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Viv

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  1. @DeveloppeD how did you go about requesting a more detailed report? Was there a fee involved? I didn't know this was a thing you could do and wish I'd known a while ago, I would have been tempted to do it for all exams just to get some actual comments and direction to improve...
  2. My thoughts are with you all in the UK right now, it must be devastating to head back into lockdown and zoom classes Hopefully this will cheer some dancers up, it is a short snippet about dancers at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and the semi-virtual performance they have been able to put on despite the challenging circumstances. https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/a-special-performance-for-aspiring-ballet-dancers/13037538
  3. I don't really know what my opinion is, but I stumbled across this from Sander Blommaert, former first artist of the Royal Ballet, which might be of interest. He seems to agree that if professionals with nice feet wear fake arches, it sets the bar even higher for students aspiring to be professional, and may make students without great feet think they don't have a chance. However, he thinks beautiful dancers with feet that aren't 'aesthetically pleasing' should be able to wear fake arches. I think that could potentially open up a whole other kettle of fish to decide "what is an aesthetically pleasing foot" but there you go...
  4. Changing not just the UK, but potentially the world. I saw the below article on the Australian news last month and immediately remembered this thread. Thank you, Primrose, for continuing your advocacy. I'm sure it can't be easy for you and your family, but the changes you are fighting for will save lives xx https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-22/disability-royal-commission-hears-of-drugs-effect-on-teenager/12689418
  5. I'm sorry but this makes me very uncomfortable... Not meaning to attack you or your comment but I feel like if we reverse the genders here, these are the kind of comments that perpetuate the dangerous views we're discussing in this thread. If I said "I have thought about her body shape in relation to ballet, it's not that she's too big I just don't think her muscles look long and lean. She doesn't have the body of a ballet dancer. She puts herself out there in a leotard, she's inviting these comments". That's obviously not what you said, I'm taking it a bit further to try and make the point, and I am definitely not trying to offend. I appreciate that you say the way he looks bears no reflection on his dancing, as obviously he is one of the dancers of his generation. Yes Steven is showcasing his journey in a controlled way. I don't think anyone on social media acts any differently. I also think this is probably a very personal journey for him that possibly took a lot of courage to share. Pressure to look a certain way, from ADs and from social media, also impacts boys and young men and I just think we need to be very careful about the language we use when discussing anyone's body, whether it's musculature or body fat percentage. If Steven is defensive or sensitive to comments about his changing physique, I think we need to respect that. Ballet dancers are asked to operate in a world that makes subjective, often arbitrary decisions about body, and where a dancers career can live and die on the shape of their bodies - see some of the other MCB dancers who have recently come out on instagram stating they were fired because of the shape of their legs!
  6. I think there's a difference between helping children and young adults to understand barriers in the career they want, and building those barriers up for no apparent reason. In the ballet world, children learn about failure and favouritism and not being right for this particular part through the process of auditioning and exams and other things like that. They get to experience the rejection, or the joy of success, and they learn resilience on a small, child-size scale. That is a normal and healthy way to prepare children for the life they want and the obstacles they will face. What is not normal is creating an artificial environment with extra stress and pressure heaped on for no reason other than to make things tougher and to see who can handle it. I mean, you wouldn't crank up the heat and make kids do three hours of allegro in 50 degree heat purely because 'it's a tough profession and if you can't handle it you should quit'. Ballet schools enforcing archaic rules, making students weigh themselves multiple times a year, forcing kids to repeat the same moves over and over without correction and expecting them to magically fix themselves - that is the mental equivalent of cranking up the heat. It's unnecessary and it serves no purpose. It doesn't prepare students for the real world because those situations are unlikely to happen in the real world. And if they do, we need to question why they're happening. Should we really be preparing students for the tough so-called 'realities' of the ballet profession, instead of encouraging the profession to change and holding it to a higher standard? If a child wants to be a ballerina because they enjoy the pretty costumes and being on stage, but they aren't prepared for the hours of hard work and sacrifice, they'll drop out pretty quickly when the latter starts to outweigh the former. I don't think there's any need to force kids out of a career that they might be unsuited for. If they are unsuited, they'll naturally start to move away from it if given enough time. And perhaps, if given the opportunity, they may rise to the occasion and surprise you! I hear a lot of talk about kids today being special snowflakes and parents not allowing their kids to fail, which breeds entitlement. I'm sure there are some kids and parents like that (I've even met some of them) but I think the idea that as a generation kids today are bratty snots who are sheltered from ever failing is a bit of a straw man. I think there's a very clear line between never allowing a child to fail, and deliberately setting them up for failure.
