Work has been ridiculously busy for this Balletnerd, making ballet almost non-existent for the past two weeks. This was not helped by my college ballet class also having a week off for spring break. Tuesday will be my first class back since March 5th. This seems like an eternity and I can’t help but feel a bit nervous. The standard concerns I normally have before each class only exaggerated and cartoonishly inflated. It amazes me how after only a two week break the feelings of “why am I even doing this” creep back in versus my standard “wow I’ve learned so much already”. Not much you can do but march on in there and just deal with it.
Category Archives: Frustration
I have to really focus to keep my weight towards my toes and off my heels. It just feels so strange. When I finally get it just right – I’m way off the combination. UGH
This is a constant correction in my Saturday College Class. Directed to everyone – but I know I’m a habitual offender.
KEEP YOUR WEIGHT TOWARDS THE TOES!!!
Over and over again.
This week’s correction at the studio class was regarding hair. “Hair should be in a bun and not a ponytail. It is too distracting when it swooshes around.” Interesting because the dress code for the studio class is more laid back than the college class. I’m the only person wearing a leotard and tights. That was the only correction I received for the whole class – which is kind of disappointing. I know there was a lot more I could have done better, but only that one comment on hair. I understand that it is a fine balance for the teacher. How much do you correct in the recreational adult classes? Over do it and some people could find it too discouraging or embarrassing and will stop showing up. Not enough and students feel like they are not taken seriously. Our teacher made the comment that we should use the mirror and be our own harshest critic, but that only works when we’re in the center because it’s hard to even see the mirror while standing at the barre let alone correct oneself.
Advice for Adult Newbies from a Newbie – A few ideas I wish someone told me before my first class.
10. Buy ballet shoes. You will need them. Socks don’t cut it. The leather soles help strengthen your feet and the shoes provide support. They aren’t that expensive and are easy to find on Amazon or Zappos. If you don’t feel like going to a local dance store, order several sizes from a website with free return shipping. Oh and buy pink. Don’t buy black shoes unless you’re a guy. Myself, I like leather split soles by Bloch.
9. Read and Research. Read as many ballet books and ballet websites as you can. It helps immensely with understanding what is going on and for grasping combinations faster. Understanding that a combination will most likely be performed en croix (front, side, back, side again) was huge for me. Hahah – I had to have that explained by a book. Not sure why, but I would have never picked up on that from observation alone.
8. Try wearing the leotard and tights. I know a lot of adult classes only require “clothes that allow for ease of movement”, but take the risk. It immediately makes me feel more dancerish, even if I suck ass that day. Capezio leotards are affordable and available on Amazon and almost any online discount dance store. I like the super soft Capezio convertible tights, too. Ballet pink is the easiest to deal with because black footed tights and pink shoes look a bit ridiculous. If you’re dead set on black – go with footless or convertible rolled up.
7. Perform combinations without following others. Again, this was a concept I had to have explicitly explained by a website. When the teacher marked out the combination, I was just paying attention to make sure I could physically do each step. I wasn’t even trying to memorize how many times each step was performed because I figured I could just look at the others. Push yourself to memorize the combination. Standing at the end of the barre is also a great way to test yourself on this. This also becomes much easier once you have memorized the common steps.
6. A little legwarmer goes a long way. You might want to hold off on the legwarmers until after the first couple classes. I love how they look but won’t wear them yet. Don’t want to over do it and look like I’m trying too hard, at least not the first couple classes anyway.
5. Work on stretching and flexibility. It gives you something to do to keep from being all weird and fidgety on the first day while waiting for the entire class to show up. Plus even if you are not great at dancing, you can show off some amazing flexibility. My goal is to be the 2nd in my class to get down in a split. (Yeah 2nd? I know what you’re thinking why not 1st, but I’m trying to be realistic – see #3).
4. 2x a week minimum. Take class at least twice a week, even if that means going to different studios/schools. You’ll progress much faster.
3. Realistic goals. You’re not going to go from zero ballet training to amazing arabesques by the third class. Be happy with your baby steps. It is so inspiring to hear of other adult beginners and their progress.
2. Show up and keep showing up. This is really a tie for #1. Even if you stink one week, keep coming back.
1. Number 1 and most important. For 90% of class – THE OTHER STUDENTS ARE NOT REALLY WATCHING YOU !!! Don’t be too self conscious. Everyone else is too busy watching their own bumbling newbie selves. Only the teacher is paying attention to the class as a whole. At first I did not believe this one – but after a few classes you realize it’s true.
A quick review of ballet apps I downloaded on my iPhone.
Ballet Barre Exercises – Kevin Andrews Industries $2.99
I actually like this app. Goes through some basic barre exercises. Includes descriptions and video of each being performed. Not bad. I like that it is not just a demonstration of how to do the step one time, but the repetition of each step performed as it would be in a regular barre. Also glad that it is not super fast, or performed as part of a ridiculously advanced step.
Ballet For Beginners – Anthony Walsh $4.99
Not worth a dime. This is primarily a collection of YouTube videos which are available for free. I was really annoyed. Especially misleading because the app description lists all of the lessons but does not include any pictures except the app picture itself. Chances are – you’ve probably already seen a few of these videos if you have done any ballet searches on YouTube. I know I have and would have recognized the videos immediately if a picture was included in the app description.
I have been a little hesitant to download other apps. Any recommendations?
Lately, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. What appears true in every day life is usually the opposite in BalletNerd’s beginner world. Let’s look at a few examples:
|Normal Every Day Existence||Ballet Beginner World|
|Fairly young at 29. Even called a young pup at work the other day.||Old – Not even older. Just old. I am more than double the age of some of my classmates.|
|Compared to most co-workers and friends I’m pretty skinny.||Chunk from the Goonies. I expect to be called upon to perform the truffle shuffle instead of the standard barre at any time in class.|
|Average height – Ok I will admit even in real life I’m considered tall, but I’ve been surrounded by so many other tall friends and relatives that I no longer notice.||Gulliver meets the Lilliputians – why is everyone so short??|
|Stronger, flexible, agile||Weak, inflexible, clumsy clodhopper|
Wonder how this will change over time???