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Saturday, April 12th, 2014
10:08 pm
How many people have not seen this video??
I was talking to a woman in class who was telling me about how she does various ballet stretch at the barre in the attic of her house.  I told her about this video of a woman who does a complete ballet dance in her kitchen.  Has anyone here NOT seen this video?
Thursday, April 10th, 2014
12:21 am
Adult Beginner Ballet Roadkill
I think that ballet may have lost a fan this week at the ballet school where I take classes.  However, it had to be done.

I don't know what kind of adult ballet student freakshow stories that you all might have but feel free to share your stories while respecting school and student anonymity.  In the 3 ballet schools that I have attended, each one had that ONE person who everyone wished would either quit or meet the same fate as one of the characters in the Final Destination series of films.

I have been with the current school for 2 years and it is a lot of fun.  There are adult beginner and intermediate / advanced classes that occur after the children's classes and also on weekends.  I take up to 5 classes a week.  The adults are called on to perform regularly along with the children, teens and young adults who go to college but still take classes.  Some of the women are almost 40 and still do pointe.  Men come and go.  I am the only male who really stays and the pressure for me to perform is quite high.

For the complete newbie to ballet classes, here a some things for you to know.  Consider it a mental survival guide for expectations setting.

There are two type of adult classes out there.  Occaisionally there is that rare truly adult beginner class where twice a week you learn almost like you were a child at day one.  The teacher may provide a syllabus after every class to you (if she is really awesome) and each week builds on the next.  It is SORT OF like a childs ballet education but not really because the class only goes for 9 months.  At only twice a week for 1 or 1.5 hours you are NOT REALLY ready to graduate to the intermediate / advanced class unless you augment with sometime like David Howard ballet class videos in your house.

It would really serve you best to take that same absolute beginners class for a second year even though the teacher SWEARS that you are ready for the next level.  Yet, often a true beginners class might not survive for two years in a row due to low attendence.  Your only choice may be to be ejected to the intermediate / advanced class where you will have many a frustrating day where you consider quitting.  But hang in there with grace and dignity.  Try, try and try again.  But if you only half-ass try, remember that you only get what you give.

The other type of adult ballet class is the one where a lot of the students are coming back to dance after some time off.  Maybe they were child ballet dancers for years but stepped away from it for a decade and are coming back.  Some students may be older women who were quite good in their day but now that they are older they prefer beginner class because it is less intense on their joints or maybe it fits into their schedule better.  The list goes on.

The point is that if you are a true, never danced a day of ballet in your life, beginner, this style of beginner class is going to be rough on you.  Although the teacher or an assistant student will take time to show you some things here and there, if you don't pick it up pretty much instantly, the teacher simply can't bring the class to a screaching halt childs level for you.  If the teacher did that, the students with more experience would get so bored that they might move on to some other school.

Also important to know is that ballet is not like a group "dance" class at a gym.  In those "dancy" classes you can pretty much look like crap forever and it never matters.  Those classes are all about loss of calories and toning while making it more fun than walking a treadmill.  I have seen people in their yoga pants and Reebok in those dance-like class for years and the instructor isn't taking time to show gym members how to how to look like princesses.  But it simply doesn't matter.  Crude and clunky (but fun) dance fitness are what happens.  The goal is not razor sharp beautiful precision that brings sold out crowds to their feet with rapturous applause.

As a true beginner, you will struggle and struggle every day, possibly for years before something finally clicks and suddenly you are dancing ballet gold.  You struggle that long and hard because you love ballet THAT much.  While you struggle, the key to not being hated and possibly asked to leave a ballet school is to get through your crisis moments with grace and dignity.  Yes, cry if you must but do it after class preferably in the privacy of your car.

If you find that slow / no progress makes you too miserable, you should quit and go do something else.  You may be better suited to be a fan than a practicitioner.  You can still love it even if you find yourself not suited to doing it.

That brings us to exhibit A.  About 1.5 years ago, this woman showed up to beginner class who is mid-30's.  She is a teacher of middle school students I believe.  Her Facebook photos show her in Costa Rica or some other exotic country once a year where she is hanging off the side of a mountain by a rope or doing yoga on a beach.  She works hard but has a lot of fun.  Oddly, when she talks, she reminds me of Chrissy from this 70's TV show called Three's Company.  In that show, Chrissy was known for saying the dumbest stuff.

This woman is THE WORST at ballet.  Like a new word has to be invented for how terrible she is.  You can demo a movement her over and over and over again weekly and she still manages to not be able to mimic the demonstrator.  Worse than that, whenever she gets frustrated going across the floor doing center, she just stops and throws her hands down and walk / stomps off of the floor.  The teacher has tried to tell her ways that she could improve and suddenly she is wasting minutes of our class time talking back and excusing herself rather than taking the critique and trying better.  She often comes into class with no joy on her face at all.  The teacher is explaining movements and she is looking out the window with this distant, miserable "My favorite cat just died of feline lukemia today" look on her face.  She is a real downer.

