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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ideas for cheap entertainment

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Dear all, after surveying the prices at various dance studios, I found that it is too expensive for me to dance more so any ideas for cheap entertainment? Yoga classes are too expensive too.


I live in an highly urbanized area where local entertainment consists of dining out and shopping but both are obviously not options for the cash-strapped. There are lots of things to do (sophisticated urban pastimes like concerts etc) if you have the money but not if you don't.


I don't really get to socialize either coz my ballet classmates are 10 year-olds and they refuse to talk to me. Any ideas that combine cheap fun with socializing?


Have to go and buy veggies for tomorrow's Russian borscht soon. I cook but it's more of a duty than a pastime because I have to eat. I shop at a supermarket because there aren't any farmer's markets where I live...boring....and I have no car....

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I am confused :shrug: . Are you looking for a physical activity that will improve your dancing or are you looking for any activity that might increase your social span?


If you are looking for a physical activity, you could go to a gym and attend their classes perhaps? I have no clue about how things work in Asia, but over here we at least have "group training" as spinning, aerobics and step. There you would meet plenty of adults. Those activities are over here considerably cheaper than dance classes. (One year of dance classes, with three classes a week cost just as much as a one-year-membership card in one of the poshest gyms for the ritch and famous people over here :wacko: )

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A physical activity would be nice but it need not improve my dancing.I've done the sums for gym membership and it works out as somewhat cheaper than ballet at a private studio for the same number of classes per week but still not cheap even if it's one of the not so hip ones.


...and I already do ballet once a week at the cheapest place possible, the local community centre. A lot of local dancers look down on instruction at community centres but I simply cannot afford the more professional atmosphere and opportunities that a private studio offers. I tried to do Pilates at the community centre once but got burnt because the instructor disappeared halfway through the course without any notice. She just didn't show up to teach. I had to request a refund.


Because of that experience, I'm not personally impressed by courses at community centres. They're cheap but not really worth it. Years ago, I used to drop in for open aerobics classes at a gym. My experience was that people did not talk to one another and simply exercised grimly and fanatically. Since the classes were open, the faces changed every week too.


A complaint I have about local studios is that ballet is paid for in terms and even if you add more classes per week, the second and third classes don't really become cheaper. Plus no such thing as an unlimited dance card for ballet. There are unlimited dance cards for street dances, jazz but it works out as even more expensive than joining a gym and doing aerobics. For studios that run on a dance card basis, they stipulate you must use up the card within 3 months or so too.


Arghh, ballet is just so expensive! I dance in holey tights because I'm too skint to replace them.

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I am still confused.

Are you looking for something to do, just any activity (which it initially almost sounded like as you were talking about what people usually do in your environment: shopping and dining out) or are we talking about fitness or are we talking arts? Do you want to find an activity to get fit, improve your artistry, your knowledge or do you want to find an activity to socialize??


Pilates IMHO should not be taught by somebody who has only done a crash-course. If you are going to do Pilates, you should do it one-to-one for the first sessions, which over here means at least the triple price of a (already expensive) dance class.


Why didn't you do regular classes of Aerobics instead of open classes? Also, you have to give it time. Sometimes switching gyms/studios can help since you'll meet new people.


Reading books, surfing on the net and doing ballet classes was all I did when I was a student and on a tight budget. (Now I have the means but not the time :shrug: )


Anyways, I suppose it is really difficult for me to give you any advice since I am living in a very different type of society where the prices seem to be very different from many other parts of the world.

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Sakura, we too dance in holey tights and leotards, and of course ballet shoes! you need holes in your ballet shoes :shrug: Ballet is an expensive sport ( I use the word sport as I think it is, others don't). It aways ha been and always will be. I've known young dancers startingout at their first ballet scool at 16 having to hold down at leats two jobs just to get through! I was amazed at their stamina!


Anyway, back to your problem. Sakura, where in Asia do you live exactly? This may help others in helping you. Asia is a HUGE place.


