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Guest Xia

options for adults?

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Guest Xia

I've seen many many discussions of careers in ballet, the need to start early, and so on, but nothing that seems to address this.

I'm 21, and plan to start taking ballet again after quitting at 14 (there's never enough time for all the things I want to do...) I've lost most of the last year to illness (fibromyalgia) and am finally recovering enough to get on with my life again. I was so upset to think that dancing might not be an option again, that now I want to get going again.

My question is mostly about lost time. I have various options for dance classes around Seattle, and I'll be starting with my university's dance department primarily because there's no charge on top of regular tuition. But the part I miss most is performing. I have no desire to dance professionally, or with a big-name company, but I would like to be on stage again, and in a setting that keeps a high level of professionalism even if the performers are just doing this for fun.

So does anyone out there know where I might look for such opportunities? It seems like there ought to be something, somewhere...

 

Xia

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Victoria Leigh

Hello Xia, welcome to Ballet Alert Online's Ballet Talk!

 

I think the University program is a good place to start back, and there should be some performing opportunities available there. Following that, I'm not sure, as of course it will depend on where you live and what kind of local companies exist there. What University are you attending, and do they have a strong dance department with a major in dance?

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Guest Xia

I'm at the University of Washington. We do have a dance department with both a major and minor available. They offer equal amounts of jazz, modern, and ballet classes, but from what I saw when I took modern freshman year, the emphasis seems to be on contemporary dance, not classical. The MFA program puts on a few performances each year, and undergrads can audition for parts in at least one of these, but I don't think they're doing anything oriented around classical ballet.

I don't think UW would be a bad place to start training again, but I'll have to look for something else when I graduate next year.

 

Xia

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Mel Johnson

The Northwest, is, of course, a growth area, and there should be numerous opportunities for an adult to take part in a good civic company (attached, of course, to a good school).

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Guest Xia

Hmm. I've never really been clear on the distinction between civic and other sorts of companies. For example, in Portland (where I grew up) there was Oregon Ballet Theatre as the big professional company, and a couple of smaller studios with performance opportunities for middle and high school students.

In Seattle, we have Pacific Northwest Ballet. There aren't any other significant ballet schools here, as far as I can tell, but lots of modern and ethnic dance.

PNB has open adult classes, and while I've heard good things about them, I doubt that the adult students would be involved in performances (though maybe someone who knows the school better can chip in here?)

So would OBT qualify as the sort of company you meant? I don't know how the rest of the world ranks them, and I really only knew the school by reputation since I trained at one of the smaller studios.

 

Xia

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Mel Johnson

No, OBT is a professional company, known these days as a regional. Back in my day, when we had to ride the brontosaurus to ballet class, regional ballet meant what are called "civic" companies now. They (civics) are usually made up of unpaid pre-professional students and/or adults who have opted out of a career with a full-time company. Now that you're there, and we're not, it's your job to take the trained eye, and go about checking the local area for a studio and/or company that has its act together. A place where there's good technique displayed by the dancers, and in performance, where production values are relatively high. Getting to know the people to help establish the morale situation there can't hurt either.

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by Mel Johnson (edited February 25, 2001).]

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Guest Xia

Thanks, that helps a lot. I wasn't really sure if there was something between regional companies and student recitals. I'll keep checking for other studios to look at. There might be something outside of Seattle proper but nearby.. It just feels like this huge project to catch up with what's out there. Ballet is a much bigger world than I ever realized at 14. smile.gif

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Alexandra

I think there's a lot out there "in between." I read the program book for a small, southern California company (called the California Ballet, based in San Diego). It's one of those half-student (for Nutracker and one big spring classic) and half adult companies. The program book had the bios for the dancers, and they seemed to lead very interesting lives. One or two of the company members worked at the box office, or the wardrobe department, and one coached body builders for competition! She explained that the body builders needed to work on . . . line!!

 

In the next issue of Ballet Alert! (this really isn't a plug, it's for information only smile.gif ) Dale interviewed three dancers with the New York Theatre Ballet, a small company that does children's shows, but also something they call "Dancing on a Shoestring," that's scenes from classial ballets, and occasional revivals of works by Antony Tudor. Two of the women she interviewed had nonstandard training -- they did start as children, but went to college.

 

I'll bet there are a lot of companies like that out there. Do a web search. Go to www.balletcompanies.com, click on United States, and you'll be dazzled. And remember, you have your future in your own hands to some extent smile.gif If you go to a place where there's only the Cripple Creek Civic Ballet, doing two performances a year, who's to say you won't be able to make it grow so it can do three or four performances? Or start your own company with a couple of pals smile.gif

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Mel Johnson

Yes, betwixt The New York City Ballet and the dancer who performs to absolutely No One, (note, Marta Becket, in the middle of Death Valley, does not count - she has painted herself an entire Opera House complete with Audience) there is a lot of dancing going on! There is something in the soul that cries out to be let to dance - there's no reason not to give it a place where it can flourish, even if you have to build it yourself. smile.gif

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Guest lizabeth

Hi Xia - I have taken class at many of the studios in the Seattle area, and you're right - there are tons of schools to choose from! The school I am currently attending (Cameo Dance...Greenlake) is holding auditions for their dance company on Sunday, March 18th. If you are interested in performance opportunities you might want to stop by or call - they're pretty close to UW in the Green Lake area. I began dancing there about 2½ years ago after a 12 year break, and it has been a great experience for me. I definitely recommend it!

 

http://www.dancegreenlake.com

 

~Lizabeth

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Guest rtnty

Hi, Xia,

 

I wonder if Cornish College of the Arts would have anything for you? Just a thought.

 

Hope you and your stuff came through the earthquake without harm! (My family lives in Olympia, so I've been following the situation...)

 

Katherine

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Guest Xia

Cornish's program is only for matriculated students. I live only a few blocks from there, but since they don't have open classes, it's not an option.

I seem to have survived the earthquake fine. Nothing broke, and the most damage I've noticed in our building is a doorframe that's several inches from level now. Pretty lucky, considering. smile.gif

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Guest DancingDoc

Hi Xia!

 

I don't know about ballet in the northwest, but I do know about fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it back when I was a graduate student in Mathematic Statistics, before I went to medical school, and I did research in it when I was a post-doctoral (medical doctorate) fellow in clinical-research Rheumatology.

 

The doctor who diagnosed my fibromyalgia was Janet Travell. She was the first to describe trigger points, and boy could she hit mine! (She was also Jack Kennedy's personal physician, the one who prescribed his rocking chair.)

 

Fibromyalgia does not have to be a chronic disease. I went into a program of massage therapy and ballet. Very quickly I returned to "normal" and was doing everything (e.g. ballet) without trouble. Today, many years later, I try to take classes six days a week and don't have any signs or symptoms of fibromyalgia.

 

Dance is an option in anyone recovering from fibromyalgia. In fact, I believe it helped me recover from the disease.

 

Good luck! DancingDoc

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Guest Xia

Thank you for the encouragement. I've been afraid to try ballet again in case I end up doing worse, but it really feels like I should take the opportunity and see how things go, so I'm hoping for the best.

I borrowed a copy of the Joffrey Ballet-Fit book, and have been working through the exercises in that. It's made me a little more confident about starting classes at the end of the month. Also, I'm signed up for a beginning class, so hopefully the technique will be enough below where I quit that I can keep up.

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