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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New to Ballet, Thanks for the Great Forums!


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Hello, this is my first post after registering. I found these forums after doing a search on Google. I am 27 years old and will be taking my first Ballet class at a local college. I've always had an interest in classical music, opera, and ballet, but always as a casual spectator. I don't think I ever seriously considered the thought that I might someday do those things, because in my mind, those were for people with real talent. But then a couple of weeks ago, something in me changed and I realized that I'm getting older and I'm missing out on opportunities in life. What better way to appreciate some of the things I enjoy, than by learning to do them myself, even if I am not very good? Now that I've actually made the decision, I've been very excited and am looking forward to the first day of class. I know it will be very challenging, I don't have any illusions about that, but I plan to give it my best and to have fun.


My class doesn't start for another month, so I've had time to do some research, look for some Ballet Slippers (the local store was out of stock for men's and has some on order for me), and practice some stretches. My only concern right now is that I'm a little overweight and I'm a little embarrassed how I will look in tight clothes, so I've been dieting and working out extra while I have time. I sent an email to my future instructor, but haven't received a reply yet, although I'm sure the uniform is standard black pants/shorts and white shirt. The only thing I'm not sure on is whether to wear socks with my slippers or not, which depends on which size I get. The lady at the store wasn't sure, so she ordered a couple of different sizes.


Thanks for the message board. It's nice to read about other older men starting ballet and some of their questions and thoughts. Mel sounds like he has a lot of experience and we are lucky to have him as a moderator. As a side issue, I am having problems with my account and I am restricted from PMing even the moderators from help. I sent a message by email and hopefully we can get my account working correctly. Thanks again and nice to meet all of you.

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Welcome to it, Arcturus! We look forward to helping you find your way in this crazy art! :cool2:

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Arcturus, welcome! You will not be able to send PM's until you have reached 30 posts, but if you need to get in touch with the Moderators, just click the "Contact Us" link at the top right of every page. :)

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Thanks for the help and the welcome. My account seems to be working ok now. A lot of questions I have, have already been asked by other people, so I'm going to be doing a lot of reading. If I don't make many posts over the next few weeks its because I don't want to be redundant or I don't have much to contribute yet, but I'm still here! Thanks again for setting up this great message board, this is exactly what I have been looking for.

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A couple points here. First, don't forget the dance belt. Very strange feeling at first (!) but you get used to it pretty soon. Second, note that dance sizes are much smaller than what you get at Penny's! I wear a medium in shorts and shirts, but - trust me on this! - a medium dance belt is not practical! :) I wear XL in everything (I'm 6'1" and 175#)


My experience is that dance training works for everyone - you're not (I assume) 6'8" but you can still play basketball with your friends; similarly few of us look like Nureyev but we can still take dance class. Related point - the only standard in ballet is perfection, so get used to feeling clumsy - nobody gets to feel smug. If you start to feel like you have it down, it's time for a harder class.

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And after you've got used to the dance belt, then tights are always de rigeur for men.

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Your post was a great encouragement for me - I too am just getting started and am older than you (young man). It's nice to know that your thought process was very like my own - and we all need motivation in keeping fit. I know of no better motivation than showing up in a public place in tights. At this point, my already rigourous physical fitness program just turned into the iron-man class program. When I feel a little lazy I just remind myself of those tights and things get real serious in a hurry. :wink:


Stay in touch - I would very much like to hear of your progress.



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  • 1 month later...

Hello again. I started my first ballet class and I had a lot of fun on the first two days, but on the third day I showed up and there was a sign that said "Canceled due to low enrollment." I was very disappointed, because I had been looking forward to class for so long. Now I will have to wait until the fall semester starts and hope that those classes aren't canceled as well. In the meantime, I have been looking at taking some private lessons. Oregon Ballet Theatre offers adult classes at very reasonable prices and I imagine that the quality of instruction is very high; two of the principal dancers are instructors! Unfortunately, it seems I missed my window of opportunity and will have to wait until Fall to start the "Absolute Beginning Ballet" program.


I am glad that I was able to attend two days of class before it was canceled, though. I was able to confront some of my nervousness and also get a feel for things. I was pleasantly surprised to see that two other guys had signed up to take the class as well. I was also able to get most of my dance attire purchased and worn. One of the problems I am having is sewing the elastic on my canvas slippers. I can do it, but I'm not a very good sewer and it is a bit frustrating for me. Do most dancers sew their own shoes or do they have a professional tailor do it? I am seriously considering taking them to a tailor, but if most dancers sew their own shoes, then I will probably knuckle down and keep working on it.


Lastly, I wanted to respond to Mel and olddude's posts. I did not buy a dance belt and found that I did not need one, at least in the beginning class. I purchased some very nice, form fitting cotton/polyester/spandex briefs and I wore them under my tights. They allowed me to have exceptional freedom of movement and comfort. I like them so much I plan on buying more and wearing them everyday.


An observation I made, was that it is very important that I wear the same socks that I used when I fitted my ballet slippers. Different thicknesses of the socks can make my feet too big to fit into the slippers. I had to do some searching, but I found a store that sells really good, thin socks.

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