You mention that the area in which you live has lots of shops. Are these shops good for looking in and trying things on? I just spent 4hours today walking around my town finding new shops I never knew existed, and trying on garments and testing out things. I didn't have to buy anything, and boy it gives you a workout! Hey I know it's not soemthing to do everyday, but it's fun!


I am surprised there are no free concerts or plays. Having colleges neaarby, usually means that they will put on a concert or play every now and again and sometimes these are free or very very cheap, so students can afford them.


Once you let us know where exactly you do live, we cna help. And besides, why do you need a social life when you have ballet and this board? ;)



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Don't know where in Asia you are, but how about taking part in traditional dance practice sessions in parks and on street corners?


In every Chinese city I've ever been to (even in remote provinces), there are Chinese dance sessions taking place in the late afternoons/evenings, nearly every night on certain street corners or in parks (they're so noisy with loud music you can't miss them). Anyone can really join in - although the bulk of the people are women - you could join several groups. If you're recognisable as a foreigner, other people will really enjoy watching you learn their dance. There'll be an instant audience. :party::shrug:


It seems like a fabulous way to socialise, meet people and see into the performative elements of the culture. Also, it would help improve your language skills (although I sense you know the language where you're at anyway). Plus, it seems that you're not expected to splash out on anything for these street dance sessions. Just wear street clothes that let you move for the practices (performances might require special clothes). :)


Plus in the early mornings and evenings there are all kinds of exercises (yoga, walking etc.) that people living in Asia do in parks. :hyper:


I imagine you'd find a similar situation in Singapore and probably even Japan (maybe with less noise there). :)


If you go further north into Asia, it'll become more difficult to find these things (but not impossible). Further south it should become more easy. There are so many different kinds of dance and dance-like activities in that part of the world, with beautiful traditions. :wacko:

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Sakura, I understand how frustrated you probably are. Right now, the only work I've found is a part time job in a store.


I have a Master's degree, I'm very smart, and know how to work hard. And I can't find work.


I haven't been able to eat properly for days and the only classes I can take are the free ones I get because I'm an apprentice in the company attached to the school. These classes normally coincide with my work hours. VERY frustrating.


Today I have the day off. I would have loved to take a class at another studio with a teacher I adore, and get a nice lunch afterward. Instead, I'm drinking day old coffee with green, decorative sugar in it (because I ran out of regular sugar). I'm mad because I woke up and discovered my roommate ate my banana (I was saving it for my oatmeal). Can't even afford to do my laundry because I need the cash for the subway tommorrow for work.


I don't feel lke going out and trying to find free concerts and "fun" things. I'm sure there's plenty of that stuff. But I'm hungry and angry.

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I developed the habit of walking everywhere when I was a student with no money - one great trip was Rome, staying with a friend, eating one good meal a day (usually pizza), and walking everywhere. I still walk around a city even when travelling on business and able to afford taxis. My own city, London, is fantastic for exploring on foot, all kinds of people to meet and places to discover. I'm training son number one in the same habit now. Anyway, it helps with general fitness.

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That's a great idea for Sakura. Now that you say it, my legs were never very muscular as a teen. I danced as much as I do now, but always drove everywhere. I think walking around in the city for many years (up and down the stairs to the train especially) is probably the reason I have more muscle now.


And it's fun to people watch on park benches, too. Note how many people look like thier dogs.

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Knock, Knock I had an idea that perhaps you could barter for dance classes. In return for assistance at the front desk, some schools will allow you to take classes for free. You should definitely look into it.

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I quite like to do pilates-in-the-park or I suppose you could call it 'grass barre'. Basically all you need is a mat (I find a small one as long as your back is fine) and a park and some warm, dry weather.


