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No serious goals for adults?


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I need to get something off my chest, something that's been bothering me for a while.


Whenever I post a technical question, I get an answer (from members, not teachers) in the line of: take it slow, you're an adult so you don't have to push yourself to a certain goal. I so disagree with that.


I'm a very serious musical theatre student, aiming to go to England next year for a year of training, preferably an MA in musical theatre. Ballet is one of the classes I take to help me reach that goal. Whenever I post a technical question, I ask because I want to progress, because I want to have sufficient technique to be accepted in a school.


I'm not someone who can do something simply for fun. I'm an overachiever and I want to be really good. Whether one has a specific goal like me or not, I'm sure there are more adults like this here. There must be more adults here who want to be taken seriously and not get answers like: take it slow, relax, it's a hobby.


Especially to other adult members for whom ballet is just a fun hobby (do not get me wrong, I think that's perfectly fine, just not what I'm aiming for), please do remember that for some it's more than that! In the same line, I would love to get more answers from the teachers. I've had to specifically ask for an answer from a teacher in a topic, I would love for them to answer more. That's why I'm here, to learn!


I hope this topic doesn't offend anyone. I've been such a long time member (and a very happy member indeed!) but this is how I have been feeling lately. (Young) adults can be serious students too!

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I can understand this, I'm a serious dance student myself. I don't get that so much on here, but at some of the schools I've studied at I definitely get that from a minority of the teachers, especially since I'm struggling with losing weight I put on while injured. I've definitely got the chops of a trained professional, as I was trained to be one, but now I've been trying to get my batterie back and I've been told that by some. It's annoying, but I explain my situation & once they know where I've been & where I want to go, they have gotten more serious about corrections and such. I think that, as with any forum, members come and go and the crop here right now may lean more towards recreational than pro or previous pre-pro training. Just thank them for their input and tell them what you are striving for if it helps. On the technique forum, use the shrug emoticon (iPad doesn't show any, so I can't bring it up) to get a teacher's attention, and so newbies can see what you need, keep stating that it's teachers you want to hear from first. It's repetitive & annoying at times, but we get lots of new adults who are so eager to post, it may be one of the resons you get some of those statements.

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Unfortunately, I had the same reaction. I have posted about going fast, taking ballet full time, and I have been told that as an adult, I was potentially either hurting myself or that I'm doing myself a disservice and probably getting bad training or my teachers aren't great teachers for allowing me to dance full time 5-6 days a week (they're great teachers, some quite well known). :/ go figure.


I suppose that at the end of the day, the posters were correct though. I have over-use/repetitive use problems with my knees, and maybe if I didn't spend those years dancing so many hours a day, I could have avoided that. I do cherish the time I had, so I don't exactly regret it. :D Good points, bad points, pros and cons, agree or disagree... either way I'm happy to have a sounding board to bounce opinions off of here.

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Not a teacher, but one who has been around the block so to speak. A couple of thoughts.


Though I can see where ballet training can help one in preparing for a career in musical theater, it would seem to me that there are other aspects of musical theater training that are more important, things like singing and acting for example. In that sense, it seems to me that being a hard driving overachiever with respect to ballet is perhaps a little bit much. Yes, you want to improve. I don't know a single adult dancer who doesn't want to improve. In fact I don't know any adult students where I dance who would not consider themselves as serious dancers. Perhaps I just dance at an unusual school, I don't know.


I've been around for a long time and one thing I've seen in the business and sports world is that the really successful people love doing what they do. They are in a sense driven, but intrinsic enjoyment more than anything else is the motivation.


Also you cannot force improvement. You can only act on your ambitions by training in a certain way or allocating time in the best way for you. And if you are going to allocate a lot of time to anything, you had better truly enjoy doing what you are doing, hence the admonition to relax and enjoy. Doing so will lead to persistence and less likely to eventual frustration.


Finally, I think students of any sort in the end are responsible for their own improvement. Teachers are wornderful sources, but they are just that, sources. BT provides a wealth of information about training and technique through its various forums. There is also a wealth of information in books and on the internet. If you look for this kind of information you will find different approaches and thoughts from well credentialed individuals. And that's where your responsibility begins, to experiment, to work through, and to find your own way.

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I'm an overachiever in everything I do, not just ballet. And I take many many other classes besides ballet to prepare for a career in musical theatre (I'm in a part time musical theatre program where I get singing lessons, acting and dance, I have another singing teacher with whom I take lessons regularly and I take jazz and tap at a very respectable prepro dance school (connected to a musical theatre production company)).


