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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Working at Home

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Time and money being chronically in a shortage, it's much easier for me to justify an hour or so at home that the 3+ hours going to a class actually takes.


So.... I worry about teaching myself bad habits (no mirror :shrug: ), so after I warm up with many slow plies, tendus and degages I start fussing about whether to do anything else (I always do). And then it's down to the floor for crunches, and lots of stretching.


Now reading the board I get the impression that Mr Johnson at least does not oppose working at home. I take 3 or 4 classes a week (not trying to teach myself at home :thumbsup: ), yet I have this intuition that if I worked on certain technical things at home I could actually fix them systematically. Is this ridiculous? Obvious?


*I should make clear that by "What do you do at home?" I don't mean exact exercises, or anything like that, just generalities and the philosophy behind them.

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Dido, as long as one knows what they are doing and HOW to work, then it is fine to work at home. We don't recommend it for beginners, and especially children, as they do not yet have enough knowledge of how to work correctly, but for adults taking 3 or 4 classes a week, that is fine! :shrug:

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Whew B) , I was starting to find myself in the surreal position of feeling guilty when I worked out! I will keep in mind your cautions and keep working slowly and carefully, but maybe not so afraid of rhond de jambes without a mirror any more!

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I am still a beginner, but I have to confess that I do practice outside of class. I go to my gym where they have a ballet barre, CD player, and mirrors on three of the four walls. I really try to work on the fundamentals when I practice on my own. I just got a ballet class CD which is such a big help. (It is just so hard to dance without music!). I usually do simplified barre combinations. Then, I sometimes mark the more difficult center combinations we are doing for the week so that I can focus on technique in class instead of trying to remember the combination. I may also spend time working on improving the things that we have been working on for a while. I may be off base here, but I think that as an adult, even as a beginner, you can take more responsibility for implementing corrections. Spending time outside of class where I can take things more slowly helps me to catch the mistakes I might not otherwise notice in class. It really seems to make a big difference in class when I do my work outside of class.

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I must say that I have found "practicing" at home quite rewarding. But I never actually set a "practice session" at home, I just go through difficult things in class so that I can catch up easier; as going through the pattern of an exercise at home so that I won't have to think so hard about the pattern in next class and instead focus on technique.


Sometimes I go through the basics or a specific thing that I have received correction for in class. That is because you usually don't get a second or third chance to correct your own mistakes in class.

Some things; like finding your balance, muscles and a certain feel can be difficult when doing it in class and you have to do it on a certain beat :sweating:


Edit: Oops I just realised that I have written almost the same things as hart! Now I really feel stupid! :angry:

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What do I work on at home? Mostly whatever I’m doing when my teacher yells at me "I want you to work on that at home!" Right now, its mostly barre exercises from our pointe class- she’s working with me to build up strength in my feet. One thing I’ve done, at my teacher’s suggestion, is do a private lesson or two with my teacher and tape record it. I then use the tapes to practice. That way, I have the music, the exercises and the corrections... especially useful when I’m out of town on business. Its a bit of an investment... but well worth it, I think. I also keep a notebook in my dance bag in which I write down particularly interesting or dificult combinations to work on later.

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Please don't feel stupid. Sometimes it is nice to know that others have similar experiences as your own.



Another thing that I almost always do is write down group and individual corrections to practice outside of class. I do this so that I can make the most out of each class and so that my teacher knows that I take his corrections seriously.

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Sulan, that tape recorder idea is brilliant. I'm splitting private pointe lessons with someone else (because open classes don't offer them around here at my level). I wonder if I can dig one up before Friday.


All these ideas seem so obviously helpful. Wonder why I didn't think of that?

Except for the journal, which I keep for tricky combinations, it's never occurred to me to make a note: my balances stink this week so work on them at home.


:wub: I use music too; Emmylou Harris does plies, Merle Haggard does tendus, Johnny Cash for degages ... and so on. Maybe I should put that up on the Most Egregious Errors thread :) .

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Ohhhh, two good ideas in one thread -- I agree, the tape recorder is totally brilliant. And ballet to country music -- I love it! I can see stretching or some adagio work to Lucinda Williams and maybe some petit allegro to Lyle Lovett. :wub:


The only work I do at home is to videos -- I like having "company" even if only on screen. I have both New York City Ballet workouts, although I haven't had a chance yet to try the second one. I also have a couple of David Howard classes, but don't really like either -- the beginners class is pretty basic, and only shows one side, so you have to rewind to do the other leg, and the intermediate-advanced is REALLY fast (the students include professionals like Cynthia Harvey) and I can't keep up. :)

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I was just doing developpe side in the bathroom at work. I know there are hidden cameras everywhere too...Feeling like a total freak.

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Following the developpes in the bathroom story, I will confess that I had class right after my last qualifying exam for my phd and brand new toe shoes. So I pulled some socks on.... One of the secretarys caught me boureeing down the hall on my way to the bathroom.


Very, very geeky.


(And I think If I Had a Boat is perfect for plies and Pontiac is good for adagio... I bounce around a lot to Lucinda, so I think of her as the allegro music, but since I live on the 3rd floor of an old apartment building I try not to do allegro at home.)

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Have any of you gotten a really stupid injury from practicing at home? I have managed to escape any major injury, but I have kicked my coffee table on more than one occasion. So stupid!!

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