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Tango Dancer

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    Dancing tango and swing (adequately), learning ballet (badly) and watching professionals dance a lot better than I can.

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  1. Definitely. One of my favourite teachers (former professional ballet dancer) does not have amazing natural turnout. He uses what he's got and has great technique and that works for him. I really wonder how much children are pressurised into doing things that are dangerous or take training shortcuts. If I am asked to do something that feels uncomfortable or unsafe, I tell the teacher "that doesn't feel good" or "it hurts when I do that." But then I'm a middle aged stroppy woman with no pretention to any ability in ballet. If you're a child it's a lot harder to have the confidence to say when you depend on your teacher to promote / help your career.
  2. Ok I don't dance professionally so I can't speak to what motivates people pursuing dance as a career. Speaking as an amateur dance student I dance because it's a thing I need to do. I work in an office doing a fairly sedentary but mentally demanding job. I love dancing because it means I can stop thinking with my mind and feel with my body. Also when I dance (especially ballet and tango) I can only focus on what I'm doing in the dance. The world could end and the sky could fall in and nothing matters beyond the moment, the step I'm doing, the man in my arms in the tango, the exercise at the barre in ballet or whatever and that's rare for me. Normally I'm thinking six things at once. When I dance there's just the now and that brings me so much calm and stillness in my mind. I come away feeling more centred somehow. I don't always feel like going to class but I usually feel better when I do. I sometimes have to change what I dance (for example if I'm emotional and stressed tango makes me more depressed so on those days I do swing instead because it's hard to be sad doing the shim sham). If it's been a really hard day I don't always want to do ballet so sometimes I do a really fun disco type class where the technique is less exacting. Also my late grandfather was a keen amateur dancer (modern sequence) so when I dance I feel him closer to me. I remember his beautiful blue eyes and smile and it makes me feel connected to my roots. I don't do the same forms of dance as he did but it feels like a way to connect with him. I guess I dance because it makes me feel good and to me that's the only reason for doing it.
  3. I fully agree. Personally I've never wanted to go on pointe. It looks beautiful but I like being comfortable too much and there are too many challenges in ballet as it is for me as a middle aged woman. I will however defend my pink glittery leotard and flat pink shoes. I love the hard work but I don't see why I can't fulfil my childhood desire for pinkness.
  4. Definitely. I'm sure if you give us an indication where you are in the country we might be able to make recommendations (bearing in mind that different people like different things in teachers). As NJH says not all adult classes take people under 18 (I know my teacher won't) but there should be a fair number that will. Find a class and try it and see if you enjoy it and then see what else you might enjoy. Also don't worry about your weight, your height or anything else. If you love the dance then it doesn't matter whether you're the ideal physical type for it. Dance because you want to and ignore everyone who says you can't. Nothing feels as good as dancing and it's also wonderful for your confidence. Dancing has given me a belief in myself. When I have a difficult meeting or a difficult moment coming up I put my Egyptian dance coinbelt on and shimmy until I'm smiling. Ballet can be frustrating but when it works and I get the sequence right, when I feel my leg in the passe getting higher and my plie in second getting deeper then I know I can do anything.
  5. There's no reason not to start ballet if it's something you want to do. I started at 40 and love it. It's so much fun and I feel so good when I do it. I mean if you want to be a prima ballerina you're probably out of luck at 15 but there's no reason you can't enjoy ballet for leisure as many others do.
  6. I think definitely it's a good idea as a minimum to get rid of black face and yellow face. In this day and age there's no place for that in my view. I also think it's worthwhile for all dance companies to think about what they're putting on and whether elements might be worth revising or at least providing a note explaining the context (as ENB did when staging Corsaire). Personally I am delighted with how diverse our ballet companies are now and delighted that talented BAME dancers are being given good parts alongside their white colleagues and are excelling as dancers and choreographers. The main thing is to ensure that young people of all ethnicities have the same opportunities to access training to become the dancers of tomorrow.
