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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A transition out...


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Hi all.


I haven't been here in some time... school and work and everything has taken precedence in my life, so here is what I have been up to, and some short observations. These may not be the most relevant-to-dance thoughts, which is why this is on Buddy Board.


I still lurk here now and then, even though I haven't been able to dance in some time. There were a lot of factors going into my leave... one of which was the fact that my studio is rather small, and mostly a highschool-and-under crowd. A year or so out of high school and I was fine, older than most, but still fine... then it just felt weird, as all the girls I knew began to graduate and leave for college, and I became that old person who was always in the back because she was tall. I have to commute to classes, and it just became too much of a stress. That, combined with a recurring stress fracture in my right foot (and likely unsuitable feet to begin with... :yes: ) led me to simply taking a few dance classes here at college, more for fun than anything. Our dance team is the football-game pom-pon style that do lots of "hip hop" and other crowd-pleasing gigs, which was never my style, so I failed to fit in with them.


I was left with the question... what do I do now? I have years of the strength and flexibility of a dancer, but am mostly unable to dance, uncomfortable at the available studios and having to live some distance away...


The answer was: martial arts.


Yep, back in May, I took up taekwondo at a local well-reputed dojang, and my experience has been AMAZING! I have the jumping ability, the flexibility, the balance, and the strength required to really excel in this, and there are people of all ages in my class. I also have a huge advantage in coordination! There are so many people in my class who can't get their arms to work with their legs, their hips with their shoulders... they can't remember sequences of forms... and dance has trained me a lot about memorization, and also really put me in tune with my body and the way it moves, which helps so very much! I will be getting my green belt in October and I haven't been this happy since I got my pointe shoes! ATA (the american organization for taekwondo) has competitions and studios all over - much more numerous than dance studios - so I am confident that no matter where I go, I will be able to continue study. It's a nice feeling!


Really this was just an observation on where dance can take you, when you cannot dance any longer - it's something to think about, if you ever find that you cannot dance. Every girl (and boy!) needs some good self-defense training, I think. There are things to overcome and retrain (like having to flex your feet with every move, rather than point.. haha!) but all my prior exercises have translated beautifully into this new world. Tournaments are my new competitions. Sparring gear is my new dance shoes. My instructors are every bit as wise as my dance instructors and I am just as loyal, and although I dearly miss my dancing days, I appreciate the stress relief, the fitness, and the physical outlet afforded to me by taekwondo!


I hope everyone is doing well! Best of luck!

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Dear Jazzyme,


Congratulations on your new found endeavor! Your story is an inspiring one. Thank you for sharing what you are doing now.


I often wonder what happens to our well-trained youth who have spent years training their mind and bodies. What is the next step? How do they use their strength, discipline, training? How do they get that wonderful release of endorphines from strenuous physical activity? How do they find self-esteem and a positive support system and goals?


Obviously you new found endeavor was not found immediately. But you are open to trying new things - opening you mind and your body to find an endeavor that is right for you.


Again, Jazzyme, thank you for sharing your experiences with us.


Best of luck in you upcoming competitions and the achievement of the Green belt level.

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Yes, people move on from one activity to another. That's just life. There is no law saying that one has to dance or anything else like that forever.


Personally, I think in life one has to follow their interests and yens, no matter what they may be. Try different things and let your intuition guide you from there.


Martial arts is a very logical transition from dance I think. Many similarities.


One thing you might think of if you still want to dance as a secondary kind of activity. Try things like folk, swing, salsa, or square dance just as a social activity, something you might do once a week just for fun.

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I have long wanted to try swing and salsa and other types of ballroom.. they look like so much fun. I just don't live in an area where these things are commonplace... even if I learned how, I'd have nowhere to go to do them! If I ever move to a more populated area, it's on my list of things to do, definitely!

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I don't know where you live, but sometimes perception is the problem. I've known people who think nothing of driving 30-40 miles to go to swing dances, for example. If you have a place to do martial arts in your area, I would think that there must be some kind of dance around.

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Oh, I used to do Kung Fu for a couple of years (until my school closed) and I really loved it. I moved up to a teachers degree (which I did not do actually) very quickly because ballet helped me so much. Martial Arts are extremly similar to ballet (belive it or not) and I really could calm down by hitting something or someone after a stressful day. I kind of miss it now.

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I've noticed that I'm in love with a lot of dance forms. Lindy Hop is one of the funnest social dancing there is.

I also teach Renaissance dancing. And then there's International Folk Dancing and Contra dancing.. which seems to attract an older crowd. In Texas there's Country Western dancing which is also really popular.


Then Salsa, which seems pretty hot and heavy in the clubs.


It's interesting how the sense of culture and community is different with each one :P I generally think if you are in love with one form of dance, it's likely you'll find another form that you'll enjoy immensely.

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Guest MasterPuppeteer

As a Filipino-American, I do quite a bit of teaching/choreo of traditional Filipino folk dancing. When winter rolls around, all the the local colleges with Fil-Am groups start rehearsing for their respective springtime culture shows and they are always in need of choreographers. Last year I joined in the fun and choreographed a Singkil for my alma mater (scroll down to the second piece of footage). It was great working with the kids—great energy and enthusiasm!

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