During her short career as a sucky ballet student, she had an early freak out during center practice in which she stomped over to her ballet bag yelling, "I can't do this!!" She mumbled some other stuff that got lost behind the classical music and grabbed her bag and just left.  Unfortunately, she returned the next week.  No one really said anything to her about it because the teacher was our older male teacher who has been in the field forever and seen it all and is therefore tough as leather.

However, she seriously crossed an inexcuseable line last week.  Our older male teacher (the owner of the studio) brought on a new A-M-A-Z-I-N-G professional ballet dancer on board.  It was her first day of teaching us.  Hopes are high that she will bring in more students who know of her though her work with another ballet company.  We can't afford to have her quit.

So what does this hopeless, mouthy, adult student do during the very first class from this new teacher?  She had a nuclear freakout because it finally (again) hit her how horrific she is.  She started with the stomping and the yelling about how she couldn't "do this shit ... it is too hard.'  She stomped into the bathroom and her freakout could still be heard from the studio.  Then she stomped back into the studio.  A board member suggested that she leave and get ahold of herself.  She refused and stomped up to the teacher yelling about how this is a beginner class and she is a beginner.  Then she says sarcastically, "BE - GIN - NER" as if the teacher was stupid.  Yet ... she shows up to the intermediate / advanced class on Wednesday.  If she is such a beginner, why has she showing up to the more advanced class?

The last 20 minutes of class was shot to hell as she threw her tantrum.  The only reason why I didn't just leave in protest is because the teacher was brand new and I wanted to stand with her in solidarity.  The new teacher handled it WAY better than the rest of us wanted to handle it.  The rest of us wanted to tell her to get the hell out and go do something else with her life.  We held our tongue.  The new teacher didn't say anything mean.

If a guy would have thrown that kind of fit, the police would have been called and a protection order would have been placed.

The board sent out of a corrective action code of conduct snail mail to her.  She obviously received it because she has suddenly blocked everyone from the school on Facebook and did not come to class.  Without her in class, the miserable dark cloud left and class seemed a whole lot brighter.  Yet the entire ordeal feels like a tragedy.

What is there it learn in this sad event?
1)  She was too dance clueless for this "advanced" flavor of beginner class that really wasn't an A to Z beginners class like for kids.
2)  Screaming and yelling like you are some sort of escaped mental patient just moves you further to be shown the door out.
3)  Seek out assistance from other students and other sources such as ballet instructional videos.  Practice at home as well as at the studio.

By the way.  We have other adults who have never previously taken a ballet class.  They take this class and they are doing as fine as can be expected for their level.  They receive demos from assistant teachers.  At the barre, we place them between two assistant teachers so that either way they are facing, they have someone to mimic.  By talking less and listening / watching more, they pick it up.

Awww.  Ballet.  Rarely a moment without drama.

Current Mood: ballet
Monday, April 1st, 2013
8:17 pm
Hello lovely people.
Hello, friends!

My name is Karichi and I just joined this community. Currently I am not a ballet dancer. I used to take ballet classes for a few years in grade school and also danced for my school in holiday shows and in 5th grade I had joined the dance club. I pretty much danced on an off from Kindergarten to 7th grade. Ballet was always my favorite (followed by tap then jazz and with hip-hop being my least favorite and never did modern or interpretative) and the one I was was best at. Sadly in 7th grade my schools dance teacher focused more on hip-hop dancing which I did not enjoy and it showed. When I asked to be place in the advance dance program for 8th grade she said "no" and that I was not a very good dancer. So I gave up dancing. I've missed doing ballet for years, and being in a high school for the arts (I was a visual artist )I was often around dancers and saw recitals which made me miss ballet even more. Finally I decided enough was enough and as a 2nd year college student I decided to take up ballet one as a summer elective class which will begin in just a few short weeks. (May 6th) I'm so excited but it's been so long that I'm not sure what to expect. Which brings me here.

I'm not a very active person, what are some things that I should be doing to get ready for my class? I don't want to look like a total beginner and I want to feel prepared and do well in this class. Any tips?

I look forward to getting back into ballet and getting to know some of you. ^_^


Current Mood: cheerful
Monday, March 11th, 2013
6:13 am
Never seen ballet at the gym.
It occured to me yesterday that I have never seen ballet performed by anyone at any gym I have ever been at.  I was thinking of this because of the new book "Dancers Among Us" as well as the various ballet photographers who post photos of ballerinas in ballet poses all over their city.  I would think that dancers must go to the gym.  But even if they do, I would never know it because I never see dance at the gym (other than Zumba).

