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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weekly reset drives me crazy


dansair

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Since the beginning of August, I've been taking four classes per week. Monday class is 75 mins; Tue, Wed and Thu 60 mins each. I would like to distribute the classes more evenly throughout the week, but it is not possible. My abilities improve towards the end of the week, so the Thursday class is the most effortless, especially jumps. On Friday, I feel no fatique and could easily take more classes, but I do have wife and kids who - so far - are more than happy to see me every once in a while.

 

Monday class is the most demanding class and it is the first class of the week to boot. Somehow, after three "idle" days, my body kind of resets to a state from where it is difficult to start classes again. There's no pain, no fatique, but on Mondays I feel like it is my first class ever, both mentally and physically. What can I do, during the idle days, to make the Mondays more satisfactory?

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Guest Pas de Quoi

Hi gav: you have a great suggestion. I tell my dancers to work on their technique with any dance conditioning, floor barre, Pilates, yoga they feel most beneficial in those "off" days.

 

Dansair: if it is possible, I find getting to the studio a bit early on that first day is helpful. When I have had a break from classes, I find doing a few pliés and tendus before class actually starts is helpful. I always do a pre-class set of exercises before class anyway, so this would be in addition to those.

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I have the same problem, although my 'gaps' are often bigger :(

If, for example, I have a week of night shifts, or I work the weekend, I can end up having a week, or a fortnight without classes. I went back to class for the first time in just over two weeks yesterday, and was a complete mess! I loved it, but it's so frustrating!

 

The problem with work is that when on ong days/nights, there isn't a lot of time for anything else, and to be honest, not really the will to do anything other than eat and sleep.

 

This work malarky really gets in the way of my ballet life..... ;)

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Hi dansair. I have the same issue. If I have more than two days in between classes, the first class after my days off I feel like I have somebody else's legs on, and everything - even the simplest things- feel really ackward.

 

This summer I was forced to take some time off, and just thinking of how awful the first classes back in the fall would be, I got into a habit of doing some very basic exercices almost daily. If I have more time, I also do a few pilates or yoga excercises, but what has helped me the most is just doing some pliés and slow tendues and really just focusing in my posture, alignment, and doing things slowly and correctly. I'm actually quite surprised of how much doing this has helped - now, I rarely feel this terrible ackwardness that I used feel after my days off. For me, I think it has to do with my body "not forgetting" what balletic movement feels like - I know it sounds strange, but after few days with no ballet class, the feeling of the first class really is like my body has forgotten what it is to even stand in turnout and correct alignment. Once I give it even a small reminder in my days off, there is less resistance once back in class.

 

I know some teachers don't recommend practicing on your own, so maybe you could check with your teacher(s) what they have to say about this. For me, the exercises that I do are really the simplest of the simplest and my teachers have actually encouraged this after I explained how my "back-in-class-hangover" was like :D

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You could do some pilates, yoga, or floor barre. With some training, you could probably come up with a routine that you could do at home.

I agree, and I do have a routine that I do every morning; a mixture of pilates, yoga and body-weight exercises :) But i guess it does not address the problem in question.

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Hi gav: you have a great suggestion. I tell my dancers to work on their technique with any dance conditioning, floor barre, Pilates, yoga they feel most beneficial in those "off" days.

 

Dansair: if it is possible, I find getting to the studio a bit early on that first day is helpful. When I have had a break from classes, I find doing a few pliés and tendus before class actually starts is helpful. I always do a pre-class set of exercises before class anyway, so this would be in addition to those.

 

Now that I think about it... the monday class differs from the other classes in one significant way: I have no possibility to do any pre-class set! The rooms are busy and the dressing room - though I am the only male dancer there - is packed with baby ballerinas and their dads. There's a very narrow corridoor available but people come and go all the time and all you can do there is dodge others.

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I really believe that if you are like me, an older person without any natural talent, you must do at home classes or partial classes depending on the time and space you have available. I'm lucky in that I've got both the space and time. I call it taking responsibility for your own development.

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Part of the problem is that it's the more advanced class on Monday, when really, it would make sense to have a lower level on the first day of the working week. But you can't dictate the studio schedule ...

 

If you can't do a longer warm up, can you do something elsewhere for half an hour (run, Pilates, yoga) before you go to the studio? That might help just wake up the muscle memory.

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