I use a brisk walk or cycle ride to warm up first and choose a nice spot away from any wind and preferably under a tree. It's a perfect excuse to basically roll around on the ground and lie on your back gazing up at the sky ....while strengthening your core at the same time! Just make sure to have plenty of warm layers and leave out anything too 'stretchy' or if there is a stretch don't push anything, leave that sort of thing for indoors. Just a gentle (but still focused) work out in the fresh air and sensing nature all around. It's a great de-stresser or 'mood lifter'..... and completely free, of course. :)

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sakura, i know exactly how you feel...after all, we live in the same place!


i have a gym membership at one of the larger gyms here (it was on offer for employees when i was with my last company, so i just went ahead and splurged) which would be expiring in a couple of months, and yes, i agree, we do just exercised "grimly and fanatically". but for me, that's the only way i can get home before 10pm. but i've decided that after my membershop expires, i would look into taking inline skating classes at east coast park...it seems like a new way of exercising and meeting new people :blushing:


i used to take classes at the studios, and yes, the classes are really expensive. but you can do drop-ins, so you go only when you have the cash to. i did that for a while when i was a student and broke...

about the card time limit issue, i note that many of the dance studios do close one eye if you use a card that's more than 3 months old...i've used cards that were about a month older than they should be.


if you're interested in concerts, the local symphony orchestra has concert tickets going for less than $20 if you don't mind sitting in the higher levels...i got tickets for a concert for less than $15. if not...there's always window shopping, after all, the sale is on :o or, if you don't mind...i suppose you could always follow the crowd and watch the world cup :D


maybe we should meet up and see if we can start a ballet meetup group here! :thumbsup:

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It always strikes me as odd that exercise comes so expensive. After all, for exercise, all you need is your own body, which you've got already. And a floor - but in some places that can be expensive.


But assuming that you can get some space, is there any chance of putting a group of like-minded people together (local advertisements) to do some activity together? If there are at least two of you, why not give each other ballet classes? Not as good as a fully qualified teacher, but some value nonetheless.


Actually I do something like that with yoga classes with a friend. Not because there arent classes available (which we go to anyway) but because they dont have the style and level which we like. What we have found, is that, even though there are only two of us, the "leader" runs it like a real class, with a plan, and organisation, and so on. Otherwise it just becomes messing around. And its entirely free!



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Difficult topic because there are several themes running together. Let me deal first with the notion of professional versus amateur in dance (or any activity for that matter). Professionals are tied to what they do, monetarily, emotionally, ethically, and in terms of life style. The professional does what he or she has to do to practice the profession. An amateur activity is something done after one has taken care of one’s basic life. An amateur likes to do an activity, but recognizes that the activity is secondary to living an overall satisfying life.


This distinction is important I think because it does really tell you want you need to do when facing a financial crunch related to dance. If you are an amateur and lack funds to simply pay for classes, the obvious solution is to try and increase your income. You may have to take time off from dance to do that. Being a student is a prime example. But with diligence and effort, you will eventually get to a place where you are financially secure enough to recreate in ways that you enjoy. There is a time for everything. It just may not be tomorrow.


Now, assuming I had zero money, really enjoyed dance, and wanted to do something related to dance, what would I do?


Well, I think jimpickles idea of getting people together is excellent. You might even explore other dance forms in addition to ballet in your get togethers.


From a physical point of view, again jimpickles is dead on. You need nothing special to exercise. Take long walks and afterwards do some Pilates exercises, push-ups and stretching. Don’t have time for long walks, then run instead of walk. No money is needed to be in good physical condition.


From the artistic point of view, dance is just one art form. And I swear all the art forms are interrelated. Developing your artistic sense in one form will affect you in another. Most people have access to a library. So read about all the arts—visual, music, theater. Read about dance too. Perhaps something will give you an idea. If you live in a city, there are always fee artistic events—concerts, performances, receptions. I mean the supply of would-be artists by far exceeds the demand, so many would-be artists do their thing for free. Usually, you can find out about those things from newspapers or hand bills posted wherever potential audiences might be.


Above all, think. Dancers are supposed to be creative people.

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