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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Joining Company Class


BlleFille

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A few of our teachers have lately invited some of us to join company class..I was not sure that the invitation was even including me but last night, another teacher mentioned it to me. I think that maybe the school would like to make more money and also one of our very, very amazing teachers who we all adore and who has been gone for some time and is soon returning will be teaching it!

 

I would LOVE to join in but I am nervous! I am getting better all the time but technically I am not amazing ;)

I would probably just do barre and watch most of the rest of class, staying at or near the back.

 

I would love any advice, thoughts and ideas from those of you who maybe are professionals when non professionals take class with them and also advice from folks like me who have attempted this :)

 

I am one of the top people in my beginner classes and keep up very well in intermediate the majority of the time except when things get very turny in centre, but like I said, I probably woudn't do much centre.

 

This teacher is very classical and does lots of tendus and has a clear and clean teaching style which helps for me as it's not too tricky and makes it easier to follow.

 

I know to keep out of the way at this point, to move away when done a combination, to be respectful of other's space. etc..

I am petrified of making a complete fool of myself!!!!!!!!!!! Will the "real" dancers laugh at me!?

 

Any other advice much appreciated! I think I can only bear to try it if a friend of mine will come with me who is also not a pro! ;)

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Is this with a professional ballet company? Like, fulltime paid classical ballet dancers?

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My advice is just to relax and enjoy the experience. And take the full class and not just the barre. Yes, you won't be as skilled as the professionals. If your company class is like mine was, you'll find other amateurs in the class who are less than great. Besides, you will find that the professionals make mistakes too. You will also find the pros to be nice people and accepting of others. Smile and say hello the next time you see them.

 

The thing I always liked about company class was that there were plenty of people around who I could copy. I loved being sandwiched between professionals at the barre or in center. I think I learned more from that than from anything the teacher said. Don't expect a lot of corrections. The corrections will be general, though some of the pros will get individual attention. You will be responsible for your own learning. Watch and listen for everything, how people warm up, what they do between exercises, how they dress, how they move, and how they react to different situations.

 

If you turn out to be the worst dancer in the class, don't fret. Someone has to be at the bottom, and pretty much no one will care that it's you. Write down the things that give you trouble and work on those outside of class. Remember that the class isn't about you. You just happen to be there.

 

If you do all of that, I think you will find it a rewarding experience.

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Clara, the company is professional and yes, classical. They don't do a lot of performances, maybe two a year. I am not sure that they get paid unless they are in a performance..but their classes are free. Us non pros would be paying for the classes we take obviously.

 

Thanks for the advice, Garyecht, excellent tips! I know a lot of the pros already and yes, they are very, very nice :)

I know a few other amateurs who would take the class too so I wouldn't be alone, thank goodness!

 

If a VERY complicated step comes up, is it ok to just watch and learn? Or should I always attempt it?

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Well, that's kinda up to you. I always tried everything. Many was the petite allegro that was long and super fast. I had no chance, but struggled to do as best I could. I'd write those down and try to learn them at home. Got a great sense of pleasure learning them, but of course these were never repeated in another class. Parts might be repeated and I would feel really good when I got those parts right in a later class.

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Clara, the company is professional and yes, classical. They don't do a lot of performances, maybe two a year. I am not sure that they get paid unless they are in a performance..but their classes are free.

 

I am confused, the "professionals" are paid per performance? Not paid a weekly salary?

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Well, I really don't know...it's a small company and mostly the dancers have other jobs in between performances...I just take adult classes there so I am not sure.

My post is really just about whether I should brave the company classes which have been opened up to us mere non pro dancers :)

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Fille...I am not trying to bring the discussion off-topic. My apologies if it appeared that way. I was trying to find out the caliber of the company class. I have never taken a company class where non-company dancers were permitted so this one is new to me. If the invitation was extended to you, they must feel you will hold your own.

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No worries, GC, I just don't know the ins and outs of it :) Just take my word they are very good dancers and our artistic director has had some high positions in the US and Europe....the location is a city outside of a metropolis.

Many of our teachers are also in the company. I will ask a teacher who is a friend of mine how the pay system works....now I am curious! ;)

I would be honoured to take class with these dancers...they are inspiring and talented....I know I could learn tremendous amounts!

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I would definitely not worry about other dancers laughing at you. Most dancers are looking at themselves in the mirror (either trying to find flaws and work on them, or examining their own beauty...LOL) and unless you get in someone's way, no one is going to mind if you are not up to the level of the class. I might mention to the teacher at the beginning of the class that you feel that you aren't quite up to the level, and plan on staying in the back and out of the way...just to be sure that the teacher is OK with it. I'm sure the teacher wouldn't mind. And don't just give up on the centere. Find a place in the back where you won't get in anyone's way, and work on it. I think it will be an amazing experience.

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Thanks Williamus :)

I know the teacher quite well and he knows my level of experience (or lack of ;) ) ...though he has not seen me dance for a number of months and I am looking forward to him seeing my improvement.

I am sure he will be understanding and actually he is quite positive :)

 

I think, having done more research, that they haven't been filling company class well enough and this is their way to support the costs a bit.

Also, I found out that the company dancers are on hiatus in between shows and not that many of them can show up for class every day.

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So I tried a class and it was fine. The barre was great...just a little faster than ususal and less explanation. I was super intimidated at first looking around and seeing all the amazing dancers with their legs up to their ears and perfect tight fifths but they were also very nice and quite welcoming. I did ok in centre to a point, except for the last few combinations which included a movement I had never tried before. At one point I was going to just watch and the teacher said "Get over here"...so I laughed and gave it a go :)

 

My biggest fear is to be thought a joke, for people to think "who does she think she is being here when she can barely do a split and has the worst turnout on God's green earth "....but I think that the company dancers are aware that we are just trying to learn and have fun..at least I hope so ;) And us being there also gives the school more money:)

 

I will go again for sure! I ached SOOO badly afterwards!!! I had taken TWO classes that day ( Like a "real"dancer") and even my NECK hurt!!!! Seriously..muscles I never knew I had hurt!!! Madness! :)

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OOO, thanks for updating Bllfille. I was hoping it was you with news of the class when I logged in. I understand the fear of attempting a class above your level and training, but it's great you had support from your teacher. And a polite demeanour goes a long way in the studio -- basically, if I'm in that situation, I tend to step back and not get in the way of the more advanced dancers!

 

Can you describe the steps you didn't know? We might be able to help. I can generally manage most classes up to advanced level, except for petit allegro (Ami will be along to say it's the petit allegro she loves!!!)

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"My biggest fear is to be thought a joke, for people to think "who does she think she is being here when she can barely do a split and has the worst turnout on God's green earth "

 

One of the most wonderful, and I mean WONDERFUL dancers I have ever had the pleasure to know and see could not do a split and had horrible turnout. But...when she walked on the stage, you couldn't look at anyone else. I'm sure you did just fine...and believe me, as long as you didn't get in anyone's way, the company members certainly didn't mind you being there.

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Another nice thing about being the only (or one of a few) non-professionals in the room is that you have nothing to live up to. Everyone else has something to prove. Taking classes with professionals can be quite liberating in that regard!

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