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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Intermediate/Advanced Combo Class


Animefleur

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This post is a combination vent/plea for how to fix it.

 

There's an adult intermediate/adv class in the late mornings offered at my studio. Most the time I can't take it because I'm in school so I was phsyched to get out of school for the summer about 6 weeks before most other students. Class was great--just a bit above my level so I was challeged by new things but certainly not overwhelming with about 7-8 dancers. Well, things were good for about 3 more weeks.

 

But for the past 3 weeks now the class is just very hard with all the advanced girls from the student division taking it since they are now out of school, plus apprentice or professional dancers consistently coming to this class. It's now running about 12-15 students. I've been trying to stick with it, do my best since I have all these inspiring dancers to work with and just tried to do the best I could with all these things I don't know how to do--or maybe I could do if not put all together so fast and all together. Last two weeks of this I've been able to "do" everything or most everything even if not cleanly but today I literally could not do ANY of the center--just the jumps to warm up for petit allegro and the grand allegro of pas de chats and saut de chats. It was completely overwhelming and horrible. I almost cried right there in class. I hate standing there against the barre hardly being able to mark it, but yet not knowing any questions to ask because I don't understand the steps. And what's even more frustrating is that because you weren't able to do most of the center when I could join the teacher just ignores me. This is a teacher I know well and really like but if I am making a mistake I'd rather him just tell me how I could make it better. I have aked him to explain but he just tells me to watch the first group. I guess he figures that with all those amazing examples right in front of me what more could he do to help me get it, but I really need certain steps broken down. I seem like the only one on the planet that has never done those steps before. And I know that the only way to learn them is to do them but I can not just go out there and do the combination when so much of it is over my head like that. It's a whole vicious circle :D I'm really feeling badly right now but tomorrow I know I'll be right back to it because I really WANT to get it. But how can I go back and be able to hold my head up in that class? In the classes I'm taking with the 13-15 year olds they don't get combinations like this, but the 16-22 seem to be magically doing it like they were born that way. So when are things like "pas de chat side" (pas de chat one leg while the other one saut de chat) learned. These are the kind of things you either have got or have not got :rolleyes:

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Sounds like the Int./Adv. class has definitely become a bit more advanced ;) That is a problem for the Int. students in the class, obviously, but, the teacher has to teach to the level of the majority of the class. Just hang in there and try to learn as much as you can by watching the advanced people. Sometimes this works better than a lot of explanation anyway ;) :rolleyes:

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I always have to remind myself that it doesn't matter what the other students think of me in class. I, like you, am always worried about messing up in front of others and what horrible things :D they might be thinking of me, but then I realize that everyone is focusing on themselves and not judging every move of everyone else. So my advice is just to keep trying hard and with time things will start to come more easily. Also, have you thought about approaching other "more advanced" students after class and asking them for help? I know that people have asked things like that from me in the past and I always feel very honored and more than willing to help them. Best of luck with your classes!

 

Julie :rolleyes:

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Yep. Seems like the only thing to do is to hang in there and do the best I can. My teacher knows the class has become much more demanding and also what I'm capable of. I just hate being so clueless. :)

 

I have tried to ask others for help, but this does not usually work well since the class goes so fast, although someone did help me get pas de chat side (is that the right name?) afterwards. I know the teacher has to teach to the level of most of the students, but if I am really totally confused like I was yesterday should I ask the teacher to explain even if everybody else is already halfway across the floor? I feel bad about holding the class up but it's my class too. At least it would show I'm working on it rather than being afraid to try. Right?

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Animefleur, I'm confused about "pas de chat side". A pas de chat is a jump that always moves to the side. There is really no other way to do it except en tournant, which is doable, but awkward. A basic pas de chat is taught very early in training, so I'm wondering if this is a different step, perhaps the "Russian" pas de chat, or pas de chat volé? In this pas de chat, which is really more like a pas de chat/assemblé, you travel further to the side and it has a more "flying" quality. One leg goes out to the side, either with a battement or a developpé, the second leg goes to retiré and crosses in front of the first leg as they meet in 5th and land at the same time. Could this be the step you mean?

 

As to asking questions, you PAY for this class, right? Then, you have every right to ask to be TAUGHT things that are given in the class!

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And thank you Julie for the kind reminder. It's insanity to compare yourself with others in that way. After telling my grandma (she was a dancer) this whole story she just laughed and said, "I thought you had always dreamed of dancing with professionals and now you've got your wish." Well, yeah, but... :)

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Thank you Ms. Leigh. You described exactly what we did, so it must be the pas de chat volé. Pretty confusing if you don't break it down at first. At least for me :)

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Guest Jaime

Sometimes it makes me want to work even harder when I see these adv. dancers next to me! It inspires me to work harder...I think it will do you good. Plus your still taking your reg. level to right?

KEEP WORKING!

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It was between classes, and the music was still playing on the CD player, and the next number that came up was the Amor variation from Don Quixote. There are more than a couple of pas de chats volés in it. I just got carried away and started dancing the thing. One of my younger students, watching at the door watching her male teacher dancing this fast little girl's variation, suddenly went, "OH :o " and executed a perfect pas de chat. She'd been having trouble with them in her class and when she saw the exaggerated version, suddenly, everything clicked! :D Much praise from me followed. Sometimes hanging around more advanced dancers gives you the idea of how something is to be done! :wacko:

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Awesome story Mjr. Mel :wacko: I'll try to take the best advantage that I can from their expertise :D

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Guest Paquita

The whole "over my head" thing has happened to me too before, at a few drop-in classes (classes at my home studio are much smaller and the pace is slower when new steps are introduced). I find the best thing to do is to watch someone who really looks like they "get" the step, and try and get an idea of it. Then I go home where I can work at my own pace and just go through each part of the step carefully. Usually it works, and I can go to the next class feeling much more confident!

Another thing that really helps with learning new steps and choreography is feeling the rhythm of the step itself. Especially with allegro, for me, it's really useful to get the timing right first. So I often go through the steps of the combination, just marking and counting in my head. Good luck, and try not to worry too much about it!

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Guest floatingonair

i'm a huge believer in the trail by fire method. i have jumped head first into classes that are harder and pretty much everything else in my life. what i find happens is that when you take the harder classes you actually become a better dancer because you are forced to push yourself to the limit. for example i was taking classes at a studio near my school and i liked the classes but they weren't really challenging. i went to a studio farther away and tried a harder class and i actually found that i danced better and learned more. stick with it and you might just amaze yourself with what you can do.

 

well that is just my two cents :)

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