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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Whole class or just barre?


cytruffle

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I am hoping to re-enter the world of ballet after an 8-year hiatus. I am going to be taking an adult beginner class, because I know I'm just not up to taking the adult intermediate/advanced class. Now.......should I just take the barre in the beginner class for a few weeks just to start out, or should I dive in and attempt to take the whole beginner class? I don't want to get so sore that I don't want to go back......but I don't want to be a pansy either and not do as much as I could do.

 

Please advise!!! Thanks in advance!!

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When I came back from a bad ankle break, I did barre and then gauged myself and did some parts of the center work, if I felt I could handle it. I did no jumps (still don't do many jumps - half of what the rest of the class does, since my ankle is still not fully viable).

 

I'd say take barre, for sure, and then decide how you feel as you go along. If you don't take the whole class, still stay for it so that you can see what's being done. When you feel ready, then do center. Or, do parts of the center that you know you can handle, and gradually build up to what you want to be able to do. A reasonable teacher would understand a returning adult student having issues with strength and stamina.

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I agree - just go, start with barre and take it one part at a time. And have fun. :firedevil: I'd probably say something to the teacher first, out of courtesy.

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When I took my first Beginning Adult ballet class, I was a true virgin dancer....no dance experience whatsoever. Anyway, I did the entire class. My experience with real beginning (not advanced beginning) classes, is that center work is not usually complicated. The teacher usually has a feel for the class's skill level and adjusts the complexity of combinations.

 

Cytruffle, there is nothing to lose if you try center work. You say that you're coming back after a hiatus, so I assume that you've had ballet training before. And since you will be in an adult class, it is perfectly alright to participate in some center work and watch at the sidelines when the combinations become too uncomfortable that you feel at risk of hurting yourself executing them.

 

Whether you feel sore after class probably depends on your body's overall fitness level at the time, or if you twisted/sprained something doing a jump or a pirouette. So just be mindful of what you do in class. And easy on the stretches, now....too much too soon will surely give you the soreness you're concerned about.

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Cytruffle, I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised at the extent of your "muscle memory"! It should feel really, really nice. I'd say, if it's a true Beginner class, that you'll manage the whole class. But a bit of soreness may be inevitable because you'll be pushing your body a little way out of its usual activities!

 

The way to stave off too much soreness is to ensure that you warm up and cool down. Warm up via exercises that will get the blood flowing into the major muscle groups -- you might like to jog gently around the room or on the spot, do big body swings from the waist and hips, but not going out of your comfort zone, swing your arms, swing your legs (but keep them low to protect your hamstrings), and so on. Cool down might be some long slow gentle stretches, always breathing out at the point of greatest stretch. But not pushing more than a tiny little bit.

 

I don't know about any one else, but I always find the real soreness (you know calves so tight that the first few steps of the stairs are a challenge!) hits 2 days after I do a new type of exercise. I gather this is because this is when the effect of the excess of lactic acid produced by exertion hits your muscles, but I expect there are people with more expert knowledge who can explain this phenomenon.

 

Here's a recent thread here warming up etc are discussed -- some useful tips in there: Stretching

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  • 2 weeks later...

My questions is related to this thread - I didn't want to post a new topic.

 

Being 19, I naturally assumed that I was too old to just walk into a dance school and be put into a class...so I asked when I rang up, if there were any adult classes...and consequesntly have been attending them. They're very good, I love them...but they're not long enough (half hour) and obviously not that structured. I really want to dance ballet quite seriously in order to improve.

 

Does anyone know if dance schools take students of 19 for more than one class a week, and for longer lessons? (Or, allow them to be put through the grades like younger pupils). I really don't mind being about 8 years older than everyone else in the class, lol! Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Oh yes, you should be able to fid schools that will accept you as a student for properly structured 90 minute classes. Get out your Yellow Pages, or google for ballet schools in your area, and get on the phone or e-mail!

 

I would think that you could do up to three classes a week as a beginner without too much difficulty. But you need to find a school and/or a teacher who is happy to teach you, either in adult classes or with the children.

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My questions is related to this thread - I didn't want to post a new topic.

 

Being 19, I naturally assumed that I was too old to just walk into a dance school and be put into a class...so I asked when I rang up, if there were any adult classes...and consequesntly have been attending them. They're very good, I love them...but they're not long enough (half hour) and obviously not that structured. I really want to dance ballet quite seriously in order to improve.

 

30 minutes! You are hardly warmed up by then. A full 90 minute class will help you dancing and improve your health/athleticism. Take trial classes at other schools to see where there is a good fit.