So, yesterday, after jumping rope around the track at our gym, I suddenly felt the uncontrolable urge to do a tombe', pas de bourre'e, pirouette combination ... :D

Where are some unconventional places where you and yours friends have suddenly performed public displays of ballet?  Did you feel good about it or embarrassed afterward?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
5:43 am
The goal should be this floor barre
If I spent more time doing THIS floor barre routine in this video, my flexibility and turnout would be better.  Does anyone here do floor barre?

Current Mood: floor barre
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
7:28 am
Hello, everyone!
I'm Sammi and I'm aiming to begin adult ballet classes in January 2013. :) I've had the enthusiasm for years, but only recently have I had the funds.

In the meantime, I'm inquiring at a lot of academies that are close to where I live and I'm also constantly re-reading The Ballet Companion by Eliza Gaynor Minden. If anyone has more book recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

Anyway, that's it from me. Take care and dance on! :)

- S
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
12:28 pm
Ballet poses!
I'm trying to figure out some ballet poses that I can do for a photoshoot. Obviously I'm a beginner so I appreciate any advice. I do have pointe shoes but only so I can do poses, not pointe stuff. I know it's extremely dangerous. They fit like a dream, thankfully.

The reason I got them was for a cosplay I'm doing (Christine Daae's Hannibal slavegirl costume here). I'm really, really anal about details. I'll be wearing ballet slippers at the con, I know pointe shoes are uncomfortable to walk in. The difference between Christine and the ballet girls is that she does NOT go on pointe (with the exception of Sarah Brightman and a few other Christine's that have extensive dance training), so I'm basically looking for poses wearing point shoes but not actually using them to get up on pointe.

Reference pics would be absolutely amazing.
Friday, June 15th, 2012
3:06 pm
Hi Y'all! 

I haven't posted here yet so I wanted to introduce myself.  I'm Jennifer.  I took ballet at the local community center for nearly 10 years as a kid ( age 5-15).  I stopped because my teacher was leaving the community center to go to a proper ballet school, which she said she'd garentee her older student admission into.  Unfortunatly the school was a 45min drive away and my parents didn't think I was committed enough to let me continue. 

So, that was 15 years ago. 

About 3 years ago I took up pilates, my teacher said she could instantly tell I had dance training.  I've been thing about getting back into dance but sadly the only school that has adult ballet classes was a little pricy for my budget.  I had to settle for the Power Barre class at the gym I go to.

So I'm sitting at my computer lamenting not being able to take a ballet class and what pops into my inbox...a Living Social deal for the 6 week summer session at the dance school I wanted to go to!  YEAH!!! 

So, I'm taking ballet classes this summer!  
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
9:56 pm
Finally, the time for my first class came around. I was somewhat unsure when to change, since the place swarmed with the parents of the children that attended the previous classes. Seeing the class before mine ending, I went to the changing room (for the guys, it's also the bathroom) and waited for the fellow to finish his fifteen minute-long changing session, then got it over with. I didn't feel as out of place as I thought when the rest of the ten-person class filed in, as they dressed to match the classical uniforms for the most part despite the less strict requirements of the adult classes and even better when I was just as new to things as half of the class.

Then the class began, in a flurry of tendus, plies, and degages that left me confused, my legs rather tired, and feeling completely without any sense of balance. In short, the gauntlet's been thrown. There's work to be done.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
7:06 pm
Information-gathering finished, I waited a couple of days before I carried out the next step to my plan: getting gear. I really, really didn't look forward to it, despite trusting the helpful tip that ballet shoes need to be sized by a professional and that I'm not the only guy in the world crazy enough to try this even in my locale. I already had to quash the pleas in the back of my head that told me to avoid potential embarrassment and back down. I couldn't let the little voice in my head stop me at the first event.

As I left work I steeled myself for the journey and arrived at a literal fork in the road: To the left, a return to the status quo. The right, risk. Risk being a part of adventure, I willed myself to turn right and journeyed across town to a little dance shop that I had seen long ago that I presumed to be connected to the dance studio next to it (not the one I plan to attend, as these guys never wrote me back), and entered the lot...and moved to park about sixty feet off to appease the desire to not look \too\ interested in what lie inside the shop. As I prepared to leave the car, I saw a man and a trio of young girls leave their van and enter the place in question. Convincing myself that if I went in at that moment I would only be standing around as a creepy dolt, I waited. After twenty minutes passed, I shook my head and forced myself to walk to the storefront, thinking I may have missed the group while I was reading the paper I had in the car. I opened the door and peered inside.

