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Brand New With Some Questions


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I've been wanting to take a beginner's ballet class for a few years, and it's just now working out that I'm going to be able to. {So excited!} But I've got so many questions! Hopefully you guys can help me...


First - I found an 8 week adult beginner's class that's offered through the public schools in the area. I thought that might be a good place to start since I really just want to do it for fun and exercise - and to see if it's something I'd like to continue with. Do you think that's an good idea or should I try to find a studio? I do want to learn the right way, etc.


Second - I'm sooooo green! What would I wear to a dance class? And where would I purchase it? I haven't the faintest clue! Any help regarding that would be so great!


Third - I just turned 30 and I have 3 kiddos. I consider myself fairly active, but I don't workout or anything. Is there anything I should be doing to prepare myself for ballet? Or will a beginner's class help me ease into this new activity?


I'm so excited I found this board. And I'm really excited to pursue something new for myself.

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Welcome, JennaBird! :) Congratulations on your decision to begin ballet classes! You will find a lot of help and commaraderie here amoung our Adult Student population, which is quite large and active.


You will hear from others soon, I'm sure, but my first inclination is to say to look for a studio. There is just no way of knowing the quality and qualifications of the teachers in a public school situation. Also, I would wonder if they have a decent studio to teach their classes, with a properly sprung floor.


If you do choose a studio, they will be able to tell you exactly what you need for the class, and where to find it. Some adult classes are more relaxed in terms of attire than others, so you need to ask. But you will definitely need to be fitted for ballet shoes at a good dancewear store.


Happy dancing, and let us know when you begin and how it goes!

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Hi JennaBird, and welcome to the club :) There are lots of present and former "adult beginners" here and we can all offer some bits and pieces from our own experience, but everyone and everyone's situation is unique so take what is useful and leave the rest!


MY personal answers to your questions:

1. The 8-week beginner course may be a good intro, especially if it is affordable (as many public school-based programs often are), welcoming, and provides good basic instruction. But you won't know about any of those except the first until you try it. Maybe you can test the waters in the 8-week course and then decide if you want to continue at a studio. OR if you can swing it time and money-wise, take the 8-week public school course along with one studio course...that way you can compare and contrast. However, ballet can be strenuous, so this might be a lot of ramp-up on the body depending on your fitness and physical background.


2. Most adult classes have no dress code so you can wear what you will feel comfortable in and can move freely in. It does help if you don't "hide" too much in baggy clothes...your instructor needs to be able to see your physical form in order to make sure you are using proper alignment and to guide you in learning good form. Your knees, ankles, and feet should be clearly visible and also your hips. Many beginners wear capris or yoga pants at first with a fitted T-shirt, tank top, or such on top. Others opt for leotard and tights, or a combination of tights/shorts/tank top or leotard and capris, etc. For your feet, you'll need to wear ballet slippers or socks (but get some ballet slippers as soon as you can); bare foot won't work (stick to the floor) and other types of shoes won't either.


3. Many of us hear have started ballet at adult ages, from 20-something to 50- or 60-something so no worries. You can enjoy dance and moving your body to music at ALL ages. Ballet is so specialized that there is no "way to prepare for ballet" other than doing ballet, but basic fitness and flexibility activities are a good addition, things like yoga/Pilates and general strength and conditioning work for overall fitness. The beginner's class will probably be a physical challenge at first (new soreness! new awareness of posture! muscles you didn't know you had!) but your body WILL adapt and you'll feel better.


Good luck and good for you for taking this opportunity to do something inspiring for yourself :) Warning: you MAY find it addictive in a positive way!

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I would agree with everything others have already said. But there is one important thing you MUST do...... have fun. Don't push yourself. You will find ballet quite challenging and it can be easy to get frustrated. The key to becoming a good dancer is to keep coming and don't give up because you can't dance like a pro after a few lessons.


Adult ballet lessons are very toned down and in my experiences, the teachers have been very supportive and a great help. They know that dealing with beginning adults requires a gentler approach. So come and enjoy the wonderful world of ballet!!!

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Welcome to the boards JennaBird! You have been given some great advice already- I just have one other tip that really helped me- before starting at my current location, I asked if I could watch one of the classes before I began. This probably wouldn't work for the 8 week class but if you take at a studio- it might help. I was able to see what others in the class were wearing, get a sense of the class demographics, etc. All of these made me feel much less nervous when starting my first class there.


As a 35 year old with a toddler at home- I can attest to the fact that ballet is not only a wonderful workout and tons of fun- but also a great way to do something for "me". After an evening of classes, I always feel like my battery has been recharged and I am ready to be mommy, wife, etc. again.

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Welcome Jenna! I'm sure you will have the time of your ilfe learning this beautifu art.


I second all of the above comments, but just wanted to add my two cents on the studio vs. school angle.


I think regardless of whether you choose a studio or a school course, there are two major factors to consider;


1) Quality of the teacher and facilities

2) Is it REALLY beginer??


Obviously you need to learn from someone experienced and qualified in a proper environment for ballet (mirrors, proper floor, adaquate space etc) so check out the teachers qualifications and facilities if you can.


