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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A Beginner (sighhh....)


Trysden

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Hello Friends,

 

I posted this on the welcome board and was instructed that perhaps this may be the better board for this message. So I will repeat it here. (I apologize in advance if I am doing this wrong....)

 

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I am very nervous and looking about here - not knowing whether I should actually run or stick around and see what happens.

 

But - I am a new member here. I am a mid-range professional (scientist engineer type) and am completely new to all of this. But I have actually ordered my shoes and am ready to start a class this fall.

 

Now having said that - I am truly scared witless. I want to enroll in the "right" class and proceed in the "right" way. I have investigated several schools in my area and get the "impression" that many "Adult Ballet Classes" are actually "Senior Exercise Classes" and not truly stepped ballet instruction that ultimately leads to actual performance opportunities.

 

Can anyone have mercy on this poor fellow and offer some truly good advice on how to take the first steps here?

 

I am MOST appreciative of any pointers you may lend to me. I also have a larger list of more detailed questions to ask the group of you all are willing to help.

 

Thanks - I anticipate this group will be a godsend.

 

PS. Any words of advice from any of you that may be several months or a year into this as a new adult male student?

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Redbookish

Ask away, Trysden. And while you're waiting for answers, have a read around the threads here. The search engine is pretty easy to use, or just browse.

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Oh good, you're nervous!!! :D That means you're completely normal. :lol:

 

You are correct that finding quality instruction is a difficult thing, regardless of level. You are smart to shop around until you find what you are looking for. These boards may help you to do that as there is a wealth of information here about what one needs to look for in order to find that quality instruction.

 

Let's take this one step at a time. First off, it will take many years of training before a dancer gets to the point of being able to perform, so let's start with taking performing off the table, and just work off the premise that you are a serious adult student who needs the best possible training. Then we'll see what happens. :o

 

Enjoy reading!

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I think as a male, you have much higher chances of performance.

But that said, you still need to find a good class first. I would recommend trying out all the different beginning level classes you can find.. and then sticking with the ones you like. Some studios will give introductary class free...

 

Also, introduce yourself before the class, and tell the teacher you've never done ballet before.

 

PS: Welcome!! :lol:

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Guest ingve

If you find a class you feel comfortable in to make the first steps in: Just rock on!

 

Have fun, and relax. It is much easier to be a boy in ballet than you may imagine at the moment.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers!

 

Most ballet schools do put on end of the year performances but a lot of them don't include adult students. I don't think it's because they aren't welcome to perform but a lot of adults don't prefer it, and I would say almost certainly in the "excercise" type classes you refer to.

 

On the flip side, you may be allowed to perform if you show an interest in doing so even if your class decides not to participate as a whole. I started ballet as an adult but wanted to continue my training after the teacher decided to close the class because it was too small to justify her time (in her opinion :lol: ). I told her I still wanted to keep learning so she put me with the kids. Because of that I was able to perform. Now, I doubt that she would ever had asked me if I wanted to continue or even if I wanted to perform but since I took the initiative she decided that it was a good thing to do.

 

Welcome to your new and exciting journey through ballet. Through it you'll be learning patience, persistence and a new appreciation for muscles you never thought you had. :D

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jimpickles

"It is much easier to be a boy in ballet than you may imagine at the moment"

 

I agree. As a male I found everyone extremely welcoming, and I got performance opportunities which were far more than I'd have got as an equally (un)talented female.

 

However, often adult ballet students dont perform actual classical ballet in school end-of-year concerts, etc, because mature adults performing classical ballet badly is embarrassing for everyone concerned, audience included. Other dance forms (modern; i.e. contemporary) are more suitable, but this means time out from the ballet class for non-ballet dance.

 

From my inexperienced point of view, I'd say that often a teacher will take the first class or two of the year quite gently, but pretty quickly he/she should be getting heavily into the disciplines of form and line, which are essential for classical ballet technique but which tend to be avoided in feel-good seniors exercise classes.

