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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Aphorisms and assertions


Garyecht

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These apply to the adult ballet student. Agree or disagree as you choose. Ready? Something in an allegro tempo please. And a 5-6-7 and 8.

 

1. The solution to 90% of your problems in ballet is the same: be patient, take more classes, and practice more often.

 

2. Most of the time I know the technical things I am supposed to do. I just don’t seem to always do it.

 

3. Progress in ballet comes so slowly you hardly recognize when it happens. With sufficient practice, it does come, however.

 

4. I make the most progress when I take classes where most of the people in the class are better than me.

 

5. I can begin a class feeling tired and sore and leave feeling perfect; I can begin a class feeling great and leave feeling disappointed.

 

6. 90% of the students in a beginning ballet class will drop out of ballet classes within 5 years.

 

7. As an adult, I want to be unique—dress different, warm-up different, all the little things different.

 

8. The older you are, the more repetitions you need to learn to do a step or series of steps well.

 

Corrections?

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#2-- I've found that sometimes I *think* I understand a concept, but don't *really* get it until there's some kind of "ah ha!" moment, when I feel it in my body. Oh, THAT'S what she meant by such and such. These moments can happen suddenly, after struggling for a while.

 

It's true what you said though. I KNOW my right shoulder goes up when I extend my left leg. I know it, I can feel it, but I struggle to fix it.

 

#8--I see people (myself too I'm sure) practicing the same exact mistake over and over. Repetition can be BAD if you keep making the same mistake--you're only reinforcing a bad habit. It's important to figure out WHY you're falling out of a pirouette, and fix what you're doing, instead of repeating the same mistake.

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1. The solution to 90% of your problems in ballet is the same: be patient, take more classes, and practice more often.

 

Yes.

 

2. Most of the time I know the technical things I am supposed to do. I just don’t seem to always do it.

 

Yes and no. I often feel that it is so, but sometimes it happens that I find out that I only thought I knew. For all I knew, I might be wrong every time I think I understand something but just cannot make it happen. :o The "a-ha!" lampwick describes is very familiar.

 

3. Progress in ballet comes so slowly you hardly recognize when it happens. With sufficient practice, it does come, however.

 

Yes.

 

4. I make the most progress when I take classes where most of the people in the class are better than me.

 

No. When most people are about my level, with maybe a couple inspirationals thrown in.

 

5. I can begin a class feeling tired and sore and leave feeling perfect; I can begin a class feeling great and leave feeling disappointed.

 

Yes.

 

6. 90% of the students in a beginning ballet class will drop out of ballet classes within 5 years.

 

No clue. We are not even close to 90 % - I don't think we have even reached 50 % yet - if you take those people who started with me and did not drop out during the very first month (I don't count those, because if you just try a thing and decide it's not for you, that's not dropping out). Then again, we've only been at it a little less than four years. :angelnot:

 

7. As an adult, I want to be unique—dress different, warm-up different, all the little things different.

 

NO! Quite the opposite, classes are a break from having to think for myself and making decisions about how to do things.

 

I wish there was a dress code. I don't like "class-wear fads" and have about a dozen practically identical basic black leos to avoid thinking what to wear. And I don't want to warm-up myself, and I dislike it when we are asked to do improvised arms to bourrées or stuff like that (luckily does not happen often :huepfen:)

 

I think as a child I was way more into this "I'm an individual, I want to do things my way everywhere" than I am now. Probably because there were less opportunities to it then :ermm:

 

8. The older you are, the more repetitions you need to learn to do a step or series of steps well.

 

Not really. I need time to think about the steps, though; I find it harder to just see a thing and try it out without breaking it to peaces and "really understanding it" than I did when I was a child. Then again, this might be just because I have learned to think better, and as a child I just did not know how to go about it. I am only 31 though, so maybe it gets more difficult with time.

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As someone who has been dancing for quite awhile (as both a child/teen and as an adult), and lurking on this board for quite some time as well, this query spurred me to respond.

 

#1--Most definitely, especially for those of us who are new or who return each time with a new body.

 

#2--Yes, yes, and yes! The brain is fine, but the bod won't cooperate. And even when it's something I KNOW, like lampwick says, it's a struggle to consistently correct it. At this point, I can tell by the expression on my one teacher's face that I'm sinking into my hips again.

 

#3--Sometimes it's verrrry slow, but sometimes (perhaps because I returned as an adult rather than starting) it all comes back amazingly quickly.

 

#4--As long as the class is challenging I need only one other person who is better than me to give me inspiration. (Though a few would be good, too, for company and comparison.)

 

#5--Usually leaving class disappointed has to do with how well I turned that day, hmmm...

