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38 yo starting again after 20+ years...advice?


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Here's my story.


I started classes when I was 11. It was an intensive first year on a scholarship with Vladimir Marek. I continued intensively until about the age of 15 or 16 and then off and on until 17 or 18. I was really good with a lot of promise. Had several roles in smaller company productions. Again, I was going to the moon.


Well, life happened. Married x2 and raised kids (almost done). I'm now 38 and haven't thought about ballet in 20 years. To the point that I can't remember some of the simpler terms. Recently I stumbled across an old Dance Magazine and fealt all of the fire come back and, as if by fate, came into contact with an old friend who has started ballet later in life and is doing quite well. She has been bugging me to take classes again. Not really annoying me but she is keeping that fire kindling. I am at the point that I am seriously considering doing it.


Now, I am out of shape although making progress before all of this talk started. I look more like the King of Queens than the King of the fouettes now. It's strange that part of the reason I would like to get back into ballet is to get in shape but I don't want to get back in ballet until I AM in shape. I know that my body is older and doesn't stretch near as much. I know that my mind remembers the technique, even if it doesn't remember the terms, but my muscle memory is shot. I also know that my goals will have to come way down from dreaming of becoming a principle dancer for NYC Ballet to just not hurting myself.


My question was going to be "Am I crazy?" but ,after reading some of the ages you guys listed, I know that I'm not crazy and that it is possible. I think that my biggest adversary will by my psyche.


My question now is, do you older guys have any advice for me? Maybe something that can help this former "Nureyev wannabe" accept his new role in a class with soccer moms and little girls who will probably be showing me up on a daily basis.

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Hi, Georginov, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :innocent:


Try not to get into the endless procrastination of "I want to study ballet to get into shape, but I don't want to start until I AM in shape :D ." That's a good way to do nothing indefinitely!


Find a school which has an adult class, preferably with a teacher who knows how to teach adults and likes to do it. Start! There's no time like the present, or at least after the post-Nutcracker break!

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Welcome back to the fold!


What Mel says. If you feel the fire still there, quit using marriage, kids, and being out of shape as excuses and get in a class. In the past you danced for the moon, now you have a chance to dance for yourself. Put your ego aside and you might be lucky enough to find that those soccer moms and little girls who may show you up can well be a source of tremendous encouragement and inspiration (speaking from experience).

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I agree with both Mel and Smith,


I hope you still find ballet to be something to enjoy. It might be fustrating in the beginning as your mind might learn the dance moves faster than your body. Just keep up with it, and stay strong :innocent:

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Go! Just make sure to warm up well to prevent injury. The leg, feet, and back muscles need to be warm.


Betcha it will all come back to you pretty quickly.



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Two things:


1) The first thing I learned was that if I was not willing to look stupid, I'd have to miss out on class. It's been a very valuable lesson; by now I understand that if you can do everything, you need a harder class. For the first several years, I was consistently the worst dancer in class. I got used to it - there are generally so few guys that everyone is very supportive, which also helps. Looking stupid gets easier to deal with as you get older of course - you're more aware that it won't get easier if you wait another year.


2) I never danced at all, even socially, until very late. But most of the adult "beginners" are women who did have some training as children. They progress faster and further than I ever expect to. You will too. And those people recently went through what you will be going through, so there's a goldmine of understanding and support.


To be honest, I lost 5-10 pounds through better diet and exercise after I retired and only then noticed that ballet classes were a possibility - without that confidence boost I might not have given it a try. That was really pointless, I'm embarrassed to admit such shallowness, and I encourage anyone to not wait for such a silly reason. (Ballet not only dropped another 20 pounds, it reformed my alignment which makes a much stronger impression on my friends!)


The universal truth is, if you have a talent for something, you must engage it if you want to be happy. The fact that it's not always easy, or even possible, to engage that talent does not alter that fact.

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You know, I'm going through this roller coaster of decisions right now. One day I want to conquer the world of ballet and the next day I think it's a silly idea again. You guys are really helping me to have more of the up days than the down days with your encouragement and advice. Thanks.

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Just give it a shot. Chances are good that you still have the "ballet bug" :-)

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One day I want to conquer the world of ballet and the next day I think it's a silly idea again.


I quit for 15 years, thinking it would be silly to go back to ballet. (It's ridiculous to even contemplate a middle aged man in tights). But I never forgot how cool it feels to get a combination just right and fly across the floor. Finally I realized I was getting a year older every 365 days whether I danced or not and it would be better to be an old dancer than a non-dancer.


Go for it!


One piece of advice is that you have to commit yourself to going to regular classes for several months. There will be days when you feel hopeless and you have to get through those as you re-learn ballet. It will be be worth it.

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