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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How much dance is enough dance?


noobswan

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Hey everyone!! I am brand new to your forum. I have been reading posts here for a while but never actually asked anything. I am restarting ballet this fall and I was wondering if I was taking enough classes. I am still a beginner (dancing less than a year) and I don't want to over exert myself. But at the same time I want to see improvement. I am 26 and have no aspirations to be a professional dancer, I just do it for myself. As of now I am signed up for two classes a week, each last an hour and a half. I have been considering signing up for one or two more though. I guess I just need advice on what is too much.

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hi noobswan- I guess the answer is 'it depends'. It depends on how much money you want to spend on classes, how much dance your body can handle before you hurt yourself and what other commitments you have in your life (school, family etc). I too am an adult dancer (bit older than you :cool2: ) but if you don't have particular goals for dancing and just do it for your own purposes, than there is no answer to your question. None that someone else can give you anyways. You will know when you are doing too much- perhaps it will become not so fun and more like a job (that is when it is called 'work'). :yucky:

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Thanks. That is a really honest answer and I really appreciate it. I think I am just going to go for it and see how I feel. I can always cut back if I need to.

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sounds good. you will know when you are doing too much- it just wont be as much fun anymore! like most things, you can have too much of a good thing :P

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And as an adult returner to ballet (I took 5 years off), just remember that your brain will often still think it can do a lot of things, your body on the other hand will have different plans! Just go a little slower the first few classes to make sure you don't hurt yourself (like I did!!)

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, noobswan. Glad you found us, and I hope you'll find the Adult Ballet Students' forums useful and good companions.

 

As for the number of classes: I always find 3 classes a week, on alternate days, keeps me consistent and allows for improvements in strength and flexibility. I also find that my memory for steps and combinations improves. And the day off in between each class allows my body to recover. An ideal schedule for me is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, although it's only recently I've been able to add a Friday class with a new studio. I also try to do an early morning (08:45) Saturday class.

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That is what my current schedule is looking like!! I am also curious, if there are any exercises that I could be doing right now in order to be a little more in shape for when class starts.

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And as an adult returner to ballet (I took 5 years off), just remember that your brain will often still think it can do a lot of things, your body on the other hand will have different plans! Just go a little slower the first few classes to make sure you don't hurt yourself (like I did!!)

 

Hahaha, truer words were never spoken! :clapping:

 

I'm also an adult returner, but I took a more cautious route because I'd had a past injury (not dance related) that I was worried would be bothered. I started with one class a week, and more recently have been doing two (as well as other activities). I'm going to be increasing to three (maybe four) soon, since everything seems okay and not bothered past-injury wise. As others have said, it will depend on how you feel. Have fun!

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noobswan I like your enthusiasm. I would second Thyme's response. It was perfect in my mind.

 

The only thing I can add is to be patient with yourself. Accept yourself for the abilities that you have and go from there. Don't hurry. You have the rest of your life to develop. I'm big on experimenting, trying different approaches, and just seeing how your body and mind reacts to different things. Don't be afraid to do something wrong.

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Is there such a thing as too much? I -do- want to start auditioning for small companies, am taking as many classes as I can fit into my schedule, and the more I dance, the better I feel in every way. However, some things seemed easier when I was dancing less often. My pirouettes and balance were incredibly stable when I was only dancing one day a week at a recreational studio, and now that I'm at a reputable school 4 classes/week, I'm all over the place. Is there a reason students at beginning/intermediate levels don't take class as often? Am I actually setting my self back by overtraining?

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At most schools classes for beginning and intermediate adult students aren't offered that often. At my school, which is pretty big, I think there is maybe only one or two beginner classes in the evening. I think it's the same for intermediate students. There are classes during the day, but if you have a job, you are pretty much limited to the evening.

 

It's difficult for most adults to take a lot of classes because of work and family responsibilities. That's especially true for mothers. I have great sympathy for mothers. Cost can also be a factor. At my school if you religiously take 5 classes a week, you are going to spend about $3,500 a year on class fees alone, an amount that's hard to justify when you have kids (who are money sink holes) and are creating a living space for a family.

 

Given all of that if you can take class that often and want to, go for it. You are doing what you enjoy, and it is the best way to improve your skill in ballet. If you can't, don't fret about it. It will just take you a little longer to get there. Be patient. There are aspects of life that are more important than dance.

 

As to the overtraining question, it's hard to say. Overtraining symptoms usually include difficulty sleeping, higher heart rate, and small nagging injuries. There is almost a dread of the next training session. Actually getting to the point of overtraining is a good training strategy. Once you get to that point, you lower the training stress, repeating this cycle continuously.

 

Inconsistency shouldn't be confused with overtraining. We all experience inconsistency at some time in our development. As I was developing, I remember when I was quite inconsistent in doing pirouettes. I would have a bad pirouette day, and get angry with myself and determinedly keep doing the kind of pirouette that was giving me trouble, usually getting worse and worse. Over time I learned that some days were just going to be bad pirouette days. I would just take a breath and relax and stop doing them or in class doing one turn rather than two. Over time I became more and more consistent, really without trying. That's kinda my approach to inconsistency--realize that it happens, relax, figure out what you are doing wrong or ask someone like a teacher, then let it go. And most of all be patient.

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My pirouettes and balance were incredibly stable when I was only dancing one day a week at a recreational studio, and now that I'm at a reputable school 4 classes/week, I'm all over the place.

 

Is this because you're learning faster and trying to do more? A teacher in my past (who remains in my head, if you see what I mean!) always told us that it was when we were falling over our feet that we were learning.

 

Also, I notice that my turns can sometimes go if I overwork on pirouettes in a class. And if I'm anything, I'm a turner. It's a mystery -- one gets several nice pirouettes each side, and then they just get messy.

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It is entirely possible to try too hard to do pirouettes. If this is something you've decided you really, really want, you may be sabotaging yourself in a way.

 

I also find some pirouette exercises/sequences (and tempos, etc.) just work better for me. That doesn't mean I shouldn't work hard at the ones that are more challenging, but it means I have some perspective on which ones are just more difficult for me right now and not beat myself up about it.

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