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Ballet Talk for Dancers

First Time - What To Expect?


Harrison

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Hi There,

 

 

Im sixteen (almost 17) and from the UK; I am interested in starting ballet. I shall soon be applying for a beginners course at my local leisure center . Due to the fact Im a male I am wondering what to expect? because I will probably be the only man there. Am I starting ballet to late?. I am very slim of a slight muscular build with an average height; Am I suitable for ballet?. What sort of clothes and shoes will I need to buy>? Will they be expensive.

 

Thanks

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Hello, Harrison, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :)

 

You'll have to speak to the school(s) that you will be attending in order to come up with the appropriate practice clothing, but the worldwide standard for men is usually considered: a white top, black tights, white socks, white ballet slippers. Particulars can be had of your school. Once you're kitted out, equipment is a negligible part of ballet training.

 

Rudimentary ballet is unisex; the five positions of the feet, and the arms, and the body positions are the same for everybody. The trick is to get your body to do them without injury. Ballet is not a "natural" form of movement for anybody!

 

Whether your physique is appropriate for ballet, we can't say. There are many different builds which will look perfectly fine. There are others where looking good will be more challenging. We can't see you, so we can't evaluate on that basis. That you want to start at all makes you "suitable" enough!

 

Starting ballet at 16 is not unheard of for a male dancer.

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Mel,

 

Thanks for the quick reply. Is there anything I can do to prepare for my first class? Running etc? My only major concern is telling my parents not that they have any right to know but of course they will find out, though I am not homosexual but as ballet is quite a famine form of dancing my friends will seriously take the ######!

 

Any books or dvds you can recomend.

 

Thanks

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Ballet? Feminine? Sounds as if you need to watch 'Le Corsaire' performed by American Ballet Theatre, and perhaps also 'Born to Be Wild: The Men of ABT'! :)

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And there's nothing to do before your first class, except to get there on time! Preparation for ballet really starts with the class. You'll be fine, but you'll find that it's a more physically demanding activity than it looks!

 

And for attitude, see Billy Elliot. For a film about ballet, it shows relatively little of it, although clogging is jolly well done! And of the ballet shown, some of it is godawful! It's one of the weaknesses of the show. But for sheer stiff upper lip, nothing beats Billy's spirit.

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Thanks for the help and the quick responses; I am excited about my first lesson. I only wish I had chosen to take it up earlier the last school I went to was a Legat Dance School but also taught a wide range of other subjects.

 

Thanks

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That's the way to approach it! Look forward, don't look back, you aren't old enough yet to have a Past to regret!!!

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Brillaint. One last thing. Due to the type of people my parents are it is going to be very difficult to tell them I want to dance. Any tips?

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Go right ahead and tell them.

 

If they have a problem with it, remember, it's THEIR problem, not yours.

 

One of the interesting things about this board is how we can communicate across the miles and spread goodwill from a host of different traditions. There once was a frontier hero named Davy Crockett who actually lived and became a US Congressman before moving to Texas and dying at the Alamo. He published a popular almanac, which continued for many years after his death. His personal motto was on the masthead of every edition: "Be sure you're right, then GO AHEAD." That advice has never worked badly for me.

 

Additionally, I should like to counsel you using some wisdom from even farther back in time, "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth." It's a well-established truth that people in well-modulated family relationships between and among generations have a better track record, both in success and in longevity! (Old Davy said that he got his "rule of life" from his father! :) )

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Should be good, currently looking at the different stuidos around my area. The closet one offers the following course: A no-nonsense approach to dance fitness by bringing ballet conditioning techniques directly to both dancers and non dancers alike. Easy to follow, non impact standing BarreWork and graceful Floorwork, leaving you looking and feeling like a dancer. Only problem is I dont have a clue if this is right for me? Any Ideas!

 

Thanks

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That sounds more like fitness-driven than technique-driven. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's ideal for the adult beginner who has zero aspirations to performing. In your case, you just might be able to do something involving stage, so I'd look for a more rigourous curriculum. Look for schools with RAD, ISTD or BBA associated with the school and faculty. That's the nice thing about dance study in Britain. There is a mechanism where Quality Control is applied in many places.

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I have no aspiration to go profesional! But I already do a bit of acting stage-wise and I can imagine ballet would be just brilliant to perform on stage. But tommorow I shall ring around some dance schools in my local area.

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Right I have found a suitable studio and mens dance class which is very close to me, Its very expensive but It should be good.

 

Also is there any point in buying ballet shoes when you first start learning?

Edited by Harrison
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