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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adult students support group, Sept. 2005


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Guest plain-dancer

When I was reading the old old posts, I saw some threads like these, and they looked wonderful - just a little catchall where we can post tidbits about our classes and frustrations and stuff that you might not feel like starting a whole thread about. They tended more to the emotional than the technical (we should probably keep those in the regular non-buddy forum so that the experts can get to them quicker). I hope people like this idea!

 

Today was my second class. Going across the floor went much better than last week, and I felt much more secure. I think I did a better job of reminding myself that THIS IS JUST MY SECOND CLASS. Without using it as an excuse to slack off, it helped me relax a little. I think soon I might be able to learn how to be very self-observant without being self-critical. It's such a fine line!

 

I felt so good after class that I decided to take the Irish ceili dance class that came right after it. It was very fun, the people were lovely, (my partner was a charming old Irish rogue!) and I picked it up very, very fast (the music is in my blood. I've done professional Irish folk singing before, though I've never done the dancing). It was nice to feel accomplished after the strain of the ballet class, and I picked up some ideas about ballon that might travel over to centre next week. But 40 minutes into the class I "hit a wall" of fatigue. I think I pushed myself too much after a tough 90 minutes of ballet. I suddenly couldn't remember anything and was overheated (after all, you're basically hopping up and down non-stop). I watched most of the rest of class from the corner. It's something I'd like to learn, but I think I need to build up some endurance first. I think three straight hours of dancing might be a bit over-ambitious at this point! :)

 

(I thought I should edit this to clarify -- my studio is a strictly ballet studio, but after all the ballet classes are over for the night, they rent the studios to private dance instructors or groups for class or rehearsal. So after ballet is over there may be a salsa class going on upstairs, a modern dance company rehearsal going on across the way, and a ceili going on in the other studio.)

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Oh, yes, we used to have these, but then I felt everything got posted in other threads and stopped starting them. However, since someone else did, I'm going to give a report of my situation too. :blushing:

 

I'm back to classes after summer vacation break, second week this week. And oh, it's so hard. I noticed a funny thing that has happened before too: in the first two or three classes after a break I actually feel better than before the break, more able to "get into" the dance and to "let go" and feel the music and do the movements "full out" instead of very tentatively. After that, I start to notice all the little things I do wrong, and get much more stiff and mechanical and do not feel as much like dancing.

 

I suppose it is because in the first classes I think "who cares, I'm here after just a break, it's enough to just do something to get back to it" and after I really am back I start to try too much! Self-observant without being self-critical, yes, now there is a skill. I don't think I'm there quite yet.

 

(Three hours of dance does indeed require quite a lot of endurance, and Irish dance is very strenous! But you'll get there. :))

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I'm few weeks back to classes after summer break too, and for a change I'm not actively injured. (I still have to baby a hamstring a bit, but it seems generally fine as long as I don't penche and keep my legs under 120) I'll just have to be patient and not overreach myself again. It's wonderful being back in classes and having no pain. :)

 

My classes are going well; I'm having problems with the things I usually have problems with. After holiday I noticed my supporting leg is very turned-in in some movements. Have to work on that. I've also lost a lot of extension stength, but fortunately my hops on pointe have mysteriously clicked during my holiday. (We were practicing a bit of princess Florine's variation in repertory class.)

 

Yesterday I heard we're doing a bit of Giselle for Christmas recital with the performing group. The rehersals start next week. :blushing:

 

Päivi

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Guest Minna Laine

I just have to start my post by waving my hands happily: yesterday I was in class and we did our first pointe excercises ever! (Meaning that this was first time for me and for this particular class; most of the others had already done some pointe work.) It was great fun and left me wanting more :yucky: I also got complimented by my teacher about my foot position on pointe, go me :lol:

 

Of course, my life in ballet is not only roses and pointe work. Again I am working with my hyperextended knees which plie on their own if I let my guard down even for a second... I had an epiphany about my knees during summer and now I know much better what I should be doing with them, but it still takes a lot of concentration to actually do it :lol:

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I started taking an advanced contemporary jazz class. I've had an SI joint sprain for over 4 months now, and a lot of pain in the front of my left hip. I think some "cross-training" will be very good for my almost 30 year old body. All ballet all the time is too much for my hips. I think the jazz will help me become a more versatile, well-rounded dancer and performer.

 

I'm terrible at the class right now. The movements seem blurred and difficult to "put together". There's a ton of direction changes and I get confused. I'm lucky if I can link together a few moves...maybe 8 counts at the most. The rest of the time I stand there looking dumb and frustrated.

