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Ballet Talk for Dancers
dancingjet

Anyone here START ballet as an adult?

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dancingjet

I am 35 and will be taking my first EVER ballet class in a couple of weeks! :):) I think I've always harbored a secret desire to learn ballet, and I'm not getting any younger. My DD seems to have such fun with it that I thought, why not?

 

Did anyone else here start as an adult? Any tips for a total beginner who is telling as many people as she can so that she can't chicken out?

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hart

JETandGES

 

Congratulation on the courage you are showing! Yes. there are a ton of people on this board who started as adults, including myself. Ballet is a lot of fun, but it also one of the hardest physical endeavors on the planet. I would encourage you to be patient and have fun. It takes a long time before things start looking all right, so learn how to identify and celebrate small successes so that you can encourage yourself along the way.

 

Best wishes!!

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Hans

JETandGES, you will find a pretty good-sized community of adult beginners here, so you have come to the right place! I'll let others speak about their experiences, but I recommend the Joffrey Ballet-Fit book (available via the Amazon link at the top of this page) as a great resource, as it is designed for adult beginners. Congratulations on starting to learn this beautiful art form!

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minty

Go for it !! I started ballet at 24, never did it before, was super inflexible, and enjoy it a lot now ; I even have one of my splits.... so good luck ! :)

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kasaba
I think I've always harbored a secret desire to learn ballet, and I'm not getting any younger.

 

JETandGES, I started two years ago at age 47 and am so glad! I will never be a great dancer; but the physical conditioning has been very beneficial, the new friends and the intellectual challenges are great, and the small victories have taught me to enjoy the process as much as the product. Most important, I have learned how to learn something new. I wish you all those things and more.

 

So go for it! As my mama once told me: "You're gonna be 40 anyway!" :)

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jazzyme

Congratulations! It's very admirable to pursue something you've always wanted to do. And rewarding! I can't count the ways my life has changed since I made my late start in dance. Like you, it's something I always wanted to do, but when I was younger we could never afford it. It's made such a difference.

 

Best of luck to you! :)

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Sabastianni

I started about 5 years ago at age 36 and now I've been on pointe for 2 years. It just started out as 1 hour a week with some other adults but I couldn't get enough. So I kept taking more and more classes - even with the younger kids. It's such a big part of my life and I think of how many years I wasted thinking I was too old.

 

I only recently found this message board but I've become addicted to this, too. The wealth of information is amazing. There is something to learn every day and I really do check it daily except when I'm traveling for work.

 

Ballet is wonderful but to learn it takes a long time and a lot of practice. You have to enjoy the journey because you never actually reach the destination. Even beautiful professional dancers have to keep practicing because perfection is not really attainable. You can learn a step but you will continue to work on that same step for years to continuously perfect it to new levels.

 

Enjoy!

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Jans

Welcome to BT JETandGES, and congratulations; you have made a good decision! :thumbsup:

 

Others have given you already great advice, and I too would say that have patience and/but have fun! Ballet can be extremely frustrating and difficult from time to time, but it's also lot of fun, and when you do get something right, it's just so rewarding! :lol:

 

I'd like to recommend to you also another book besides the one Hans suggested: Ballet Basics by Sandra Noll Hammond, and it's also available via Amazon.com -link :P Its latest edition seems to be from Aug 2003.

 

I noticed that the author has also written another book called Beyond the Basics, and although it's quite old (1982), I think I'm going to order that if it's any good. If anyone knows/owns this book, please feel free to give your opinion, if it's worth ordering etc! [On the other hand, I think that almost every book is worth owning and/or reading :thumbsup:]

 

Ps. JETandGes, you will notice that BT is a really supporting community, so you can also make new ballet friends!

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Fiz

JETandGes, and Kasaba, you have inspired me to go back to my unending search for an adult class. I'm 48, but do have some dance experience (not as much as I would like!). I've been trying and failing for ages to find a UK adult dance teacher and had given up, but you've made me want to try again! Thank you! Fiz. xxx

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dancingjet

Thank you everyone! I think if I can get past my first class jitters I'll be OK. DD helped me with attire yesterday, so now I'm invested in this whim of mine. ;)

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BarreTalk

The hardest step in ballet is the first one through the studio door.

 

Many of us started ballet as adults. Welcome to the club. Keep us posted on your progress and thoughts. We are here to vicariously share your journey and help you avoid stepping in the puddles.

 

Ballet isn't easy to learn at any age. As an adult you will face additional challenges as you try to convince your body to do something different than it has been taught your entire life. Don't give up! Some days in class you will feel like a total klutz and you'll feel like you can't even walk without falling on your face. Work through that period by taking as many classes as you can each week (2 minimum, 3 even better).

