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Ballet Talk for Dancers

what makes you stay

Guest mic31

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Guest mic31

I am help to teach an intro class at my studio, I was wondering what some of the thing that encouraged you when you first started.

As a guy starting out in ballet I felt that my teachers and classmates really went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

We have a couple of new guys who are just starting so I just wanted to get some other perspectives

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Because I'm basically a ham, and saw it as a way to get onstage regularly.

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I've watched students get "hooked" on ballet. I think it's the challenge of doing something right and precise. Right from the beginning, I work on correct plier and tendu, and that seems to float some peoples' boats. The men are usually a lot less flexible than the women. I take them out after class and explain to them that they're stronger as well, and that dancers need both. Then I work with them on flexibility exercises to show them that their bodies can go a lot further (without over-pushing) than they believed.

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Well, don't completely humilliate the boys in the class. There are a lot of ways, but the worst is "Why aren't you smilling. Look at all these beautiful girls around you." I remember feeling like I wanted to quit when the auditioner told me that. :flowers: (I was about 10-11 years old.) Now it wouldn't bother me, but when they are young don't single them out and don't embarrass them. I mean if they are young boys then they are not at your intro class because they love dance. They are there because there parents told them they had to. :dry:




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After thinking about it. If the boy wants to be singled out then single him out but if the boy doesn't want to be singled out. Then definitely don't single him out.


I remember during my first year of class the teacher always singled me out and had the class clap for me after every combonation. The only thing that kept me in class was my mom. Otherwise I would have quit.




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The teacher's intentions were good, but a bit over-the-top. The same sort of respect could have been done with a group révérence at the end of class, where the boy faces to the left, and bows to the girls at that side of the room, and then does the same to the other side. The girls curtsy back, of course. After all, you're going to have to learn how to do that at some point or other.

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I stay because it's physically demanding, and a precise discipline.


I stay because I can see slow (glacial, mostly) improvements in myself.


I stay because my teachers really seriously seem to care about helping me improve,

even though I have never had any previous dance experience, and I have limited

talent and flexibility.


I stay because the other dancers (mostly women, one or two other guys) are very

supportive and encouraging and humorous and fun to be around.


I stay because ballet class gives me a whole new perspective on the art of

ballet and ballet performances, and theatre in general.


I stay because my work world is very much a problem-solving, cerebral place,

and ballet demands a completely different approach to living, and learning,

mixed in with a king-sized dose of humility.


Finally, I stay I because I like the person I am becoming as I learn to dance.

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Guest Maverick



Thanks for the articulate and motivating description of why men take adult ballet. It's one of the best I have seen! With your permission, I would like to share this with my classmates.



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Guest mic31

great responses, the guys that I have in my class are all adults, but the same rules apply, thanx Ping.

Maverick, What you were saying in your post is absolutely dead on.

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I just started back! I kick myself every day for leaving! I missed out on a lot in the interum. Besides it's alot more fun than the gym that I belong to!


Hey Dread Pirate!

I like the part about glacial changes :bouncing:

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Thanks for the articulate and motivating description of why men take adult ballet.  It's one of the best I have seen!  With your permission, I would like to share this with my classmates. 




Maverick: Certainly... I'm glad you liked what I wrote.


SilverGreyDancer: Yeah, glacial is it for me... I think ballet is so demanding

that it would force me to be patient even if I had a natural aptitude for it.

I asked one of my teachers (a man in his late 20's, Bolshoi-trained, a soloist in

a couple of US companies) how long it took him to learn how to do a pirouette

to the point where it came "naturally". He looked at me, and thought for a minute and said:

"maybe 8 or 9 years".

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