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Adult Students Support Group, Nov. 2005

Guest kacy

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Since I didn't see it already up, I guess it's time for the next installment in the continuing saga of adult ballet.......Nov. 2005


I'm traveling this week and did not get to go to my standing M-W ballet class, but had the opportunity to take and Adult Basic class in Charlottesville, VA at Balletschool! this afternoon with Margaret Engle.


What fun!! I always feel very intimidated in new situations where I don't know anyone, but as I have urmm...matured......I find that if I just suck it up and push myself to do something, even if I'm a little uncomfortable, that I usually survive it!!


Today was just such a day - very nervous walking into the unknown class with the unknown teacher and students. Ms. Engle was very welcoming and put me completely at ease. The other students, 9 of us in all - who seemed to range from 20's to 60's - were fabulous and very friendly.


I'm so glad I pushed myself to do this. This will make my future "ballet travels" easier and something to look forward to. I highly recommend Balletschool! for Adult students.


Hope everyone has had a good start to their November!!

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ugh...im having such a problem with placement latley. Well....i have always had a problem with placement. I have such a problem with my shoulders, stomach, and back. I just cant get it right. I guess I'm not advanced enough to fully understand and execute correct pullup. I am pulling up...but then my ribs are out...and then sometimes im not "forward" enough. Its just complete jibberish to me. I was trained at a young age at a dolly dinkle where as long as you got the footwork right and you knew the combination for the end of year recitial (that we practiced for 8 months) you were good to go. My teachers and other more experienced dancers tell me..."you have it...and it would be easier...and look better...if you just..." And then they come over to me and start twisting me in all sorts of directions. They keep telling me that I have the thing they are talking about and I have the facility to do it but im not really sure I know what that "thing" is. My body just doesnt understand. Its so frustrating to try learn how to do something that you cant actually see...that you just have to feel. You can get the combinations perfectly but if your not placed right your going to fall over in adagio, your going to fall backward during turns and your just going to look bad. Ahhhh. Do you know how embarressing it is to have beautifully pointed feet and an envied extentions but then you try to execute a simple adagio move like a devleoppe in center and start wobbling? Also...my teacher has the tendency during big classes to do combinations in groups of three. So there is always at least ten people staring at me. Sorry if im rambling...im just so FRUSTRATED!

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For me, things seem to be better than beginning of October - not technique-wise, really, but I seem to have figured out a schedule that might work for me and motivate. I have also learned things about my preferences for classes, by trying out different ones with different teachers. It is getting brighter and I have recovered my motivation. Yay. :wink:

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kellylynn, might it not be worth asking your most trusted teacher to move you into place? Last week one of my teachers moved my upper torso/ribs into place (and I have not gotten a single other correction about that all week) and on Thursday another teacher moved my shoulders into place. I feel like I know now where those things belong. We'll see how it goes from here, but I have been getting variations on the "shoulders down/back; relax" for years now and never knew what to do with it. Now I feel like I do.


Also, for wobbling in adagio this is hellish, but very effective: I do a lot of the ankle proprioception exercises (whenever I think of it) stand on one leg and close your eyes, hold as long as possible. Recently I've "graduated" to trying developes to the front, side and back with my eyes closed. I've fallen over a few times (and I mean all the way over--be ready to catch yourself) and it seems to be helping.

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dido- thanks for the idea. I'll try that. Yeah i get "moved" into place all the time and its great but then my body goes back to the way it was. I was thinking of maybe just practicing adagio alot at home. Another tip I recived is that when your at the barre your hand should just be touching it...not gripping or else you will get to the center and fall. Also...every now and then take your hand off of the barre to check your balance. Ballet can be so hard. :P

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dissertation tiredness sneaking up.... those of you who've done this, how???? i keep telling myself just a few more months, but right now i'm :yawn::sleeping::wacko::blink:

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dissertation tiredness sneaking up.... those of you who've done this, how????  i keep telling myself just a few more months, but right now i'm  :yawn:  :sleeping:  :wacko:  :blink:


It's grind, grind, grind, in the last few months, I'm afraid. What they don't tell you is that doing a PhD is quite physically exhausting. It's not easy. I used to try to make the inevitable tension between teaching (I taught full-time at my University while I was doing my PhD) and research work for me - using teaching preparation to help inspire me and spur me on in my research and vice versa. And marking undergraduate essays really helped improve my writing style - mostly by reminding me what not to do!


Oh, and chocolate biscuits ...

