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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Those Silly Kiddos...


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I've been taking classes with kids since January and I am really glad I made the decision to do this. I am really enjoying preparing for the Spring performance (we do the corps part for the Summer Fairy in Cinderella).


Since the class is so structured I haven't been able to get to know the kids. Now at rehearsals in downtime I really have. One of them provided me with the most amusing thought. Our studio has a black leotard, pink tights dress code for the intermediate level. You can wear warmups in the winter- at the beginning of barre... its cold here- but the studio maintains that a dancer distinguishes themselves through work, not clothing. Turns out, many of the girls in my level cut holes into their tights to make them look "cool." Fancy warmups must not be enough ;)




(The other entertaining fact is that in a group of 8-12 year olds I am in the front of a column because I am the 2nd shortest of the group!)

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Cut holes into tights??!!


I have never done something like that when I was a "kid" (if I did my mum would literally kill me), and especially not now when I appreciate how much hard work and sweat I have to put in to earning every penny I have......


I guess this is something you will only truely understand when you have had to wait for your next payday to go to the dancewear store....

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My mother would have killed me as well!


I think this started because one day one of the girls was trying very hard to hide a hole in her tights (she was standing like she really needed to use a bathroom between every barre exercise) and the studio owner was teacher our class moved her leg warmers and showed that her tights have holes in them... and holes are something a dancer earns with hard work.


Thus, rather than work hard, cut the holes and make it look like you worked hard! (Or maybe just older girls= good dancers. Older girls=ratty tights therefore good dancer=ratty tights)


Either way I have one pair with a run and it drives me crazy, but I can't afford to replace them yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread made me laugh out loud!


When I was dancing in college (which was only a few years ago), our ballet teacher commented one day on how silly that we all seemed to think wearing ratty clothes to class was cool. Being college students I figured it was a mental trick, dance longer and harder, rattier clothes (also it was cheaper). I also figured it was a left over from our childhoods, growing up in the 80's I know beat up leg warmers were fashionable (from Flash Dance?).


I think it's too funny that kids still think the same things! They don't have a movie to blame.


Thanks for the laugh!

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Guest prokofiev

I can relate...


Our studio does not allow the "ratty" look in class, even among advanced students, but there is a big aura around excessively worn technique slippers. (I was sooooo excited when I wore my first holes through the canvas! Yes, I am exactly twice the age of the next oldest student... :clapping: ) The advanced girls avoid new-new technique slippers like the plague, although a shiny pair of new pointe shoes always garners ooohing nad aaahing. I can't figure out the trends, but was psyched to have my 'trophies' proclaiming how hard I was working into the floor! :thumbsup:

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I can relate to being one of the shortest! I am always the shortest unless there are 9 or 10 year olds involved, and I wear the smallest shoes too. I am 5'2 1/2" (yes I DO count the 1/2" lol). It is nice to meet short people like me b/c then we are on the same eye level...I am forever looking up to talk to people!


I can't believe those kids are cutting holes in their tights! I know some places make you sew the runs/holes in your tights so that they don't show.... :thumbsup: The things kids do to stand out are our studio are wear fancy earrings, wear leg warmers/tank tops, wear head bands. At least they aren't tearing anything up like those kids are ruining their tights!


That's great you're getting to be in Cinderella! We did it a few years ago. It took me a little while before I liked the music and choreography b/c it is, I believe the term is, neo-classical. But I did grow to love it! I was one of the couples in the ballroom scene.

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  • 2 weeks later...

:ermm: This thread makes me laugh... I have a pair of tights which I had just purchased and put a run into. Well I grabbed my pink thread and needle and darned the run. The end result are my Frankenstein tights. I love them. I get compliments on them.


I call them my "pinkensteins". They have a new run, I'll have to darn them too.


Who needs holes when you can have lots of ugly pink thread running up them? Right on the front and across the kneecap. Maybe a new trend will develop - tights badly darned.


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Let me just say a word about Bobby's sig line. It is taken from Sir Winston Churchill's excellent address to the School at Harrow in 1941.


Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.


It should be a touchstone for every dancer, of whatever age.


At his 90th birthday (1964), Sir Winston was asked for his advice to Britons much younger than himself, and he said, still understanding the niceties of language:


Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never, never give up!

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Enjoy your time with the kids. I'm sure they will enjoy you as well. This year DD's school had two students from the adult class join them for Nutcracker. DD wound up sharing a role with a 40 year old woman who had never performed before, but happened to be about the same size as her. She became DDs understudy for one of the corps roles. The adult was very nervous about the whole thing and DD, at 12, sort of became her mentor through rehearsals, dress rehearsals, etc. In the end, they decided to share a dressing table through performances, exchanged merde gifts, helped dress each other and DD spoke of the adult as one of her new best friends. I complemented the woman on how much my daughter had enjoyed her, and the woman said, "I could never have done this without her". It seemed very mutual. I don't know why, but there was something so wonderful about the whole thing!

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:ermm: Mel,


Thank You for that expanded explanation of Churchill's famous quote. It has been my touchstone for about 18 years, and has sustained my willpower through some of the most difficult moments in my life. It sits on my desk and I look at it every day, there is something about that statement which moves me.

It reminds me that life is short, fleeting, and in constant change, and the only thing we have in our control is ourselves and our ability to perservere through whatever life tosses our way. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.


You are mahvelous. :)

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I can relate to doing class with younger girls (I am 28, I ll be 29 in June) and most of the girls are like 13-15. They don't do strange things with their outfit though- We don't have a dress code, but the teacher might get a bit angry if she sees someone trying to get attention in that sort of way.

I enjoy taking class with younger girls, because they are much less competitive than people my age (strangely enough, I have discovered that even adults that do not have -or could not afford to have- any intention to become professionals or even to distinguish in class, tend to be very competitive as to who will get a solo at the performance, whose part is harder and so on). Plus they enjoy giving advice because I guess they like being asked questions by a person my age :) .

We are doing the corps de ballet for Sleeping Beauty (we are supposed to be the fairies that accompany the Lilac fairy - I am not sure if that's exactly what happens in the Prologue of the particular ballet) and it 's a relief that all the dancers are young, because I firmly believe that you can rely on that they are not going to mess it up (as an adult I know that the older you get, the harder it is to remember every single step, even after 1000 rehearsals!)


And let me just say that I really liked Mel Johnson's post about Churchill.

A wise simple piece of advice !

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