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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Summer Successes and Setbacks

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I thought it might be useful to adopt a seasonal champagne lounge/w[h]ine couch for a bit more continuity than we can get month-to-month. (The last one we had was in April, but it popped back up in May and June, so...)


The most exciting thing I have to report is that it feels like the dance community where I live is in the middle of an unexpected renaissance. Classes are busy over the summer, a brand new studio has opened up seemingly out of nowhere, and a long-time studio is undergoing some exciting changes. Personally, I have felt that other dancers have been really supportive of my own work. And last week I performed what had to have been the most perfect double pirouette en dedans of my life to date :yes:


On the downside, I have a lingering minor injury that's stopping me from pushing myself as much as I'd like to. It's not too disruptive in class, but every so often, either in class or out, I get that twinge of "don't push your luck!" that no one wants to feel.


How are everyone else's summers going?

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  • txstudent


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Thanks for starting up this thread again!


I'm looking forward to doing a two-week intensive with the kids in the next two weeks. It's a regular intensive with classes from 9:30-5 including ballet, pointe, one other dance form (modern, jazz, hip hop, contemporary), a focus class (alignment, pirouettes, stretching, etc.), and rep every day. I'm the only adult (and I'm 50 so I figured I'd better do it now, I'm not getting any younger, ha ha!) but I take class with the kids during the year so we're comfortable with each other. They're a lot of fun.


It'll either kill me or make me stronger. Thankfully I also run and take Pilates throughout the year!

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Just happy to take classes this summer, moved, this past Monday ( not far from where I was), but the expense and time has altered my usual summer activities. I still manage 3-4 ballet classes and 2 Pilates classes, but no extra classes or workshops this summer. I am able to take classes July/Aug from the awesome Russian teacher I took wtih last summer. The class is small, but she is so hands on, it is both a challenge and a pleasure to work with her.

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I've definitely had both successes and setbacks this summer.


Good stuff first: I went to an SI at my old ballet school (that I grew up in) and had a great time. They had a guest teacher who was fabulous, and all the girls I danced with were great. I wasn't the only adult, but I was the only one that did the whole workshop! We did ballet, pointe, and lyrical. I learned the infamous (to me, anyway) Esmeralda variation, and La Chopiniana from Les Sylphides, a corps dance from Coppelia, and a creepy but delightful lyrical routine. We performed each of these the last day of the SI--I ended up doing the La Chopiniana variation instead of Esmeralda because I wasn't pleased with my turns/strength, but am filing that one away in my brain for when I feel stronger.


Bad stuff: After my school's spring show, I was getting a bit of pinching at the back of my ankle when I pointed it or went on releve. I was worried it was my achilles, so I went to a podiatrist and found out I had some FHL tendinitis. Luckily, I had a two week break between then and the aforementioned SI, and the doctor said I would be fine to do it. He had given me some steroids to help with the inflammation, and told me if that didn't help to come back in before I left (as I'd probably need a shot). I also made sure to rest/ice during my off-time. By the time I was ready to go to the SI it was feeling much better, so I didn't go in again.


Alas, the FIRST DAY of the SI it started up again. I iced it every night and took anti-inflammatories the whole week and that helped a ton, but now I'm back home and its nice and sore. Probably didn't help matters that about mid-way through the week, it gave out and I fell! It had popped a little, but I didn't have any pain, had no problems going on releve, and it didn't swell (though I was icing and such like I mentioned before), but now the whole thing kinda aches. UGH. I can't get in to see the doc again until next week, so I'm on dance hiatus. Hope I didn't totally damage myself. Maybe I'm getting too old for some of these shenanigans.

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Dont really have time to write right now, but as can be seen in other thread, am also battling injury (knee). On upside, got the chance - a lot!!!- to perform, incl. a professional gig!


Morningloire, wish you all the best and speedy recovery! Sending good vibes to you, and NO! We are not too old!

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Love this thread! Goes to show how supportive we are as a community.


First up, the good: Recently explored the option of starting pointe with my teacher, and she approved me for it. Took me about 3 weeks to muster up the courage to walk into the dancewear store for a fitting. The prospect of getting fitted was somewhat nerve-wracking because I'm no longer a skinny teen going on pointe, and was nervous what the pointe shoe fitter would think. How silly!! The fitter was nice and courteous. We went through Suffolks, various Blochs, some Grishkos, and finally settled on Grishko Miracle. It is definitely a luxurious shoe (my previous pointe shoes in my teenage years never felt so comfy), and an expensive first pair. Finally, after 2 weeks of mulling over whether I am truly (mentally) ready for pointe (even contemplated returning the shoe!), showed the shoes to my teacher, and she gave me the green light. Interestingly, the pointe shoes felt a tad loose on my feet after a grueling 90-minute class, and going on pointe felt so...GOOD! I did not feel any pain, other than the right big toe needing a little more lambs wool for cushion.


The not-so-good: My variable work schedule has been forcing me to live with a variation of 1 to 2 to 3, and on good weeks, 4 classes per week. Not thrilled, but I am thankful that despite the inconsistencies, I am averaging about 3 classes per week.


Morninglorie, please take care and wishing you a speedy get-well-coon! :flowers:

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This weekend I turn 70, so I should reflect on the past few months.


I don't really have anything that isn't good. Yes, there is physical deterioration, but that's to be expected. There is no change in my bad knee and my good knee is very unhappy. I'm about ready to declare that I can no longer jump at all.


