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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Silver linings in a global pandemic


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As my country moves slowly & rather clumsily out of a strict(ish) lockdown, I was reviewing what I've gained from the last 5 months. It has been hectic workwise (and I realise I am lucky to be able to WFH, but hours have been very long), but it has been anchored for me at home by the opportunity to do many, many more ballet classes than I usually have access to.

While we need to be mindful of not making specific recommendations (as per the announcement pinned in all our forums), I wanted to share my experiences and hear from other adult ballet students. 

I've been doing "kitchen ballet" via Zoom since April, when a number of teachers went online. I've done classes with teachers based in a major capital city studio with whom I normally only manage class about once every 6 weeks (I live about 2 hours' travel from this city). I've also been able to do Zoom classes with a couple of my favourite master-teachers from major studios in New York - when the time difference makes it good timing.

What I've seen, over this time, is how these wonderful teachers have adapted and learned how to use Zoom effectively. I'e been given many more corrections, and quite detailed corrections - although I really miss the hands on element, which I need! But I've improved in a number of ways:

* I've not been able to subconsciously follow other people in class

* I've had to really focus on alignment and turnout (duh) - going back to basics

* In one class, the teacher drills us in pirouette placement - I'm (finally at 61!) really thinking about the dynamics and physics of turning - I've always been a turner, but a bit of a whirligig. So now I'm learning how to turn with control in a confined space - focusing on ending an en dehors turn from 5th still up in a retiré on demi-pointe, for example.

Basic foundational stuff, but I think I'll get back to my local studio (once out of lockdown) stronger and more aware of what I need to keep working on.


What have been your experiences? And silver linings?

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Hello redbookish, for me, since I am a beginner, the gold lining would be that I am educating myself about ballet terminology and positions. When formal classes do start, I will have a leg up, no pun intended. I have been taking zoom classes but they are not that satisfying due to lack of the personal aspect and correction.

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My silver lining is that I actually started taking adult beginner classes.

This summer my daughter’s studio reopened for in-person classes. Because her studio is far away and there are no longer any places to hang out, I was faced with a choice: wait in my car while my daughter danced, or enroll in the adult ballet class being held at the same time.

Returning to a ballet class after three decades of physical inactivity was hard. Wearing a mask the entire class was hard. I could barely walk the following day. Yet I am hoping to resume classes when the fall semester starts. 

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That is fabulous forglitter. Ballet is so good for you. So glad that you bagan classes as I am a beginner.

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What a great story, forglitter! I hope you continue to enjoy class.

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I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back in the studio (only some of them are opening in my city, with limited attendance). But, I've been able to work a lot on strength, balance and placement that hopefully will pay off when I get back to normal classes. Working at home, it's easier to take little breaks and work on things and get more repetitions than you would get in a class. I'm finally noticing the importance of upper body posture and rigidity for turns.

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Miss Persistent

What a great topic Redbookish. I have had many silver linings but had been afraid to share with others as a lot of people have been quite negative about it all. My silver linings have been;

- After 10 years of trying, I have finally managed to convince my better half to turn our lounge room into a studio! (And will fight to keep it that way forever!!)

- As a teacher, teaching online has forced me to become physically stronger as I had to do and demonstrate much more than usual, especially in Conditioning classes 🥴

- Seeing so many other classes and styles online has given me insights and fresh ideas

- Having to adapt has made me find new ways of teaching and explaining things. I am generally quite a ‘hands on’ style teacher so was forced to use words, imagery, and other methods to get my point across

- It has made me appreciate being back in the studio with my students now 😊 And I am so happy to say even though it was tough being away, coming back they had improved while we were online so there is hope for those of us still stuck outside the studio.

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Chasse Away

Like Miss Persistent, I enjoyed the challenge of teaching online, especially at the very beginning of our lockdown when it was a necasary distraction. I teach many styles of dance so I needed to figure out how to make the class work in everyones home environment. However, I felt like I actually demonstrated less, since I could not demonstrate and watch my students on the tiny screen the whole time. But I also feel like I am quicker at diagnosing students problems now, especially in low-resolution video form.

There was a brief period where I was taking more dance classes online, but in general I found them hard to schedule in, especially when you share a common space with other tenants. I'm glad I kept up with my usual 2 per week. I found working without a mirror and rosin to be very challenging, I think I'm more aware of my placement now but I still need to work on fixing it. I have really gotten into yoga, since I can do a yoga class in approx. 30 minute, instead of the 3 hours that it would take me to get dressed, warmup and stretch, and complete and online dance class in (lol), so I'm glad I have found a good supplement to my weekly dance classes that I can use to 'start my day'. 

Also, now that we are back in the studio, we have a lot of 'alumni' dancers who have returned home from wherever they were dancing, our usual classes have tripled in size from the standard attendance (we have lots of space to be distanced of course, its just that our standard attendance was dropping to 4 or so students last winter). I love having more dancers in class, especially these dancers who are so talented, it motivates me to strive to that level. 

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  • 1 month later...

It’s because of the pandemic I started ballet again.  It felt so good to get out, and how lucky are we to get back to the studio.  For those of you that aren’t yet in, hang in there, it’s worth it. I do find having to wear a mask the entire time annoying, however, it’s not going to stop me from doing what I love to do.

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Miss Persistent

That's fantastic to hear BalletLady59!

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Yes, ballet de-stresses me. I am so glad I began ballet. Even though I am a beginner, I see improvement with every class. My instructor is slowly sculpting me into a dancer. It excites me beyond words as I become more graceful and able to master the movements.

Happy dancing


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