 

#6--Don't know on this one, but what I do know from my experience is that you need really good, shall I venture to say excellent?, teachers to retain adult students. Those of us who are obsessed will continue regardless, but I've seen good adult classes at reputable schools go under when teachers change. :lol:

 

#7--I actually prefer not standing out too much, especially in the class I'm taking with teenagers where I follow the dress code even though as an adult, I probably could get away with breaking the rules a bit. I just think that I shouldn't be exempt, and that it's better to set an example. When I know the class is all adults, though, I do get a little more creative. I kind of like the break from all of the decision-making I do all day, and welcome the familiarity of ballet class.

 

#8--I think there is a distinct advantage here for someone who is not an absolute beginner because muscle memory starts to come into play at some point as does good prior training/technique. Is it the brain that's slow to catch up here, or the body that's slow to follow? I have more trouble lately remembering a combination than doing it well once I've got the steps, but I usually blame that not on age but rather on my children who seem to have caused the occasional case of brain seepage! :wub:

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8. The older you are, the more repetitions you need to learn to do a step or series of steps well.

 

Not really. I need time to think about the steps, though; I find it harder to just see a thing and try it out without breaking it to peaces and "really understanding it" than I did when I was a child. Then again, this might be just because I have learned to think better, and as a child I just did not know how to go about it. I am only 31 though, so maybe it gets more difficult with time.

 

 

Hold out until you are over 40 to feel the need for extra reps of a new combination to get it. I didn't feel it at all in my 30's. Of course I was with people my age and may have been offered more reps to learn something than in my class with the college girls now. The new class moves pretty quick. I have to go write the steps down at the end of class and practice alone before I feel like I am keeping up with the younger girls. There is another woman in my age group there and that is a big help.

Laschwen

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Guest tutusenpointe

#4 is so true! there's just that extra motivation and friendly competition to do better. thats why sometimes private lessons might not be such a good thing afterall.

#6 is really accurate as well. i think i've had countless friends come up to me and say ' you know i did ballet when i was younger, i wished i hadnt stopped'. lol :)

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1. The solution to 90% of your problems in ballet is the same: be patient, take more classes, and practice more often.

 

YES!

 

2. Most of the time I know the technical things I am supposed to do. I just don’t seem to always do it.

 

Yes and no.

 

Often I think I know what I'm supposed to do, and how I'm supposed to do it. Yet I cannot demonstrate that knowledge in practice. I believe this is because ballet is a physical discipline, and knowing things in your mind is different from knowing things in your body.

 

For example, I know I'm supposed to engage the six deep outward rotators. I've known that since my first year. I can point those muscles out in an anatomy book. However it has taken me several years and several "lightbulb moments" to be able to associate certain physical sensations with having them engaged, and to being able to reproduce that feeling at will.

 

The point is, before I knew what I know now I thought I knew what I was supposed to be doing. After those realizations I still think I know what I'm supposed to do. But I also know now that what I think I know is probably still not exactly the correct thing. And, fustratingly, I cannot just hurry the process and understand the final, correct solution to feeling and doing it now. I just have to be patient and work at it, and hope it will slowly become clearer. :sweating:

 

3. Progress in ballet comes so slowly you hardly recognize when it happens. With sufficient practice, it does come, however.

 

Yes.

 

4. I make the most progress when I take classes where most of the people in the class are better than me.

 

I feel I make the most progress when I'm at an average level of ability for the class. However, I do not know if this is really true. I've noticed that my teachers' perception of my progress is slightly different than my own.

 

5. I can begin a class feeling tired and sore and leave feeling perfect; I can begin a class feeling great and leave feeling disappointed.

 

Yes and yes. I don't generally spend much energy on feelings about my current class performance, though. I'd just be fustrated.

 

6. 90% of the students in a beginning ballet class will drop out of ballet classes within 5 years.

 

I don't really know. Many beginners do drop out during the first few months. However, I'd hazard that those who stay with ballet for a few years are fairly likely to stay with it unless there is an external opposite influence. Having children is a common one for females.

 

7. As an adult, I want to be unique—dress different, warm-up different, all the little things different.

 

I do feel I need a bit different warm-up than some people. A day of office work stiffens my hips up pretty badly. I'd be perfectly happy in a class uniform, though. And I definitely do not want unique technique! :(

 

8. The older you are, the more repetitions you need to learn to do a step or series of steps well.

 

I haven't danced long enough to notice any difference in myself. There are some older dancers in my classes who are slower to catch new things than others, but then some who aren't. Generally, I'd say that those older dancers who catch things quickly have longer dance experience even if they are not technically significantly better than the rest of the class.

 

Päivi

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Help, what comes next?

-- practically everybody at one time or another.

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Well I have been studying for only two years, so keep that in mind with regard to my answers, but here are mine:

 

1. The solution to 90% of your problems in ballet is the same: be patient, take more classes, and practice more often.

 

AGREE!!

 

2. Most of the time I know the technical things I am supposed to do. I just don’t seem to always do it.

 

50/50. I'm a beginner student so on the things that I DO know, I try to do them all the time. So I would tend to agree. Obviously I have only been scratching the surface :D

 

3. Progress in ballet comes so slowly you hardly recognize when it happens. With sufficient practice, it does come, however.

