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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adult performance opportunities outside of a career..


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I have been thinking lately, how there are many adults who don't find dance until later in life, and then they realize that they want it to be a bigger part of their life but don't expect to go pro because of the complications involved.

I'm wondering what other options are out there for these types of dancers, and thought that it would be a good discussion.


I think it's really great when directors of pre-pro schools allow older adults to be part of their classes and performances, as it gives them a chance to experience ballet in a realistic and practical manner. What else can the community do to offer more dance opportunities for adults?

It's a sad train of thought when people feel like their dancing isn't anything unless they get into a company, and that seems like a personal problem that the individual is responsible for, but I'd like to think of more ways to give them other options.

Anybody care to share their thoughts on this?


Edit to add: The thing that spiked my curiosity is because there are two wonderful dancers at my studio who are in their forties, and they are excellent in class and performing. I'd like to see more opportunities opened for them as they are very talented. Our director has community casting for Nutcracker every year and one of them was in it this time, and she did spectacular.

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I am TOTALLY with you! I would adore to have chances to perform and there are many adults from their 20's to 40's at my school who feel the same way.

My school actually plans on having us do a little recital of sorts which would be great. Many of us don't just want to character dance but do some "pretty" ballet too!

We are also being offered a pre pointe class which will lead to pointe classes later for those with the skills and the dedication.

Many of us look young and fit and like "real" dancers or are at least getting to that point with hard work and taking many classes.


Ballet classes changed my life and I would love to have a lot to work towards; not to be the Snow Queen or indeed anything close to that, but to show what we have learned, look beautiful in tutus, perhaps and have our friends and family come to see all that we have achieved.


There are some adults who are not interested. They seem to be adults who maybe have kids who dance or are compete beginners, never having danced as kids. Also, maybe they have had serious injuries which would prevent them from going on pointe or lack of the desire to.


But I would say that I know at least 12 adults dancers who crave an outlet to perform in some way and want to work towards something, have dreams and little goals! I certainly so!!


GOOD topic! :blink:

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Not all ballet is 'pretty'!!! It's not all fairies and princesses and snowflakes and flowers!!!!!! Some of it is shocking. Some of it is strong, bold. Some of it is a combination. See some MacMillan: The Judas Tree, Manon, Mayerling


Or some Balanchine: The Prodigal Son, Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto


Plenty of folks wouldn't call Forsythe, McGregor, and others of that stripe 'pretty'.


Sure, Swan Lake is on all the time, especially these days, and the Nutcracker is a staple. Part of the problem with public support, and even parental support, is thinking that the art form begins and ends there.


Sorry for going off topic -- this is a trend that seems to be all over the place, and with all the discussion on the minorities threads and on stereotypes, I should hope we wouldn't perpetuate them. Now back to your regularly scheduled thread....

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I know of adult companies that put together their own show each year -- both where I live and elsewhere. Their members are diverse in background, experience, dance style, body type, etc. They rent rehearsal space. They (some, not all) hold auditions for those adults who want to do more than take class. They make their own schedule. They fit their rehearsals into all of their other commitments. They do their own choreography. They pull together costumes. They rent a venue. They promote themselves. They sell tickets. It's a tonne of work but a team effort. And they get to perform in the end!

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Ok, sorry, not "pretty". I really just meant NON character roles like the adults in the beginning of the Nutcracker which is what we would mostly be offered where I am located.

I just mean more serious parts, really...though I love classical music myself more like Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, etc...and would love a chance to dance to the Romantic composers but that is personal. I'm sure that some of the adults would love to dance to more modern music and themes.

But we all have our favourites.

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I'll leave it after this, but my point is that ballet is diverse -- that yes, there is a fitness aspect to it and a way that it can contour your muscles, etc., but just as the art is diverse the reason we pursue it, as adults, is also diverse (i.e., my own benefit from dance is not about how great my body may or my not look).


In addition, we learn a lot from... learning! From opening our minds and watching different things... While Mayerling and Manon may not be conventional Classical ballets, they are classical, do use classical composers, etc -- it's not that they are 'modern'. It's not about having favorites, but about recognizing difference and recognizing the great variety that lies beyond tutus and princesses -- just because there aren't tutus and princesses/fairies/etc doesn't mean that it isn't ballet or that it is suddenly 'modern'.


