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Ballet Talk for Dancers

the transition to ballet

Guest Angel2Be

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Guest Angel2Be

I am 16 years old and have been dancing (jazz, modern, tap, lyrical) a lot since I was 8, but not any 'hard-core' ballet. But now I'm suddenly very interested! I've always loved ballet above all other forms, but was too scared to consider taking classes. Is it silly for me to start serious ballet now? I have had experiences with regular studio ballet classes and they weren't to my liking (I felt like those classes were just to supplement jazz etc.) ... I want to train in a more serious environment.


There are many local ballet schools in my area and I have investigated their programs. They seem to be pre-professional and more geared toward people who start much younger, though I believe that if I started I would only be maybe 3-4 years behind. They offer beginner through advanced (split into a and b for each level) classes, but I do not want to take a beginner class with 8 year olds. (11 is o.k., but not 8.)


What do you recommend I do? If it works out, I am willing to invest a lot of time and effort into ballet. I have no idea of my particular apptitude for ballet because I have yet to take a class. What level should I try out first? I am interested in possibly persueing a dance-related career, so would a switch to ballet be bad? Also, I know it is not too late to sign up for some of their intensive summer courses... might that be wise?


And to perhaps give you a better idea of where I am in training: I can do double pirouettes and fouettes and know the basic positions and steps, for example what "pas de bourree" and "ronde jambe" are, 1st position, 2nd, etc.. (maybe I can't spell them though!) Obviously, I have never been on pointe.


I am sorry this is such a long post! Thanks for reading it.

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Welcome to the Young Dancers' forum on Ballet Alert! Online, Angel2Be :)


While it is never too late, and certainly not silly, to start serious ballet classes, as you are discovering it may not be easy in terms of finding classes where you "fit", so to speak. Even though you have danced for many years, your technical level in ballet will probably still be low because you have not had to work with rotation and a lot of other things that ballet requires which are generally not really taught and developed in the other forms of dance. The good news is that, if you have a good physical facility for ballet, you will probably progress much, much faster than a student who has not danced and begins at 16, IF there are not a lot of bad habits and mannerisms too set into your body.


Ballet starts with proper alignment, rotation, and articulation of the legs and feet. The shape and the line is more important than the tricks. It's not about making pirouettes and fouettés, but in HOW you make them in terms of the placement/rotation/shape of the position you turn in, which is not something that is easy to achieve. People who have not had to work with 5th position, and "line", which is always rotated will struggle with this when starting late. (Well, everyone struggles with it, no matter when they start, but it's just more difficult for someone with an adult body. :eek: )


I would suggest you find the best school in your area that offers either teen or adult beginning classes. Hopefully, you can get enough classes to progress quickly into a teen class that is more age appropriate. The problem with Intensive Summer programs is that they are generally geared to the upper intermediate and advanced dancers. Most schools do not have intensives on the beginning level. You might want to check out the Adult Ballet Students Forum, and read the information on Richmond's Adult Intensive program in the summer!

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i just wanted to say that if you find a class that you enjoy you should definately try ballet. my sister was never keen on ballet at my school so stuck with jazz, tap and modern. she then found a school that did ballet, and she really enjoyed the way that they taught.she loves the classes! In my opinion, ballet should be enjoyable whatever standard you are at, so keep looking for a class that you enjoy and go for it!!

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