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Is it possible to stay fit with only 1 ballet lesson per week?


ChocChip
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Hi everyone,

 

First of all I think I should say that my question is referring to an adult true beginner ballet student who has had only 3 months of ballet training as a whole (I am talking about me here).

 

I wrote a topic earlier this year about my aches and issues here:
http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/3815-how-to-properly-execute-a-tendu-with-2nd-long-toe/

 

Quick review of my "ballet story": I am 29. I had never done ballet in my whole life before. I started taking adult beginners ballet classes in the beginning of this year. I took them for 3 months. I had missed the first 3 months of the class and because I had no previous ballet training I started to have physical issues (ballet training got too tough for me). So I decided this fall/autumn to restart the true beginners class.

 

It's a summer break now, no ballet classes anywhere...

 

The big problem is:

Because of financial problems my partner and I had to move to the very suburbs of the capital and now I have to get on a train and travel one hour and a half to get to the capital and then get on a bus or tube to where the studio is. All studios I checked have their adult classes late and the best I can do is attend a ballet class only once a week no matter where the studio is. Approximately it would take me 3 hours to get to the studio, have a class and then 3 hours to get back home and I would not get home earlier than 12am. And in the winter is very very cold, snow and ice everywhere..horrible...but I want to dance ballet!

 

I think the ballet summer break is good for me. My partner attached a 1.5 meter barre in my room. There's a little space surrounding it - 2 meters by 1.5 meters. Now I do only some stretching, trying to finally accomplish my side-split. And about the barre... I just stand straight and face the wall, hold the barre and do the five positions of the feet/legs. I thing with the time my hips are getting looser and looser and the rotation needed for the classical ballet is finally starting to become more natural to my body.

 

I have to change the studio. There are two studios that can be good for my new location. But still I can go there only once a week. When I meet the teacher I will talk to her and ask her whether I can do 2 classes per day. One earlier with the little kids beginners and then the latest class which is the adult beginners class. I have taken waltz and salsa lessons some time ago. But ballet is nothing like regular dances. If I miss a regular dance class I will miss some new steps. If I miss a ballet class my body will lose its fitness very quickly and the next ballet class which is going to be a week from then will be extremely difficult and painful. I can even injure myself.

 

I adore ballet and I want to keep studying ballet. I know doing ballet without supervision in not recommended but I can take a ballet class only once a week ... let's say Monday for example. What exercises can I do at home to help my body stay fit till the next lesson? I have a barre at home as I already said and my floor is good enough for my ballet slippers. Can I do the basics - plies and tendus? Is that safe?

 

 

Ballet teachers and experienced ballet students please advise.

 

Thank you!

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Could you purchase a DVD of say any well known teaching Academy in UK that's RAD, BBO, Cechetti and so on. They start with the earliest grades like grade one and go right up to Advanced Syllabus. Then use this for your practice at home. At least then you can see the correct demonstration of exercises.

If this not poss you could make some notes after class on any teaching in class and then just practice some of the barre work at home If you're not sure of anything you can check with the teacher the following week.

There are other more Pilates type exercises or even yoga that you can do to support your body between classes. Is there a swimming pool not to far away? Even swimming in between can help and I do ballet exercises in the swimming pool.....which is quite nice because the water supports your body and you can experience a slightly higher leg than usual!! :) hope this helps a bit

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My country's ballet training is entirely Vaganova training, Russian training.

 

Unfortunately...  no swimming pool or sport studios or dance studios nearby. I can do long walks. But when the winter comes and it starts snowing heavily I can only do exercises at home.

 

 

I think what will suffer most when having only one ballet class a week will be the turnout.

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Sorry I posted this link and then couldn't get to type anything!

So,the link above may be helpful to you a sort of lying down barre so Pilates based.

One of the Moderators has just posted this link on the Going Back Ballet thread for a different reason but apparently the exercises are used to,help rehabilitate dancers but could still be useful for anyone.

 

Are there any Vaganova DVD's produced then? As a teaching aid I mean. I do one such class a week and will ask the teacher I'd she knows any.

