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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hello & a couple of questions....


mao

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Hello, my name is Kim and I started adult ballet 2 weeks ago. I wanted to do ballet ever since I watched Cats when I was 7. It is great and I enjoy going very much!

However, it isn't a beginner class and I heard my teacher mentioning that the rest of the group are about grade 5 standard (I think?). They are working on doing two pirouettes, waltz with turns & she is dropping in hints of going en pointe (when releve/eleve-ing she will say "feel like you are about to go en point....pull yourself out of the shoe"). She will give me a simpler centre floor work combinations sometimes, but I find them difficult to remember and I feel frustrated. The teacher gives group concrit rather than directing it at the person, which I sometimes find confusing, but nice-ish. So I have a couple of questions.

 

Are there any exercises I can do to, sort of, help me to do the easier/basic things better? I practise at home on tables and things for the barre, but I don't have a huge amount of space for the larger things (I'd still like ideas though!). I do tendus, plies, releves & battements in 1st, 2nd and 5th everyday at the moment.

 

Also, are there any to help bridge the gap? I am aware I cannot reach their level, but I would like to be able to do their level exercises better than I do :sweating: To improve turnout, fluidity ect. as well.

 

Cliche question: I do one, 1 hour class a week ( :flowers: I'd love to do more!). I know it is not enough to get anywhere at a good pace, but would it take longer than 5 years to get to pointe standard? If so, roughly how many years? I'm 18, like to think I balance well & naturally quite flexible.

 

I'm very sorry for the lack of good terminology, I am still getting used and remembering it.

Thank you very much for reading.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancer, mao. :flowers:

 

It's great that you have started ballet, and I love your enthusiasm for working to improve! However, starting ballet as an adult is difficult enough without trying to start in the middle! It's like like trying to learn the alphabet starting with N,O,P instead of A,B,C. Doesn't work. The basics have to be learned and achieved before one can move on to other material, and there is no way to rush that. They take time and a lot of classes.

 

We do not suggest practicing at home for beginners, even adults. One does not, after 2 weeks, or even a year of one lesson a week, have enough knowledge of how to do things correctly enough to avoid building in bad habits. If your teacher does not have a beginning class, then I would look around for a different school.

 

If there is any way you can find to take more than one class a week, that would be really helpful for you.

 

As for predicting how long it would take to get to pointe, it's way too early to even think about that. You need to have more classes and longer classes over several years, and we do not recommend pointe for anyone who is not taking at least 3 technique classes per week and dancing at a solid Int. level. I'm sorry, not trying to discourage you at all, but ballet is just not something one can do quickly and do it well. It takes a lot of time and patience, and a very good school with the right level of classes for you.

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Thank you so much for replying.

Don't worry, I completely understand what you're saying :flowers: but I do not mind about the length of time you are emphasising (I'm willing to wait 10 years, if it means I get somewhere).... it is just the niggling embarassment.

 

I had already looked for beginner classes in my area before I decided where to go, but there was none. I cannot commute to one in another area as I have no car & cannot afford a regular bus as I am a student at university. Even in my home town, there were no classes what so ever.

 

I've done an awful lot of research, watch hundreds of videos and been procrastinating in silence for 11 years. I will be very sad if I have to stop. I will ask her if she has time to consider starting a beginner class. Otherwise, I truly fear being left behind....

 

As for pointe.... I was prepared for an answer like that ;)

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Perhaps you could talk to the teacher and ask her if she can simplify the exercises for you. For example when the others try doing a double pirouette, you should be practising a simple releve into the pirouette position. When you can hold that strongly enough, you could try doing a single. As Ms Leigh said you really shouldn't start in the middle, but it would be a shame if you had to give up because of not having the opportunity to be in the right level class. Can you manage to take a second class perhaps? What you need to do is train your muscles to remember things automatically - it's impossible to do that on one hour a week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi mao

 

I know that you posted a little while ago, but reading through the posts and thinking I couldnt help but wonder... if your fellow dancers are at a grade 5 level they cannot possibly be doing only one class a week???!!! You definitely need more classes per week; and if possible classes at a slightly lower level?

 

I do know that 90 minutes is ideal, but where I live and dance there are very few studios that have classes of this length, so choose your studio for quality of tuition even if the classes are shorter in length! (mine are 75minutes and I attend classes 4 times a week as do most of my class mates. I get VERY good solid tuition as evidenced by some of my fellow dancers exam results - the lowest mark was in the 80's with the vast majority in the 90's all for major level exams).

 

I know what it feels like to feel seriously lost and I am not meaning to be negative when I say that in some ways that never seems to go away... I only started dancing as an adult (I was lucky my teacher did have an adult beginners class at the time I started) but even though I have been dancing for 9 years now new choreography (with steps I already know) takes me a LOT longer to learn than it does the younger girls who are at the same level.

 

Remember always to enjoy it, ballet is wonderful as an "escape" from the rest of the day and any other pressures/stresses which you may be experiencing!

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