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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Does it get easier?


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I'm new to ballet.  Only a couple of months in.

I hate it.  I thought I would like it.  I love WATCHING ballet.  I THOUGHT I would love doing it myself.  The first few classes felt great, then when some more barre was introduced, I was so discouraged.  It's insanely difficult to do the what appears to be the simplest steps... while remembering 20 different posture corrections.

I so badly WANT to like it.  Should I keep going?  Did anyone experience great difficulty and frustration and end up loving ballet class?

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Yes. It is hard to learn as an adult. You may want to try another school—a different teaching methodology. 

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Watching some youtube videos that show/name different steps could be helpful. Reading a book on ballet terms and technique really helped me (Gaynor Minden has a nice handbook and The Basic Principles of Classical Ballet by Vaganova was very informative). I prefer reading/listening because I'm not really a visual learner. When I get combinations in class, marking them doesn't really help me as much as listening closely to the order and rhythm of the combination ("tombe, pas de bourree, glissade, assemble!'). It depends on what kind of learner you are but once you know vocabulary, it clicks because you know a lot of information about any combination and it's so much less to think about on top of technique. For example, your teacher could tell you to do a "tendu en croix from first" and if you already know that it means standing turned out with you heels/knees together, sliding through demi- into a fully-pointed foot that doesn't leave the floor, first front, side, back, side, before returning to the starting position, you'll have a lot more mental resources to focus of placement, flexibility, articulation. 

If you feel like it's just physically hard, there's tons of pilates videos on youtube (Kathryn Morgan) that help build strength for ballet. 

But ballet is hard and that is part of it's appeal for a lot of people. I love that it's so difficult that I just can't worry about whatever is in the news or worry about my hometown for a few hours a week because it takes everything--physically and intellectually! I feel reset after each class. 

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Yes, it is hard. Sometimes I just want to cry after I leave class, not too often but it happens. I keep going back because, as Coriander says, it’s an opportunity to turn off your brain. I’ve been going to class for 2 years, usually just once a week and I would say I am still a solid beginner (but I am not naturally coordinated) i honestly don’t know why I kept going back after my first few classes, but I am sooooo glad I never gave up. If you love ballet and you love the idea of doing ballet, don’t quit just yet. It will get easier and you will get better and it will feel like nothing else. 

One thought though, are you attending a true beginner class??

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Thank you, I will keep going.  Yes it's a real beginners class, started just learning the 5 positions of the feet and slowly learning the basic barre routine from there.  Turns out ballet is a lot harder than it looks ;). I'm most frustrated with my inability to maintain turnout.  But I haven't excersised for years so I think it's just a matter of slowly building strength.

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Yes keep at it! I often forgot about turnout just trying to remember the combinations, there’s a lot going on! 

Getiing stronger is a large part of it, I remember the first time I did sautes I got really bad shin splints after, but I never do anymore. And I weigh the same! 

Its just so rewarding and you will gain so much from ballet. 

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On 2/23/2018 at 10:46 AM, Ballerinamom2girls said:

Btw I don't know how to edit my account.  For some reason it says male.  I'm female, fyi ;)

Click on your name in the upper right corner- then "profile" - on the next page towards the top right is a tab that says "edit profile" - you can change your gender there. Everyone was defaulted to male in the last update !:huh:

It gets easier with more repetition- that's the beauty of ballet - the professionals make it look effortless but it sure isn't! But, it's an awesome workout. One of teachers says if you aren't sweating by tendus, you aren't doing it correctly.

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Yes, it gets easier - but that doesn't mean it's easy!

I think for me, there were 2 keys: 1) Not comparing myself to anyone else - not the teacher, or the other students, or things I saw online; and 2) letting go of any expectations, and seeing the whole experience as a growth process.  This meant I didn't get disappointed (much) when I struggled to pick something up right away, because I was just there to learn, and to learn about myself. 

I echo the suggestion to work a little independently.  How exactly depends on how you learn.  Reading might be helpful, and it was for me later, but at the start I literally practiced standing - while waiting for the bus, doing my dishes, brushing my teeth, etc.  I needed to make that unnatural position feel natural before I could start layering more on top of it!

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