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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New Guy w/ some questions about dance classes in NYC


bkdncr

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When i was 20 i thought about taking a ballet class, but was too embarassed. But the thought has always stuck with me and I am far from 20...

I have been reading here for a bit and some of your posts have inspired me to give ballet a shot.

 

 

I realize I am lucky to be in one of the best places to learn ballet in the world....

 

Obviously at the age of 41 I am not looking for a 'career' but I am serious. I want to study for two reasons: first in learning, I think i will understand and appreciate ballet more. Secondly, I want a 'serious' class because I believe any non-water down or dumbed down 'discipline can pay dividends both on the body and mind (if that doesn't sound too corny!).

 

I know there have been some recommendations, but I schedules and classes seem to change a lot so...

 

I was looking for a class, nights in New York City that: .

a. men's class or a class where i won't be the only guy.

b. adults/older

c. not so many kids around. I think its great that young people are taking it but I, admittedly am extremely self conscious...which leads me to....

 

e. is it ok, at least the first class to just wear sweats? I don't feel like going out and buying a whole bunch of stuff and find out I really don't like taking a class. on the other hand, I don't want to start off by breaking decorum!

d. can you sign up for one class? or is it a block of time?

f. any tips on dealing with self consciousness? if i feel like this is for a good reason? or am i just being a wimp?

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bkdncr, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :) It has been a while since I took open class in NYC, and some of our other members may have better information for you, but I will try to answer some of your questions in the meantime.

 

I recommend looking at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center for introductory or beginner ballet classes for adults. The class will probably be mixed genders, and you may not be the only male, but it is a possibility. However, men are sarce in ballet, so they are always welcome, especially in a city like New York.

 

It is best to ask the school what their dress code is for adult male dancers. They will most likely tell you it is just fine to wear something in which you feel comfortable, and in which you can move freely, for your first class. Once you feel a little more comfortable, though, it is important to wear form-fitting clothing so the teachers are able to correct you.

 

Studios that offer open classes allow you to just 'drop in' without pre-registering, but you will probably want to get there 30 minutes or so beforehand to be sure you have enough time to change, pay for the class, find your way around, &c.

 

Self-consciousness is completely understandable when you are trying something new like this. Keep in mind that nobody expects perfection, especially on your first day, and the other people in the class are there to learn, too. No one is judging you, so just relax, do your best, and enjoy!

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It is best to ask the school what their dress code is for adult male dancers. They will most likely tell you it is just fine to wear something in which you feel comfortable, and in which you can move freely, for your first class. Once you feel a little more comfortable, though, it is important to wear form-fitting clothing so the teachers are able to correct you.

Hello Hans, thank you for your prompt response I am considering bw dance and steps...

 

What about footware? Is t ok to just wear (clean!) socks the first class or so?

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I would check with the studio--socks may be all right, but it's best to be sure. In case they're required, a pair of ballet shoes costs about $15-$30, and they should be readily available at any of the dancewear stores in NYC. If you go to capeziodance.com there is a store locator--that is a good place to start. They can help you find a good pair that fits well.

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Hi bkdncr,

 

I cannot comment on where to take class in NYC, but I can comment on the self consciousness question. I agree with Hans that men are always welcome in a ballet class! And as you'll see, ballet is kinda difficult for both the body and the brain, so everybody in class would be concentrating on what they are being taught and doing it as correctly as possible. Everybody is there to learn, so they pay very little attention to what the rest of the students are doing. And if the teacher corrects you and everybody is looking: first off, that is what you are paying the teacher for and secondly, the other students are looking to make sure that they are not making the same mistake! There is a learning opportunity in everybody's corrections!

 

And when the time comes for you to wear form fitting clothing (like tights, heaven forbid! :) ) you will be doing so to enhance your learning opportunity, as Hans explained. You are taking the trouble to take ballet classes, you might as well look the part too!

 

So, as you can see, there is no reason to feel self conscious! Yes, you will probably feel like you have three left feet in your first class (and second and third and fourth...), but hey, this is new to you and very challenging, so enjoy every moment!

 

Let us know how the first class went!

 

TallGuy

Edited by TallGuy
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I would add Ailey Extension, Ballet Arts, and Ballet Academy East, all are great places to take Ballet.

 

As for attire, Ballet slippers are safer than stocking feet, shorts and a t shirt are fine for a while. Baggy sweats are not useful. Buy and wear a dancebelt, they will protect "Jimmy and the Twins" from damage caused by fast movement of the legs together.

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I recommend looking at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center for introductory or beginner ballet classes for adults.