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Thanks Redbookish. It is physically exhausting, you are right. It's like dragging myself out of bed and dragging myself back. Am taking a break for class tonight as I feel the need to Freak Out (add musical soundtrack too).


And actually, the teaching has been good to plug me back into the larger literature and what I'm trying to accomplish. It also helps me set my own time.


I just wish i had a nice shower or a good bath.


The other thing they tell don't tell you is that it makes you really wacky. My sense of humour has become really strange.

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Oh, the things my friends and I did in the last few months of our PhDs! One does go a little crazy. The other thing that helps is to swap notes regularly with friends and colleagues also finishing PhDs. I was lucky to be doing mine with a cohort of at least half a dozen fellow postgrads. We're still in touch 10 years later and still regularly swap notes about teaching & research! Bonding through pain!

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Dissertation writing is most often a horrifying, infantilizing process and if you have chosen a properly cutting-edge topic then you don't know for sure how long it will take, in hours or in months (unless you have a strict final deadline as I know some US programs do). Therefore the normal time management advice like "Divide the project into chunks and work backwards from your deadline" doesn't work very well, and isn't supposed to - you are supposed to learn what it feels like to bite off more than you can chew, and chew it anyway. At least that's my view from just having emerged from the other end of the process (with a monograph, and I know in many fields people do article collections which are a bit easier to control in some ways, harder in others since the editors don't necessarily care about your schedule).


I had three major pushes: the first submission attempt, which I missed - had to admit one chapter didn't work at all, throw it out and write a new one, the second submission attempt six months later, which I made, and the revisions nine months after that. Each meant four to eight miserable weeks of missing a lot of ballet classes and other fun things because I could not afford to interrupt my working momentum if it was there. But now it's done and I never have to miss class for the PhD again, except once or twice for the defense. Good luck, ami!

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I am going back to class this evening after missing all of last week and the Friday before.

My fever is down and my right foot/leg is not having much pain from some strained tendons (Peroneus group) which I don't even think came from class necessarily. I haven't been to enough classes in the last month to even know if it hurts while I am in there or not. I had some massage work that helped.

I think the change to street shoes for cooler weather may have played at least a contributing part. I am back in my orthotic sandals...with socks...to see what changes and threatening to get some of the orthotic oxfords I have seen at my chiropractors office. Not cheap but a real help with foot troubles.

I have feet that are shaped like a slice of pie (wide at the toes) and it looks like I am sickling even when I am not. I fight the sickling but I am not sure I really want feet like the pictures of top dancers I have seen a lot of lately either. Some are so arched and winged that the line of force from the hip and knee down looks way off, but opposite to the usual beginner trouble of inflexible feet.

Oh! for the perfect foot....and, and, and, the rest of the body.

If I am going to dream, I guess I will dream big.



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Last night we had a "guest" class from my favourite teacher - and it was so great to see her!


She is that rare person who is able to impose absolute discipline but still be nice at the same time - I have found that most teachers seem to be either terrifying or more informal.


She had everyone working on posture from the first exercise at the barre - and what a difference it made! She also had us doing stomach & back exercises. She actually gave me some individual corrections, even in a large class, and one of the general corrections she gave was one I had never even heard of before, so I had no idea I was doing it wrong!


It made me realise what I have been missing, that is the problem. Classes have generally been better lately, but I REALLY need the corrections in order to improve, otherwise I am just going through the motions and reinforcing my existing bad habits (of which I have many).


Only having a 1-hour class is still a pain, though - we didn't get through nearly as much as I (& she, I am pretty certain, judging by the way she kept checking her watch) would have liked to. 1 hour is just NOT enough at this level, there is no doubt about it.


My other gripe is that old chestnut - getting shunted to the back of the barre AGAIN! I deliberately stood in the middle, and everyone, as usual, came & stood in front of me & pushed me round to the back. WHY can't people accept that I have "chosen" my spot & go & choose their own spot elsewhere? (It's not like they stand in the same place every class, either.)


Being at the back means I have to go on the far end barre which is loose & rotates slightly. And it also means I can't see myself in the mirror, so how am I supposed to "self-correct" if I can't see myself?


Still, the good news is that she said she would probably be coming next week as well. It's so nice not to be invisible!



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Hello Jane - just a quick thought on the shunting problem. Have you tried not making eye contact with those who're invading your spot? And maybe standing facing the barre and swinging your legs as you warm up to create a space around yourself when the worst culprits approach? I speak as one who has developed many techniques for keeping my own place because I too hate this phenomenon! It doesn't always work - some people are just too brazen.

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