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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Wore leotard, got stared at lol


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Hi, all! I'm happy to say I've finally started dancing! My parents didn't want me in sports during my teen years. i had to dance in private away from my mother. I've grown up, and now i have my own money.

I take classes at a local studio. i looove ballet! I wish i could take more than one class per week. i want to be good even though i know I'll never go pro.  Today i was so excited about wearing my leotard and tights. While we were at the barre, a little girl said, "She actually wore a leotard!" LOL I already felt a little self conscious because I was the only adult. I signed up for adult classes, and in one class there was another adult. Now it has morphed into an after school program. The kids talk back to the instructor. They to each other too much and play around. Nevertheless, I love going. I already felt a little self conscious because the last 2 classes i've been the only adult. I was looking for adult classes.


Oh yes, and the above mentioned girl took quite an interest in me. She was too adorable. She came up to me and asked me how old i was. She was shook. Then we were doing center work, and I could feel eyes on me. i turned around and she was just a-staring. 

I would like to take tumbling,too, so I'd better get used to that. After that, no more hobbies. I'm looking at another place that's all adults and specializes in acro. I'm trying to get my straddle splits, they are horrible. Other than that i can keep up with the class flexibility-wise.

Is anyone else the only one who wears a leo to class?

(I guess this post was mostly me sharing my experiences :D )


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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, TheDancingPenguin. And congratulations on getting to class!

Now you've got your courage, maybe you need to ask the teacher about an adult beginner course, as adults need different training to start ballet. Our brains are better at absorbing the instruction, even if our bodies are less flexible. And if you find that taking class with children is not getting you anywhere (they don't sound at all serious), then maybe look around for a better studio, with some other adult learners for company.

Splits and flexibility aren't the main thing when you're starting out: it's getting your body & brain to recognise the correct alignment you need to help you develop and work your turn-out. I'd recommend Miss Clara's posts, pinned to the top of the Adult Students' technique board. They describe alignment and turn out and might help you get the feeling in class of starting to identify the muscles you need to activate.

(NB you may want to change the sex in your profile on here: it defaults to "male" but from what you say, I'm assuming you're female!)

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Hello! Thanks for your response. From what i understood, this was supposed to be an adult class. I'm not sure exactly what happened.

The lady at the front desk said the adult ladies can be kind of timid. If one calls out the other won't come, and things of that nature. She told me they sometimes had to cancel class because they wouldn't show up. 

Our teacher did say there was a problem with the class and the mixed levels. Some kids play around while others can do pointe. They don't get to practice their pointe in class because we mostly learn basic steps.

Being with the kids isn't all bad bc i'm trying to match their flexibility. I wouldn't want to be the only one who can't straddle. On the other hand, they don't seem super serious for the most partly. Honestly, i think mom and dad put most of them there kind of as afterschool daycare. 

You're right, I may have to go studio hunting again. Such a shame, this one is 5 minutes from my house and is very well reviewed. The class wouldn't be as bad for me if the kids were serious about ballet.


Btw, I am a lady! I'll have to change my profile. :)

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Maybe this studio will work for you in the future (who knows, a year from now there could be a dozen adult students and the kids are all in their own classes).  But it's clearly not working for you right now.  My studio went from a few years of 4-5 adults in weekly classes (not everyone showed every time...there was one summer where I basically had private lessons for 2 months) to now maybe 10-15 serious adult students who take 1, 2, or all of the 3 adult classes offered weekly.  The advanced adults (pointe students who grew up) often join us for extra practice and the advanced teens sometimes do as well.  Younger kids do sometimes take our classes but only because their parent is in the adult class (and any kid who can't keep up is expected to sit out, which most do, or they just do a little bit).  It's clearly not a class for kids or a class for advanced teens/adults.  If those students take the classes, they have to adapt to our levels.  Because they all have their own classes.

I got lots of praise the few times I wore a leotard to class, though I usually don't cause I don't feel comfortable with how they look on me, which is my own issue.  Our adult dress code is very flexible.  Basically, wear ballet shoes (first timers can go barefoot or use socks but should buy shoes as soon as they know they're coming back) and clothes you can move in comfortably that don't hide your body too much or have flying bits in the way.  Hair out of your face.  I usually wear tight fitting leggings, a sports bra, and a slightly loose tank top.  About half to 2/3 of the women in my adult classes wear leotards, sometimes with tights, sometimes with leggings.  Skirts are used at times too.  Leg warmers and sweaters too if it's cold.

