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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adult Pointe in Vancouver, BC


MapleWalnut

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To be honest with you, I would seriously question the level of professionalism at the Mainland Academy of Performing Arts class you went to. I mean, it is absurd that a teacher would offer a beginning ballet student of ANY age a pre-pointe class. Pre-pointe is a class that takes the technique and strength you've already acquired through years of technique classes and focuses on special exercises to get one ready for pointe; by the time you enter pre-pointe, it has more or less (depending on the school) been established that you will go on pointe, the usual delay I've noticed being about 6 months to 1 year from entering the pre-pointe class, if all goes well. A beginning student doesn't belong there, because by the time talk of going en pointe comes up *at all*, you should have taken at least 2-3 years of solid, continuous ballet classes and be taking at least 3 classes of 1 and a half hours each per week.

 

It is also difficult if not impossible to judge from a single class what pace a student (especially an older one with scarce prior training) will progress, how far their muscles will develop, and if they are capable of the commitment pointe work will take- it's a big time commitment because you have to be at the studio a lot. That teacher hadn't seen your degree of responsibility regarding coming to class every week and being on time, warmed up and ready to go. These are all things that come in handy when judging if a student is responsible enough for pointe shoes. Because they're not just pretty shiny shoes, they can end your dance career in a snap...literally.

 

Because your ballet class attendance seems to be extremely sporadic and non-committed, you don't really have any prior training to speak of. None of the classes you went to really count as "ballet training", since your longest consecutive class attendance seems to have been 4 months in your adult life. You need to start from scratch, building solid basics as well as strength, endurance, and body awareness. Before you can even consider pointe, you need to make a solid commitment to 2-3 years of regular, weekly training, and build up to a minimum of 3 classes per week (and that is the *bare* minimum). Otherwise, you are not going to be in the proper condition to do pointe without harming yourself. If 2 years from now you're still attending several weekly classes and doing well (and haven't taken any substantial time off), at THAT time you can mention interest in a PRE-pointe class to your teacher. 6 months to a year after that, you may be ready to go on pointe, if your body is trained well enough for it. If not, you may need to stick it out even longer. But if you get offers for pre-pointe/pointe at your level, you should seriously question the teacher's qualifications, and whether or not they are placing your safety first. Because to offer a pre-pointe class to a beginning student whom you've seen in class all of 1 hour is madness.

 

Pointe is a good 3 years away from any beginning student, in the very best case scenario. So enjoy the technique classes and see where you are 2-3 years from now. Don't choose a studio based on what pointe classes they offer adults unless you're planning on still being there in 3 years. What counts now is the quality of training you get in technique classes. Pointe is 100% irrelevant until you've done so. With the goals you are citing (performance not being one of them), pointe is nothing more than icing on the top. You can achieve increased flexibility and muscle toning without ever going on pointe. I think that while looking for a school, it may be helpful to ask yourself *why* you want to go on pointe, and how much of it is the reason you want to go to class. If it's more than 20%, I'd suggest rethinking your motives because being motivated primarily by pointe shoes is going to get very discouraging while you put in the years it will take to get ready for them. I would also suggest you to think about how much time you can realistically devote to dance per week, and if your free time is going to decrease within the next few years or not. Like I said, you need to take many classes a week for your body to be in proper shape for pointe. I've known many (responsible) teachers to take girls off pointe if the amount of classes they took a week decreased for a long period of time. You simply can't expect to come to a couple of classes a week and to suddenly be on pointe a few months from now. I'm not saying that is what you were thinking, but just in case it was, I'm hoping you won't pass up any good technique schools due to their lack of adult pointe classes; most good studios don't offer adult pointe classes because many adults can't make the time commitment necessary to be on pointe, it's as simple as that. And that is a responsible thing for a studio to enforce.

 

Best of luck to you, hope I helped in some way.

Edited by xSugarplum
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The short answer to the question, "Where can I find adult progressive ballet classes" virtually anwhere, let alone BC, is you can't. :thumbsup:

 

However, I would strongly suggest heading to Goh Ballet Academy as many times a week as you can physically do.

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Sorry for the novel-length response I posted! I just wanted to make sure you weren't getting taken in by a greedy teacher who might be dangling pointe shoes in front of your nose in order to get money from you, at the risk of your health.

 

I think the problem you are facing is a worldwide one, though. Serious adult ballet isn't offered at many schools...I have never attended a school that offered anything beyond a single weekly beginning teen/adult ballet class. Good luck with your search.

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Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should look next for classes? Should I look into beginner ballet intensives at Goh Ballet Academy or Harbour Dance? Should I try progressive beginner classes at Harbour? What dance studios offer pre-pointe and pointe classes for adults?

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, MapleWalnut, and thanks for your introduction. In order to fimd classes, we suggest that you also have a look at the "Pre-Professional Schools General Discussion" forum. As suggested in the Sticky at the top of Adult Students Buddy Board. You can search that forum, and/or post your own request. The reason for asking adult dancers to do it this way is that most decent pre-pro schools will also have some sort of adult programme, and some of our members have also found that they have had good results from asking about taking graded classes with children/teens.