I've only taken twice...I'm sure I'll catch on eventually. There's no beginner level version so I'm basically going to have to suck it up and keep trying. I like the music, and the choreography is pretty.

 

The teacher told me that I have a good "feel" for the style (I thought I might!), but I look frustrated. Honestly, I probably look p*ssed off...but that's just the way I learn. It'll click.

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Guest plain-dancer

Lampwick - that's so interesting! I also tend to learn in spurts when I get mad...at least outside of dance. I won't be surprised if it shows up there too. But sometimes I'll be curled up on the couch with a particularly tortuous book of, say, poetry theory, with an absolutely murderous look on my face, and I'll scare my boyfriend, and he'll say, "hey, you want to put that down? Take a break?" And I'm all "What? are you kidding?! I'm finally getting it!"

 

Congrats on starting the jazz class, though! I've went to a few back in college and I was hopeless but really enjoyed the music, and the chance to ham it up a bit. (No offense to jazz dancers...that's just what *I* did!)

 

I'm really fighting the urge to take more outside ballet classes, because I've made a commitment to myself to do the whole 8 week course before I start adding anything on. But gah! It's only Thursday and I'm going crazy wanting to dance tonight. I'm trying to take my frustration out in stretches. :innocent:

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I have to vent a bit, because after yesterday's class I feel that I'm miserable and undevelopable [is that a word?].

I had this great teacher's class again (I couldn't go last week or Tuesday, so I've missed three of her classes), and we were only 6 students there. And no professionals this time.

 

Barre was decent, not great (especially with the speed of light done frappés+doubles+petits battements were impossible :pinch: ), but I suppose 60% was ok. And then adagio+jumps. :sweating::( I just can't believe how hard it is for me to dance. Teacher uses splendid music, steps are logical and reasonable, she's very encouraging and patient and asks me all the time if I've done something and gives me corrections and still: I suck. Really. When she's showing the combinations and is singing the music to make it even easier I think that well...I might be able to do it. And then when it's about to start and she's also dancing with us I realize that I lose it all. I don't know which way I should turn, which foot begins, and then everyone else has already done fouetté-turn, ballonné, a pirouette and I'm still thinking about that first arabesque. :ermm::dry:

 

I really have to do something with myself: learn to think differently or actually thought this morning about asking her to give me her combinations (or any combinations) on paper...Homepractise or mental training. I could try to remember things that way. I don't know if this is usually done and how (if at all) teachers make their notes, but I have to come up with something. :clapping:

 

I really want to improve and now I feel like a total disaster (which may be the truth... :rolleyes: ), so if there's something I could do I really want to do it.

 

***

 

Thank you for listening. :blushing:

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Guest Minna Laine

Jans, I know how you feel! I do not know any very helpful suggestions, but trust me, I know very well how you feel :clapping:

 

Personally, I have thought about home practise and thought about using some center combination we have done in class and doing that home, all by myself without pressure, time after time so that I don't have to anymore think at all what comes next and I could just dance, really dance through it. I haven't managed to get into that yet, though, being in flu and all, but I am curious if anyone else has tried something like that and if it has been helpful.

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Thanks for sympathy! :clapping:

Our Tuesday-Thursday -adagios are so long and complicated that I can't even remember them after class (and for instance yesterday we did at least three different ones plus jumps, so I get confused :dry: ), so no chance there that I could remember them when coming home. I guess that most of the students are doing fine don't think adagios are too difficult, so I think it's mostly me who is having problems. And I don't want them to be made easier just for me, because then majority would be frustrated.

 

I definitely want to continue with these classes because I believe it's true what one teacher once said: "ballet is after all about struggling and failing and sometimes after having done these two you get a moment of success". :pinch: She also said that it's better to take classes that are a little bit too difficult for you, where you really have to struggle and you can't do everything, because that's the only way for improvement.

 

The sad thing is, I suppose, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I've been "cheating" and what it really takes to learn ballet movements.

