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I want to restart, but where to begin?

Guest JB5376

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Hello All! :speechless:


This is my 1st post, I have looked over the board and I am really impressed with the knowledge that is displayed here. So let me now stop rambling and get on with things.


I am 29 years old, and live in Washington, DC and have been out of ballet for quite a long time now (16 years). I took ballet classes from the ages of 2-13 and stopped right before I was to began pointe classes. For years now I have wanted to get back into the swing of things, but I have talked myself out of it each and every time (I'm to old, and have lost alot of my flexablity). Now I have a 7 year old DD that has begun ballet classes and I can no longer control the impluse to dance.


Now I have no idea where I need to began. I would love to fullfill my dream of going en pointe. I am aware of the amount of work that it takes, but with the amount of time that I have been away I only hope that it is possible.


I have a couple of questions that I feel that I should post here before I began.


1. What level would be appropriate for me to began with?

2. What is a "drop in class" and would it be a good idea to take these?

3. How many classes a week should I be taking to prepare myself for pointe work?


Sorry about the lenght of my post but I have been wanting to talk with someone about these issues for a long time.

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Welcome and here is a list of questions for you?


Is there much choice for adult classes where you are?

How much will your body tolerate at first?

How many classes can you afford time and moneywise?


I am starting again myself. My classes are sort of drop in. They are more given than taught so a cold beginner would be lost even though one day a week is called beginner. You might visit a few classes to see what you like and what level/s the teachers would put you in assuming there is a choice of schools and levels you can get to. If there were three classes offered each week I would go. On the way home last night I was wishing to myself that I could go every day. Of course today I could hardly get out of bed for being so sore...I am 44 and think I am falling apart sometimes. Then I go back and I feel better. Advil for breakfast occasionally is a small price to pay.

Good luck with your research and enjoy your return.



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Hi there JB5376 - Welcome! I am a new post-er too and take classes in DC.


There are tons of great places for adults to take class in the DC metro area. Go to the "Pre-Professional Schools, General Discussion" topic and there's a thread Ballet Schools in Washington DC-Adult classes. To name a few - Washington Ballet, Joy of Motion, Arlington Center for Dance, MD Youth Ballet, Alexandria Ballet, KMAB, and the list goes on. Most have websites with levels, schedules and costs.


I think the important thing for you if you're serious is to get to a class, any class. Walk in and do it. Many places have choices of registration methods - trial classes, class cards drop in, and enrollment. Start slowly, don't put to much pressure on youself (about the pointe piece), it'll come - just get back in the game.


As far as a level, pick some level in the middle ("beginning II, advanced beginning") or just start with a class you think might be too easy just to see how you feel, and any "muscle memory" you retained. It's always a better feeling to start easy and move up, then to start with a class that's too hard, get discouraged and not attend or feel frustrated and struggle in a class that's too complicated.


Good luck, stay positive - get yourself a new leotard and shoes and have fun!

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Thanks for the quick replies :unsure:


I have found about 3 schools that are close to my home, one of which my daughter will be attending in January.


I am not sure how much my body can handle let just say over years I have become very physically unactive. That is one of the reasons that I want to return to class. I loved the way my body was toned when I was dancing and staying active.


I have 2 free nights a week to take classes and the drop in classes are around $15.00 a class so that is a good thing, but what are some of things I should be looking for in a school? I know to run if they ask me to get pointe shoes :D


Pink Tights I know what you mean when you talk about your daughter wanting your input. Ever since my daughter started classes she wants me to help her go over things that she has learned in class. The first time I have done a tendu in years, I looked and thought, where did that beautiful turn out I used to have run off to.

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Hello JB, and welcome :unsure:


Don't expect to remember a lot a first, as you were quite young when you stopped. I would actually suggest starting with a beginner class, and work up to Adv. Beginner or Int. after a while. The more classes you can take, obviously the sooner you will advance. As far as pointe, I think that is not something to think about right now. You will need to be in at least 3 classes a week, at an Int. level, for quite a while before you will think about that.


The schools mentioned about all have good adult programs. Maryland Youth Ballet has a large number of classes, both morning and night. Washington Ballet has some evening classes, but not a large number. There is a morning open class, but it is quite advanced.

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Thanks for the info the kboose (I love the name, it's great) I have been leaning towads Joy of Motion, that's where my daughter will be going in January. I think I like the idea of starting with a easy level to just see where I am at now, and move up from there.


Thanks for all the input it is really appreciated :unsure:

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Guest sally-mandy

JB5376: I, too, was motivated to go back to class after seeing my daughter take off in hers (in fact, for the time being I am IN a class with her!!)