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Thanks, LinMM,

Do you do a ballet class or pilates class once a week? I couldn't understand.

 

I was recommended the front frog stretching  ( http://dance.about.com/od/stretchingflexibility/ss/Splits-Stretches_5.htm ) for improving the turnout and I try to do it at least two times when I happen to do some exercises now.

 

Hopefully the beginners class in the fall will start from scratch. I had missed the first months of the class and it took me about a month just to get my feet together in fifth position. And at that time the teacher already made us to do the tendus and jetes directly from fifth position. It was impossible for me to get this exercises correctly that quickly. I wasn't able to do them properly even from first position. Shortly after that the teacher started to make us do the plies on demi-pointe. I assume she was slightly bored to teach such a beginners class and wanted us to advance more quickly but I can not judge her because I am not an expert.

 

I suppose I can do a class, then repeat the same exercises at home after two-three days to stay fit (not to lose the turnout). I already have the barre at home. I am asking this because teachers say it is not recommended to do ballet without supervision.

 

I understand I can do many different exercises (not ballet) at home, but I think the turnout will suffer.
Does anyone do barre exercises at home?

 

 

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Hi no I'm doing 4 ballet classes a week at present including one Vaganova based class a week....so am very lucky.

I used to do ballet a long time ago so am not a complete beginner.

 

Interestingly enough on the Going Back to Ballet thread something has come up today about third and fifth.

 

If you are a complete adult beginner I think your teacher should be encouraging you to use third and first at the moment rather than fifth.

 

I think it is always hard for teachers of Adult ballet as there are usually not enough people(unless you live in a really big city like London) to split the class and often there is a wide range of ability within one class....so they tend to go too fast for real beginners!!

I really love the Vaganova style but am not sure how well set up they are for teaching ADULTS. This method was originally devised for teaching vocational children already highly selected.....and professional dancers. I'm not sure it's ever been adapted for teaching true amateurs.....so you do need a creative and perceptive teacher I think to understand the difficulties of the adult learner......otherwise they are just blindly teaching and applying a system not suited for the purpose. Again I am VERY lucky as I do have such a teacher here where I live. I will ask her though whether there are any teaching DVDs

At the basic level I still think you would be okay with an RAD DVD say grades 1-5 just to practice basic exercises and at this level should not interfere that much with the Vaganova teaching. What do you think anyway?

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LinMM,

 

OK, let's answer one thing after another.

 

 

"Interestingly enough on the Going Back to Ballet thread something has come up today about third and fifth."

 

I am going to read that thread. It seems promising. Thank you!

 

"If you are a complete adult beginner I think your teacher should be encouraging you to use third and first at the moment rather than fifth."

 

We were 6 to 8 women in the adult class, age 18-35, most us hadn't done ballet before. So I think it was difficult for all of us. I think we were looking "a bit" grotesque most of the time... My opinion is that my teacher was bored and she was trying to rush things and she made us advance too quickly. 2 hours peer week is nothing for ballet after all... or I think so...

That rush made me think about changing the studio even before I moved.

"I think it is always hard for teachers of Adult ballet as there are usually not enough people(unless you live in a really big city like London) to split the class and often there is a wide range of ability within one class...."

 

I don't live in UK. I live in Eastern Europe. I don't know why everybody assume I come from UK. Probably because my English is good.

 

"I really love the Vaganova style but am not sure how well set up they are for teaching ADULTS. This method was originally devised for teaching vocational children already highly selected.....and professional dancers. I'm not sure it's ever been adapted for teaching true amateurs.....so you do need a creative and perceptive teacher I think to understand the difficulties of the adult learner......otherwise they are just blindly teaching and applying a system not suited for the purpose."

 

I don't think Vaganova method is developed for educating only future professional ballet dancers. It is just one of the methods and like all methods it starts from "A and B". And of course teachers of each country that has their own method will say that their method is the best. I have read in an official article somewhere on an Russian site that Vaganova method is considered the safest method... if taught correctly it can avoid injuries best.

