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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adult Ballet Classes - Illinois

Guest Chrysocolla

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Along with Joffrey and Ruth Page, there are adult open classes at Lou Conte, Joel Hall, Visceral Dance and Rast Ballet. Natalie Rast is Ceccetti based and has a devout adult following. Visceral is definately more modern and jazz, but Peff Modelski (formerly of Steps) teaches there Tuesday and Friday and is quite simply an amazing teacher. There's also Laura Wade at Gus Giordano in Evanston (she teaches at Visceral too). Good luck--you can find alot in this city.

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I wouldn't recommend Joffrey. I love love love their company, and I'm certain their pre-professional program is great, but their adult open classes are a plain rip-off. The advanced classes might be okay but they're only twice a week, and I know you mentioned you are a beginner anyway. I haven't gone to one of their adv. classes so I cannot speak for them. I have been to the other 2 levels.


The beginner and intermediate classes are held in a ridiculously small studio where you can't travel at all and can't do repetitions of exercises enough times. The teachers I have had there barely look at anyone. There are no corrections. The pace is very very slow and not in the exercises themselves, but in the time it takes a teacher to come up with and relay a combination. One class I took there comprised of: 1 plie, 1 tendu, 1 rond de jambe a terre, one frappe, one grand battement, then barre was over. The center was one short pirouette exercise, one set of changements, and center was over. The 2 across the floor exercises consisted of 1 or 2 moves across the floor (one exercise was nothing but pas de chats across the floor, aka 3 times and you ran out of space...), and there were only 2 exercises (we only went once...) and the class was OVER (it was an hour and half class...). These were the most ridiculous classes I've ever attended and I can say with confidence that I got nothing from them. In one class, two new girls started the plie exercise starting with the wrong hand on the barre, aka facing away the wrong way, and the teacher was so NOT paying attention that she never even noticed or corrected them, and they ended up having to do the same side twice and never the other side. With barely 15 people in the class, it's not acceptable to not have noticed.


I really recommend going elsewhere for open adult classes.

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Thanks for your input. I had heard that Joffrey was not a good school. I was very happy with Ballet Chicago, but they had to reduce classes due to lack of attendance. It is sad that Joffrey gets so many students and does such a poor job and a school only one block away on State St. has difficulty getting eight students for a class.


I work at a university here in Chicago and found a series of ballet classes offered for the university community. I think I'll try that and see how that goes.


The other classes on Chicago's near north side all look good, but am hoping to find something closer to wear I live, the South Loop. I found a great ballet school in the fine arts building, but no adult classes are offered.


Thanks again for all the advice.

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You could try Chicago Multi - Cultural Dance Center in the South Loop. There's an advanced adult class on Saturdays at 1, and Pro/Advanced floor barre on Tuesday and Thursdays at 10:30am. It's $15 a class, and Homer Bryant is a pretty amazing teacher :o

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Yes, that would be perfect as it is just up the street from me. I did visit their studios and was not given a particularly warm welcome. I'm not sure how "multi" their multi-cultural program really is.

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Oh :/ Well I guess you could just try the class and see how you feel then?

If you really don't like it, I'd suggest Lou Conte. I know it's not exactly in the South Loop - but if you get on the blue line at Jackson it's pretty much a straight shot. I love their classes! And the studio is gorgeous, plus you get live music.

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I'm surprised to hear Joffrey has that reputation. I hadn't heard anything good or bad about them so I went in with an open mind. I guess sometimes the name alone will get you students wanting to merely dance in the same studio as company members, but I do think that they are riding on that and only that. I think that a school that isn't interested enough in their open classes to make them worthwhile should simply not offer them. I was not aware Ballet Chicago was struggling though I did see their open class schedule is minimal.


Does the Joffrey's pre-professional program have a similarly bad reputation, or is it only the open classes? The pre-pro classes I walked by on my way to classes looked very nicely organized, but I guess that doesn't mean anything. Some pre-professional students did take the open classes I was in and their technique was not good at *all*.

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Most of the students at Ballet Chicago are defectors from Joffrey and none of them had nice things to say. I don't know about Joffrey's pre-pro program. I would assume it is managed differently than the open adult program.


I found the instruction at Ballet Chicago to be very good and the accompanying pianist is a nice addition that Joffrey does not have.


I was very sad to leave Ballet Chicago. I simply needed to do more than one class a week. I will probably rejoin if they offer more classes.

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<A semi-informed suggestion>

I was in Chicago this summer and happened across Hubbard Street Dance Theater. They have their own building in the South Loop, just north of Univ of Ill-Chicago's arena.


I was disappointed to not have time to try some classes there, but they seemed to have a reasonable menu of open classes.


Oh, and I _highly_ recommend the diner-style restaurant across the street.



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At Chicago Multicultural Dance Center (Homer Bryant) they just posted these classes. Homer is a fantastic teacher.


Adv/ Int.Ballet with Floor Barre.Tues / Thurs ,10:00-11:30. Adult Ballet / Floor,Tues / Thurs 6:30-7:45 with Mr.Homer.

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I'm surprised to hear the bad reviews of the Joffrey. I took a basic ballet class there over last spring break and I thought it was great. The only thing bad that I had heard about them was that the difficulty level did not always match the level the class was marked (as in basic was more like beginner, beginner more like beg-int, etc)... strange.


I've taken a beginning ballet class at Lou Conte and I'm currently taking modern there (and will possibly start ballet again if I have the time). There is an open house coming up on Sunday, September 19, 2010 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m where you can try out various "beginner" level classes.


I wouldn't recommend taking ballet at Columbia College as it most likely will not be beginner enough. you'd be taking class with dance majors who have taken ballet for most of their lives. Natalie Rast teaches at Columbia College, however, and I have heard good things about her beginner classes.

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  • 8 months later...

Can anyone give me any feedback on how supportive these schools are of adult recreational dancers of a - shall I say? - a rather older age group? I will be coming to Chicago after attending the Sunking Dance Camp in Richmond, Virginia and would be interested in taking classes, but I am hoping to find classes that are not solely attended by very young adults. A mix of ages like they have at Dance Camp would be ideal.


I would think that I would be in an Intermediate (possibly Int/Advanced) level. I was in Level 3B last time I went to Richmond, and have done Intermediate/Advanced classes in Paris.


Also, we will be staying at East Chestnut Street, which I am told is just one block off the "Magnificent Mile", so any information on which studios which are handy to that area would be great. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

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