  7. I think it's also important to have a teacher who can teach in a way that works for the child. Different people learn different ways and you need a teaching style that's compatible. Especially as a child it's not always easy to find the words to explain why you're not understanding something or ask for a move to be broken down and it can be very offputting. For example I can not learn by watching and copying and need someone who will explain in actual words. I have dropped any number of bellydance classes because the teacher thinks standing at the front and doing the moves is sufficient for everyone to pick them up. Especially if it involves turning I need to be told which leg I'm standing on, which way I'm turning and what the free leg is supposed to do when I turn. It took me 3 goes to find a ballet teacher who taught in a way that made sense to me.
  8. I think it's really difficult, especially for children. There are very few professional dancing jobs available and really tough competition. It's hard for those who enjoy dance and want to do well but aren't going to make professional dancers and it's hard for the teachers to keep them motivated and progressing in the learning journey while being realistic. I think the hardest thing is not to crush their enjoyment in it. In an adult ballet class I did before Covid we had at least two middle aged women who did ballet as a child, were told they'd never make it and haven't danced since because they stopped when they heard they wouldn't be first rate. It's taken some of them many years to want to come back and dance for the pleasure of it. I never did ballet as a child (my mother said it would ruin my feet) and came to it as a plump 40 year old. So I'm a lot less flexible but I dance for pure love so I don't beat myself up about the fact my turnout sucks and I can't get my leg very high. Each time my plie deepens or I get the sequence right I feel so good.
  9. Moving dance teachers is really hard at any point in life. I moved tango teachers after 18 months because I felt I had achieved all I could. I didn't want to tell the teacher so I said I was taking a break and started learning somewhere else without telling him. I felt a complete heel but I didn't know how to say that his lessons weren't working for me especially as he was quite dismissive of other teachers on the scene. I still feel bad for how I handled the situation. I've found adult ballet a lot more open to people learning elsewhere. I told both my regular ballet teachers that I was doing a repertoire workshop recently and both of them thought it was fantastic that I was diversifying and learning other things.
  10. Got a good one in 1980s dance this week. We were dancing to "Like a Prayer." Teacher said "you're dancing like a high church choir. You need to be more Pentecostal and flow with it so we can see the feeling." I'd never thought of it that way but the visual was amusing.
  11. I hadn't thought of that but now you say it I can see the resemblance. Poor Vadim, he's far too nice to be a Lannister.
  12. Yes. I don't think anyone looks particularly good in those wigs from Nutcracker. Case in point Vadim looks like a Ken doll in it and it does nothing for him at all. He's so much better looking with his natural hair. I'm not wild about the sleeping beauty ones either although I love the way they dress and style Carabosse.
  13. I thought that was a brilliant event overall. It was fascinating hearing the diversity of BAME dancer views. It has also furthered my existing crush on Joe Sissens who seems very intelligent and thoughtful as well as being lovely to watch as a dancer.
  14. This so much. I don't mind things that reflect the modern world but does it always have to be so miserable and depressing? I mean I love Madam Butterfly even though it's sad because the music is beautiful and uplifting and soars to the skies. I love Swan Lake as a ballet even though they die because the dancing is so exquisite and the score is pure drama. I don't mind things that are sad but I don't like things that are depressing. I guess I don't mind if individuals in the performance die but I don't like things that imply that we're all doomed on a collective level or which focus on entirely sad topics with nothing to redeem them. Also I hate things that dress everyone the same so I can't tell who is who especially if it involves people wearing badly designed costumes. Personally having good music really helps for me. I loved Dances at a Gathering because the music is exquisite even though I'm not hugely a fan of ballet without an underlying story.
  15. Definitely. I like traditional ballets with tutus and men in tights and a full orchestral score although I do enjoy seeing some of the modern choreographers' takes on this like Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella. I make myself go to some of the more modern ones like Crystal Pite because it's something I think I should do but I don't feel the same sense of magic and escapism as I do with the traditional ones. If I want to see something more modern I would probably prefer to go and see something more world dance at Sadler's Wells like Tango Fire or their season of awesome Flamenco performers. If I go to the ballet I want it to look like a traditional ballet.
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