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how far can you get


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Hello everyone! :)

This is to intorduce myself (since I just registered yesterday) and to share a couple of thoughts I 've been having lately..

I am 28 years old and I started taking ballet classes again after having quit for ages..I was very dedicated and (I presume) quite serious during class and therefore, within a year, I was moved from beginner's class to RAD Grade 6.

I take classes 3 times a week, for 2 hours, and half of the class we do point work.

I have to admit that I am not very flexible, but my technique is quite good and I am pretty good on pointe (Of course we don't do extremely difficult things, but I have no problem doing lots of echappes or retire passes on pointe in the center .)

The problem is that, even though I am entirely aware of the fact that ballet will just remain a hobby for me (I am TOO old), I would definitely like to see myself progress and maybe sometime in the future reach the advanced level.

Is it too late for thoughts like that? Do you think that at the age of 32 (for example) someone could make it to that level? Or -no matter how hard you try- there will always be things that you 'll never be able to do?

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Hi elie!

I'm 28 too and started seriously about 2 years ago now. I have definitely seen progress in a whole range of ballet skills. I think you may be right that there are certain things that I will never be able to do but I pretend otherwise. I figure my goal might as well be to dance at an advanced level and that motivates me to work very hard at my present one.

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Guest kristinene

Hi Elie!


I definitely think it is possible to dance at an advanced level. I believe that it is more determined by commitment and time then by age. Of course talent always helps too! I'm another to return to ballet after a long hiatus, and I feel I'm making progress in my technique, etc. I may never have 180 degree turnout or my legs at my ears, but that isn't really what makes a good dancer and doesn't neccessarily qualify as good technique! :)

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I'm 29 and started dancing again two years ago. Haven't seen any age related problems with the body yet. I don't think I'll ever have extension in the stratosphere, but I seriously doubt I would have even if I was 17. My hips just aren't built that way. I've found it pretty rare actually to have an exceptional extension. Many MANY professionals (ones in ABT included), don't. Most don't have 180 degree turnout either and strangely, I think it looks better if you don't. Gives the body more dimension in space or something..


Can you tell I'm bitter about the extension and turnout thing? ha ha...


I think I can consider myself an advanced/professional-ready ballet dancer. My teachers are AMAZING people and it took daily (and more) classes, work with a chiropractor and pilates teacher, a few private ballet lessons, lots of extra work like floor barre and stretching, my savings, an understanding boss at work, books, videos, going to the ballet all the time, asking tons of questions on Ballet Alert!, thinking about ballet 24/7, and a fair amount of facility for this.


Get the picture? It's craziness. Welcome!

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If you have taken classes when you were young, there might be a good chance to move up to an advanced level. In case of a late-starter, it will take a L O N G time even with daily classes... but that is just my personal opinion.

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I am yet another returning ballet student in my mid-twenties. What I've learned, is that it really depends on so many varibles on how far you can go. The first thing you need is the desire and drive to do it, which doesn't seem to be a problem for you. Because at a more serious level ballet isn't a once a week workout. It's a lifestyle. And that type of lifestyle requires alot of dedication, patience, $$$, and the time. If I skip a class or two my body knows. The physical capability along with some natural talent doesn't hurt either. I'm not saying people with the "wrong body type" can't advance. Because I've seen it happen. However, just like every other sport or hobby, ballet comes easier to some than others....and body type, natural ability, and previous experience plays a part in that and how quickly it can happen for some. For instance, I'm not going to strive to become a wrestler. It just wouldn't happen. :) If you got it, you got it. As lampwick said...it is crazy. But so worth the rewards, no matter what level your at. Use your gifts, strive to improve your weaknesses, follow your passion, and have fun!!!!! Good luck!

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I think it is easier for adults to learn ballet, just because it gets easier to learn as you get older, until a certain point (maybe age 80?)! That said, as an adult ballet student sometimes I ask my teacher to explain the reason behind doing something, so that my head understands before my body tries to do it. I think you should definitely work for advanced level. In the past 3 years I have advanced more than I would have thought possible, and I am in my 20s. Goals are very important to me. My goal right now is to get into a company in the next 2 years. After that, who knows!


In a post somewhere on this board about people dancing in their 40's and beyond one lady stated that a woman in her ballet class who was in her 50's had just gotten consistent triple pirouettes! So if she is still improving in her 50's--the sky's the limit!

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I agree in that if you can afford it, taking as many good quality ballet classes that you can will make you improve. But it isn't always that simple. You need to be prepared to practice, practice and practice, have private lessons, do pas de deux lessons, pointe work, and also delving into other forms of dance, i.e. modern/contemporary , plus doing extra classes in pilates/floor barre and conditioning exercises. When I had the chance, I was doing 10+ hours of ballet a week for over a year...only towards the end of this year did I see real improvement, in my strength and stamina, but still always room for improvement. With ballet I don't think you can ever, even if you are the worlds' best, ever say that you have really reached perfection. But , yes, one day you will reach the advanced class, but never stop going to the basic/beginner classes as well as they will always give you the best chance of really perfecting your technique.


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It all depends on the definition of advanced level. I agree with Xena that an advanced level will include pas de deux, pointe work and a reasonable knowledge of other dance forms to call yourself an advanced student. Everybody has to decide on their own their the definition of advanced. I have seen students at Pineapple studios taking an advanced class and they certainly did not belong into that class. Their technique was not more than elementary... However, as long as you enjoy it, it doesnt really matter what level you are doing. You can progress within your level without moving up. There is so much work in every level that even a beginner class can be very hard for an advanced student.

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In my school, there are some adult beginner students who have made it to the advanced level in ballet (the levels below being beginner 1 and 2, intermediate 1, 2, and three). The level there is, I think, really advanced, though I would not compare all the dancers to advanced pre-pro dancers, of course. However, most of the students on it are people who have danced all their lives, or at least for longer times during there youth - but it is possible for an adult beginner to get that far, too. It just requires a lot of work - classes at least 4-5 days a week, for several years - and some natural ability.


(For reference, the minimum time for a complete beginner on each level is one year, and most stay on some levels for longer - especially on int1, for some reason. Beginning pointe work usually starts at intermediate 1, though there are individual exceptions in the sense that some only begin later.)

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There is only one ballet company in Mississippi, Ballet Magnificat!; I am not interested in dancing there. I am looking at Alabama Ballet and Nashville Ballet but am also interested in companies farther away from home (MS). I would also be interested in dancing with a modern or jazz company, if it was ballet based and felt right!

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I am a late-starter ballet student. I started two years ago and recently felt I was not improving. I added an intermediate class to my beginner (almost intermediate) class. The goal I have is to get to pointe one day. Can I get there with two classes a week and working on my own at home?

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hi hope,

you sound just like me!

i think we can make it if we put the effort and work into training and have good teachers. There are others in my classes who are on pointe after a couple of years good regular technique classes.

cassy :D

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