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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Men's Class


Mel Johnson

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Are any of you in a school with a sufficient male enrollment to permit men's classes? If so, what are you working on these days? If not, what do you think a good men's class should include? I know our readership would be interested in seeing, besides me.

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Guest Ballerino

I have never had a men's class, though I wish I did. There is one studio offering one now in my area, but that studio is TINY, not even enough room for me to go across the floor once in g. allegro, and there are poles right in the middle. Stifling.

Pity, for the teacher is good, but for me,

I spend a lot of time in a car and in a small lab, when I dance, need room to MOVE. Perhaps it is psychological as well as physical, but I see too many people dancing small, even in bigger rooms. I would leave class at that studio feeling horrible about me dancing, but all of my other classes in bigger studios are pure fun, and I leave feeling elated and encouraged...

-Perseus

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Guest Ballerino

Me again- I would like, in a men's class, to work on the jumps and turns meant for - but not exclusive to- men's technique...for in a class with the majority women, they do not often get covered. Sometimes I do have teachers who will give me an alternate combination from that given to the women, more so if there are two or more men in class...perhaps also work on walks and stage presence, men's variations...small details that might be different when done by men and women.

-Perseus

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Guest raven_boy

I have have "men's" class once a week but it is with many ages and levels. This makes it hard when a lot of the guys in the class need work on the basics like tour preparations but some of us need to be working on more complicated combinations and steps. We also do crunches and push ups.

 

During summer programs I have attended, I really liked the men's classes at my level. After a good barre, we focused on working on our stamina and strength not only in grande allegro but petite allegro also.

 

A good men's class shows how to add clean beats, extra turns to the simpler combinations, and working on steps that come in handy for men's variations.

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Guest CygneDanois

At the school I attend, boys and girls are always separated for ballet technique classes; therefore, we don't have a need for a separate men's class. It's the same at SAB, and I really prefer that arrangement if the studio is able to accommodate it, even if there are only a few people in the class.

 

At the moment, we are practicing for exams and rehearsing for the spring performance, so I suppose you could say we are all working on building stamina!

------------------

CygneDanois

 

[This message has been edited by CygneDanois (edited March 26, 2001).]

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Guest Bill Mulkern
Originally posted by Ballerino:

I have never had a men's class, though I wish I did. There is one studio offering one now in my area, but that studio is TINY, not even enough room for me to go across the floor once in g. allegro, and there are poles right in the middle. Stifling.

Pity, for the teacher is good, but for me,

I spend a lot of time in a car and in a small lab, when I dance, need room to MOVE. Perhaps it is psychological as well as physical, but I see too many people dancing small, even in bigger rooms. I would leave class at that studio feeling horrible about me dancing, but all of my other classes in bigger studios are pure fun, and I leave feeling elated and encouraged...

-Perseus

 

Perseus, where is this men's class you are talking about? (Presumably, you mean the Boston area.) I'm not ready to make that switch, but I'd like to know it's available if and when I feel I can do it.

 

As to what you say about small rooms, I agree, though maybe for different reasons. As a tall guy with long limbs, I need more room than most, especially in center. The moment I bump into another dancer, I lose my focus (altogether too likely at the best of times).

 

Are you taking any more classes at Jose Mateo's, or is it inconvenient for you?

 

Bill

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Guest Ballerino

Quoted from Bill Mulkern:

Perseus, where is this men's class you are talking about? (Presumably, you mean the Boston area.) I'm not ready to make that switch, but I'd like to know it's available if and when I feel I can do it.

As to what you say about small rooms, I agree, though maybe for different reasons. As a tall guy with long limbs, I need more room than most, especially in center. The moment I bump into another dancer, I lose my focus (altogether too likely at the best of times).

 

Are you taking any more classes at Jose Mateo's, or is it inconvenient for you?

 

Bill

 

Hi Bill!

