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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How do I stop "saving" myself for other classes


Claude_Catastrophique

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I am now in the halftime pre-pro-programm of this school and my schedule is 1,5 hrs ballet with pointe, 1,5 hrs modern and alternating 1,5 hrs modern/ballet. Ballet and Modern are in a row, which means one class after the other, with like 5-10 min. break in between, the third class is a 1,5 hour later. Now I am pretty much used to that much dancing (fourth week now) but I always catch me, how I am "saving" myself for the following classes. I really do not want to do that, because I am never THAT exhausted that I would be already on my limit. Usually I can only let go and give everthing in the last class but I would like to give 200% already in the first one (especially to see how far I can push).

 

How to stop "saving" me?

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I am confused as to why there are 2 classes in the same thing every day...

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Because they are in addition and I do not pay for them. I can take them if I want to (and I want). I am not in the fulltime program (well, you have to live from something, haven't you?) therefor I just do the halftime program which means ballet and modern in the afternoon. In the afternoon I do Graham and modern in the evening is contemporary with Cunningham (ballet is the same ;-) ) I do not PPD class and Variations (they are reserved for the fulltime students) and I do not do rehearsal because I do not participate in performances (also reserved for fulltime).

 

I mean, I would be stupid of I would NOT take the classes I can get for free, isn't it?

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I think the only thing you can do is to push a little harder in each class and see how far you can go without it being too much. Instinctively you are pacing yourself, which is a good thing. I never have had that many dance classes in a day but I have had 8-12 hour rehearsals for shows daily, depending on whether it was a union company or not. I definitely had to pace myself and could not give everything at every hour of the rehearsal.

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Yes, it would seem that you need to develop a sense of pacing so you can get the most out of it. Even though it's "free" it actually worth exactly that if it doesn't enable you to gain stamina and strength, and you are having to borrow energy credits where you can. Might it not be more beneficial to simply take the 1 ballet class and the 1 modern class daily?

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I agree with Clara - more is not necessarily better and if you're not dancing full out in order to be able to do all the three classes, I'm not sure that you're going to gain as much as you could from them. Perhaps you could do the third class just a couple of times a week and see how it goes. Seems to me if you always start with ballet and that's the one you take it a bit easier in, then your ballet technique is going to suffer.

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Thank you all for your insightful answers.

 

My main problem is, that I have never really done Modern in my life...I mean, I did 3 times an SI where I was twice in a beginner class and the thrid time in an intermediate class (in the last three years) and I had three months twice a week classes in the evening but half of the time we were rehearsing for a perfomance. In the afternoon I was put into the normal class of the pre-pro students and for the first time in my life I had to do Grahama (and NOT on beginner level!). I can follow with the little knowledge I have from the courses in the past and recently we had a guest teacher who studied in New York and she went down to the very basics so that I am fine now that.

The other class in the evening is Cunningham for Adults and it is pretty basic, created for beginners and for those who are a little bit more experienced, the teacher adds some extra things (like more tilts, arms, releves and turns). Although it is Cunningham it helps me a lot in general with Modern so I really do not want to miss that class. But this class is okay, as being so basic I am never exhausted after that class.

 

As for ballet, I have two different teacher and each of them pays attention to other things (which I think is great on the level I am now). The teacher in the evening pays much attention to me and another student form the professional course (because he knows that I want to do teacher training and the other girl will finish her formation soon) so I really enjoy the extra attention I get. Oh and after all, the afternoon is on pointe and in the evening I can wear my flats so I like to have one class for pointe and the other one in flats.

 

Maybe I have to start slowly to give more. This week was already better although I am really dead (the guest teacher killed us) and when she is there, we switch Modern and Ballet around so that there is first Modern and afterwards ballet (which no one likes and it's no ideal).

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I think if you like the classes and you are learning from them, you should stick with it. How long have you had this schedule? It will take some time to build up the stamina, and maybe the holding back/saving yourself/pacing is just right for now. I think if you found yourself leaving a class before it is done or being in pain the next day, that it is too much, but it might just be your body adjusting to the more intense schedule.

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I started the 1st september and did just for three days one balletclass, then daily modern and ballet and since two weeks also in the evening....so not for such a long time, not even a month!

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A few years ago I was limited to four classes a week - I'm old, and "over-use" injuries would stop me if I exceeded that for more than a week or two. Eventually I resolved that problem. I was able to add one more class every three or four weeks - if I went faster, I had to rest a few weeks before starting again. I got up to 12 classes a week eventually (though I am back at 7 or 8 now - life intervenes!).

 

So my experience says, add classes slowly enough to get accustomed to them. You can do amazing things for a week or two, but you pay for it if you go to far too fast!

 

These days I take only a few non-standard classes, and I am clear with myself that I take them to improve my ballet - if I am tired, those are the classes that don't get full effort. This allows me to give the fullest focus possible on ballet which is my real passion. So what works for me is to identify where the real passion is, and honor that. The rest falls into place, and with perspective comes happiness. For me at least! Everybody is different, after all!

 

There is a phrase in management consulting, "the best is the enemy of the better." Meaning, if you try to do everything, you will fail - we are none of us perfect. But if you just try to do better than before, and keep it up, you will get much further than you ever thought possible.

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