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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Highs and Lows of adult ballet..whinge whinge..blub blub


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Last week after my ballet lesson I was sooooooo happy and practically danced my way home. This week I was thinking 'why am I bothering?', and next week I am sure it will be back to "wow, i love this'.

I do a stretch and flex class for an hour before my actual adult ballet class. I thought this would be a good idea as I would be all warmed up and stretchy. Instead I have absolutely no power left in my muscles and no energy and find myself fighting to just turn my leg out and keep standing! Which like totally annoys me even more.

So I think in the next term I will not be taking a class after my stretch and flex one.


Then there is my whinge about the actual class itself. Now it is a complete mix of abilities, from those that have obviously gone very far when they were younger and are well trained, to those like me, kind of inbetween, and then the older beginner dancer. Yet the teacher, a lovely woman though she is, puts the music on double speed, I am talking frappes quick time. Now the experienced dancers can seem to just get it, and I can do them, but feel like my technique is just going out the window trying to keep up with the beat, let alone the beginnners. So I am confused and not too happy depending on what she has us do each lesson.


My idea is that when it comes to the autumn term is to ask to actually do syllabus classes, i.e. pre-ele and ele RAD, as I want to or need to really work on my technique rather than just let it go to pot which I feel it is doing if I keep on with the adult ballet.


If I was an adult beginner, or rather not such a beginner but an advancing beginner and I took that class I would be utterly miserable and frustrated, perhaps it isn't that bad and I just over do it by taking the class beforehand, I don't know?


Also, I am finding the more stretching and flexing I do the less agile I feel! When I started I thought I was reasonably flexible and now I feel like a decrepid inflexible thing :-(. So now i am really annoyed with my body. Oh and another thing I hate the mirrors in our studios, we are surrounded by them and there I am thinking I am geting my leg up quite far and then horror of horrors I look in the mirror and it is like no where near where I thought it was! I could really cry sometimes!


So I think it is , and I will ask my teacher, probably best that I go and do pre-ele classes, but now I am worrying that I am not even good enough for those! humph I will ask the teacher who teaches me on Thursdays, (different to the one I have on Tuesdays) as she takes the RAD classes what she thinks.


Its just that I know I can do better than I am doing and that I could improve heaps given the right environment, but I feel that I need the discipline of the syllabus and the repetition of exercises to actually make a difference, and I'm not getting that doing adult classes.


But like I said, next week, everything will be hunkydorey again. Sigh.......


Sorry to ramble on for soooooo long. Just had to let off some steam :-(.



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:D Hiya Skippy here. Don't fret, it takes a while to get back into the swing of things. You used to do fine in Sal's class, remember that you have had quite a bit of time of. If you keep going and pushing the way you usually do then you will wonder what you have been worrying about.

If my Letter does not get to you on time then have a wonderful birthday on Saturday.

(Sorry about the personal note). :D

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You have truely brightened my day.

Sorry moderators about the next personal bit.....

I miss you guys so much. I started to write a letter, and I promise I will get around to finishing it. I can't believe you remembered my birthday!..blub blub. Big hugs and kisses..sniff sniff.xxxx

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Arghhhhh, back to the real world again. I have just had another ballet lesosn, and I asked the teacher if I could do pre-ele and eleRAD classes as I wanted to work on my technique, and she said' No, as she had 15 or so teenagers in her class and she didn't want an adult in there', which I took to mean ' No, you are really bad at ballet and I wouldn't have even considered you able enough to actually do those classes, and I just don't have the time to work on any of your problems with you in those classes'.

So now I feel awful and I nearly walked out of the class, but instead I was trying to keep on with the barre work and trying to keep back the tears and trying to keep my head up, and now I don't want to do ballet ever again. I had no idea I was that bad! and feel so ashamed that I even thought I was good enough to do them.


Oh well such is life. So I either find another school willing to let me do some sort of syllabus class with the teenagers or I stop ballet. Maybe I am just not cut out for it anymore. I love it so much and it just broke my heart to hear her say 'No' when I so wanted to do them. I can't keep on with the classes i do at the moment becasue one of them, like todays is in the morning, and I should be at work! so I can't do that class in the autumn, and the other class is after the stretch and flex one, and I have to leave always 10 minutes early for that one otherwise I can't get home and have to sit at the station for an hour.


Oh its all gone hideously wrong and I may have to find another school somewhere.


Sorry to whinge so much.


Jeanette :D

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Guest Ballerino

I think you should find another school, and soon. Perhaps it is not a syllabus or RAD school, but ballet is ballet in the end, and should be fun, and this place is not doing it for you. You may be reading too much of your own feelings and doubts into this teacher's words, perhaps she doesn't know you well enough to know from where you are coming, or perhaps she is just a cold person. I would take some time, try out a few schools, find a place where you feel right,but don't give up something you love so much based on one person's reaction. You do ballet for yourself, and you owe it to yourself to find training that works for YOU.

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Hi ballerino


Thanks for replying, its nice to hear words of wisdom when you think your entire world has just collapsed..okay maybe that is exaggerating, but I feel awful. Its not like its that kind of time where small things get me all emotional.

I just want to work at my ballet so hard, i want to improve and I need some sort of class that addresses those. i.e a syllabus class. Maybe I am wrong about this? I don't know.