  7. Sounds just like law school to me! And to a lesser extent, life in a top tier law firm (also not unionised I would note...) Pressure is heaped on young people because 'well they treated me worse than this and I survived', and also from the sense that you are toughening someone up for a challenging career. I recently heard from a friend that their coworker was bragging about belittling a graduate to the point that the poor grad burst into tears, and then the coworker continued to castigate the grad while they just stood there and sobbed! When seniors in the profession are challenged about the structural issues within the law, they tend to respond that there's a certain type of person who can survive in this life, and if you're not one of them then they're doing you a favour in forcing you out early. Which means that some of the best and brightest minds quit within the first 5 years and everything they could contribute goes with them... Things are beginning to change now, people are being much more open about mental health, but the focus in mental health discussions is still on resilience, not in the sense of bouncing back from a tough situation, but in the sense that if you are weak enough to succumb to depression or anxiety then you clearly aren't resilient enough! Instead of changing the systemic and structural issues that cause the highest rates of depression of just about any profession, let's just offer everyone free yoga... I see a lot of similarities in the ballet world. A small pool of jobs, a large number of people in training, some frankly indecipherable decisions being made to differentiate between the people who succeed in the career and those that don't. The fact that most of the people who make up the senior ranks are those who have survived and thrived in the frankly dangerous environments that cause other people to quit as juniors. A focus on hierarchy and tradition, where to question the status quo is the highest sin. The fact that many people aspiring to these careers are 'Type A' with a tendency to perfectionism. Long hours, high expectations, a great deal of work going unpaid or underpaid, the idea that there is always someone waiting in the wings if you're not up to it... In ballet, this is made all the more disturbing by the fact that most people training for and entering these careers are so young. In fact when people start complaining to me about law, I say the only thing I can imagine that would be worse is a career as a classical dancer! At least I don't have to stand before the judge in a leotard and tights 🤭
  8. I suppose it depends on what your goals are and what the alternative is. If you take the exam now by video, will you be able to move onto the next level and start progressing that or will there be some delay due to studio closures and summer holidays? If you don't do the video exam, how long do you think you would need to wait until you would be able to do a physical exam? Is there the opportunity to do class for a few months to regain strength and then do the exam, either in person or by video? Do you need to have passed a certain level to be able to qualify for the CBTS course? I can only speak from the experience of deciding whether to go ahead with an exam after recovering from an injury (so not still injured but lacking in strength). Since I would have had to wait a whole other year to be able to do the exam, I decided to push ahead, accepting my marks might not be as high as they might otherwise be. I still am not sure if that was the right move, but that is mostly due to other external circumstances that meant my next few years of training did not go exactly as planned... Perhaps if I hadn't done the exam back then, I never would have done it at all! A similar situation played out with two of the girls I have danced with over the years. One decided to push through her intermediate exam so she would qualify for certain other opportunities that required intermediate or above. Another girl decided to train for a further year to gain her strength back, but in repeating the material for two years lost all motivation and wished she had done the exam at the original time and just got it over with. I suppose the reality is that no one can know the future or how things will work out (hello coronavirus...) and no one can tell you what the right decision is for you. My only advice is whatever you decide, respect yourself enough to trust that it was the right decision based on the information you had at the time! No regrets
  9. If you're looking for inspiration or wondering why men might want to go en pointe, have a look at these Boston Ballet men killing it dancing La Bayadère! Obviously these men are at their peak in terms of technique and fitness and it would take years to dance at this level, but look at what can be achieved. If a man or boy wants to learn to dance en pointe, whether as a training aid to get stronger ankles, or simply because they think it looks beautiful, go for your life! The more versatile you can be as a dancer of the future, the better
