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Awkward age starting Ballet at 19?


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I just joined this forum so pardon me if questions like mine have been asked already.


Anyway, a little background, I started dancing about a year ago when i took an intro to modern class in college and got hooked! After about 8months on and off dancing hip hop and beginning modern i decided to continue foward. I really took a liking to dance and would like to improve so I asked my modern professor what I should do and he told me to take ballet classes (my college does not offer them so i had to look elsewhere) for a while to get good foundation before and while dancing modern/contemporary/hip hop (what I want to dance to).


So i started taking an open basic ballet class twice a week at Broadway Dance Center in NYC (Im in NYC), but I feel as if the open environment isn't improving my technique since I feel like i am lacking linear progression as what we do on a given class is so random (i.e. we would do chaines one class and then I'd never see them again...), not to mention broadway dance center is getting too crowded for my liking! As such i searched up programs where i could register for a semester for teens but they all close at age 18!


Herein lies the problem. What should I do? Should I attempt to ask if I can be permitted into a teen ballet semester-type program which i am assuming will be linear progression (take note I am 19 and turning 20 soon...) or should I switch to another dance school with a smaller open class and continue to take open adult type ballet classes and hope to catch everything and anything I can?


MY dream is to one day be a casual semi professional dancer in a modern or contemporary or hip hop company, hopefully which is possible even though i started dancing very late... (I dont wanna dance as my main career however, that is why I am majoring in chemistry, my other passion). I really enjoy dance...it has become sucha huge part of my life now that I don't know how I can deal without it, but I really want to progress, and I don't know if open classes are working for me!


Any advice is appreciated!

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Hi glueisntedible,


Nice to meet someone like me! I'm also 19 and just started ballet and I also have a background in hiphop and contemporary jazz. Hmmm, I can see your problem...I'm not in the states so I'm not really sure how classes are run over there, but I was very lucky in that I managed to find a dance academy that offers adult classes of varying levels and not just open classes. There's probably no harm in asking if you could join a semester class for teens? I know I'm not supposed to give advice...but there's no harm in asking?


I personally find that open classes haven't helped tremendously with my technique...they're great fun but not as good as level classes when it comes to improvement. Mind you, that might not be the case for everyone.


In the past I've found individual tuition really helpful...but I know this is super pricey and I've only done it very occassionally in preparation for an exam.


Sorry I can't offer anything more solid...the moderators will have something more useful to say.


Good luck in your search for a class! And again, nice to meet someone in the same boat as me!


All the best!

Edited by ellen008
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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, glue! You'll have to spill the story behind your screenname!!!


The fortunate thing for you is that you're in NYC!!! My first thought is to try Steps, because they offer a Beg. Ballet Class every morning, 6 days per week, and it's taught by only a few teachers rotating. You can then move up through the levels as you progress. They are still Open Classes, but there is likely more consistency because of the huge number of class offerings, and the minimal teachers for the level.


Good luck!

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Guest Matti18

Hi Glueisntedible (you're right it's not :innocent: )

I have to say I'm not sure about the situation in NYC (I'm in the UK) so Clara's advice will probably help you more, but I have asked places about their rules on taking classes that are for 'younger' students, that's how I found my current studio :thumbsup:


Edited to remove advice

Edited by Matti18
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  • Administrators

Ellen, please remember that no one is to post responses before a teacher/moderator on the Young Dancers forums. This also applies to the Nutrition and Health forum and the Pointe Shoe Topics forum.


Matti, advice is also not given by students on these forums. You may relate your experiences, but no direct advice to do something or not to do something.


I know we have strict rules here, and on this YD forum you are not children, however, we have a number of really good reasons for these rules. :innocent:

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whoops! sorry Miss Leigh! Will remember that in future!

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Alas the beg. Ballet classes at steps don't entirely fit my schedule (I can go to them but I'd be pressed for time to get to my next class...at my college). I also always thought steps was similar to BWY dance center in their open class feel. Have you heard of ballet academy east and how their open adult classes are or of any teen adult ballet semester programs I could perhaps register for in the winter or spring semester? Thanks for the help


O btw, I don't even remember where I got glueisntedible from...I believe I have had such a screenname since i was about 12... I am assuming I accidently ate some glue and the horror of it just stuck with me (no pun intended)!

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hey ellen! what i meaant by open classes was that they were open to anyone (they did have levels i.e. I take Basic level Ballet at BWYdance center but the curriculum is always so random as we learn one thing one week and I never get to see it again as we do another thing another week. i.e. no linear progression.) Another problem with this is that the students are always random and it just feels like Im taking a class with just a bunch of random people who are taking ballet just for fun/exercise/to try it when i really want to advance a level and build good solid technique. O and ANother problem with that is that somedays (most days now) the class would be so filled with random people that I am never sure if my form is correct, and I barely feel like there is individual attention. AS such I was wondering if I enroll in a semester program if possible where things are done weekly and their is linear progression if I would feel more comfortable. the problem with that is that I cant find ANY adult semester programs and they are all teens age 18 and below.


thanks though for the luck...i'll need it :D

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I took open classes with Dick Andros at Ballet Academy East two summers ago. I was probably an advance-beginner. My classes varied from 3 people to no more than 8 or 9 people!