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I know, and my other class (I go to 2 schools, currently) is only 45 mins long...it's so frustrating! I'm going to have a chat with my teacher next lesson about it. Thanks for assuring me it's possible! =]

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Back to cytruffle, I immensely agree with Redbookish that a PROPER and CONCERTED warm-up will alleviate MANY of the aches and ills experienced both during and after class. I recommend you do a board search for warm-up ideas, since all-too-often dancers still resort to the draconian tradition of trying plot down in some sort of god-awful split first thing in the door. A proper warm-up should feel akin to a tiny aerobics class (ex: calisthenics, cardio, massage, joint rotations, pilates, whatever works best for you ect.), with LIGHT stretches coming in towards the end, but not with the objective of building flexibility (that comes later). The specific exercises and stretches of your warm up will depend on you own body's needs, both long-term and short-term (ex: I always give my iliopsoases extra stretch and attention before and during class to ensure I'm working with my maximum turnout and am "on my legs").

 

Another highly critical though frequently overlooked facilitator is hydration. This means pre-hydration (start sipping before even getting to the studio), during, and post-hydration (yep, keep sipping). You'll notice I'm saying "sipping" because ideally people need to drink water over time rather than try to down that gallon after grand allegro. This is because the body can only make use of (give or take) a cup of water every hour. But really just make sure your drinking water at all, then worry about the nit picky stuff later. All of this is because some the most obvious symptoms of dehydration are cramps, aches, and increased soreness.

 

Last thing: maybe just semantics, but you used the singular "class" in your posts, so I'm wondering if the beginner class is only once a week, or you are only planning to take it once a week? One class (even if it's a doozy) a week might make it rather challenging to get "back up to speed", so you might look into adding one or two more classes per week. That will actually make you less sore in the end, taken in moderation.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone for the great replies!! You all have given me much to think about and consider as I re-enter a world I loved so much in my younger days. Alas, I have not been able to attend the class as of yet, due to having to work on Saturday mornings when the class meets. However, I am looking forward to the time a little later on in the fall when work will become more manageable and I will not have to go in on Saturdays.

 

Thank you all again for such wonderful suggestions and encouragement......... and to Chronus: your reply was so knowledgeable and technical, I'm guessing you must be a dancing medical professional!! In answer to your question, the Saturday class is, in fact, the only beginner class and it meets for 1 hour. There is another intermediate/advanced class that meets 3 times per week, but it is much faster with more difficult exercises. I agree with you that several classes per week would be more beneficial, but I didn't want to slow that class down or embarrass myself by being unable to keep up. I would like to build up at least a modicum of stamina before plunging myself into that class..... :D

 

I'll keep everyone apprised of my re-entry and progress!! :D

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I would like to build up at least a modicum of stamina before plunging myself into that class..... :D

 

I am always the one to approve of that, but I have to say I think I spent a lot of time doing that when I didn't have to. I didn't realize the difference of what it felt like to be warmed up and done in until I was pretty much forced keep going or miss out on all the fun at dance camp.

When I first started back to class after most of 20 years off I'd usually hit a point in class where I thought I was going to drop. I assumed I was done, and went home because that is when barre was over usually and I had issues with jumping anyway.

I figured I was never going to be back in shape enough to keep going at my age. I finally did started managing 90 minute classes (at a beginner level) after an injury kept me out of my regular intermediate classes. After a while of that I kept up the 90 minutes most of the time in my intermediate class too, but I still felt wiped out at the end of class.

It wasn't until dance camp that I found out that all I needed was a few minutes to get past that feeling I was about to die tword the end of barre or partway through center, and then I could keep going for a few hours with short breaks. Suddenly I knew what "warmed up" felt like.

Anyway. Go for starting slow, but don't keep it up forever. You will miss too much. I know I did. I did jst barre so long I need to be in one level for barre and a lower level for center these days.

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I must admit to still having those types of episodes that Laschwen describes. For me, it doesn't pass easily, so I use an energy spray when it goes past 5 minutes of the "exhaustion" feeling.

 

I do at least 45 mins of warm-up before class which, when I can, includes at least 20-30 mins of aerobic/cardio. I find that even missing that much (which I have to miss on Weds, although I do other things to warm up instead) makes it harder for me in class.

 

The beginner classes in my area tend to be only an hour long. At one studio I checked at (for extra classes), even their intermediate and advanced classes were only an hour long. Can't IMAGINE doing that level for only an hour. A good barre would take up more than half that time, at least, in my opinion.

 

Where I am, the beginner classes and small children's classes are an hour, with upper level (really from advanced beginner on up) being an hour and a half. I love it. It's just the right amount for an old bod such as mine! LOL!

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