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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Starting Ballet


losho

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Hello Everyone! So I know these posts happen fairly often and it's all common questions but I'm going to ask anyway! I want to start ballet and I'm 16. The last time I took any sort of dance class I was maybe 5 so I am for sure a beginner! I'm pretty flexible/strong since I did competitive gymnastics for a long time. I'm not expecting to go on pointe any time soon and I'm prepared to be in a class with 6 year olds... I talked to a few different studios in my area and I found one I think I'm interested in. The owner said I should come to watch one of the classes and talk with her next week to see what I think of it. I know I'm very interested but I'm not sure what would be more beneficial, private lessons or group lessons? If I really enjoy it I'm interested in taking multiple classes a week and I was thinking of maybe taking private lessons and a class in combination? I'm so excited to start! Is there any other basics I should know? Thanks for any advice :D

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, losho. :) I think it's great that you want to start ballet, and I hope you can find a school with a good program for you. Some schools have teen beginner classes, which would be really good, but if they don't, perhaps the adult beginner classes would work for you. Check out all the schools that are serious about ballet, and see what they have to offer. It might even be necessary to take classes at more than one school in order to get more than one or two a week. Definitely try to take group classes, as privates are very expensive and you would be limited in how much you could do. If you can afford to add one a week plus group classes, that could be helpful, especially since you are starting in the middle of the school year, and the beginner classes have already been in session a few months.

 

Good luck, and let us know about your classes when you start!

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Thanks for the advice :) There aren't very many schools around my area that are serious about ballet but the one that is offers combined classes for different skill levels based upon age once a week and then various pointe/exam classes. I know that it is mid season so it may be difficult to join a beginner class so that's why I was considering private lessons. I talked to my mom and she said she would be willing to let me do private and a class so I guess I'll just have to wait and see what the owner of the studio says :) in the meantime I've been practicing basic positions and stretches, is there any exercises I should be working on?

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No, we do not recommend exercises until you have started classes and hopefully learned enough of the basics to be able to do things on your own. I would not practice positions or stretches either, until taught by a teacher how to do them correctly. There are a lot of things to learn and if you just do things without that knowledge you can develop bad habits, and then you have to relearn, which is much harder than learning it right in the first place. :)

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Again thank you for the advice :) when I say positions and stretches I mean ones that I've learned in the past from gymnastics :) Pretty much just stuff for flexibility and core strength. I really hope I can start classes soon :D

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I also wanted to know what to look for when choosing a studio. The school I'm interested in focuses on ballet and the instructors seem qualified. I watched a few past performances online and the most advanced group of girls didn't seem to be doing very well. I know nothing about dance or ballet and I'm going to watch/participate in one of their classes on Tuesday. What are some things I should be looking for to help decide if this is the right school?

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There should be a pleasant but serious atmosphere where the students are respectful to the teacher, well disciplined, and well groomed. Depending on how long the class is, they will do at least 30 minutes, usually about 45 minutes at the barre, and the rest of the class in the center. There should be a lot of corrections and explanations from the teacher, and with a beginning level class, a lot of hands on fixing. Emphasis should be placed constantly on alignment and placement, use of rotatation, and articulation of the feet, along with usage of the upper body, head and arms. The corrections should always include the information on how to fix what is being corrected, not just being told it is wrong. Ballet terminology should be used and explained when there is something new being taught. There are lots of other things, but this is a start for you.

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Thank you very much for all your advice Miss Leigh :) I really hope I do alright in the class. The class I'm going to try is a mix of begginer and advanced students and the owner of the studio warned me about this. She said I could try out the class but it is the most advanced class that is offered at this school, there's four open classes based on age and my age group is the oldest making it most advanced. I'm very excited to try out the class but I'm also very nervous seeing as there will be girls who are far more advanced and have way more experience. Ahh I just hope I do alright!

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Ahhhh!!!! I had my first class tonight and it was amazing :D I loved it so much!! It looks like I'll be doing classes on Mondays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the year. The class began at the barre and then moved to the middle. The girls were all very friendly and my teacher was very helpful in helping me choose a class that is right for me. She said the classes that I'm going to to be in will help to build basic technique which is what I was looking for. What sort of goals should I be setting for the remainder of the year?

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Just to start learning the very basics of ballet technique, the ABC's, so to speak. Alignment, balance point, control zone. Learn HOW to place the bones, how to place the weight of the body, and how to maintain that without throwing yourself out of control. HOW to rtotate your legs from the hips, and HOW to use the feet and to create the line of ballet for all the various positions. Watch very carefully the movement of the arms, head, and upper body and the coordination of all of this with what the legs and feet are doing. All of this takes a long time, so the key word is really PATIENCE! :)

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Thanks again for all your suggestions they've been a huge help :) So tonight was my second class ever! Today I was in the level that I will normally be training at. I'm not sure exactly but I think it's a level 3-4 cecchetti. Yesterday's was far more advanced and I had a hard time being able to keep up but today's class seemed to be the perfect level :) One girl asked if I was staying for the pointe class after... One step at a time here o.O.... Yay I'm even more excited about it now! I think I'm kinda in love...

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