Here are two articles about the Vaganova Method:

http://vaganovaacademy.com/A/AYVaganova

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaganova_method

Every ballet dancer or teacher in my country has been taught in Vaganova method. It is universal method as far as I know - it shouldn't matter that we are adults.

 

 

"Again I am VERY lucky as I do have such a teacher here where I live. I will ask her though whether there are any teaching DVDs."

 

I am happy that you have found the teacher you like and need. All information about DVDs is going to be useful. Thanks!

 

"At the basic level I still think you would be okay with an RAD DVD say grades 1-5 just to practice basic exercises and at this level should not interfere that much with the Vaganova teaching."

 

I have watched all the videos of this man Maestro Greenwood. His lesson are free and available online so I think I will not err putting a link to his official youtube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/onlineballetclass

He talks a lot and in details but it does help to understand the exercise correctly. I watched his plie, tendu, jete and rond de jambe videos because this is all I know anyway. I don't know what method he teaches but I didn't seen any difference from what he teaches and what I have been taught.

 

 

P.S. I am afraid I may look a bit ridiculous talking so much about ballet when having only 3 months of dancing experience. I am a huge ballet fan and I watch a lot of ballet, read articles about ballet, watch educational videos, behind the scenes videos and of course go to ballet performances regularly.

 

 

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Yes I think the main difference between the RAD say and the Vaganova method as a teaching tool is that the RAD was a syllabus devised for the average child learning ballet in any ballet school anywhere (originally UK). Whereas the Vaganova was a system devised for more highly selected pupils at the Vaganova school and she devised it initially around her own dancers.

 

It has become widespread now but I do think that as a whole it progresses faster than the RAD method for the reasons given above.

I think you are expected to attain the 5th position turnout say much more quickly. And the Russians do talk about achieving flat turnout a lot as if everybody can achieve this when not everybody can because of the way their body is constructed. But probably all the highly selected pupils in Vaganova school could!!

However it is a progressive system so should be reasonably safe if taught properly as you say.

My next Wednesday class which is my Russian one is not till 14th August but I will ask the teacher then about DVD's etc

There is Vaganova's book of course which I haven't dipped into for a while now but could be useful for practice at home!

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Try this workout which I do every night:

•cardio - jumps, running on the spot, skipping

•muscular training - crunches, sit ups, squats (I do sixty of each but whatever works for you)

•stretches - calf, thigh, hamstring, leg on the bar and lean over, splits side and front, straddle etc.

•ballet - plies, tendus, foot stretches, grand battements, changement.

By doing the basic ballet movements at the end of the workout you are enabling your body to do these without hurting anything. My rule is: if it hurts a little stop immediately. If you do this workout every night I think you can get by (atleast while you are still only beginning) on one class a week. I'm thirteen and this workout keeps me going over the summer when I have no ballet. Xxx

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Try this workout which I do every night:

•cardio - jumps, running on the spot, skipping

•muscular training - crunches, sit ups, squats (I do sixty of each but whatever works for you)

•stretches - calf, thigh, hamstring, leg on the bar and lean over, splits side and front, straddle etc.

•ballet - plies, tendus, foot stretches, grand battements, changement.

By doing the basic ballet movements at the end of the workout you are enabling your body to do these without hurting anything.

 

That's a hell of a workout young lady! Doing it every day I mean...

 

I am kidding but it's kind of true. I remember being 15-18 years old doing 2 hours of workout at home every day. Sometimes I missed only one day in the week but it was sometimes... I had so much extra energy and doing exercises was fun all the time.

 

•ballet - plies, tendus, foot stretches, grand battements, changement.

 

Iloveballet2804,

What do you mean by "changement"?

Is this a ballet term?

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I'm like that - exercise is never a stress or burden it makes me feel happy and I love it! Just some ideas really for keeping fit - I suppose I'm a bit of a fitness freak atm haha!

A changement is a jump in third position changing feet ie. right foot in front jump change so left foot is in front. Have fun! X

Edited by Iloveballet2804
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