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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Advice for beginners in sixties


whetherwax

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I watched Ballet Russe DVD last year and fell in love with ballet again. I had lessons as a child but am now in my sixties. I decided to go to adult beginner classes in order to learn what the steps were, so that when I watch my growing collection of DVD ballets I will be able to understand them better.( It would be a good exercise regime too) I have a little turnout and have always been active but I wonder if anyone has taught someone as old as me and if they have advice, or if anyone my age is learning, whether they have insights for me. I start my first class this week.

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Well, I'm not a beginner, just an aging pro/teacher, who still likes to try and keep in training, but I just hit 60, so I know where you're at. I think that at this stage of my life, my motto has become, G-d grant me the wisdom to know what I shouldn't do, the sense to accept what I can't do and the ability to appreciate what I can still do!

 

It won't be easy, but hopefully it will be rewarding, so good for you!

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I think that my advice for someone starting ballet at 60 would be that it doesn't have to look like Olivia Bell's or Damien Welch's right away! (other readers insert favorite dancers' names) Work with what you've got, don't force the turnout, remember to engage the abdominal muscles, and don't let stress show in your shoulders, arms and hands. You will improve, just take it one class at a time.

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I think that my advice for someone starting ballet at 60 would be that it doesn't have to look like Olivia Bell's or Damien Welch's right away! (other readers insert favorite dancers' names) Work with what you've got, don't force the turnout, remember to engage the abdominal muscles, and don't let stress show in your shoulders, arms and hands. You will improve, just take it one class at a time.

Thanks to you, Mel and Hamorah. I do feel a bit silly, but we will see. ( As far a look ing good I might almost match the grandfather in Nutcracker)

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insidesoloist

A lady never reveals her age! But I have a student who is at least in your vicinity, age-wise. Our motto for her is "long and low". She really tries to envision that she is moving inside a sphere that is just past the ends of her fingertips and toes when they are fully extended. She aims for graceful movements that are fully elongated within that sphere and gentle angles. Her arabesques aren't to 90 degrees, but she has beautiful placement and carriage...a purity of line that is really pleasing to the eye. She takes it easy with stretches, not pushing too far, stretching more gently but frequently than her spring chicken counterparts. She participates very fully in a class of teens and I love having her around both in her own right and as a role model for them.

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Here's another thumbs up. I took my first dance class of any sort a couple months before I turned 57. (Well, strictly speaking we did square dancing in 5th grade gym class for a couple months, but other than that...) Most late beginners actually did have some dance or ballet training when they were small, and those people pick it up faster than I do. But I do pick it up eventually; it's still getting better.

 

Lesson 1 for me - get used to being the worst one in class. Somebody has to; just think of how much you are building the younger ones' self-esteem! People are generally too nice to laugh at someone who looks like their parent or grandparent. :blink:

 

Lesson 2 is similar - once you are doing OK in the class, it's time to take a harder class. So get used to looking dumb again.

 

Lesson 3 - practice pays off. After 4+ years, I'm holding my own in the intermediate classes. You'll want to take at least 2-3 classes a week eventually, though for the first 6-12 months (my experience) that's just not reasonable, there's too much to integrate and too much to recover from. I just kept adding a class when I felt ready. One hard class and 1 or 2 more elementary ones is a good balance for me.

 

This year I went crazy, I'm embarrassed to admit how many classes I'm taking - but Friday is the only day I don't dance... I can do this because I retired early, but I was a desk jockey and couch potato for most of my life. I mention this to affirm that one can get into pretty darn good condition at any age, from practically any starting point. It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen over a few years. Sure, my turnout is no more than OK and my extensions are worse - but I can jump, and turn, and do adagio without falling over; all thing that I thought were decades behind me. And I'm having the most fun imaginable. You can too!

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Victoria Leigh

Hamorah, I LOVE your motto! That is really quite wonderful, and totally appropriate for those of us at a certain age! :blink::thumbsup:

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Great advice olddude. As a well over age 60 dancer I also take great pride in being the oldest person in class. We old folk may not be the best in class, but at least we are there. We older folk also tend to get mystery injuries—i.e., aches and pains that seemingly have no cause and that are more nagging than anything else. Though they can be discouraging, don’t let them get to you. Ignore them as best you can.

 

Good luck and most of all enjoy every aspect of class.

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Whetherwax, welcome to the Adult Ballet Students fora! You'll find you're in good company here, and if you do a few searches, you'll find even more good advice.

 

At 49, I am one of the younger dancers in my advanced class. My oldest classmate (mid-sixties, I think) says it keeps her moving -- she'd sieze up without class.

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Great advice and encouragement everyone! thanks. I do wonder about classes every day? Would eat into the retirement fund a little? I'm getting very excited and holding my abdominals in like crazy.

 

 

 

Edited by Moderator to remove unnecessary repetition of previous post.

Edited by Redbookish
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