On the good side, I don't think I've ever danced better, especially when it comes to artistry. No I'm not a great artist. But I feel like an artist and take the time to make my dancing my own. It's a wonderful feeling. I've successfully combined dancing with a sport I practiced as a young man and then again in my late 40s, Olympic weightlifting. This summer I am a dancer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and a weightlifter on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Two completely different worlds. Speaking of jumping, it's weird that the most simple jumps bother my knees, yet I can do squats (tush to the ground) with heavy weights without a problem. When you are old, your body behaves in strange ways.

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Happy birthday! One of the things I love about dance -- particularly having started as an adult -- is that I can constantly see improvement. Sure, it comes in waves and there are periods that feel worse than before, but I'm always able to look back and think, "Wow. I couldn't have done that 3 months/6 months/a year ago!"

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Thank you for the good vibes, Scuballerina and mrstrong_ballet! Scu, sorry to hear about your knee! Knees are the worst (I had a knee injury myself a few years ago, yuck). Hope you heal quickly as well :) Glad you're performing a lot--a professional gig? Sounds fabulous!


Garyecht--Happy birthday! You are such an inspiration to me on so many levels, and I can only hope that I can follow your good example and words of wisdom.


I wonder if its the impact of jumping that hurts your knees (which would be why you are fine doing squats)? The body can sometimes be such a mysterious thing, even when we're in-tune with it (I think dancers are more in-tune wit their bodies than most people). I should listen to mine more carefully, and not my brain that wants to do a million things at once! Right now, I think my body is telling me it needs a little break and to quit over doing it.

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Happy birthday, Garyecht!


This week is my six month mark for beginning ballet. Time flies! (And tendus, and chasses...)


The good news is that overall, I feel I am farther along than I expected to be, seeing that I was an absolute beginner. There have been real improvements since January, although they are small and still not quite there. One of the most shocking things has been the improvement in my flexibility. I've always considered myself to be somewhat flexible until it came to my legs. The fact that I can hold my own straight leg in my hand is a major accomplishment. It doesn't look like much (I'm barely at 90 degrees and I'm holding my ankle, not my foot) but I feel amazing about it! My port de bras is...well...better. Let's leave it at that :) I hesitate to even call it port de bras. Still, it's an improvement.


The disappointing: I have been struggling with alignment again and am pointing my toes in a way that is bothering my achilles. I am disappointed because these two things are issues that keep coming back! I make changes only to find out a month or so later that what I was doing is still incorrect. So more corrections are made, which promptly causes the rest of my technique to fall apart and it looks like my first class all over again. It's humbling, to say the least. I am trying to keep a sense of humor about it. It is hard not to feel bad sometimes. These are things I need to get or the rest can't fall into place.


I want to thank this board again for all the encouragement and great advice!

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  • 1 month later...

Summer also marked my 6th month of ballet. I began in January and have taken nearly 30 classes which is roughly once a week. I'm working hard to increase it to twice a week but work and family make that challenging. I've done it twice so far and am really committed to making that my standard. I am stronger, more flexible (which isn't much, but oh so much better than I thought I could be) and my body has been transformed. Honestly, I catch myself in the mirror and can't stop looking at my derriere ! :blush: That alone is motivation enough to keep going :) But, I love it and dare I say I'm obsessed with ballet. It is the only activity I currently have that I can honestly say absorbs me completely and is a true escape.


Set backs... hmmmmm.... I'm not sure I've gotten far enough along to have any. I still feel like I"m slowly / steadily progressing and every two or so months I feel like I turn a corner and my body just 'does' stuff without me having to think about it too much.


Wishing everyone a smooth transition into Fall !

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Just an update. I not only survived my two-week intensive, plus the two-week "semi-intensive" (1.75 hrs ballet and 1 hr pointe or variations every day), I got SO much out of it and had a great time. I was a bit sore the first couple of days but by the end of the four weeks I was feeling great. Worked on REALLY pulling up through the hips and decided to stay in my current level for the third year so I could continue working on that and pirouettes.

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  • 1 year later...

I just had my first ballet class at a proper ballet school this afternoon (I took a college class last fall)! It was an Absolute beginner level class and I was out of my depth quite a lot--especially trying to remember the sequences of the barre exercises--but I wasn't totally lost. At one point we were doing frappes and when the teacher came over to give me corrections, I told him honestly, "I don't know what I'm doing; I have never heard of this," and he said I was doing them pretty well! He was actually going to correct my arms. Going into it, I was most worried about my alignment, but I did not get any corrections on that--but I got a lot of corrections on my arms (fair enough, they were really bad). He had us do pirouettes from 5th, which I've never done before, and I did it successfully once and relatively successfully once while turning the wrong way (oops). I did struggle with getting my foot to connect in passe while doing the pirouettes but I chalk that up to five months of only jazz pirouettes. I just need ore practice. While doing some simple jumps, I was extra cautious to point my feet because I always messed that up in my college class...which worked even though I totally lost my turn out.


If you are wondering if this is to be read as a success or a setback, success all the way. I got a ton of individual corrections, which my college teacher never did, so even though I made a lot of mistakes I was able to leave feeling confident because I know what I did well and what I did poorly. I'm feeling very optimistic for the rest of the summer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The place that was really filling out my regular dance classes in Chicago takes a summer break that just happens to line up with the last couple of weeks that I am here. I'll just treat is as some time to go to pilates or gyrotonics if I can, but it's killing me just a little bit to have so few classes for two weeks. It also means I'm going to have to slowly build up to my usual schedule once I get back to Dallas. Blah.

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Sparrow, I go to an absolute beginner level class, and there is no way that we would ever do pirouettes from fifth. Heck, all we do is very basic chaines! I'm very glad I have never wandered into your particular absolute beginner class!

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