Of course I enjoy ballet immensely, but I take class to see improvement and when I ask a question here, I would like it to be taken as that and not be told to relax and just enjoy class. That is not why I take class, I would take it even if I hated it simply because good technique is needed when one needs to dance on stage. I was at a very professional MT program this summer, and everyone who didn't take ballet was told to find classes, even if they don't like it. Lucky for me though, I love it! I truly enjoy my classes and would take them if I wasn't aiming for a career in MT. I just start smiling when we do the first plié.


About being responsible for one's own improvement, of course one is, but isn't that why BalletTalk is here? To improve and get our questions answered. By asking them here, being responsible for my improvement is exactly what I'm doing, because I'm asking instead of letting it go.


LaFilleSylphide, when I told here I was going to dance all summer, people were sceptical as well, told me I couldn't improve much in technique or strength in just a summer and that I would get overuse injuries. I can really prove them wrong there, as I improved tremendously and became much stronger. Simple examples: my developpés went from 90° to over 120°, my grand battements à la seconde go up to my ear now, got clean double pirouettes and so on. In just one summer! Dancing intensively for 2 months really payed off.

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Don't get me wrong, just because I have injuries doesn't mean that my improvement was not great. The years that I danced full time were some of the most memorable moments for me. I went from being unable to do splits to having all three sides, learning to dance well en pointe, learning skills instead of relying on luck. I learned variations I never thought I'd have the skills to do; the best part was figuring out that there's nothing mystical or magical about pirouettes. I hope it doesn't sound awful, but I felt like I went from nothing to something. I am nursing my overuse injuries slowly, though, so that I can continue my love affair with ballet for much longer.


I'm not terribly patient, so it's killing me that I'm going slow again and doing really repetitive small exercises to build up strength. Last week, I spoke to a knee specialist and he flat out told me, "It takes time. Sorry. Not much to be done."


I know that with motivation and careful training, I can regain what I've lost though. Like you said, 2 months of intense exercise paid off for you, it's the same way I feel when I attend a Summer Intensive. The first two weeks feels exhilarating but overwhelming, the second two weeks I feel like my body's kind of giving out and not improving, and then at the end, it all just seems to click and come together. I hope that by next year, I can attend an intensive in Bari where one of my favorite teachers guests regularly - I'd love to do Richmond, but the accommodations and travel would be difficult for me financially.

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I think you are expecting too much from an anonymous message board. None of us have ever seen you (or most of the other dancers on here). I know one person on here in real life that I have actually taken classes with. The rest I don't even know what they look like, let alone how they dance. If you ask for advice, even if it comes from a teacher on here, it is going to be very general since they have never seen you dance.


If you are that serious about your dance and musical theatre training you need to be going to coaches and dance teachers and asking THEM (once they have seen you perform) what you should be doing about your preparation and career and then weighing their responses with your own inner knowledge and conviction. Because ultimately it is YOU on stage and none of these teachers, coaches, and definitely not these anonymous posters on BTD will be up there with you.

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But I'm not asking any of those things here. I just ask specific questions here to which I would like a serious answer and not a 'relax, your an adult' answer. I'm not asking things related to my musical theatre training, just specific things about ballet that I can'task anyone else.


I'm afraid I've been misunderstood :-(

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Well here's part of the problem - I'm not even sure if teachers are supposed to post here! But anyway Marjolein, what specific technical question can we help with right now? :)

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I'm talking about questions I post in the Adult ballet students forum. My last question there has been answered very well but I'm talking about all the questions I've asked recently.


I've posted this here, because this is not a technical question, but rather a question about the forum.

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This is the Adult Buddy Board, a forum specifically for chat type discussions. I believe any member over the age of 18 may use this forum. As a teacher moderator, I can say I rarely look here. Most of the time our adult members are friendly and helpful to one another. Unfortunately I am not really sure I am understanding your concerns. There is little a teacher moderator really needs to be involved in, in this forum as long as it remains friendly and polite. Very sorry to hear you are frustrated with the forum. Perhaps you may have some constructive ideas to improve the format? Please, if so PM a moderator so we may review your suggestions.

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Marjolein, I just checked on the technical posts you started recently and I have to say that I don't quite see what is bothering you. People answered very helpfully including moderators. These adult ballet student boards have a whole melting pot of dancers on them ranging from absolute beginners to ex-pros with ages ranging from early twenties to mid sixties, I think. Each one has different expectations of him/herself and their classes. With the best will in the world it is not always possible to help, for the simple reason that we can't see you dance. These boards are wonderful, but they can only go so far in helping. I don't believe that those who answered you were being dismissive or condescending. If you don't get the answer you want in the future, make it clear why it's important to you and try again. In the end, you're probably better off asking about specific personal technique problems with your own teachers who can actually see what's wrong.

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