His classes were very hard for me (they were labeled as intermediate), but he worked with me so much and gave lots of personal attention! I improved a TON!


Also he would bring combinations up over and over again. We would have a set monday turning combination, set tuesday turning combination, etc. He was always bringing up old combinations and if they ever did change it was very slight!


I can only comment on Mr. Andros but if the other teachers are anything like he was then I would definitely say try them out! Classes seem to be smaller than at other places, and combinations seem to be brought up again and again!

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wow I hope the classes are still like/set like that! I'm going to try BAE and take their beginner class tomorrow. thanks!

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Hi glue!


Ah, I totally agree with you. Linear progression is very important. I really hope you find a suitable class! I understand the frustation of feeling a lack of progress and all that.

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Let us know if you have luck at BAE!



Hey! update on my quest to find a suitable ballet school!...

I went to BAE today and took Basic Beginner with Bassat. (for reference I have been taking Basic Ballet 2x a week for about 2months at broadway dance center prior to this and I am searching for another school to go to that fits my schedule better and isnt as crowded)


IN BAE, I thought the basic class was difficult...this was NOT IN ANYWAY a basic class AT ALL. NOTHING was explained. and combinations had multiple steps... more than 3-5+ steps each...I felt bad that I couldn't keep up with half the things we were doing and felt bad when the teacher had to waste 30secs+ re-explaining the combination just for me after saying it out loud (apparantly the students in the class get the combinations after just a word-word speech of it with no demonstration). The barre work was OK and managable and the teacher seemed pretty good, but I felt that I was slowing the whole class down and came out a little uneasy. Their was a nice lady though that was a student who encouraged me to come back and that I did OK. but some of the other students seemed very stand offish. All in all, I thought the class was OK, and it was good that there were only about 8 people in the class. Moreover, I may go back and try to challenge myself to get it and I probably will eventually, but I will try another basic beginner with a different teacher (another teacher named Rodnan teaches basic on sunday) and see how another one is. The classes here are an hr and a half and are 16$ each or 150$ for a 10class card.


In addition, I also tried another ballet school called Dokoudovsky's New York Conservatory of Dance. I liked the class i took here better than BAE. I took the beginner class here (they only offer one basic class a week so i had to take beginner because I cant go to that one) and the class was a little harder than what I was used to, but it was mangable, more so than the basic at BAE, and i felt comfortable even when I made mistakes in the combinations as everyone seemed nice and weren't intimidating. Moreover, I really enjoyed the environment (the class is held in this room that looks as old as a 1920's ballroom with wooden molded walls, a balcony, and everything...) and the teacher, Patricia Dokoudovsky has a very old time classical ballet feel to her. She told me what I will get in this school will be the purest most classical form of ballet such as those influenced by Olga Preobrejenska and the Ballet Russe(sp? sorry don't know that much about ballet history..ya..i should know). Apparantly, her husband was a famous male ballet dancer named Vladimir Dokodovsky after i did some research so i assume the school has a good standard for ballet education.


Also, when I took the class, the teacher (patricia, the only teacher for that matter) called me by my name whenever she gave me corrections, and I was very surprised (I assume she got my name from the sign in list as I never announced it). The class also only had 5 students and when I couldn't do a jumping combination properly (since I had never done this certain one) she asked a more advanced student to stay after the class to help me and he helped me for a good 20mins after the class ended. Patricia was also very nice and i had a brief talk with her about why i got interested in ballet, and she told me to shop around for whatever ballet school fits me best, she was very accomadating! The only problem I had with this class is that i think it only lasted about 1hour, but 1 hour in a class with 5 students where i get corrections and extra help I believe is better than an hr and a half (the norm in many other schools) where I dont get any. The classes here are 15$ each and 125 for a 10class card.



I am going to take another class at BAE, and another at the conservatory and maybe another school (peridance center) and decide on a final school next week. I hope my post helps anyone else in my situation when deciding on a school and a class! I'll provide another update after I take a few more classes and decide on a school!

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Thanks for letting us know! I'm glad you had a good experience at Dokoudovsky's, it sounds like a great school!


I do remember going to BAE and feeling overwhelmed, I didn't know ANYTHING as well as I thought when I was taking class there. I pretty much had the same experience you had my first day, overwhelmed, it was too hard, I wasn't used to just having combinations given verbally, etc. I do encourage you do try a second class with this teacher to see if it gets any better; I may have just gotten lucky with Mr. Andros in the fact that he really took me under his wing while I was there. I also remember some of the students being stand offish, they seemed to warm up more once I became a regular and I ended up making some great contacts for future reference. I'm sorry to hear that your experience wasn't exactly great.

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