 

Agree strongly.

 

4. I make the most progress when I take classes where most of the people in the class are better than me.

 

Disagree. This may be due to body type - but I am very long and flexible. And very tall. It seems that sometimes if the class is a bit "fast" for me I cannot engage the proper muscles and that is my focus. So (if left to my own preference) I prefer to work at or below my level in the interests of muscular development.

 

5. I can begin a class feeling tired and sore and leave feeling perfect; I can begin a class feeling great and leave feeling disappointed.

 

Agree, but not on the second part. I'm always happy, not that experienced yet :blushing:

 

6. 90% of the students in a beginning ballet class will drop out of ballet classes within 5 years.

 

Agree

 

7. As an adult, I want to be unique—dress different, warm-up different, all the little things different.

 

DISAGREE. I dress traditionally and, please keeping in mind that this is beginner study, I find it very difficult to "learn by watching others" when they have slogans plastered across their buttocks or obnoxious sayings on the front of their neon Tshirts. This distracts me, and a neon yellow tank top will grab my attention in the mirror every time. That's not why I'm there. Therefore, I prefer to see the whole class neat and unobtrusive - including ME :)

 

8. The older you are, the more repetitions you need to learn to do a step or series of steps well.

 

AGREE, although of course there is always that wide range of natural ability to consider.

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I agree with most of these, except for #4 and #7. I find that in classes where most of the people are better than me that I tend to get sloppy, because typically, the class is at a higher level and thus I am focused on putting my foot in the right place rather than good technique. As regards being unique, I am of the sort who doesn't like to stand out. I'd probably be happiest if we had a dress code.

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I have to say about #7 that I do enjoy asserting a bit of my own identity with class wear. Makes me feel more like an artist and less like a robot. I think it helps my dancing (which can tend to be robotic).

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1. Agree 100%. It's something you have to work at and be patient with.

2. Agree/Disagree. Sometimes you know what it's supposed to "look" like, but the way it may have been explained to you isn't clicking. Sometimes, I'll be struggling with something and then out of nowhere someone will say...."think of it this way," and then all of a sudden it just clicks and makes sense. So sometimes you just don't fully understand what you technicaly have to do and you have to go about it from a different perspective.

3. Agree completly. Sometimes you don't even realize it. It's not an overnight thing. Somewhere along the line you look back at the year and say....wow...i really did progress...and you haven't even noticed! Other times you may think you are progressing and you hit a new hight when really it could just be a glitch. Like your first double piroutte. You may nail it perfectly the first time and then you won't be able to do it again for a month or two...or three. It's still progress...its just one step forward and two steps back.

4. I disagree with this one. I think it's best to be in the correct level. So you are both confident and having fun, and also learning new things appropriate to your level and improving. When you take too much of an advanced class you may get discouraged and when you take too slow of a class you may get bored. I usually take my level and then once a week I will take a faster class. If I have taken a break for a week or two or I want to work on perfecting technique I'll go to the slower class. But my main classes are at my level. I also think that it's good to be in the "middle of the pack" in your class. That way you can still learn from others and be inspired and also do the same for the people less advanced than you.

5. I'm not sure what I think about this one. It depends on the day. But I guess it can be true. Sometimes I leave class and I'm tired and blah, sometimes I'm so invigorated I can't sleep, and then other times there is no effect at all really.

6. I do agree with this however, I don't know about after 5 years. I'm thinking more along the lines of five months. I've noticed that once someone has been doing ballet for sometime they usually don't quit...and if they do...they always come back....or wish they could. But there are tons of people that try it out for a bit and decide it just isnt for them. Thats why adult beginner classes are constantly changing.

7. Disagree. I think individuals (not just adults) like to warm up differently and like to dress differently, but when it comes to ballet as a whole it's generally the same. And thats one of the things I love about it.

8. I have no idea. I'm 25. I sometimes consider myself "old" in regards to ballet but my fellow ballet students who are pushing 40 laugh at me. I don't have the energy that I did when I was 10 but just like children....some adults catch on quicker than others.

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Guest milky

4. I make the most progress when I take classes where most of the people in the class are better than me.

 

Hmm...the crucial phrase here is "most of the people". If I'm the lower third, but not the worst, I enjoy learning from everyone above me. But it's a bit disheartening to be the lone one struggling.

 

5. I can begin a class feeling tired and sore and leave feeling perfect; I can begin a class feeling great and leave feeling disappointed.

 

I absolutely agree with this one...happily the ratio is 90 - 10 in favor of leaving feeling good!

 

7. As an adult, I want to be unique—dress different, warm-up different, all the little things different.

 

Oh, no. I spend so much of my life worrying about what to wear, I would love to have uniforms for adults! When I first started classes again last fall, I couldn't believe all the layers! I went home and told my husband, "they all wear so many clothes!". Now, of course, I'm rapidly acquiring layers of my own...

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