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A few questions- help please!

je danse dans ma tete

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I am attending a new studio, actually it's a ballet school, and there is very much emphasis on proper technique. I realize that at my old studio (I was only there for 2 months though- first time trying dance), I got away with some things that I should not have, technically speaking. I had a bad class last night. I was singled out at least 3 times for bad technique while everyone else watched me get corrected. I know I shouldn't feel bad because my teacher was helping me, but I feel really embarrassed to go back there. I am going to go back, but first I need some help with a few things. :(


1) My teacher asked me to push out from the front of my ankle and make my releve higher. I tried and briefly succeeded, but it was very hard for me. When I have that high of a releve only 3 of my toes are on the ground because my metatarsals are very slanted (does that make sense?) Also, my knees go back too far sometimes. For these reasons I have trouble balancing except with a lower releve. What can I do to make the front of my ankle stronger, or what else should I do to get a higher releve? It seems everyone else, even brand new people, can get it. I am told that I have very good arches (but not much instep) and I can point through the ankle when weight is not on it. :shrug:


2) My teacher said to hold my quadriceps tight in echappe from 1st to 2nd. She pressed and said I was not tightening them in 2nd. The only way I can get them tight seems to be to push my knees back but she says this is bad... help! :unsure:


3) In grand battement to the back, my back arches too much. If I don't arch it, my foot barely leaves the ground! (like 20 degrees!) Where does the action start from, and why may I be arching? :blink:


4) In retiré to the side, my standing foot wobbles when I am in class but at home in bare feet or socks I can do it fine and hold almost forever! I have Bloch split-sole shoes. Could the split sole be affecting my balance? :thumbsup:


5) My turnout is apparently quite good, but my 5th is worse than many people with poor turnout. I feel like my knees or maybe calves get in the way. I think I look funny in 5th croisé, my legs look too loose. Not bent, and not straight up, but just... noodley. I can't explain well! :wacko:


I feel so bad about making everyone else stop dancing to watch me get corrected. Also, I don't wish to repeat the same mistakes next class. Please help me to understand better the mistakes that I made in my class last night. Thank you! :)





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Hi there,


I am sure you will get lots of replies from the teacher-moderators on this, but I'd just like to say how cool it is that you are working so hard to get things right so early on. Also remember that you are quite new to this, so don't beat yourself up about needing corrections - everyone gets them, and it's great that you have such an attentive teacher who wants to help you to get things right.


With regard to your questions I have some tips. I'm not a teacher, but I was an adult beginner 10 years ago. I still feel like a beginner a lot of the time now. Mods - if I am speaking out of turn please remove!


1. It sounds like you need to be stronger in your releve. Your teacher showed you the correct way to do it, and it will feel strange and difficult until you are stronger. Doing rises and releves are the best way to strengthen your feet and ankles. But maybe hold off on the home practice until you are really sure you are getting it right.


2. I'm not sure about this question.


3. Some people have a high grand battement to the back, others have lower. Mine is quite low if I keep it totally correct. But if you do it low, correctly, you will find that in time it will get higher.


4. I'm always more wobbly in class than at home too! I don't think it's the shoes, probably more that in class one tends to do things much more correctly, and until you get stronger it will be wobbly.


5. Don't worry about your fifth. Do what feels comfortable and maintain your turnout but don't force it.


Lastly, please don't worry too much. It is great that you are so conscientious, and this will mean you will improve pretty quickly. But please don't let not being able to do everything straight away get you down. :thumbsup:

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Oh, I feel your pain!


Last year, I spent 3 months as a brand new ballet person in a class where we were never corrected or shown proper alignment. I did pretty well in there (ha!), and then went to a few summer classes prior to going to Richmond. Talk about a shock! I had to start over from scratch, and un-learn a lot of bad habits.


I can't offer much advice on your questions, but just moral support! I have found a great teacher, and she is definitely all about proper technique. I love it, but it always reminds me of how much I have to learn, and how frustrated I get with my body. Luckily the class is small, but I always wonder if I should even be there. I think of it as an exercise in patience, and I have seen improvment in the past 2 months with technique. It's just a much longer process that I ever thought.

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Je danse, be kind to yourself. You're only two months into "the mission" and these are all questions of coordination, alignment and flexibility that can only really be answered in class, by your teacher. Ask questions after class. After all, you're in a discipline that most people spend their entire lives on.

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What about the split sole shoes, major Mel? I always found them hard to balance in on a flat foot, compared to bare feet or a full sole. What's your opinion on split soles throwing off one's balance?

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I can't comment on balance now, since I seem to have lost all of mine! But, I remember when I first made the transtion to split-soles way back when they first came out in the mid 1990s or so? Or was it a bit earlier? Didn't feel like it did anything to my balance....

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Ami, I'm with you. They didn't do anything to my balance. And I was brought up with Capezio Russian Ballets, which were soft slippers with a full oak leather (pointe shoe type) sole. I wear split soles now, calling them my "retirement shoes". :wink:

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