Secondly, the are an awful lot of classes labelled as 'beginner' which actually assume a large amount of previous ballet knowldge. Make sure whatever you choose will have a slow pace, and adaquate explanation of the concepts you need to learn. It's not enough to be told that a plie is bending your knees - you will need explanation on correct posture, turnout, holding your arms properly and many more exciting discoveries (which generally involve muscles you never knew you had...!!) Without some of that ground work you could find some classes very difficult and sometimes demoralising, which we certainly do not want you to feel. Run a mile if you find yourself in a 'beginner' class where the teacher starts of with "Ok, we'll have two grand plies in 4th, a releve, ports de bras and repeat in all positions" :yucky:


Find somewhere you feel comfortble, where you can learn the real basics - then enjoy the journey! And beware, it is very addictive...

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Jennabird. You'll find a lot of people just like you here, and a lot of advice and support. Your Beginners' Class sounds like an excellent start. I'm not sure there's much you can do to prepare yourself specifically for ballet, as it is such a unique form of movement (and an art), but maybe you can raise your general level of fitness in a relatively low impact way -- by walking a lot more, for example.


You'll find that you will need some strategies to deal with the immediate after effects of ballet however! Because it's a movement form that is unique, you'll use muscles that you haven't used before, or certainly haven't used in that way. So you'll need to be aware of doing some things to ease what can be a bit of an adjustment period until your body gets used to working in an entirely different way.


If your course is a once a week class, then you should think about scheduling in some gentle exercise in the days after class: again, walking is excellent, also swimming.


I don't mean to scare you! Ballet is very safe if done correctly under the supervision of a good teacher (don't be tempted to try it by yourself). You won't get the sorts of injuries which runners or aerobics dance classes can cause, for example. But it can leave you with sore quadriceps and gluteal muscles, for example, if you haven't used these much before other than for normal, daily movements.


Main thing is, enjoy yourself, and gain some insight into this beautiful art form.

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Hooray for you for starting something that you have always wanted to do, something as wonderful as ballet and most importantly somethign for yourself (by which I mean something YOU will enjoy)!


Ballet is wonderfully addictive... you start off and that once a week class is great, you look forward to it as the appropriate day draws closer and you totally enjoy it but then it becomes two days and then three and then four and then for me it was five classes but still only four days and now I wait eagerly for the term to start so I can see EXACTLY how many classes I can cram into the 6 days my teacher teaches. :yes:


If you are not sure if ballet is for you, then maybe the school based 8 week programme is a good place to start although you will not know too much about the teachers abilities... If however you are like me and had literally always wanted to dance but the opportunity only existed from when you were an adult and you feel a lot like this :huepfen: all the time at the meer thought of a ballet class then although I am not saying dont do the school based programme I am saying find a studio because you may just find you cannot live without ballet :whistling:


What to wear, always challenging as I am guessing that you would like to blend in and not stand out... again I think this depends on how you feel about the ballet and whether you go to a studio or the school programme...if you choose the studio, they will tell you; if you choose the school... if it was me, I would buy a pair of ballet shoes they cost me about R150-200 depending on the brand you choose; and then I would suggest you wear something like yoga capri's with a strappy top or something similar. As to where to buy them...if you dont mind telling us where about you live... even which country is good, I am sure you will find someone who can offer some suggestions.


:innocent: nothing is going to prepare you for ballet :grinning: I will never forget that first Monday at work after a Saturday ballet class (and it really was a beginner class) the chair was a very long way down from standing up :grinning: but it was soooooo worth it and I was eagerly back the next week and the next week and the next and it is almost 10 years later and I CANNOT get enough

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Ballet is very addictive. I can't explain it, but even if I've had a terrible class (which is often!!) I can't wait until my next class comes along. That's why I call ballet "The Agony & The Esctascy".

Edited by Geezer
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You guys are great! Thank you for all the encouragement! I'm inspired! :)


Balletlove - I'm in South Florida {Fort Lauderdale area} for anyone has suggestions of places I can check out for ballet shoes, etc.


Thanks again - so much! I'll let you know when I start! Can't wait!!!!

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I hope this is the start of a great adventure for you JennaBird! I only have a few of things to add. In the area I live in some ballet studios let you try out one class first without signing up for a whole series. And it is true some 'beginner' classes aren't for the true beginner. You have to read the note about it. Often in my area the classes for complete newbies are called fundamentals or absolute beginner.


The last thing is the most important. Remember when you get there everyone is there for themselves. It can be very intimidating to start and I know I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. But the truth is most peeps are too involved in their own stuff to bother with what you are doing. Even if you do something completely silly at the barre...like use the inside foot. Although I am SURE I know noone who would EVER do such a thing!


Have a great class!!!!

Edited by Siobhan
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I echo the above posts. Don't get too frustrated...I promise if you keep at it, you will get better!


For attire, it is best to check if the school has any sort of dress code. If not, then wear something you are comfortable with. It should be somewhat form fitting, but if you feel up to it, get leotard and tights! Since you are planning on taking at least 8 weeks. I would buy a pair of ballet flats. They are pretty cheap. Just go to a dance store and try stuff on.


It is addicting...I've had all my weekend classes canceled becase of the holidays the last 2 weeks...DYING

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