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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Good news..hopefully


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Well, after never going back to my old school, except for the stretch and flex class, (which I do with teenagers by the way), I started looking for another school.

Then I thought perhaps I can live without ballet for a while, but after practicing developees every evening in the kitchen without even realising it, I did in the end relaise that I missed it too much.

Anyway, I decided if it didn't work out going to a school near where I worked, I'd look for one, near to where I lived in San Francisco. So I found a school, I kind of had my eye on since i moved here, and e-mailed them from their web site. I just asked if I could come along and observe a few classes as I didn't know what level I should go into. I got such a nice reply from their director, saying that I would be most welcome to come along and observe and that he would arrange for me to try a class so I can be placed appropriately. So I will go along on wednesday evening and watch the classes, and take my ballet stuff just in case! But I'll tell you all how it goes. Fingers crossed.


Jeanette x

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Guest djinrain

congrats! I hope you find what you are looking for! I'm going out today to see if I can get into the school I want (after your advice I'm going for the best thing around). Good luck to you! :)

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Thanks to all of you for all the postive support, kind thoughts that you have been giving me. I was very mad at the time, but I remembered your wise words when I started to feel mad and they helped, and Mels cryptic last message "I am confident that there's an RAD teacher out there who sees it your way, and not as far away as you might think! " kept me thinking and thinking. Although the school I'm going to see I am not sure that they do RAD, but I'll have a good look on wednesday and ask a good many questions...'once bitten, twice shy..' we'll see. Good luck djinrain with your new school. Tell us all about it!


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Xena, I really hope that this new school will work out well for you. If it's not RAD, but is still a really good school, then I hope you will consider it, and perhaps give something else a try. I know you have worked at RAD a long time, however, as nice as that is, it's really not the only good training out there. How well they treat their adult students, as well as the quality of the teaching and the classes themselves is so important, and if you can get really good classes in classical ballet then perhaps that would be okay? I just kind of hate to see you limit yourself so totally to only one way of doing things. If I'm way off base here, I apologize, and you may tell me to just go away on this one! ;)


[ 08-13-2001: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]

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I agree with Ms. Leigh - keep your strength and stretch a bit by trying another method if the atmosphere is congenial to you. You can always be looking for that simpatico RAD school on the side, but keep working all the while! :)


Incidentally, I'm great at cryptic - in Vietnam, when the code machine broke and we wanted to send a radio message, they just handed the dispatch to me to write, and then sent that in the clear. I bet there are still guys in Hanoi trying to figure out what I was talking about! ;)


[ 08-13-2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]

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Oh sorry if I sounded really tunnel visioned about what ballet method I preferred. I am not worried if I do RAD or not, as long as like you both said, they treat me with at least some respect and give me a little credit for what I have learnt! I studied NATD for 15 years and was a bit dubious about starting RAD, which I did for only 2 and a half years. So RAD is not totally ingrained in me as yet. It was just something different from what I had been used to. I am definately one for trying out new things...well nearly almost, otherwise I wouldn't have moved here.

Its just sometimes you get stuck in a groove and need a bit of a nudge to get out on on with things.


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Well I visted my new school in San Francisco, right on Market in fact so teeming with life and arty things. I met one of the directors last night, Richard Gibson, and he was so understanding. In fact I told him and the secretary my entire life story and my woes of adult ballet, and they were shaking their heads.

At this school they have five levels for adult dancers. Adult beginner, then Adult I -IV, plus adult pointe and the chance if these lessons aren't enough for you to join in other classes such as advanced ballet or intermediate pointe. They are just so supportive of adult dancers. I couldn't believe my luck! and we have a pianist! haven't had one of those in years.

I sat and watched for 3 hours yesterday evening. They told me that whatever I wanted to do they will be supportive as they are to all their adults. Richard Gibson was sitting with me as I watched one of the classes and he was telling me who everyone was and their ballet backgrounds. He obviously really did care about his adults as much as the younger ones.


It was just so nice. I am going back tonight to try out adult II as I said I wanted to work on my technique and get back into ballet shape before going on to adult popinte and the more advanced classes. Although I did watch the adult IV and I could do all the steps and combinations. But I'll see how it goes. Also we can arrange conferences with Richard on how well we are doing and on what areas for example, that you need to work on and Ithinks that will be great. To actually get positive feedback and constructive criticism.


Oh and the next great thing is that there ar emen there! at last!!!! I have waited like 20 years to be able to dance in a class where there are men. They are all so nice..not in that way, although on last night wore a leotard that did not leave much at all to the imagination, and he was such a unique dancer, in that he was nearly 7ft tall I couldn't stop looking at him dance, but as I was istting down I kind of looked like I was looking at the wrong level..if you know what I mean...so I had to avert my eyes at various times, ahemmm, anyway. Yes it will hopefully be fun. We have another teacher called Elizabeth Gravelle and another Zory Karah , whom I think will be taking the class that I'll go to tonight.

I'm just mentioning these names in case anyone has heard of them? Although the secretary assured me everyone will have heard of Richard Gibson :)

So I'm off there tonight to try out my first class.


I'll tell you all tomorrow..


Jeanette :D

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:) Oh it is so good to read the text of the Jinty i used to know and love. I have to say that i was getting really worried about you.

This new school sounds really good. I would love to a class with you! I don't have a class for another two weeks if not three. We are also getting ready for the show which is sometime in May, so if you are back in good old Blighty you know where to come.

Well have to go. Hope your class went well, will catch up on the gossip soon?


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You couldn't be in a more supportive place for adults, Jeannette, if it's headed by Richard Gibson! He was, in fact one of my teachers at Joffrey, after I got out of the Air Force, and has great powers of empathy with the more mature dancer. Anybody he'd pick to teach a class at his school, I would trust implicitly! I would have recommended him up front, but my geography memory of the Bay Area is spotty, at best, and I haven't been to his school there, so a street address would just be some nebulous factoid to me, as far as finding you a good school within a decent distance. Congratulations, and do give Mr. Gibson my best regards.

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Well I went to the adult II class last night, and it was really nice. I didn't feel awkward or unwelcome by anyone, even though I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was doing. Oh I knew the steps, its just getting used to the way they are taught. I had Richard Gibson for that class and wow. We did quite a simple barre in the fact that the steps were pretty much tendus and frappes and the such, but they were put together in a way that was challenging but not too much so you could actually work on technique and concentrate on ever muscle rather than just trying to keep up with the music. He used a lot of demi plie ,releves and retiere and balancing. So I can see me improving a lot in the next few months. He would explain everything so well to everyone and would be delighted when we all got it right and congratulate all of us! and even if we got it wrong it would be funny rather than 'oh no how embarrassing', and he would laugh too and say 'okay you know that was just practice right?'

It was a much larger class than I am used to, about 18 of us, but the hall was so huge you didn't feel squashed. The center work was again excellent stuff and it was just a wonderful learning experience. He said to me 'Jeanette your body is remembering what to do' what exactly that means I kind of understand. But he made us all laugh and enjoy ourselves throughout the class. the class was an hour and 15 mins, but I didn't even notice the time. It seemed to stand still. I was tired and hot, but felt good and relaxed. I will be signing up for next term for sure! :)

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That sounds just like him, and don't worry about the difference in presentation, you'll catch on quickly! :) I'm glad to hear such a good report, and look forward to hearing more - (while not wishing actually to encourage "tales out of school" ;) )

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I've taken classes at that studio, too. It's one of the places I recommend to people. I love the atmosphere: none of that bitter bunhead stuff. Richard and Zory have a great reputation here in town and I have really enjoyed their school. Maybe I'll see you in class sometime, if I ever heal from my most recent injury.

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