 

Unless they offer a class specifically labeled for "never ever before" level students, Steps and BDC beginning classes might be a pretty rough way to get started in ballet. Both places are famed for having classes that would score a full level higher anywhere else (their beginning class would be called intermediate somewhere else).

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I recommend looking at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center for introductory or beginner ballet classes for adults.

 

Unless they offer a class specifically labeled for "never ever before" level students, Steps and BDC beginning classes might be a pretty rough way to get started in ballet. Both places are famed for having classes that would score a full level higher anywhere else (their beginning class would be called intermediate somewhere else).

Thanks for the tip - that's why I wanted to ask here - I figured it could save a lot of time and frustration!

 

...well I got some slippers and other stuff. I figure I'll try three classes, and if i don't like it, the total $$ is no more than a night dining out, and could turn out to be a heck of lot better.

 

It's weird about the clothes - with swimming (which I do) I know many men feel 'weird' about having to wear a bathing cap, or they come in in baggy shorts (which is kind of like trying to swim with a parachute attached to your rear), i have no problem with the 'gear' of swimming, (though I would never wear it outside the pool or even to a recreational beach unless i was fitness swimming)

 

one last question. I will probably start in a couple of weeks - is there anything i can do between now and then to prepare - I run, swim and bike on a regular basis, but are there any muscles or stretching i can do on my own before beginning?

 

Again, thank you all for your help and advice.

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Nope, ballet is almost a free-standing study. You can't do anything before you start class to prepare for it other than buy practice clothes. The classes are their own preparation for the whole rest of the study.

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Hi,

I started this past January at the Alabama Ballet School and I am having the time of my life. Wanted to start at the age of 9, but had one of "those" fathers. (he apologised when I was 18). I take private class twice a week with two different teachers, and do one beginner group class per week. I am always the only guy. Felt like an awkward kid at first:now only wish I could be there 7 days a week. The self consciousness went away quickly. To finally be able to "realize" my life's passion is a gift beyond compare. I dress like a dancer for class, 'cause it enhances the mental image. As well as what I see in the mirror

Forgot to mention I am 53 years old.

Its NEVER too late!

 

When i was 20 i thought about taking a ballet class, but was too embarassed. But the thought has always stuck with me and I am far from 20...

I have been reading here for a bit and some of your posts have inspired me to give ballet a shot.

 

 

I realize I am lucky to be in one of the best places to learn ballet in the world....

 

Obviously at the age of 41 I am not looking for a 'career' but I am serious. I want to study for two reasons: first in learning, I think i will understand and appreciate ballet more. Secondly, I want a 'serious' class because I believe any non-water down or dumbed down 'discipline can pay dividends both on the body and mind (if that doesn't sound too corny!).

 

I know there have been some recommendations, but I schedules and classes seem to change a lot so...

 

I was looking for a class, nights in New York City that: .

a. men's class or a class where i won't be the only guy.

b. adults/older

c. not so many kids around. I think its great that young people are taking it but I, admittedly am extremely self conscious...which leads me to....

 

e. is it ok, at least the first class to just wear sweats? I don't feel like going out and buying a whole bunch of stuff and find out I really don't like taking a class. on the other hand, I don't want to start off by breaking decorum!

d. can you sign up for one class? or is it a block of time?

f. any tips on dealing with self consciousness? if i feel like this is for a good reason? or am i just being a wimp?

Link to comment
...well I got some slippers and other stuff. I figure I'll try three classes, and if i don't like it, the total $$ is no more than a night dining out, and could turn out to be a heck of lot better.

 

Learning ballet can be incredibly frustrating. The lingo is all in French and you're asking your body to do things it has never done before. Three sessions really isn't enough time to give dance a chance. I'd recommend committing to taking regular classes for a month, then analyzing whether it is worth continuing.

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...well I got some slippers and other stuff. I figure I'll try three classes, and if i don't like it, the total $$ is no more than a night dining out, and could turn out to be a heck of lot better.

 

Learning ballet can be incredibly frustrating. The lingo is all in French and you're asking your body to do things it has never done before. Three sessions really isn't enough time to give dance a chance. I'd recommend committing to taking regular classes for a month, then analyzing whether it is worth continuing.

 

Oh i don't expect 'instant gratification' swimming, which I took up as an adult, has a long learning curve as well. I do expect, however, in the course of three sessions, to know if 'it's for me'. Who knows, I might find I don't like the first class I try and I'll try another.

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Re the last comment: My guess is that you know straight away if it is for you or not - I knew as soon as I put my hand on the barre and the music started that it was something I really wanted to do. If it grabs you, it grabs you. If it doesn't, you can't force it. In my case, competence or incompetence was not an issue - I just knew I HAD to do it - whether idiotically or not!

 

As my motto puts it: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly".

 

JIm.

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