How easy it is to do tendu with 80% pointed foot and just bring your foot forward and how different it feels when you do tendu with 100% pointed foot, really extended leg and use the floor, brush with your foot. And once you get the point, you realize how you never had a clue before how certain movements should be done and should feel... :ermm::(

 

**

 

The other thing I thought about today is to contact the director of one of my schools and suggest some kind of dance/ballet workshop. The thing I have on mind is an afternoon (or couple of hours) when it would be possible to meet the teachers and discuss why movements/steps or combinations are done; if one has difficulties, what could be the reason and how to get over it; positions (directions, port de bras etc); maybe some terms and differences concerning schools/methods etc. Additional training (swimming, pilates etc) could also be discussed and perhaps there could be a dance-specialised physiotherapists to answer questions (injuries etc).

 

I don't know if this type of a workshop would be needed or would people think it's just some information they have no use for, but I thought I'll suggest it anyway. :rolleyes:

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Your idea for a workshop would be ideal, Jans, for learning steps you just can't get or for generalized knowledge that is usually picked up after attending class for a while in adult classes, but really drilled into you as a child, like directions and such. Good luck with that, you might want to bring it up to your fellow students to see if there would be enough interest before bringing it up to teachers/administrators.

My dancing is funny- I gained some weight recently from eating badly (I have a habit of eating things I'm sensitive/allergic to.) but I find myself moving easier and using my center better. After a couple years of just feeling off structurally, everything is pulling back together- I've pulled off some triples in both en dehors piroettes- both sides- and en dedans arabesque turns. Now if I can just shed the weight and stay on a low allergen diet I'll be golden! That and if I could afford my perfect pointe shoe!

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(I thought I should edit this to clarify -- my studio is a strictly ballet studio, but after all the ballet classes are over for the night, they rent the studios to private dance instructors or groups for class or rehearsal. So after ballet is over there may be a salsa class going on upstairs, a modern dance company rehearsal going on across the way, and a ceili going on in the other studio.)

 

I've been taking ballet on and off for the past couple of years, and just haven't found anything that suited the adult student. I dance hula, and over the summer it dawned on me that we have class at a ballet studio. And this whole time I hadn't attempted classes there! :P So sometime next month, I'm going to try a class at that studio. :D

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I just have a minute to reply, but I have my class tonight. I'm really nervous for reasons I talked about in another thread I started in here. I may drop in on another class on Wednesday, as long as I can make time for it.

 

I also broke down and ordered a real leotard, some dance tights and a couple other pieces of "real" dancewear earlier. I should have them next week and that's another source of anxiety. I'm just starting out and I don't exactly have a dancer's body if you know what I mean. But I've been wearing tanks and yoga pants to class and it's so hard to see what my legs are doing in pants. So I took the plunge and ordered the dreaded pink tights. Most adult classes around here have a pretty relaxed dress code, but I'm starting to think that might be to the detriment of the dancers if they want to be more serious.

 

And for the people talking about getting confused in classes, I'm right there with you all. I think sometimes it takes longer for the dancer brain to happen than it takes to actually learn how to do the moves in isolation. :) But isn't it fun to have those a-ha! moments?

 

So I need to get back to my work right now, but I just felt the need to pop in and blab for a second or two. Until later...

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Hi Amy!

 

I definitely understand your anxiety about wearing a leo and tights to class. I definitely do not have (and will never have ... but that's OK!) a dancer's body either. My advice would be to ease into the leo and tights if you are uncomfortable. Maybe wear the leo with yoga pants for one class, then move to tights and a leo with shorts or a skirt. You will dance your best when you feel the most comfortable so ease into it :)

 

Ashley

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Guest Dancing Duranie

Yeah.....I always wear the pink tights and the majority of the time a black leo........but then I'll wear dance pants or a skirt overtop of them. I don't feel so "naked" that way. :o

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Ah! A support group!

I've been so busy with crazy work that I don't know what I've missed more- going to class or reading BTFD! :unsure: Ok, it's going to class...

So, tonight, because of my crazy schedule, I decided to try out Kat Wildish's beg class at BDC... Yeesh! Kat's class is hard! It so does not follow any format of barre I've ever done (like demi, demi, grand, port de bras..) and she goes really fast and doesn't really explain- but I have to say... I'm really proud of how I did! :D

I did get one of her evil corrections that are more like a lecture of how bad you are- but I can take it. I asked her at the end if she thought this level was too hard for me, and she said absolutely not. I'm so excited.. I mean, it will be a challenge, but it also feels good. I am still figuring out arms for center etc..

Anyway, I hear Kat is the hardest of the beginner classes, and that if you stick with it, you can improve very quickly- This is my second "Beginner" level class as opposed to Basic, and I'm already shocked at how much stronger my pirouettes are. (still only singles.. )

just sharin.. :D

Sandi

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