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Ballet Talk for Dancers

intermediate class!

Guest Starling

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Guest Starling

I posted before about my anxiety over moving into the intermediate class. Well, tonight my classes FINALLY started!!!


It went pretty well. Barre was great. It was much more challenging then in my other class and I did a few new things!


The adage was shaky but I stank in the allegro combination (I hope that's the right term, my mind's a little frazzled)


The problem wasn't the steps - I knew them all individually. The problem was putting them together. I just couldn't seem to wrap my head (or my body) around them!


I talked to my teacher and she said several of us were struggling so she would go over it step by step next class.


Advice would be great in how to handle putting all the steps together!



PS Sorry for the long post!!!

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Congratulations on beginning the intermediate class! I think it's only a matter of time (and practice and hard work) until one feels more comfortable in a more advanced level.


You say that you know the steps individually - therefore probably the problem is in the 'transitions'... how to get from one step to the next. The way I see it - learning the path from 'step A' to 'step B' is almost like learning a new exercise. The path your body makes going from a glissade to a pas de chat is different from going from a glissade to an assemble, for example.


I think as time goes on and you gain more experience your vocabulary of movement goes from knowing isolated steps to knowing common combinations of linked steps. I think this not only leads to better execution physically of the exercise but also to a better memory of combinations... where you no longer have to think "glissade" "jete" "pas de bourre" "assemble" but "that thingy" (or however your brain compartmentalizes things!).


Here are 2 things that I have tried. Maybe they will be helpful?


One thing that I found helped (aside from just taking more classes :)) was to remember the combinations from class (write them down if necessary) and 'mark' them at home. Walking through the various steps helped me over any awkward parts in the phrase and helped to train the muscle memory necessary for the movement to become automatic. Arms and head can be added (if known) in 'slow motion' which made it easier the next time I had class.


Additionally, in class, when given a particularly complicated allegro I try to pick out certain points in the phrase to remember "no matter what" even if I'm not sure I will get the whole exercise. If you have these 'safety points' if you get lost in the middle... you can jump back in and continue later.


Hope this helps :D.

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Dame Ninette de Valois remembered her classes with old Maestro Cecchetti, and said that she always did the arms full out when practicing for memory, and then the feet just seemed to follow naturally. Different folks....

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Congrats on moving up, it sounds as though you're doing just fine. You don't mention if this is a new or different teacher, or the same teacher, just a new level. If it's a different teacher, you might also be having a problem with a different approach to steps, and different combinations. Most teachers (although they generally don't like to admit it) will repeat a combination with small differences, but have some basic inherent patterns. But, as mentioned before, marking a combination is always helpful. I had a teacher that would teach a combination, then we would use that pattern for several weeks, and I liked being able to repeat the pattern in subsequent classes because it allowed me to improve on the "marriage" of the steps. The teacher I have now, will only go over a pattern once, and we might get an opportunity to go across the floor more than once in each direction, or perhaps not, and I don't feel I'm getting enough time to work the combination to my satisfaction. However, the upside of this is that we all pay close attention to the only verbal instruction, and if we're fortunate enough to be back far enough in the line to learn from the students in front, but I usually have to go either first or second, so most of the others get to learn from my mistakes! But, again, congrats to you and keep up the good work!

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Guest Starling

Thanks for all your responses!


I do try to write down anything new I learn in class and work on it at home. However, I missed a lot of the steps in the allegro. I talked to the teacher though - and she's going to go over it step by step so I'm sure I'll get it next time! (or something close!)


My teacher is different - but she subbed a couple times last semester when my regular teacher was ill, so I know her. Her style is definately different though, that's a good point I didn't think of that.


Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the advice!!



PS Sorry for the crazy grammar - I'm really sleep right now!

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