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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Deciding what to do next...

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So I find myself ballet class-less once again. My current ballet class has gotten too big so it is being split into two sections: beginners and more advanced (grade 5+.) The beginners class is at 9.45 a.m. on a Wednesday which I can't attend because I'm at work then.


Because I live in a rural area my ballet options are sadly few and far between. Most classes are at least an hour away and currently I work full time and am in grad school full time too (I'm training to be a teacher.) I have contacted most of the local schools but haven't had much luck, two have got back and said they don't have an adults class and won't accept adults in graded classes. I'm still waiting to hear back from a few schools and also considering if I can feasibly travel 90 minutes for a class. I am a recreational type beginner, I want to do ballet because I have fun doing it.


I do have a few options but none are strictly a 'traditional-style' ballet class. One is a contemporary class and the other is a fusion of ballet barre and pilates.


I did try a class once but didn't like it much as it had no barre section and I wasn't crazy about the teacher either. But she does run an adult ballet class and I'm wondering if instruction in ballet, <I>any</I> instruction in ballet is better than nothing at this point.


In a year I will graduate and I'm planning on getting a job somewhere with ample ballet opportunities (I'm not moving just for the ballet, but I am moving into a big city with lots of opportunities.) So another option is to just say I will put my ballet training on hold for a year.


I guess I'm just looking for a few opinions on what you would do...

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I can only give my biases. I find it hard to imagine having a full time job and being a full time graduate student at the same time. I went to graduate school full time and had trouble eeking out time for doing anything I wanted to do just for me. Having essentially two full time activities makes it difficult to add ballet to the mix even when you have great teachers and a great adult ballet program. Given that you are graduating in a year, if I were in your shoes, I'd wait the year before returning. Finishing grad school should be your priority.


If you do have options for dance this year, I would only go to classes where you have a really good teacher. Makes no nevermind what style the teacher teaches--ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, or anything else. I think the teacher is everything when it comes to dance.

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Garyecht always gives such good advice! I really sympathise with your situation, Becky. I'm in something of the same boat on occasions myself. I'm lucky in that I can go to a couple of studios, one where the teaching is excellent, but whenever I supplement with classes in big cities, I realise what isn't there in my own town, and what skills I'm losing by not getting to practise them.


I'd say go to whatever dance classes you can, which offer good teaching. Pilates is always recommended for dancers, so you'll be keeping up your conditioning, and keeping your muscle memories alive and working & learning.


Is there any way you could try the more advanced half of the larger class that's been divided, as the Beginners is at the wrong time for you? If I recall correctly, you're more experienced in jazz, but a beginner ballet dancer? You're a dancer, still, and I imagine that you could follow along with a Grade 5 (RAD?) class: it's still not incredibly complicated. Could you talk to your teacher about that possibility?


Thing is, you probably judge yourself far more harshly than anyone else, and I imagine that -- while your execution of Grade 5+ may feel clumsy, you'll actually start to get it with practice. It takes some courage, however, to step up to a more advanced class, but if it's regular, then there'll be teaching going on, rather than you just taking the class. So you can be taught the more advanced stuff.


Also, can you supplement every now & again with a ballet class in London or Birmingham? I know that can be expensive, but could you manage it once a month? Central School of Ballet does a very good series of Adult ballet classes on Sundays (I'm a fan of Renato Paroni's class on Sunday afternoon), and DanceXchange in Birmingham has fantastic adult classes in beautiful studios at the Hippodrome (one of the few things I miss about living in Birmingham).








Good luck!

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Thank you guys. I am managing grad school and I like to go to ballet as a bit of an escape for an hour or 90 minutes to be honest. I think there are things I can trial that might be a good match but it has been a lot of trial and error.


Pilates is very much more of an option- daily classes are offered nearby and there is a weekly barre class too (but this would obviously not be classical.) I think the advanced class is a definite no-go. I've tried it and found it very hard indeed, even the grade 5 and 6 girls struggle with it a lot, it's much more at the grade 7 and 8 level and includes exercises like multiple pirouettes (if I could do one and get it perfect I'd be very happy!)


I will definitely look into London and Birmingham. I go to London quite often to see musical theatre shows so I might be able to tack on a class to that.

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Have a look at DanceWorks for ballet classes. They're just off Oxford Street, nearest Tube is Bond Street. There's also Pineappl, but there's not so much choice of times & levels for ballet there.


There are some good informative posts from a few years back with notes about people's experience of various teachers & levels at DanceWorks, if you do a search here.

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Thanks Redbookish. I'm not sure if the intermediate foundation class at my current school might work for me (my teacher was actually suggesting before I would be fine for intermediate but I was a bit freaked out at that thought!) I think it might be worth it just to be doing *some* ballet every week.

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If your teacher suggested it -- why not have a chat with her about your worries, but if she suggested it, I'd be going for it.


One of my really influential teachers for me (she's still in my head) always said: "You're learning when you're falling over your feet". But it's scary & you need buckets of courage and chutzpah to do a class when for half of it, you feel you're in over your head!


But if your teacher thinks you'll be OK, and has invited you in for the class -- go for it. How can you learn otherwise?

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Sounds like you are down South, but if you are anywhere within striking distance of Manchester, we have a thriving adult ballet school, beginner/intermediate/mixed ability classes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (advanced Monday Tuesday, Thursday!) All evenings except Saturday afternoons


Come visit! :huepfen:

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