If you want to get back in shape and if money or time are limited, you might consider doing some strengthening and toning at home in addition to your classes. I've been doing the NYC Ballet workout video a couple times a week to build strength. It's very helpful, and even just watching the dancers' form is helpful. Also, on other threads, many people have commented on the value of adding Pilates or yoga on non-class days, the first to build "core" strength, and the second to help with flexibility.


Reading books from the library helps with the mental understanding of techniques I learned as a kid. For me, it can be hard to feel committed when one has a young child (or children) and other responsibilities, but it's encouraging to think that even on days when we can't go to class, we can work on or learn something that will move us along.


Good luck!

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I was also a bun head in my childhood. I was on pointe for about a year...didn't really do much on pointe though when my family moved and I traded dancing for my new friends and boys. :P Of course...throughout highschool and college I always had that urge to get back into again but didn't think that one can do ballet after childhood unless they were a professional. The amazing thing is that you CAN! Like everyone else has said...don't force it. Start out slowly. You will be suprised to find that your teachers will know that you once danced. It sorta...stays with you in a way. There is a difference of technique level between a true adult beginner and a "re-beginner." You may be a little frustrated at first because you won't dance as well as you once did but it will come back. Muscle memory is amazing. Start out with the easiest level you can find and promote yourself accordingly. And as for the pointe thing: It's a wonderful goal to work up to. I can honestly say though, after being back a little over a year at an average of 3 classes per week I am still not anywhere near the strength it takes to feel comfortable on pointe yet. I actually own a pair of pointes and after a few minutes of "messing around" and trying to get my knees straight I vow to go to class as much as I can to work up to it. It's almost like my little tool to motivate myself. I put on those shoes and after looking at how wonderful they look on my feet and then being dissapointed on how I can't actually dance in them yet makes me want to drop everything and run to class. And I'm even a few years younger than you and I have the legs, feet, and arch for ballet. It takes some time as many will tell you. You many find that it may take even less time or more. But if you stay at it, it is a very attainable goal. Good luck and keep us updated.

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... your teachers will know that you once danced. It sorta...stays with you in a way.

Absolutely true! I'm a late starting real-beginner, but many adult students at my studio are re-beginners. You can tell. Even those who only took for a year or two, when they were 7 or 8 years old, have a certain something, which I don't realistically ever expect to get.


And to the extent my experience is relevant, I still take the absolute beginner class; just starting my third year. I'm taking 2 or 3 more advanced classes (well, less retarded classes!) as well, but getting the simplest basic moves correct, and making that habitual, takes me a long time. I feel I am learning as much every quarter in that class as I ever did. And I find it just as satisfying as ever.


I admit, the re-beginners generally zoom past me! :P

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Most places have a level called "Beginning 2" which is a good starting point--you can adjust up or down from there as needed.


Others have already listed the major DC-area places that offer adult classes.


I know Joy of Motion has several locations--the one in Bethesda shares space with Maryland Youth Ballet, which has tons of adult classes. There I would recommend Beg. 2.


I returned a few years ago after nearly 19 years away. Muscle memory is a remarkable thing.

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... your teachers will know that you once danced. It sorta...stays with you in a way.



I admit, the re-beginners generally zoom past me! :)



You can stand next to me at the barre. I am not zooming past anybody. I can affirm that the teachers do know. The one I had Friday told me I had done very well. Of course the mirror I was looking in told me different but I appreciated the comment.



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Guest marathongirl

Hi JB5376 - I too just started back (after 28 years, last having danced when I was 12 (on point for about 6 months)) and am hooked again. But it is amazing how much I have forgot. :) I go to the Arlington Center for Dance and love it, and I love the idea of enrolled classes there - we started together and are progressing together. (They use the first class to see where everyone is and then go from there) And the teachers are great! I started with two classes at beginner II - the level is a bit hard, but I would suggest starting at a level like that. And I've been using my make up classes to take a beginner I class - this has worked great, having both levels, so that is an idea, try two levels. Next semester I think I'm going to enroll in 3 classes a week at least! I've gone to Joy of Motion in Dupont on Sunday and like that class too, Ballet I (similar to my ballet II at ACD). Someday I plan to check out the classes at Maryland Youth Ballet and Washington School of Ballet on Sat to add to my weekly classes but haven't the time yet. Hope this helps. If you want more info let me know. I've done a bunch of reserach. :wink:

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I took an Intermediate level class at Arlington Center for Dance before an audition and found the atmosphere charming. The class was very good too. It seems to have a more individualized atmosphere than some of the major studios, where one (especially a beginagainer adult) can easily get lost in the crowd and not learn much. I'm picky about quality, and was pleased with the class i took. It was short (an hour and 15 minutes maybe) and started late, but the teacher really knew how to fit everything in. The only problem I had was the price ($17 for and hour fifteen minute class) :angry: I take in NYC from famous teachers for less than that.

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