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If you're years behind...


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Hi everyone. I am the oldest dancer in a new little ballet school. My teacher has had NO experiance teaching the class I'm taking from her. She also hasn't mentioned anything about being me behind, (because she wouldn't. She's too nice. And that really is the truth) but I know it in my bones that I am. I am (still) dancing with girls that are four years younger than me. I'm still a grade below the pre-professional grades. I am actually more advanced than the class, but you know how ballet is. You can always do better. Even on your 'Plea's. I am only dancing two days a week and I have only been on pointe (long story there. Lets just say that I wasn't done growing and then I moved out of state) for a year. I am almost 6ft tall, I have always had the perfect pointe, and lets just say I make your 'perfect ballerina'. I want to do so much with ballet, but I don't know where to start. I've got a great core (and I'm still improving it) and all, I just don't have enough of a challenge. I'm a serious dancer, this is the first year in my whole dancing life where I feel like a baby.

I recently decided to pursue a degree in ballet. I am free to go to college in one to two years, but I've never auditioned for anything. Thing is, I know I'm not ready. I really want to be, but judging by the pace of how things are going now, I won't be ready for atleast another 4 years. :)

I really have no idea what to do about the way I feel. Should I switch schools? Could/should I train at home? Where do I start? What should I do? If you have anymore questions that would help you understand what I'm asking, feel free.

I just want to be the best dancer I can be. I'm just not in the right system. But how do I change that?


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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, OnHerToes!!!


First off, you won't be able to make any progress towards your goals if you stay in the current situation. You desperately need to get into a pre-professional training environment- today. Read around Ballet Talk for Dancers to find the nearest pro-pro school, and get there to audition.


As far as being the oldest dancer in your level- expect that no matter where you go. Your training is severely lacking so if you are really serious about this, and have some sort of innate talent along with a body able to withstand the rigors of this profession, you will probably be placed with younger students until you catch up. If you're really serious about this, and I mean really serious, then you won't mind being placed wherever you need to be placed in order to accomplish your goal.


Also, you need to get a hold of Gail Grant's Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet, along with many other good books and videos. :)


Good luck. Keep us posted.

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Thanks so much! I am going to take your advice, and I will be sure to keep you posted. :)

I forgot to mention: I am taking the highest class my teacher offers in her school right now, that's the only reason why I'm taking such a class. If there were more advanced classes available, I'd be in them without question.


Yes I am a serious dancer! I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes for sure! I just felt like something wasn't right about it. I'm glad to know that I wasn't just being overly concerned about it.

And, I can actually tell you that that has been the case over the past three years of my dancing life, (me being the oldest) ever since I moved to this school. And that right there tells me the problem: it's the school.


Thanks again for everything!

This is a great site! I'm glad I came across it! Good luck to all :)

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  • 2 months later...

So, I thought I would send in an update to this post as I promised that I would.

So far, (about 3 months later) I took your advice and I have stepped out of my previous ballet school and I have begun taking classes three days a week (plus additional private lesions) at another school. Thing is, I have switched from training purely Royal Academy/Cecchetti to complete Russian/Vaganova. Opposite worlds, I know, but I have found that (and I keep finding that) the primary reason I felt so behind is because of the technique I was training in. The Cecchetti syllabus did NOT suit my body type and, in fact, it was actually causing serious joint discomfort in everything I did outside of class. My back is naturally VERY arched, my legs are hyper extended, and my hips are naturally opened. Having to dance on slightly bent knees made my work unstable and caused my turnout to decrease. I was always getting nagged about closing my ribs! It was a great experience seeing myself open up in my ribs and hips and extend higher with my legs in my new classes.

Overall, I feel that I am officially on my way to becoming the ballerina I want to be and my teacher says that I am coming along nicely. There are even other girls in my class that are my age! (And even my height!)

Though this is a huge transition and it is requiring ALOT of (more) hard, hard work, I am able to enjoy it more and I am happy to see results through my pain and sacrifices. It is super frustrating when a ballerina doesn't get to dance beautifully to her own eyes, and that was the boat I was in when I was seeing the features of my body as hinderances and not assets. This change has surely been for the better! I hope this is an encouragement to the other hard working dancers out there that are finding their place in the ballet industry. Have fun dancing everyone! :yes:

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Glad to hear you are happier in your current pursuit of study. :yes:

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I'm in the same boat. I'm 5'6", X pounds, very lean and muscular, but 19. I live in an area that is more football-minded than ballet, so finding places to take has been tough. I just started class this week, and I came home and cried. I LOVE to dance. I LOVE it. The teacher wasn't very helpful, only saying that I missed a lot in my previous training and that I wasn't doing very well. I KNOW I'm gifted. My previous teacher worked with me for hours because she saw so much talent. It just hurts now looking at how far away from a dream I am. I'm not afraid of hard work or of pain, so I will work as hard as I have to. I have a good core that is constantly improving and my flexibility is also being worked on. What do I do? What CAN I do? I'm taking a slow paced adult class as well as a very fast-paced advanced. Pointe is out of the question at the moment. I feel so out of sync with everything. I want this desperately. So where do I even begin?

Edited by dancemaven
In keeping with BT4D policy not to discuss or refer to weight
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  • Administrators

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, abbycamille. :innocent:


What you must do is find the very best school that exists in your area, and take as many classes as you possibly can. Nineteen is not that old, if you had a lot of good training. How long since you stopped training? When you were studying before, had you reached an advanced level? How many classes a week were you taking, both ballet technique and pointe?

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I'm at a very good school here in town, and taking 3 classes a week. It's been 3 years since I stopped, and I was taking 2 classes before but they were very long classes, so it was about the same as now. My flexibility is limited, especially in my left leg. My pirouettes are horrible, mostly because I was a great leaper (still am, hopefully) and so I usually was more apt to work on leaps than pirouettes.

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  • Administrators

I'm glad to hear that you are a very good school, abbycamille. :) And 3 classes a week when just starting back is good. Hard to say how long it will take to get back to where you were, but probably not too long at your age, along with the fact that you danced up to 16. Don't forget, though, that ballet is a long and slow process. You can't make anything happen quickly, and patience is the keyword. Just enjoy it, and don't put any pressure on yourself in terms of how fast you come back. :angry:

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What do you do if your teacher isn't being very helpful or doesn't see any talent in you? My teacher didn't have anything good to say and was kind of picky.

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It might be best if you relax a bit and just concentrate on doing your best in every class. The future will become clearer in time. If you find your teacher is uninterested in helping you to be the best that you can be or discouraging, find a different teacher. It might help if you have a conversation with your teacher to explain how you are feeling. Be prepared however to possibly hear things you may not want to hear.

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