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Kate B

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I'm posting because I've kind of got myself stuck in a rut already.


I've been sporadically going to the same teacher twice a week for 2 years. The teacher is very good - full of pearls of wisdom and useful advice - but...


I've been going to his class and one or two other things a week (yoga, contemporary dance) and other things just seem so much more exciting. This is probably because in yoga I notice big differences in my ability every time I go and in contemporary we have different music and different things to do and learn every time, so both those things are more rewarding.


My ballet class is too crowded, people are rude because when the teacher says he wants people to take turns some of the people honour this and some don't, so there is never any room and no one really ever gets any corrections. Lately the work has been more difficult than I think is actually necessary, since half the people in the class can't do the steps properly or at all, and everyone else shuffles along. The range of abilities in the class goes from absolute beginner to pro. And usually there are 40-50 in the class or maybe more. Argh!


Today the floor was really sticky with rosin so tendus and pirouettes were horrible.


There is no pianist - the teacher has used the same CD (and some of the same barre) every class for TWO YEARS.


Why oh why is this the best open ballet class in London that I know of (that happens after 6.30 so I can actually go to it after work)??? This is supposed to be a big city with loads of culture and so forth.


Yes, I am whinging again because no one has the class I need! Maybe I should have put this on the buddy board.


But I am looking for practical suggestions. It is possible for me to get away from work at a reasonable time at the moment so I can get to this class as often as I like. I like being fit and I want to get better at ballet. When the class isn't full of the un-regular people it is better even if it is a bit boring - but I do work hard and try to get things right even if I'm not sure whether I'm doing drastic things wrong. Has anyone got any suggestions as to how I can make the most of this position of mine?


I don't do triple pirouettes and I try to get my placement right and all of that sort of 'ignoring the other people showing off'. I just get really unhappy when people push in front when it is my turn and I don't ever know if I'm doing anything right or what I personally need to improve. I'm beginning to wonder whether to just forget about it and do more contemporary or try jazz or something else. :shrug:


I am very unhappy about this. It is true that the more classes you do, the more bothered you get about the quality of the classes. An avoidable catch-22? I hope not! Thanks for listening anyway. :rolleyes::)

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A lot of things, and good points to be treated here. If this class is indeed the best one in all London to attend at 6:30, then you are pretty much stuck with it. I would tend to doubt that it is, but you've been there to do the research, and I haven't.


Yes, it is somewhat true that the better you get, the better you want your classes to be, but as you improve, you also find deeper things going on in the work, and that becomes the interest rather the the choreographic content of the class.


Yes, you can also try more branching out and try other forms of dance. But if you love ballet, there's not much that will seem like a sufficient substitute for it.


How about hearing from our Londoners here? Even those who are only part-time Londoners, but are very familiar with the scene there. What insights do you have to offer Kate?

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I'm not from London, but I've had to navigate through the open class system here in New York and can certainly relate to many of your frustrations. The classes I take tend to be quite crowded and "spatially challenged" as well.


The thing that worked for me is private lessons. I took many open classes with different teachers before landing on someone whose methods appealed to me the most. I take a private lesson with her every two or three months. The depth of material I get within one hour is enough to sustain me for quite a while. I know exactly what I need to be concentrating on over the next few months, and get little "reminders" from my teacher during regular classes. These corrections mean so much more because I really understand what she's trying to get out of me.


I take open class with this teacher as well as a couple of others who I like for different reasons. Once a teacher sees you a few times, they'll usually start correcting. They just usually like to see some kind of consistency of attendance.


The no pianist thing is too bad. A good accompanist can really elevate the entire experience. Music is so integral to dancing. I hope you can figure out a way to make your ballet more enjoyable.

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Guest beckster

Kate, why don't you try the place I go? You can just do one class to try it - it's very English in style but the classes are small and the people are really friendly. It's actually probably below your level but might be worth a try - and class doesn't start till 8pm! We have a pianist for most classes (although this sometimes seems like a disadvantage!). If you find it too easy there are cecchetti and RAD majors classes too. PM me if you want more info!