  10. As a slightly different opinion, I have been recommended by a number of teachers that in order to get a flat grand jete in the air, it is necessary to be able to achieve a slight oversplit on the floor. You'll never be able to get your legs as high in the air as you can when sitting in a split so if you can sit in a slight oversplit, you'll be able to get your legs 'flat' in a grand jete. It could be argued that it's actually safer to have enough flexibility to achieve a slight oversplit, because then you're not right at the end of your range of motion in explosive motions like a split grand jete or grand battement. I don't think training an oversplit should necessarily be a goal to be achieved above a solid grounding in technique, but the two aren't mutually exclusive. I also think there's a big difference between an oversplit with your feet on two chairs (dangerous and aesthetically displeasing) and a slight oversplit on something like a foam roller. If the splits are already an extreme position but are now, I would say, a fundamental requirement for a career in classical ballet, why is 5cm more range dangerous and also responsible for the destruction of the classical line? I think you'd be hard pressed to find a professional ballet dancer today who can't do an oversplit on at least one leg...
  11. Does anyone know of any good jazz or contemporary classes that are streaming at the moment? I am getting some really good ballet classes at the moment but I miss other genres
  12. I was able to find some sheet vinyl for sale at at the hardware store, 50% off and it's working a treat. A bit sticky but better sticky than slippery, and perfect for pointework.
  13. @trog I worry it'll rip up the satin too much and may end up not being the safest for pointe work. Excellent for tap though! I have found some vinyl floor tiles at bunnings which I could stick to a sheet of masonite, though they're a bit textured and will be a pain to try and line up. May be the best option in the end though. At least the old wooden floors have a nice spring to them!
  14. Has anyone found any good flooring materials that aren't from a dance flooring provider like harlequin? A non-slip vinyl floor or pond liner of some sort that won't cost an arm and a leg? I saw on the American site that people were using PVC shower pan liners as an alternative, but they aren't sold anywhere in Aus. I am keen to lay some kind of non-slip dance floor over my normal floor boards so I can practice pointe, but I don't think the 1mx1m harlequin square is big enough, and the Dot 2 Dance is prohibitively expensive at something like $400! I would consider buying a proper dance floor if there are no cheaper alternatives, but I'm not sure they do them in such a small size, approximately 2mx3m. Has anyone had any experience of buying just a small practice floor, rather than fitting out a proper home studio?
  15. Actually, a friend of mine who has moved countries was reminding me of her old dance school the other day. I would definitely not trust them for ballet, but they have adult classes for jazz and contemporary that are later nights, close to my house and a much more reasonable price than most drop in adult classes. She raves about them and it looks like the adults are all having a lot of fun. However, the technique of their dancers I see on instagram (they have child classes and adult classes) show that 'fun' is more of a priority than technique. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am wondering whether, if I could still get my ballet serious technique training somewhere, I could do those classes just for fun and socialising. But is it a bit of a waste of time and money to be paying for training that you recognise is, to be a frank, quite poor? I'm not sure if 4 years at my highly competitive kids studio has warped my ideas of why I dance in the first place. Feeling quite lost just at the moment Unfortunately, the reason the class has been rescheduled is that she is off somewhere examining for the RAD so I'm not easily able to contact her to ask for advice! And considering things are about to wind up for the year over here, the most likely response will be 'what a shame but we can start again next year!' @LinMM the opportunities I see for adult ballet in London just about blows me away! Actually, I have applied to my law firm to see if I could get a secondment to London for 6 months next year...it is a highly competitive position that I am extremely unlikely to get, but it would resolve my dilemma quite nicely!!! For a while at least
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