experience and are very solid in their technique.


I'd argue that strength and technical ability is a better way to guage levels. If you're strong enough to handle a faster, more complex class, then you should look at a higher level. Keep in mind a higher level class is likely to have more complex steps and combinations. Be realistic with yourself and your view of your abilities. The week is about having fun and learning in a supportive, non-competitive environment. It's a long week of dance for hours a day and we're not used to that. Pick a level that feels right for you and feels right for the amount of dance you can handle over the course of a week.


The head for the hot tub at the hotel for some dancer soup!

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Guest *Lili*

Thanks 2 Left Feet for the clarifications about levels. I was wondering... you say that level IV is where people usually go on pointe.. You mean they go on pointe in technique and other classes? Does level I actually go on pointe in the pointe class? I'm just a little confused! :)


Another question.. since I did not get any answer yet in "Adult ballet students", I'll ask it here.. maybe I'll have an answer earlier! :rolleyes:

Is there a specific ballet method teached at the ADC?

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Here's what it was like last year. The technique levels were just as 2LF described. Pointe classes are separate classes. The pointe classes are usually smaller because not everyone takes pointe. So the Level 1 and 2 were a combined pointe class, and the Level 3-4 were in one class for pointe. Also, the levels were flexible. If you are a level 4 technique student, but haven't been on pointe for a while, you are welcome to take the lower level pointe class, providing it doesn't get too crowded (usually not a problem last year). Some people chose to wear their pointe shoes for partnering class also, although I think this should be reserved for those who are fairly strong on pointe. There was also a group who wore pointe shoes in the variations class, but most did not. The partnering and variations were also sometimes combined levels.


There is not a particular school or sylabus taught. It is only a week and many people bringing lots of different styles. The teachers just try to build onto the base of knowledge that you bring with you. And they try to give you opportunties to "just dance", and have fun.



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2 Left Feet, I didn't mean to imply that whether someone is on pointe or not is a fair way to evaluate her technical skills! And by no means did I mean that if some individual doesn't take pointe in Richmond, that makes her technically inferior! (What a ridiculous thought.) I wasn't judging individuals at all here. I'm sorry if I was that unclear.


What I meant was that if you have to get an idea about what the levels in a good, sensible program that lets people on pointe at some relatively reasonable phase of development mean, you can get one hint about the levels from what percentage of women on that level are on pointe already (not necessarily actually doing pointe while in that program; but on the technical/strength level that the program and/or their own school would allow it). It's a rough indicator, I know, but I still feel it tells me something.


Of course, if I was actually going to Richmond it would be easy for me to evaluate the level of the classes by just observing the strength and technique and speed required. But as I said, I'm not going this year, and it's more difficult to express those things in writing - to be honest, I have no idea what you mean when you say "faster" or "more complex", as to how fast or complex that actually is. :)


Anyway, I only asked for curiosity, and I think I have a pretty good picture now from everyone's descriptions. Thank you.


One more thing, though - the first level does pointe? Does that mean everyone on that level? What point is there in that, if they are beginners? Do we mean something completely different with "very basic"? :rolleyes:

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Guest serenade

I just wanted to add to Carole's and 2LF's descriptions of levels at the Richmond Intensive...


I think level I is for true beginners, dancers who are still learning the basics which include placement, ballet steps, ballet terms, etc. The classes do not necessarily move slowly, but there is more emphasis on "teaching" how to do a step, where to place the arms and head, and how to connect steps together.


In contrast, Level IV is for the advance dancer...usually one who has trained for many years. Here, class is "given" rather than taught. Combinations are faster, longer, more complex and shown quickly (sometimes only once) and the pace of the class is usually brisk. Most of the dancers at this level do not need to be taught "how" to do a step.


Level II and III are in between those descriptions. But every year it's different based on who attends.


For anyone going to Richmond, I suggest taking a level where you feel comfortable, yet challenged enough to improve your technique. But I also suggest to be mindful of others taking class with you. If you find yourself constantly "lost" in class or asking too many questions, you may be holding a class back and perhaps should drop down a level. I'm not saying "don't ask questions"...afterall, the reason for coming to Richmonds is to work on your technique. But others are at Richmond to work too!

Placement class is just a guide for the week, however you are allowed to take whichever class you choose! Sometimes I take class at lower levels because it's good to go back to basics and work out the bad habits at a slower pace. Also look for the classes that aren't so crowded. You are more likely to get attention from the teachers because they can see you. It's nice to take the men's classes for that very reason!

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I agree with Serenade about being aware of those around you when picking your level. I do not expect level III to be as intense as level IV, but I certainly expect it to be more advanced than level II. I also like the comparison that classes are taught in other levels and "given" in level IV. I just like that way of looking at a class.


Jaana: I did not take your thoughts the wrong way earlier. It was more or less an invitation for me to rant on a favorite subject, people going on pointe too early. I hate it when teachers push kids into those shoes before they're ready. I was watching a class the other day. A very talented 11 year old was on pionte and not handling it well at all. He teacher told me she was a natural talent, having been studying only more than a year. I told the teacher she should be shot for pushing a girl with potential but no ankle strenght into pointe shoes before she was ready. Needless to say, the teacher did not like my point of view. It was painfully obvious she wasn't ready for it yet but there she was anyway.

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