 

Also, the appearance of a studio can be a pointer, as it should have a barre, a good floor, and (usually) mirrors (though these may be covered up). If the teacher has danced professionally with a recognised company I guess he/she will be unlikely to be teaching a seniors exercise class. Maybe you can observe a class before the end of this academic year when everyone in the class will be at their best, to see what sort of class it is.

 

Jim.

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Jim, et al -

 

I cannot tell you how much I truly and deeply appreciate all of your advice. Coming from a total vacuum of knowledge, these litle hints are of enormous value to me. Please feel free to continue - it seems like this discussion group is a refreshing oasis in a true desert of information!

 

You guys are the best - thanks again and again.

 

Trysden

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Is the class you found a true beginners class?

Often what we find here is open classes for more advanced beginners to intermediate levels that welcome true beginners. If that is the case, reading up a little on technique and the order of class will help you avoid being the deer caught in the headlights on your first day.

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dancesmith

Trysden,

I started ballet two and half years ago as an “over-50” guy. Congratulations on accepting the wonderful challenge of ballet. First, my experience with adult classes is that while they may not necessarily be leading to actual performance level, they certainly have not been “Senior Exercise Classes,” though I’m sure they exist. I echo the advice of others in telling you to experience classes from different sources. Virtually all adult classes are “open” in that you don’t have to sign up for an entire semester. Don’t feel you have to totally commit to one place until you are familiar with your options and feel that your choice matches your goals.

 

In my experience, the background and experience of students in adult classes have been varied. Some, like yourself and when I started, are encountering ballet for the very first time. Others have had some ballet experience in the past and are returning. Their level of experience in the past and the amount of time they have been away has varied. Others have been dancing adult ballet on a basic level for some time, enjoying working on improving their technique as opposed to necessarily progressing to higher levels. A good adult instructor will understand how to manage this “one-room school” approach to ensure that each student is challenged based on their own level and goals. While understanding adult bodies may have some limitations over younger bodies, all of my instructors have still strongly emphasized classical ballet technique.

 

Don’t worry about your own level, particularly compared to anyone else’s. Pay all of your attention to the effort you are putting into it. As an “over-50” guy in tights myself, I can’t take myself too seriously, but I can take my efforts seriously. This is what will gain the attention (and respect) of instructors and your fellow students. All of the instructors I’ve encountered expect you to try the move. You may not get it this class, or this month (or year?), but you keep trying. (Obviously if there is danger of injury or clearly beyond your capability, the instructor will give you a simpler variation to work on.) To be successful, you must focus on your own dance and your own progress, not on where others are or how afraid or embarrassed you might feel.

 

As far as instructors, my experience has been nothing short of great. With my first one, I admit I was probably lucky, very lucky. Since then, I’ve probably chosen very well. Each has been very qualified in technique and willing to put as much into teaching me as I’ve shown willingness to learn. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

 

There is one more very important aspect of my experience. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed meeting and being with my fellow dancers. Even with the great instructors I’ve had and have, I’m certain I wouldn’t have lasted without the generous support and inspiration they have continually provided. As varied as our backgrounds and goals may be, we all share that common understanding that we are all together in the pursuit of what we each can find in the beauty and discipline of ballet. Congratulations on joining the pursuit!

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dancingjet

You've already gotten some wonderful replies, so I'll just say welcome. :) I started as an adult about a year and a half ago with no prior experience and am so glad that I did! Walking into class that very first time was an accomplishment in and of itself. :)

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DancingGeek

Starting ballet has been confusing for me (I've only been taking ballet for about a month), but it's extremely fun and challenging. It's difficult finding a class that is focused on proper training yet is enjoyable at the same time, but it's worth the effort. Good luck! :thumbsup:

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I am truly overwhelmed at all of the group's advice and awesome kindness! Outside this group it is daunting - but here in this group it is fantastic to see there are many of us in the same place. I have been to a lot of discussion groups before and I can say that I have never been a part of one so generous, helpful and filled with good will. I am looking forward to posting my 30th message so that I can assume more privledges here and thank some of you individually. I really appreciate all of you and your encouragement - it is so essential. Thank you.

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