I am DYING to take class at Jose Mateo's again, but the week after the open house, I injured my knee landing from a big jump on a bump in the floor, and have been trying to rest it so that I can get back to class. It is almost there, but plies still hurt, and I cannot hold back on jumps, so I will be giving it one more week...do relay hellos to Bill Davidge. I will be there in a week, I promise smile.gif

It is driving me mad, just knowing those huge studios are there and I am not, but I need to tend the knee now so I can dance a long time. Yes, about the studio size, I am not tall, but I was trained to dance big and I need a lot of room to move.

I had for years a private class with a jumping bean of a woman, and we would just move for hours.

 

The men's class is reportedly with Clyde Nantais at Boston Dance Company, Wednesdays ...but that is hearsay from a friend who has a class that night. Clyde is an excellent teacher, but that studio is way too small for me to enjoy or move, and there are poles right in the middle...and a class full of men, I cannot even imagine it. sigh.

-Perseus

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Guest Bill Mulkern

OK, Perseus, now I know what you're talking about - it's the Boston Dance Company (why so-called, I don't know, since it's in Cambridge). It's next door to Teddy Shoes, and a few seconds' walk from the Dance Complex. The BDC has the top floor of a 19th century warehouse, basically. Clyde Nantais and Devon Carney used to be principals with Boston Ballet. So they have a men's class, eh? Hmmmm.

 

Sorry to hear about your knee. How on earth did your studio floor sprout a big bump? Musta been all that rain.

 

Well, rest up, Perseus, and do your RICE thang. I'm sure you'll be jeteing about in no time.

 

Bill

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Guest Ballerino

Yup, it was a wood floor in a church, and the ends of the floor were a little bumpy, but not really visible. Funny, this happened once before in a performance.

I was in the middle of a jumping variation and my shoe stuck to some marking tape on the floor and I slightly wrenched my knee before takeoff. No one noticed, but I was sore and stiff for weeks afterward.

I cannot wait to get back to those new studios, I will see you soon smile.gif

-Perseus

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OK, ok, war stories are fine, but back to men's class! Anybody else?

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  • 9 months later...

No, I doesnt have mens, or boys-classes... is this usual in bigger studioes??

I think by having a boy class, i maybe learn more about "being male" when i dance... The last years, i have much focused on that!

i also think I would get stronger, as i ALWAYS has to do one more pushup, or sitiup or whatever, if someone is watching or doing it together with me.. I guess its a kind of selfishm, and the only "thing" I got were i ALWAYS has to do better than the others... (not that i always can do this, but i like to believe i can wink.gif )

I dont think I could survive in a fitness studio... I would train myself to death smile.gif

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Yes, Henrik, men's classes are common in larger schools. In them, you concentrate on jumps, beats, turns and that sort of dancing distinctive to the men's vocabulary. A lot of it has to do with presentation.

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Guest Szilagyi

When I started to take classes there were no men's classes of any level around where I live. So after some time, my teachers would change some combinations a little bit for me to include more male specific steps. At that time I thought that's sufficient, I didn't know it better...

When I stepped for the first time into a mne's class with advanced dancers it was a real shock to me eek.gif

It's not only the focus on jumps, beats and turns that made the difference but the whole dynamic of the class was like another world for me! It makes a huge difference to jump in a group of several men instead of being the last one in the row (as we all are gentlemen and the rule goes "ladies first") and doing the combination alone.

 

~keep on bouncing!!!

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The school my son is at is thinking of starting a regular boys only class as they just started a number of new guys. Is it more appropriate to have a class where the ages differ by up to 6 years (10 to 16)but all guys or is it better to keep within the same age group but boys and girls?

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A Men's Class is actually a specialty class, like pointe for girls, that men are given. Usually, it is best if all the class is at or above a certain technical level, but a group dynamic within the student body may suggest to a director to schedule an all-boys class, no matter what the technical level. In large academies, where training is divided into men's and women's divisions, there are dedicated teachers for the respective sexes, and some of the former are not always men, and some of the latter not always women. This is more a matter of historical precedent, I think, than of much technical or stylistic requirement.

 

[ January 09, 2002: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]

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