In all of your posts, you seem to be drawn to the fairytale aspect of it, with tutus and pointe shoes. This is fine -- again, we all have our favorites, as you state... I guess I'm trying to, in some ways, gently encourage you to look beyond that, not to change your own dreams as it were, but because it's really just so tremendously wonderful to see all the great diversity, approaches to choreography, etc. I think you'll find it not just interesting, but also inspirational.


With that said... I haven't performed since 2007. I miss it... but sadly unsure if I'd have the time for it....

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I'm confused by your posts, ami1436. I think all that rlyons is saying is that she would like the opportunity to dance in a performance where she could actually execute technical steps, and not just be "moving scenery".

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I apologize for the confusion -- this was not the right thread to bring up this issue. My initial post was a comment not just on a post in this thread, but to other posts and a global 'interpretation', if you will. In addition, it was not just in reaction to rlyons but to others as well.


rlyons' second post clarified her position, and I fully understand her desire to perform classical dance as opposed to more 'filler' roles.


Regardless of this thread, I would always encourage dancers to get a larger view of the artform.


Again, I apologize for reacting without consideration as to the place I was posting. Mods, I'm happy to delete my posts on this thread if you wish.

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Thanks Tutu!!! Exactly! It seems that the word "pretty " caused confusion :blushing: LOL

I just want to dance in a serious way at some point like a lot of adults I know who dance and think that adults should be given more opportunities.

Tutu, it would be so great to eventually show off our technique! Well said!


Like I said, our school is planning on a short adult performance and I am very excited!


Why should we simply dance for fitness when dance can bring us and other so much joy!?

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No need to delete, Ami. I think this is an interesting discussion, with a number of different perspectives. We can all learn from each other, and we can also disagree respectfully! We all bring different things to our study of ballet as dancers, an our appreciation of it as spectators, and it's really interesting to read about all those different points of view.

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I don't think there was any disagreement with anything anyone is saying, it just seems to me from reading this that there was no understanding of the simple fact that rlyons was just saying she wanted the chance to dance in a technical piece of choreography. I think it can be in any of the many forms of ballet that ami1436 mentioned. There was no real qualifier about performing except the desire of adults to dance in a show that utilizes as much technique as they have learned. In other words, I think the desire is to be able to perform professional choreography in a concert type setting.

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no understanding of the simple fact that rlyons was just saying she wanted the chance to dance in a technical piece of choreography.


tutu, as I stated above, I understand this, and as I tried to explain above, my reaction came from not just this thread, but from a combination of other posts and trends amongst others who also post here. Whilst I can edit out a post, I can't fully delete it, and if I edit it to have nothing in it, the responses that follow no longer make sense. This is why I'm leaving it, unless the mods want to remove it. I'm truly sorry for the appearance of my 'not understanding'. Again, I'm sorry for my interjection, and I do hope that we can move on.

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I'm sorry ami1436, I didn't mean to drag out the discussion on this points. I meant the last post for Redbookish as it sounded like she thought we were disagreeing about the perfomance aspect.

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Make it known that you want to perform. When the class schedule came out there was a listing for Ballet Performance in the timeslot just before my ADV 1 class so I just rocked up to it. The teacher was surprised but didn't turn me away and has now said she is glad i've joined because I bring a level of performance maturity to the production. We are doing a modern pointe piece to the musical score from The Piano and will perform it at my schools mid year concert and possibly compete in a couple of local eisteddfodds.


I think sometimes the reason adult student are overlooked is that our work schedules often dont allow us the flexibility for extra rehearsals. As long as your teachers know you are dedicated and able to make it to rehearsals once you start performing with them more opportunities will show up. It's all about putting yourself out there.

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I posted in the middle of the earlier discussion. To bring the conversation back to topic, with the added perspective of the last several posts, my point was this: If we, as adults, want to do something, we may very well have to do it ourselves.


When that "something" is dance performance, making it happen may be as easy as asking a teacher to put an adult piece in the school's children's recital or as complex as producing one's own show. The details will depend on your community, the amount of time/effort you are willing to put it, etc. And, to bring in Ami's perspective, we may have to be flexible in the kinds of performances we're willing to be part of.


Adult performances are not the norm, so opportunities -- especially ones that fit perfectly with our ideas of what beautiful dance is -- are not likely to be handed to us or even offered in a simple exchange for money. We will probably have to do the legwork, compromise, and put in a LOT of time to get what we want, like anything else worth doing!

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