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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Back to Ballet again


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So I've recently made the decision to stop skating. And pretty much immediatly after deciding that, I started itching to go back to ballet again.


My history with ballet is that I did a few years of it after college, hurt my ankles, and left to take up skating.

After a few years of skating, I hurt my hip/knee, and left that to take ballet for a year. When class schedules made it so that I couldn't find a ballet class, I did nothing for awhile but was able to return to skating.


Now I'm bored of skating, but shockingly, not hurt. So - ballet! However, I'm still having the class schedule problem. The school I liked last time is no longer accepting non pre-pro students at any level, so that is out. The school I mostly liked until they turned into recital rehearsal isn't offering adult classes anymore. I'm not sure I want to do 'recreational' classes with kids. I'm getting too old for those antics. If I'm not in serious classes (and I don't think I'm good enough for them anymore) I want to be dancing with adults.


So I found a third school- the University of Iowa dance forum. They have an adult class called "Continuing Ballet" (distinguished from beginner) and a friend who used to teach there recommended it to me. I have no idea what the level will be (she said beginner was -true- beginner, not knowing what a plie or tendu is), but I think I'm going to try it.


So other than just to say 'hi'- does anyone have any thoughts on only being able to do one ballet class a week? Is it worth it, or should I just stay away from ballet.

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Welcome back, Skittle!


I'd say that if you enjoy taking a ballet class, one class is better than none! Nothing wrong with doing one class a week, if the alternative is no class. If it's worth it to you, it's worth it.

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I called to ask what level the beginner class is, and she encouraged me to sign up for the 'continuing' class. ("I can tell you've taken ballet before, or else you wouldn't have asked.")


She said most of the beginners come in true beginners- not knowing what a plie is, but at this point they've all had 16 weeks (the fall session) so it may work for me. But, she said last semester the continuing class was only 3 people, so I'd do well in there; one former pre-pro who is now an engineering major and then two ladies who have danced for a year or two. I know all the vocabulary- it is just a matter of if my body will do it.

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If you can only do one class a week, I'd suggest doing some of your own classes at home or in some suitable space. I'd also suggest doing classes in other dance forms--modern, jazz, anything you can find in your area. I'm quite biased in the matter, but I really think the adult dancer does best when he or she is involved with a number of different dance styles. I've always done that and found it rewarding. Keep your eyes open and try different things and follow what makes you feel good.

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I really think the adult dancer does best when he or she is involved with a number of different dance styles

Garyecht, I think you & I are of one mind on this. I've found that part of the freedom of not having to achieve anything but my own pleasure in dancing and learning is that I can try other things out. Doing a Butoh workshop, learning 'release technique' contemporary dance, these are all part of learning a wide and wonderful art.

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I took an adult tap class and a modern class last time I was dancing, and I liked the tap but it is no longer offered. TThe studio offered an adult ballet/modern class, and it just doesn't work for me- the teens in the class (who are still there, I checked) just had no interest in participating so it wasted a lot of my time, and because a 60 minute class was supposed to be both ballet and modern (barre and then modern center) you really didn't get much of either- it was a disappointment.


The studio I am changing to now does offer an adult jazz class, but before I sign up (you can only sign up at the beginning of the semester for the semester) I want to make sure I even like the location/teachers. So for now, it will just be 1 ballet class a week.


I did other forms of dance a lot as a child, but never ballet. That is one of the reasons I've always been so interested in doing ballet as an adult- I never had the chance as a kid.

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Redbookish, you and I must be kindred spirits. I think you perfectly describe the approach to dance that works well for many adults. You even mentioned Butoh, a dance form that seems to be known mainly by academics which is really unfortunate. In my old age, I've been evolving my own dance style, which isn't Butoh, but is influenced by Butoh.

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Hi Skittl & readers,

I agree that taking taking other dance classes in addition to ballet is very rewarding. I am currently taking adult ballet, adult tap, and a newly opened adult Jazz class. I am loving it. The only thing for me is that the classes are each once a week! So even though I take dance classes 3x a week with the same school, I often have to write notes so that I remember what I learned. I am ambitious by nature, so I admit I do crave more than 1 ballet class a week, lol

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Skittl1321, you know I'm a total ballet nut, but in my new home with my new job and crazy schedule, there are not that many options available. Even if I had a totally open schedule, to get really good classes I'd have to drive an hour plus each way, which just isn't possible in my life right now for a variety of reasons. I'm reminding myself to enjoy the ballet classes I CAN take, and also to enjoy other things as well. My fiance and I are taking West Coast Swing classes next month - and the instructors at that studio are AMAZING. It's not ballet, but it's the kind of instruction I love, and it gets out my creative juices and stress and all that.


We all love dance here and get really serious about it and about doing well and improving and all that. But, when it comes down to it, our love for it is love and enjoyment and creativity and and and. We mustn't forget those things.

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I signed up for the 1 class a week- I start tomorrow :)


I am now really nervous about the "continuing" class, but I'm going in with the attitude that I can always drop to the beginner class if it is too hard from me.


If I like this school a lot, I'm thinking I may ask to dance with the kids. I'd really like to earn my pointe shoes back in a few years, and maybe someday make it to Richmond dance camp. Ahh-all the old dreams are coming back.

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Ahh-all the old dreams are coming back.


That's wonderful, Skittl. If you don't dream, how do you know what you want to achieve?

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So my first class went really well. It is a small class, just 3 other dancers and they are all pretty much at the level I am. I think I am the oldest one in the class, but only by about 5 years.


I think the teacher was just feeling out the ability of the class, she had only had one student previously, so there weren't many corrections. We did a few combinations at the barre that were difficult for people who had been out of a classroom for quite some time- for example tendu/degage was 4 front, 3 side, en croix, 3 back, inside leg. Not quite as simple as front, side, back. I don't even remember what the frappe combination was- but I was an awful mess at it. I got a correction about extending my neck, and also to tilt my pinky in when I hold my arm to engage my shoulder muscles.


Center was a long adage combination, but broken down into two parts. It sounds like this is a combination we will do throughout the year, adding a pirouette where we now have a balance. Hopefully we will do some other stuff too, but the extensions in this are definetly something to work towards!


Across the floor we did balance, waltz-turn (but turning under rather than in the normal direction), pirouette, then a pique turn (again, turning against the normal direction, as it walked back from where the first turn was), and detourne.


Jumps we did just normal jumps in center two sets of 32 and grand allegro we did a simple tombe pas de bourre glissade sout de chat.


Then we stretched.


It was a really nice class. It sounds like there will be an opportunity to perform in the spring recital at the end of the year, so that could be fun.

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Skittl, I'm glad you had a good class back. :)


Now I am sitting here with my arms in second, playing with moving my pinkies around to see if I feel engagement through my shoulder blades better that way. Results = inconclusive. Just out of curiosity, do you feel like that correction helped you, or did your teacher report seeing a difference?

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I think it did engage the shoulders just a bit, because to move the pinkies in, I really had to rotate the full arm, so the result was the pinkie in another position, but it didn't come from moving the pinkie, if that makes sense. The teacher was happy with the look when I moved, she didn't say anything else after that. (I noticed in center my arms turned to claws... I am better able to focus on them at barre.)

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