Collapse )

Monday, October 31st, 2011
7:57 pm
So I'm planning to sign myself up not only for adult beginner classes, but it's a goal of mine to be in at least one perfomance (More details of this on my blog post). Unfortunately, the next semester is two months away and that leaves me time doing nothing until then. I'm intending to hit this hard and get as far as I can in ballet with the hope of hitting that performance mark, so is there anything I can do in the meantime to prepare myself to kick butt?

Secondly, I know nothing about dance attire and what's good. Anyone know what I as a guy should be looking for in shoes and the rest? I don't mind spending a little for quality, given that I'm trying to engage this on a serious level. Thanks in advance.
Monday, September 12th, 2011
7:47 pm
What to expect?
Hello ballerinas!

I am signing up for a ballet class this week, and I wonder what I should expect. I can wear a black leotard, black tights, and any color ballet shoes I want.

I'm a little nervous because I have never taken dance before, and I'll be in a class where the ages are mixed. I'm in my late 20's, so being mixed in with younger people is daunting to me.

Also, I wear glasses, will that be a problem? I don't wear contacts because a) they're costly, and b) I don't like the idea of putting something in my eyeballs every day.

Oh, and one more question. Is it wise to invest in a dance bag or something similar? I will be taking public transportation and I figure that not only do I have to bring clothes with me, but I'll bring water with me too, and maybe a snack since I get dehydrated easily.

Thanks in advance :)
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
7:21 pm

Hey guys, I was wondering if it’s considered a faux pas for people who aren’t "athletic" to do ballet.

All the girls I know who do ballet are beautiful, athletic, tall girls with lots of confidence.

Where as I’m a 5'8ft 80kg (176lbs) no confidence girl. :( I'm just wondering if it would be okay for me to do ballet? I'd really love to as I did when I was a little kid. Now I’m 21 and have free time I’d love to pick it up again but fear the backlash of the 'norm' in the dancing industry. Do you think I’d get bullied for not fitting in?

Thanks, hope everyone's going well with their lessons!

Current Mood: Intimidated
Friday, July 29th, 2011
11:22 am
Too old too dance?

Watch this short film about the story of a Czech woman who grew too old to dance. It’s a beautiful story and Nina Divíšková is an amazing actress. What do you do when you are unable to dance any longer? How do you cope? Listen to what Nina has done, and it may inspire you to do the same. Directed and skillfully edited by Cinéaste [Michal Krumpár, Jakub Jahn, Tomáš Vlček] during Spring 2011 in Prague. May you never feel too old to experience the passion and love of dance.
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
10:06 pm
The magic of classical ballet.
A couple of years ago, I was able to see The New York City Ballet perform Coppelia.  It was as magical as you might image it could be.  I am posting a video of my favorite part of Coppelia.  If you watch it, when you get to 4 minutes, 10 seconds, this is one of my favorite pieces of classical music and the choreography is about the most precious I have ever seen.

Has anyone here seen Coppelia in person or even been in it?  What are the most magical ballets that you have seen?  Were they on DVD / TV or in person. 

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
12:50 pm
DVD Workouts
Perhaps many of you, like me, have the New York City Ballet Workout 1 & 2.  If you don't ... what are you waiting for!? 

Besides ballet, I do other forms of exercise.  Walking up gigantic hills or stairways with many stairs, (then back down, then back up, repeat until dead).  Some weightlifting.  Some running mixed with walking.  Jump roping.  Lunges.  Rollerblading.  Etc. Etc. 

However, other than the NYCB Workout, the only exercise related DVD that I own is the Balocity Workout.  I really just have NO interest in P90X or other military / football training camp exercise DVDs.  I give them respect, for they look like they will do the trick.  But I just have no interest in being all RAWWWWR!! like that.

I am curious as to what other forms of exercise that people in this community do and what your goal is in doing each one?  This includes any stretching type systems (yoga / ballet).

I just found what will end up being the 3rd ballet workout DVD in my collection:

12:31 pm
I find these Walnut Hill Ballet videos fascinating because other than the fact that they do doubles and triples (and a few other advanced things) when adult ballet class students can usually only do singles, this class is EXACTLY the same as any adult ballet class I have experienced.  And I just don't mean the movements performed.  Even the environment and teacher is exactly the same.  So, other than the fact that non-professional adults may not be able to do EVERYTHING, they still get the exact same ballet experience, which is so inspirational.  You can go to YouTube to see the barre and center Walnut Hill Ballet videos.

Monday, May 30th, 2011
8:50 pm
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
10:08 pm
And finally for tonight's inspiration
Is there anyone who has not seen this??

10:01 pm
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