 

So a search of pre-pro schools in your area may give you some useful information, and ten we'd suggest that you telephone & talk to studio managers. Sometimes, the personal request and demonstration of your keenness to learn can open up opportunities which are not formally advertised. Well, you never know till you try!

 

As for pointe work -- well (and long time members have heard me on this before!) having done pointe work in my teens, I'd just say it hurts, it's hard work, and it really isn't the be all and end all of ballet -- in my opinion, it's much better to develop technique and knowledge overal, than focus rather narrowly on the goal of pointe work.

 

I'd recommemd that you read the excellent Sticky by our expert teacher/moderators in the Pointe Shoe foum: The Facts of Life about Pointe Work

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  • 3 months later...

Hello, Have you found a place in Vancouver yet.

Check these dance company out.

DNC Dance Nouveau Co.

www.dancenouveau.com

 

They teach proper technique and give quality instruction to adults beginner to advance dancers that can be a drop in basis and progressive. You actually learn really ballet. The teacher is caring and professional. The are downtown vancouver at The Dance Centre on Davie & Granville. Easy access by transit and great fantastic state of the art facilities. People that really want to the learn the art of classical ballet go to their classes but yet it is a non-competitive and a great fun environment. A bunch of us just loves it there! Try it out and let me know what you think.

Good luck and happy dancing! ;-)

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  • 8 months later...

I discovered this reference to Mainland Academy on this site by chance, and am writing to correct what one would hope is an inadvertent misunderstanding of how Mainland teaches, but on re-reading appears to be an unfounded, uninformed and potentially damaging slur on Mainland.

 

I question XSugarplum’s actual knowledge of, or experience with, Mainland. Instead of directly answering MapleWalnut’s question as to where she could find a class to suit her needs, XSugarplum begins by attacking Mainland: “To be honest with you, I would seriously question the level of professionalism at the Mainland Academy of Performing Arts class you went to...” XSugarplum then goes on to make comments based on her misunderstanding of MapleWalnut’s post. MapleWalnut went to an adult drop-in at Mainland, and, according to her post, expressed interest in more serious training than could be obtained in adult drop-ins. She was offered the choice of taking a teen technique class that included pre-pointe; she was not offered an exclusively pre-pointe class because an exclusively pre-pointe class did not and never has existed at Mainland. XSugarplum, in her apparent rush to condemn Mainland, evidently did not read MapleWalnut’s post carefully and certainly has no idea of how Mainland’s classes were structured and developed. Pre-pointe was built into the student’s curriculum after students were assessed individually and often along with medical/physio consultation as well. Pre-pointe was part of regular class technique, according to time-honored traditions of European training (which appears to have worked very well for a large part of the ballet community).

 

MapleWalnut came to Mainland for one drop-in class during her search for feasible classes. As a courtesy she was offered one of the programme classes appropriate for her age and ability, rather than just the drop-in classes, so that she could progress in a curriculum based class and eventually, after consistent training, perhaps get to a level of ability where she could be assessed for pointe work. Please note, the teachers at Mainland would never put a beginner onto pointe, subject them to rigorous pre-pointe work, or offer pointe after 1 drop-in lesson. Mainland has been known to deny pointe work to students who were not ready (and who then left to find some other studio who would accommodate their desire to be on pointe). Students have also been taken off pointe who were badly trained elsewhere until they acquired sufficient correct technique and strength to return to pointe work.

 

Mainland was a boutique-type studio whose main classes offered professional preparation for professional school auditions, company auditions and ballet competitions such as Lausanne and YAGP. Teachers were only drawn from professional companies and who also had teacher training. Mainland’s students have been accepted to top schools and companies internationally. The only students not accepted anywhere were recreational students that did not audition for summer intensives, etc., but danced for fun. Everyone that came in through those doors for the pre-professional programme has been accepted somewhere.

 

Mainland’s directors have been made aware of this post and they are frankly quite sad that XSugarplum did not bother to find out how Mainland really functions, or post any facts about Mainland, but simply fired off suppositions about a school they evidently know nothing about. Mainland also objects to any of its teachers being apparently characterized as “…a greedy teacher who might be dangling pointe shoes in front of your nose in order to get money from you, at the risk of your health.” If Mainland were in this profession for the money, they would have offered various dance styles instead of concentrating solely on ballet. Now they only do serious private coaching & workshops instead of running a school.

 

This post appears on Google associated with the search “ballet+Vancouver”, so understandably Mainland is very concerned about its teachers and programme being unjustly vilified—inadvertently or not—so publicly. It is also sad that no one bothered to check on XSugarplum’s statements about Mainland before publishing them.

 

Last, this response is not intended to be a personal comment on any of the people posting, but to set the record straight on Mainland, and to ask people to please be aware of facts before making comments or stated assumptions about any school, company or teacher!! We wish everyone happy dancing!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Alleballets!

 

I'm glad you were able to set the record straight.

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