 

Soon you'll start seeing progress. You'll be able to do something that always baffled you before. You'll pick up combinations and be able to remember what comes next. Then the fun begins as you try to pick up new steps. You'll never master everything, so the journey itself is the joy of ballet.

 

 

 

My DD seems to have such fun with it that I thought, why not?

 

Be very conscious of how your DD perceives you joining into HER activity.

 

It might become a great mom and daughter thing to do together, but she might also be embarrassed if her friends see you dancing at a level below their abilities. Kids think adults already know everything and that learning new skills is a kid's thing. You are going to burst that balloon which could be hilarious to them. You might have to take class at a different studio or entirely different times than your daughter's classes.

 

Just something to keep on your parental radar.

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dazedandconfused

My DD would threaten to kill me and tell God I died if I made any attempt to set my foot in the classroom door. My hat is off and many merdes to any who are brave enough. :P

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dancingjet
Be very conscious of how your DD perceives you joining into HER activity.

 

It might become a great mom and daughter thing to do together, but she might also be embarrassed if her friends see you dancing at a level below their abilities. Kids think adults already know everything and that learning new skills is a kid's thing. You are going to burst that balloon which could be hilarious to them. You might have to take class at a different studio or entirely different times than your daughter's classes.

 

Just something to keep on your parental radar.

Interesting. For now, I'll be at a different studio, and DD knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is better than me, more flexible, etc. She's also,at the moment, happy for me. I don't think there will be any balloons bursting where that is concerned, at least not for now. If I ever did take class at her studio, it would start out in classes apart from hers. A bridge to cross when I get to it. :P

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tcritte

I started ballet exactly 1 year ago at age 40 (never doing it as a child). I found it to be harder than I could have ever imagined. I am now "obsessed" with doing it properly. Here's my two cents:

 

  • The day I fell in love with doing ballet (about 2 months into class) was the day I looked at myself in the studio mirror and saw a pretty, elongated, and elegant woman looking back at me (i.e. I was pulled up correctly and saw gracefulness not clutziness)

  • Speak up in class -- that is ask for corrections.

    • Ballet is all about the form. There is only one way to perform a move (although there are many variations of combinations), and muscles have to be trained to learn ballet. It takes longer to unlearn something than to learn it properly
    • You'd be surprised at how one small correction will make it possible for you to perform a move that you thought you would never be able to do
    • My teachers seem to love my interest and go out of their way to help me

  • Whenever the teacher goes over a step, I don't just watch, I practice it out along with her. And if she sends us out in sub-groups, I practice the move while I am waiting my turn.

  • Come to class in ballet attire (leotard, tights, skirt, hair in a bun). I feel like a ballerina when I see myself looking like a ballerina. An added bonus (although I didn't think so when I saw it), is that in proper attire, I can see when I am slacking in posture in my midsection and legs and work to align them properly.

  • Learn the vocabulary.

    • I got a book recommended by this forum - Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant.

  • You didn't saw what type of ballet you are training in but I also got another book recommended by this forum - Basic Principles of Classical Ballet by Agrippina Vaganova. This book the Russian ballet technique in detail with illustrations and breaks them down very clearly.

  • I found it best not to compare myself to others. I have been in a class with both children and one with adults. In both cases some people were better and some were worse. I just go to class and give all I have to each step. I try to fix the wobbly ones and don't worry about how I might look to others.

I hope you find this helpful. I haven't posted to this forum much because I have found so much useful info from others, I haven't felt I needed to add more. However, in this case, I thought I had some expertise :yes: .

 

Tracey

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jimpickles

There's lots of wise advice on these pages. I particularly like tcritte's comments.

 

One of the requirements of starting ballet as an adult (and partilcularly a mature adult) is being able to put up with humiliation. You have to leave your ego and dignity at the door. When, once again, everyone has gone across the room in apparently near-perfect jetes or turns and you fluff it at each step, get your arms and legs out of synch, etc, you just want to crawl into a corner, and disappear down a crack. But you have to ignore it and try again (and again and again and again). Actually, noone is thinking of you, they are all thinking about themselves...

 

I started ballet as an absolute beginner at the age of 52 and am doing it more, harder, and faster at the age of 60. Ballet certainly keeps you young. I have a new and particularly fierce teacher whose semi-sarcastic style is one I recognise from teachers in my childhood - I told her that she made me feel like a 7-year old boy again (she said, that 's what ballet teachers are like). I know I want to stave off ageing, but this was going too far. I realised I was anxious about being kept in after class, my great fear as a child (no way, of course, she wanted to get home). Just another example of how adult beginner ballet assaults your ego.

 

But I felt great for days afterwards - so "pulled up" (out of fear, probably).

 

You might want to be as separate from your daughter as possible on this - she will probably be quite kind, but rather pitying, which wont feel too good (though she will be secretly very proud of what you are doing).

 

Having said all that, the rewards are wonderful.

 

Jim.

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