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Thanks guys - and good points Major Mel. :D


I would like to find the deeper things going on in the work again - you hit the nail on the head there! Because there's not much room or things go past too quickly I just don't get a chance for this to happen (except in barre, which I can do 10 times better than centre work!)


I would like things to go perhaps just a little bit more slowly than they do. And have a bit more space to learn!


Becky your place sounds good - I will get in touch about that. I was put off trying them before because the classes are only an hour long - or at least that's what the timetable says. But I guess if I went often enough that wouldn't matter. What sort of times are the RAD classes - oh I'll ask you later!


And lampwick I like the idea of provate lessons. I am a bit too skint at the moment to pay for them, but I know a teacher I would like to have the occasional one from, so this may be an option in the near future, as I can see there would be many benefits for someone who can't get the coaching in class.


And music is important, even if the choreography is not. Hearing the same thing every class is driving me up the wall. Even when I did RAD and we did the same exercises all the time the pianist would play different tunes each class.


Thanks all again! :D

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Hi Beckster! I was interested in your recent post about decent adult classes in London. I avoid the open classes like the plague as being 40 and returning to ballet after 22 years absence I feel I can't get the attention I need not to do myself a great mischief!


I'd be interested in the school you are attending, if you wouldn't mind PMing me.


At the moment I practise at home 1 1/2 hours a day with literally grade 1 exercises as like my mind remembers every move but the body forgot a long time ago! I'm toying with the idea of private monthly lessons at RAD, I tried one of their adult beginners classes which was good, but even that was too much for my shaking limbs.



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  • Administrators

Hello lulu1, and welcome to the Adult Students forum here on Ballet Talk! :wallbash:


I'm afraid that you won't be able to send or receive any private messages for a while, as that feature is limited to full members who have been here at least two weeks and have 30 posts. There is a "Sticky" about this on the About This Site forum if you would like more information.


I'm sure many adults here can relate to the problems in returning to dance as an adult after a long time with no classes. However, if you really want to dance, then taking classes is the only way. Doing it on your own, or once a month private lessons will just not get you there. Try to find a class that you can attend several times a week, and once you get past the first couple of weeks you will be fine! In order to get the body back into doing it, it needs to DO it! :huh:

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I totally agree with Ms. Leigh - about going.


I started at age 47 and was about 28 lbs overweight, 0 muscle tone.

I began 2x per week - a good amount so it slowly built up my shaky muscles.

I added 3x - still better. That seemed to be my limit. I needed days off in between for recovery.


I lost weight gradually over 1.5 years. I wasn't focused on weight but rather muscle. Actually I didn't focus at all. Just went to class. That did it.


Regarding the music issue:


I bought about 5 CDs and GAVE them to my teacher. (one at a time)


What a surprise - She used them and I didn't have to hear Beauty and the Beast any more(!)


Then I found a couple of videos - she incorporated new stuff into the barre.


Now, I'm only suggesting this, because how you do it (as a gift) can change a very boring class. Your teacher might be in a rut. Mine was, and appreciated the push.


Dealing with a big class sounds very un-fulfilling. Hope you find a smaller one, but meanwhile - how about springing for a new CD for teach? Make sure it is a class CD - A double if you can.


Best wishes from the other side of the pond, and the left coast.

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Wow Antbobby I can't believe you showed the teacher a video! I wouldn't have the guts to do that - our teacher guest teaches at NYCB and other international companies (but still does frustrating things!) His fame is obviously the reason why his classes are so full, but still, it's very annoying.


But I like the idea of buying him a new CD - he couldn't object to that, could he? Our substitute teacher (who comes over from Sweden) has a laptop with over 1000 tunes in it - maybe when I see him next I could get him to burn a few CDs for the guy...


Thanks for the tips!


And lulu I'd take Antbobby's advice. Doing class regularly is the only way you will build up the strength to stop those muscles shaking. If I was you, I would have a look at Pineapple, Danceworks, the London Studio Centre, Morley College and City Lit for beginners classes - but the RAD sounds good too. Let us know how you get on!

