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Explanation of open/adult class levels in US


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I've been reading through threads on open/adult classes in various NYC and Austin studios, hoping I'll have the time and courage to experience some American-style ballet teaching during my trip to NYC and Texas in March-April. I appreciate all the useful information, but I have a question - basic, but it's worrying me.


How do I 'translate' the level descriptions such as "Advanced Beginners' 'Basic Beginners', and so on? I'm used to RAD/Cecchetti syllabus descriptions, where I hover somewhere between Elementary and Intermediate (used to be able to do more :) ...). I also get quite nervous going to a new studio and my ability to remember combinations can suffer. I'd like to try something a little more challenging than the very basic classes I do at the moment, but I don't want to look foolish & out of my depth! :blushing:


So can New Yorkers give me some advice about levels at various studios? I was thinking of trying Peridance as I'll be doing some research work at the NYU library on Washington Square and staying in the Village. But the experience of Steps seems irresistible if I can get my courage up! I felt immediately comfortable in New York from the first time I visited, and it's a city I visit in short bursts almost annually now, so it's really just 'new studio phobia.' I'm longer in Austin and thought I'd ring the Tapestry Studio recommended in threads on adult classes in Austin, and ask them about levels or watch a class. But I only have a week in New York.



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Unfortunetly there is no surefire way to predict what a class is going to be like in new york. It's really trial and error. I had to take trial classes at different studios in different levels to find my comfort zone. The thing about "open" classes....which is all I've found in ny for adults, is that anyone can walk in at anytime. Even though the teachers teach the open class at a pace where it gets more challeging you might have a non-regular come in midway through the term who doesn't know a tendu from degage and then the class may take a huge step back. In the classes that I take, the level varies from class to class depending on who is there on that particular night. The teacher will look around and if we have a bunch of regulars and some more advanced people he will say...ok...tonight we are going to have some fun! Some studios/schools have a few different levels such as beginner/adv beg/intermediate/advanced. And some just have two levels that I like to call "easy" and "hard". lol. It would be a good idea to find a school with more than two levels. At least that way you have a better idea of which level your at. If you go to a place with only two or three levels, and your not sure that your ready for a very challenging class its a safe bet to just take the beginner class at first. Usually those types of beginner classes are "advanced beginner" by the time march and april roll around. I've taken class at steps once and I absolutly loved it. I live about an hour away from the city so I don't go as often as I would like, however steps is great because they have so many classes at different levels. Maybe you can call the studio in advance and ask to speak with someone who can tell you what level the class is. Don't always trust the label of the class because I've been to both very challenging and very basic beginner classes. They will usually ask you what your experience is and based on that tell you to try a particular level. Good luck!

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I agree with kellylynn -- it's almost impossible to figure out your "true" level in NYC classes. I've been to the advanced beginning class at Peridance and found it very challenging even though I'm at the upper end of that level at my regular studio. Other studios in New York similarly offer classes that I think are more difficult than the advertised level (it's that whole if-you-can-make-it-here-you-can-make-it-anywhere thing! :))


Now, by contrast, in Austin, I found the levels were a little lower than I expected -- but I've only been to Ballet Austin, not Tapestry. There were fewer levels to choose from, I think maybe only beginner classes were available during the time I was free, and they were very basic, so an advanced beginner might be more comfortable in an intermediate class there.


Anyway, happy travels -- those are my two favorite cities in the U.S.!

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I visited New York in December and took open classes at Ballet Arts located at City Center. Their are no polls, as I have heard some studios located in New York have them. Ballet Arts came highly recommended to me and I was very pleased. I wish I could have taken the Adv/Int class with Kirill Mateev but I did not get their in enough time. So I took Adv. Beg. class as well as a Beg/Int Pointe class with Carol Sumner.

She was fantastic. She was with the New York City Ballet and danced with Balanchine. I hope I can go back and take from her again. She is an excellent teacher. Her profile is online at www.balart.com. I was also recommended Broadway Dance Center but did not get to attend. Hope you can use the recommendation.




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I'd say that, in general, classes in New York are at least one level more difficult than classes with the same label elsewhere in the country, if not more, but I don't know how that would compare to classes in Europe. The Intermediate classes in Nashville are easier than some of the Beginner classes I've taken at Steps. I'd recommend going to Steps… its an easy trip on the subway. Plus, then stop in at Fairway... I’m homesick just thinking about it…

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I've taken a beginner class at both Ballet Austin and Tapestry. At the time I was an absolute beginner so I have no way to tell you how they rank. But what I can tell you is if you call either place tell them what kind of class you are looking for they are staffed by friendly people who will be glad to help you find the right level.

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Thanks, Kellylyn, Scoop, Vashti, Sulan and Skittl - that's really helpful. I'll look at beginners and advanced beginners (it was that level description that confused me). Now I just have to fit in work, seeing my friends, shopping AND ballet class in the week I have in NYC. Oh the joys of a really big city!



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