I think you are right about finding a new school. This school is very convenient but it is geared alot towards the competition side.

Big sigh.


I really really don't want to go the next two weeks of classes and may try and ifnd another school in those weeks.

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Guest linsusanr

Hello there, please don't give up! There are awful days, and whenever I get those I go home after class, stretch out, and watch a video of one of my favorite performances. It's so inspiring to watch them! I remember then *why* I really wanted to dance in the first place -- for the love of it. Also, do you take any private classes? Your teacher may be able to really zero in on areas you would like to work on. Those may do lots of good! By the way, (apologies for the personal note) are you in San Francisco right now? I'm in the area!






[ 08-02-2001: Message edited by: linsusanr ]

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Hi Susan


Yes I know there are awful ballet days and good ballet days, but in the 21 years since I have been dancing, this has been the worst.

Private classes cost about $60 for an hour and now I don't honestly think I could even contemplate asking my teacher, I could just about smile at her when I left today. I just feel she could have given me a better explaination rather than fob me off with 'they're teenagers'. What like I'm a monster? or I'm going to corrupt them in some way? It makes totally no sense.

She knows I have danced in classes with teenagers before, I explained my background to her when I started, so it was kind of an unsubstantial comment to make and now I'm probably acting like a complete spolied brat! I'll give it until next week. If I still feel a loathing to go then I won't.

On a personal note...

Yes I am living in San Francisco, but working down at Stanford Uni. Where do you dance?




[ 08-02-2001: Message edited by: Xena ]

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Guest Ballerino

I am unclear on the syllabus need. I have taken classes in many different styles, and once from an R.A.D. syllabus teacher, and aside from little stylistic differences, each teacher covered the same basic technique, with similar corrections and observations for me. I was always one to ask lots of questions, and when I asked her,

The R.A.D. teacher explained that the syllabus work was mainly for exam purposes, that she only followed it strictly around exam time, that some of the syllabus strayed a bit from ballet technique (character work), and that classical ballet is classical ballet, and that a good teacher will work on the same classical technique regardless of the style. It is most important to find a place where you fit, where you love to be, where you can work on your technique at your own pace, and regularly. At least try out a few of the other schools, you never know when you will find a fit.

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Guest linsusanr

Hi Jeanette,


Wow! I'm in Palo Alto, too, about ten minutes away from Stanford campus! Sorry, I couldn't find your email or send a private message so this is "personal" ... I dance at a school in Mountain View (non-RAD, but I like it well enough so far).




[ 08-03-2001: Message edited by: linsusanr ]

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Hi Susan


Thanks I have written down your e-mail address, so if you want to go back and edit it out, just in case.

Jeanette :D

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Guest Sonja

Hi Jeanette,

I sometimes feel just the same... Sometimes I feel the harder I try the worse I get... And comments like that of your teacher are similar to one I heard from a teacher (which is a really lovely person!): "Well, if you only come to class once a week..." (...what do you expect the... being outspoken) - and this in a time when I was so busy at work I had troubles making it once a week...

But still I love the atmosphere at that school which has been my "second home" since I moved to Munich, as generally people are so nice and understanding!

I wish you that you soon find a school and/or classes where you feel at home, too!


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Guest beckster

Jeanette, I am absolutely certain that you should continue with ballet, and that you will eventually find the right place. Sometimes it does take a little bit of trial and error before you get settled in a class ... but ballet alert is here to help! Look how well it turned out for me when I started posting here and met up with you! You always have something helpful to say on this board and you have been so kind and positive with me too, that I can't imagine you giving up because one school isn't what you had hoped for. I really hope you do get sorted out with classes soon!



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Thanks Becky and Sonja


Yes i understand about the 'not giving up' bit. Its against my principles too. I'm just annoyed. I thought the RAD had got rid of their upper age limits so us adults would be encouraged to study that syllabus, otherwise why take off the age limit. Surely that is a sign to us saying that we can and we should do this too, not just 14 year olds. Thats one bit that is making me mad, and its like this school or teacher is just ignoring that.


I just deserved a better excuse than what she gave me, and its like all those years of training I have had were worthless in her eyes, and I am aupset at that. I thought the world of the teachers that have taught me before and have always trusted their teaching. Now in one sentence its like she has just trashed their teaching and that makes me upset. If I told my teachers back in England this I am sure they would be very upset also.

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:mad: :D:D JEANETTE HOBBS Don't you dare give up. If you even think about it i will Hijack my plane when i fly to Paris in the morning and have a serious talk with you. You should also know that i have a certain flatmate with me who you know very well going by the name of Juanita :D who is thinking about stowing away on my plane tomorrow if you do what you have threatened.

If that does not scare you then we shall threaten to come over on holiday for a week, spend the whole week nagging you, go to ballet with you and show your teacher just how bad you can be when you are with the two of us. Then when we have left she will realise what a star you are and beg for your forgiveness in ever doubting you.!!!! :D

Now for a serious note. There is nothing wrong with your dancing, look how you taught me those delightful grade 8 dances. The class (this is the truth) has gone to absolute pot, we have no-one to copy, have no idea what we are meant to do and that is just the barre work. Sally wants us to do the exam in November :eek: :eek: T.B.C

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