I'd suggest trying other places.  The nice thing about adult classes is they're usually drop in.  You can check out other teachers and studios and levels and times (even a class with the same teacher at the same place with the same stated level can be very different on different days/times, because of who else does and doesn't show up).  You don't have to give up on the current place to try others.  You can even take classes in more than one location different times during the week.  Then you can see if your sticking around at the current studio encourages the other adults and discourages the kids that don't belong in there.  

Good luck no matter where you are.  And how wonderful to hear your story of how you made dance a priority in your life even without the support of your parents.



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thedancingpenguin- that's so awesome! My adult classes range in size from 4 - 25 depending on the week.Saturday AM classes are by far the most popular for adults. We usually average consistently 10-12.  >3/4 of the adult wear leos in my classes- usually covering our bums with shorts, sweater tights or skirts :rolleyes:

Sometimes we drop in on open classes at my kids' studio if our adult classes are not in session. My kids' ballet teacher is fine with that but we usually try to get a few of us to go for moral support !

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I hope more adults start dropping in. I spoke with one who was kind of struggling. She was talking to the teacher. I added that it will seem difficult for us because we are learning as adults and most people start when they are 2. It was difficult when they first started learning, but they don't remember how hard it was like none of us remembers how hard it was to walk. It is difficult to be in a classroom of kids, and they seem so advanced relatively speaking. It takes a lot of ###### to learn dance esp ballet as an adult. Plus, she said she's really busy, and i believe she has several children. Hopefully, she will be back. 

Last go round i didn't get many responses from other dance studios. I'll have to try again, but for now I'll be taking classes at my current studio. For the time being I may stick with my studio and also go to an acro studio, or at least thats the plan. 

I would like to do 5 hrs or more of ballet a week though. I really think i could do pointe in a few years if i stuck with it long enough and got in enough hours each week. 

Im very certain my flexibility will come before the grace lol

Btw, are split sole shoes easier on feet?

I have two ballet pairs, one full sole the other split sole. it seems like the full sole was more work, but i don't know if it was our classwork or the shoe.


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thedancingpenguin, it is the shoe- full soles are recommended for beginners to help build foot strength in preparation for pointe. If you ever have the opportunity to take class on vacation. I know a lot of us crave more classes than most of our cities have unless you are fortunate enough to live in a major city.  My family already accommodates my ballet - they know mom is doing a couple of ballet classes wherever we are on vacation :)


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Ok, great, it wasn't my imagination! I felt a big difference between the full soles and the split soles.

I definitely want to take classes while on vacation. What a perfect idea, i plan to do some traveling in the next two years. I see a few studios I'd like to try. It'll be so much fun meeting new people. :D My area is quite rural. I'll have to go to a nearby big city for acro.

What studios have you been to, if i may ask?:)

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  • Victoria Leigh changed the title to Wore leotard, got stared at lol

thedancingpenguin this is what I have tried:

The Portland Ballet has open adult classes 7 days / week at 10am.

LINES ballet has classes 7 days/ week - ballet and other styles of dance (modern, jazz) all geared to adults and separated into different levels

Harbour Dance Center Vancouver, Canada is similar to LINES

Ballet West (Trolley Square and main location) has many open adult ballet classes.

PNB in Seattle and Bellevue- both locations offer lots of open adult classes- you may find yourself dancing next to a company member!

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Ballet while travelling:

Lots of studios & classes in New York City of course!

I've also enjoyed adult classes with excellent teaching at the Washington School of Ballet, DC, connected with the Washington Ballet. In Austin, TX, I've really enjoyed adult open classes at Ballet Austin in their new(ish) downtown centre, and about 10 years ago, at Tapestry - but they've moved further out now, I think (and I don't drive).

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  • 4 months later...

About the staring... I am more than familiar as a woman over 6 feet tall.  I vote to keep the leotard  and give them something to stare at.  Make your class a performance every time....short of taking bows.  On the other hand with a loose dress code you could also get a shirt that says "Stop staring.  It is rude." and go about your business.

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