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See what you about the PMing - I was wondering why it didn't work! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm starting to get there with the exercises but will seek out a smaller dance school for lessons. I've got a couple in mind - Vacani and Pamela Howard. I want to start again really slowly!


I've tried Pineapple and Danceworks, but with class numbers around 40 or 50, I'm basically just hiring studio space!


I just get a bit depressed when I look in the mirror at home and see those cellulite covered saggy thighs!!!!!


Nevermind, what I lack in grace I make up for with enthusiasm! Fortunately my placement is good (fairly!) but it's muscle strength and flexibility that I'm missing.

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Actually, several videos.


Here is how you do this: "I'm using these to help me understand ballet better, ...


or... I have a friend who is considering these, would you watch these and give me your recommendations?"


Amazingly, she watched them all, then she started incorporating some NEW stuff into the barre and center.


I handed them to her 1 at a time. She gave me her honest opinion. We also swap performance vids.



------------------REGARDING THE CELLULITE-------------------------


Get some really good tights, don't look in the mirror too much, and be ready for it fading away over time.


I think I have lost over 2/3s of mine. Just smile every time you put your tights

on and know you have the BEST and least painful way of eliminating everyone's classic problem - better than lipo! :shrug:

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I'm so impressed with your compassionate approach to your teacher. That is just a wonderful thing to do for yourself and for him/her.


Let me recommend a video you may not have thought of -- the "50 Bournonville Enchainements" tape made with Johann Kobborg and Rose Gad. it's not a whole class, it's "mostly" petite allegro, but the combinations are wizardly genius -- some of them are quite slow -- there's only one adage, and it's not dancey at all, but it is VERY good for you....


The video is something to mine rather than quote, but the way Bournonville has of testing co-ordination and centering. of combining small and large movements, of changing facings by eighths and quarters, and of creating intricacies within intricacies will repay endless study. THe more you know about dancing, the more remarkable these etudes become....


I watch it ALL THE TIME -- and whenever I watch it before I go to class, I'm SO much more on top of myself......


Really good combinations have a lot of secrets.


And let me turn you on to the class-room CDs of Rudy Apffel, which are the wittiest, most intoxicating ballet-class music I know of....


I'm going to make a separate thread about them... so look for it, please?

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Hey, ladies (not sure if this applies to men that much) cellulite IS on everyone's thighs... Once you know that, it's a bit less painful to have to deal with the mirror. :shrug:

Even Naomi and Miss Moss have shown signs of the 'orange peel'... So, just continue dancing (it doesn't even show that much under those thick ballet tights) and for another useful tip (which really worked on me!): body brushing... 4 to 5 mins a day (before a shower is great, as it removes dead cells too) brush in the direction knees to hip (not from the hip to the knee, to facilitate flow of blood) with a soft body brush... Even the softest brush will make your thigh go red a little, but it shouldn't be painful either...

Yes, it's time consuming (well, not really, but you have to remember to do it, and after a while, well, 5 min is a long time... I do it to wake me up and watching the 5 min news in the morning. Works a treat! And far less expensive/painful than lipposuction indeed! :wub:

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I took a class at Pineapple when I was in London and it wasn't crowded at all. There were only about ten people and the teacher gave everyone personal corrections. I finally learned what third position was since none of my teachers here seem to use it. I did think it was too expensive, though, and I wouldn't have been able to afford to go regularly if I lived there. And come to think of it, it might have been sparsely attended because it was July.


I like the idea of giving the teacher who plays the same tunes over and over a music CD (for Christmas?). None of my teachers has that problem though. In fact one of the main attractions of ballet for me is the chance to listen to their music collections.

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Ecch! Do I ever despise this term. It's unscientific, and was the invention of Nicole Ronsard, who had "invented" some kind of snake oil that was supposed to eradicate this stuff. She even resented when it was prounounced in other than the French manner - "SELL-you-leet". That way, it almost sounds desirable. Call it what it is: ruptured fat cells.

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