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JoshuaThomas86

What is Intermediate Ballet skill?

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JoshuaThomas86

I'm a 26 year old guy who just recently had his first adult beginners class. I really enjoyed it and was even told my body is really well built for Ballet and that my positions were advanced for someone who has never even tried Ballet. However, the classes are only every Monday and I find that I really want to attend more often. The school has Intermediate classes 4 days a week, so I'm really curious how difficult it would be to practice enough to get to this skill level.

 

Any information regarding Intermediate Ballet would be really appreciated!

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Hans

It depends a good deal on how often you take class--generally, the more classes you take, the faster you progress, although of course it depends on other factors as well. One class a week is not bad for a total beginner, but if you are able to supplement with another class or two at a different school, that would most likely help you make faster progress. At 3 90-minute classes per week with good training, it might take 3-5 years to reach a true intermediate level, although many adult classes labeled "intermediate" are really somewhat below that.

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LaFilleSylphide

I always find the word "intermediate" to be really ambiguous. I've been to many adult classes that are labelled intermediate and have either been struggling or found the class to be a lot slower than I expected. I feel like I can never really tell. When I know I will be frequenting a school, I usually will visit the class first just to watch, so that when I take it the next time, I know what to expect from myself, the students, and the teacher. I'm always in the situation where intermediate = who knows!

 

I wish there was a definition for intermediate. If I were an intermediate teacher, I'd say: secure and stable turns, able to hold turn out, comfortable with terminology and aware of body positions, able to start handling memorization of a string of combinations during barre, petite allegro, and big jumps.

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Hans

There is a definition for "intermediate" in the world of professional training, but as you've found, with the way it's used in open classes it can pretty much mean anything. I suspect that schools start out with an imbalance of students at one level or another (whether total beginners or much more advanced dancers) and the people who don't fit into those classes (such as 2nd or 3rd year beginners or dancers who aren't really ready for advanced classes yet) get thrown into "intermediate", but of course that's just a guess.

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gimpydancer

And then at my studio the highest adult level is intermediate so you will find former pros and pre-pros in it :-)

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enlair1989

I'd ask to observe the intermediate class. The school where I take class "intermediate" for adults used to be the class where you didn't have to go back to the very beginning when the school year started, and if there were the same core of students, it usually picked off where classes ended the year before. If you could keep up with the "intermediate" or "advanced" adult classes, then you were pretty much allowed to stay in them.

 

Then our school changed artistic and school directors. They removed the "adult" label and changed it to "open." I found out really quick there was a huge difference between intermediate and advanced for adults, and intermediate and advanced for dancers with our school company.

 

Our evening open classes still apply somewhat to what the adult classes had been. I go in the mornings because of my job and found myself in classes with company kids who homeschooled and college kids who dance with the company. I was floored by the difference, but have managed to stay in. Some of my friends who take the intermediate classes at night have dropped in and told me the classes I take are too advanced for them.

 

In our school, it depends on who is in the class. It depends on the teacher.

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Sharon B

I was told that intermediate classes assume an understanding of basic terminology, positions, and skills,. Also the barre combinations are faster, and perhaps not demonstrated, just explained. It is a fascinating discussion, I've been taking classes ( intro, beginner, intermediate and private lessons) and still dont' consider myself a true intermediate dancer, well not when it comes to petite and grande allegro. Being able to remember combinations and execute them at a faster pace is also part of advancing. I agree with enlair, when I go to the morning company class, everything is faster paced, and I keep up well until the afore mentioned petite/grand allegro sections of class. However, our evening open intermediate classes sometimes vary depending on who is there, but they are always a little bit slower than the morning classes.

 

My personal advice to the original poster is try to find additional beginner./intro classes, solidify your foundations, don't be in a hurry. For me I want to know how to do something right before jumping into it and doing it wrong or getting injured. If you are confident in your barre, do that, and watch/mark in the back the rest of the intermediate class. It takes time and consistency,

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Garyecht

In my school the intermediate level isn't well defined for open classes. I sense that is the case in most schools where dancing as an adult means taking open classes.

 

I spent one year in beginner classes and then started going to the classes that were called intermediate. I think I did that because when I was a ballroom dancer I spent one year at bronze level (beginner) before going to the next level. I just assumed ballet was like ballroom.

 

I was no great beginning ballet student. When I went to the higher level classes I was probably the worst student, but didn't let that bother me. I just kept showing up, a strategy that has worked well for me in all aspects of life. I can't remember for sure, but I think I spent 3 years taking that level for classes. In those classes, sometimes some seriously good people and even a professional or two would drop in, probably because they just needed a class at the time and that was the only one available. After that I went to the top level, where pretty much I decided that with respect to open classes, the labels don't mean all that much. They are really just rough guidelines.

 

Regardless of the level of the class, a good teacher tends to adjust to the abilities of the class as a whole.

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LaFilleSylphide

I just kept showing up, a strategy that has worked well for me in all aspects of life.

My husband and I laughed out loud at this statement. That's exactly how I ended up being able to dance full-time. We joke that my ballet training should've been stumped after the first two weeks of attempts, but because there was a language barrier and I couldn't understand that my teachers probably didn't want me back, they eventually gave up and took pity on me and let me imitate balletic-seizures in the back of the class until I became a mainstay.

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Willimus

I agree that "intermediate" can mean anything for adult open classes. I live in NYC where there are many many options and classes available. I have regularly taken "intermediate" classes that are quite challenging and are regularly attended by ABT and NYCB members. I have taken "intermediate" classes that are simpler than most "advanced beginner" classes. You need to "check out" the class first.

 

One thing I would like to recommend is that you not throw yourself too quickly into more advanced classes without really getting the foundations under your belt. I have found that slow and steady wins the race and there is no substitute for starting at the beginning. Try to find more beginner classes. At one class per week, it will be very very difficult to advance to an "intermediate" class. I know one young man (about 18 or 19) who seriously wants to dance. It is unlikely that he will be in a ballet company starting at that age, but he could certainly have a career in other forms of dance if he works hard and trains properly. He only takes "intermediate" classes and they are way over his head. He can't maintain his turnout, keep his legs straight, keep his stomach in, keep his shoulders down, keep his hips in line, ...basically, He's a mess. The teacher suggested he take beginner classes and he was horribly offended that anyone would consider him a beginner. He just keeps coming to intermediate classes, and doesn't get any better, because he isn't at the level to process the information. I took beginner classes regularly, through my performing years (in addition to advanced classes). I think it keeps you clean...but it is definitely necessary to take them when you are first starting out.

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