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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help! Summer course - which level?


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I' m taking part in a short intensive course. (9 days). Unfortunately, there are only two levels. At first, I was in the lower level, but it was so slow and simple and the teacher spend so mich time talking that I almost fell asleep. So, I tried the upper level and it is the contrary, too fast and difficult... As I habe to do one oft these: Which would you recommend?

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Chasse Away

There is never a class that perfectly fits a dancers level, a dancers progress just contains to many variables it’s hard to classify which “level” anyone is at anyways. I always say when moving up a level be prepared to be totally lost, that’s expected, and every dancer has felt like they were in way over there head at some point, honestly I think riding out those kinds of classes are good for building character. 

For real though I remember taking my first classes at my now-studio and being SO LOST. I couldn’t remember any of the exercise or understand the teachers accent (I always had to look for help from other students so they would “translate” what he said lol) and always stood at the back. But in time I adjusted, my ability to remember the exercise improved immensely and I could focus on other things when I dance, and now I understand what the teachers are trying to tell me. I always tell new comers to our class now that things start making sense after a while, both accents wise and dance wise.

Go for the higher class and challenge yourself! Don’t be afraid to be the worst one in the class lol, everyone was the worst one in the class at some point that’s just the nature of leveling up. 

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Unless the upper level is so hard that you're at risk for injuring yourself, I'd recommend it.  I've seen it before even with adult students, especially with an inexperienced teacher and students who don't know their limits yet.  As long as your teacher is aware of the difference between what is too hard for you now but worth pushing yourself to attempt and what is too hard for you to even try, you'll be fine.

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I agree with ChassesAway and BalletFamily - keep going in the higher level, and perhaps modify some things if you're getting completely confused! See it as a wonderful (and rare) opportunity to learn how to take a step up in levels in a relatively safe learning environment. By that, I mean that it's often a matter of discussion in here (and elsewhere) of the the difficulty for adult ballet students to bridge the gap between beginners, and intermediate levels. I find it a challenge myself - my regular studio has pretty basic classes - with just one that is pitched at a greater level of challenge, but still not above a US "Advanced Beginner" level. I can sometimes get to a larger professional studio but not often enough to say to a teacher - I"m just going to work away at the back and get up to standard. 

You can do that in this 9 days, perhaps? Say to the teacher of the more advanced level that you'd like to take the intensive as a way of stepping up to more advanced technique & accomplishment.

Is it a matter of steps you don't know, or complexity of choreography? If the latter, you may be able to simplify the choreography a bit - teachers will often give the choice of, say, doing frappés as doubles, or one the demi-pointe etc etc - so you can choose your level of difficulty and challenge. 




Don’t be afraid to be the worst one in the class lol, everyone was the worst one in the class at some point that’s just the nature of leveling up. 


    I love this! It's tough, but in a situation when you're going every day for 2 weeks, and can get to know everyone, and let the teacher know what you're doing, you could come out of your intensive with some real progress. I'm a bit envious of your opportunity actually 😉

    Good luck & good dancing!

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    Redbookish - definetely a matter oft complexiry and speed! Slowly, I can do all the steps.

    But Moderators, could you please move this topic back to Cross talk? It is not an intensive for adults and I' d also be interested in tipps from parents and young dancers! And teachers, of course!


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    • 1 month later...


    For most Summer Intensive programs, students cannot choose what level they wish to do. That is likely why the topic was not moved to Cross Talk. 

    For your specific situation, since you can make a choice, my suggestion is for you to evaluate what your goals are. If your goal is to partake in the experience of the intensive, to dance many hours per day, and to enjoy the challenge of the more advanced classes, then do the "upper" level. If your goal is to refine your technique then stay in the "lower" level.

    You are of course, welcome to start a new topic in Cross Talk, in a more general format if you wish, but very rarely will you find an intensive that allows students to self-select.


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    I think, also, we generally recognise on this messageboard that adult dancers work in a very different context to that of young & teen dancers. Even if you're doing class with teens & younger dancers, you'll be learning differently both mentally & physically. A long time on this board has taught me that what teens need & can do with teaching is quite different from what adults can do & learn. And a comparison of teen & adult dancers' experiences & abilities is generally not very helpful ...

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