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19 year old boy starting again!


Ally158
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Hey Guys (literally!),

 

So after 7 years without wearing my tights, I've decided to make the jump and restart ballet classes! I'm based in Wales, UK.

 

I went to my local dance shop to get a recommendation on a good school that would accept a beginner/intermediate males at my age and I spoke to the owner of the dance school this afternoon.

 

She sounded really happy to have a boy asking to join her school, however she said that the best class for me would be grade 5-6 with a dozen 14-15 year old girls.....I keep having visions of it being like "Billy Elliott" where I walk into a studio with girls in tutu's all sneering at me!

 

Understandably I feel very intimidated right now, but I want to start classes again so badly and there aren't many dance academies in this part of the world!

 

I know this must seem like a very generic thread to see, but I'd love to hear some of your anecdotes about your first classes and how you coped with the nerves. I've got an awful feeling that I'm going to make an idiot of myself in my first class as I tried doing some of my old positions and really struggled!

What would you suggest wearing to my first class? Most of my old dancewear still fits, I've got too much choice and the school owner was very vague on the phone.

 

 

Over to you...and thanks very much!

 

Al

Edited by Ally158
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As a teacher - I recommend you wear what you're comfortable in. If that's a t-shirt, track suit bottoms and bare feet / socks depending on the floor then that's what you should wear.

 

A private lesson before might be a good idea, or go and watch the first class to get a feel for the level, who's in the group, how the teacher works etc.

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As a teacher - I recommend you wear what you're comfortable in. If that's a t-shirt, track suit bottoms and bare feet / socks depending on the floor then that's what you should wear.

 

A private lesson before might be a good idea, or go and watch the first class to get a feel for the level, who's in the group, how the teacher works etc.

 

Thanks for the advice! I'm planning on going to watch a class this coming weekend, but I'll probably try and do it a little bit of it aswell!

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Get in touch with Dave from Davetriesballet.com as he started as a complete beginner at age 20. I think he is in the Bristol area, so he may know of some more places for you to go to if you are South Wales.

 

Lots of super links on his site.

 

Also look on twitter for him and others such as boysdoballet.com.

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Welcome to the forum and good luck with that first class.  Try not to worry about a class of teenage girls.  I very much doubt they would sneer and in any case during class everyone should be too busy concentrating on their own dance to worry about what anyone else is doing.

As you get back into ballet, it might be worth checking what boys only or adult workshops are on offer through the RAD or Birmingham Royal Ballet if Birmingham is easily accessible to you from your part of Wales.   Ballet Cymru in Newport South Wales and National Dance Company Wales in Cardiff might also offer opportunities for you.  Enjoy...

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Welcome to the forum and good luck with that first class.  Try not to worry about a class of teenage girls.  I very much doubt they would sneer and in any case during class everyone should be too busy concentrating on their own dance to worry about what anyone else is doing.

As you get back into ballet, it might be worth checking what boys only or adult workshops are on offer through the RAD or Birmingham Royal Ballet if Birmingham is easily accessible to you from your part of Wales.   Ballet Cymru in Newport South Wales and National Dance Company Wales in Cardiff might also offer opportunities for you.  Enjoy...

 

Thanks very much- I think it's natural to feel a little apprehensive, so I'm trying my best to relax about it!

 

Yes, I would love to do some workshops- will check the relevant websites to see whats on offer!

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That first class back after a long gap is always going to be nerve wracking.

 

I think the best thing to do is go for the lesson, see now you get on, if that's an okay then pursue some private lessons for a bit of catchup.

 

You could tell the teacher that in the circumstances you are feeling a bit nervous and perhaps she can have a word with the rest of the class before you turn up so that they (as much as any young teenagers do) can have a chance of understanding your situation.

 

Unfortunately 14-15 is a terrible age for the giggles for girls but don't be put off by this initially as once they've got used to you I'm sure they'll be fine.

They'll probably all work that extra bit harder with a young man in the class especially if they see you making a real effort. :)

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In all the years of taking and teaching ballet class, I never heard the girls sneer or even giggle about a boy in class.  In fact my experience has been just the opposite - they were happy to have a potential partner.

 

If you do hear giggling - don't assume its about you.  Girls giggle about a cloud going by.

 

Lots of luck to  you and enjoy!

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My son goes to boys only class (south Wales) non syllabus, age range from 8 till 12 ( only because there are no older boys at school at the moment). Im sure they would love to have an young adult dancing with them! And then you won't feel intimidated, no girly giggles etc you would be an inspiration! Maybe there is a boys only class somewhere near Where you are. And the RAD and other boys only workshop are a good idea. Good luck!

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Yes, definitely get in touch with Dave Wilson who seems to be a very friendly chap. He writes a very entertaining and informative blog and is a prolific and responsive tweeter (@davetriesballet). He belongs to a youth ballet company and has done and is doing a number of performances. He has lots of suggestions about things like kit and flexibility as well.

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Hello Ally158!

 

I am the aforementioned 'Dave' from DaveTriesBallet! (Thanks to Stirrups36 and aileen for the kind mentions :) ) Congrats on deciding to get back into ballet! I guess my main advice is to try and get back into class as soon as possible - after that all your worries shouldn't seem so bad any more :)

 

I agree that it's definitely a bit intimidating doing ballet as a guy in his (near-)twenties when the only class is filled with teenage girls. I had the same issue when I moved back to the UK a couple of years ago. I was used to adult classes in the States (where I was usually the youngest by quite a few years) and the only appropriate local classes were RAD Intermediate level with a load of girls in their teens (and a teenage boy or two). The first thing to do is talk to the teacher and show that you are interested in training properly and you won't be messing about in class or the like - it sounds like you've already done this! After that, it is simply a case of taking class and concentrating on your own dancing! There will probably be a little giggling to start but as other posters have pointed out, that's just what teenage girls do about anything and everything. If you show that you're serious and act respectful in classes the kids should come to respect you after a few classes - you may also prove to be a role model to some of them (especially if there are any boys in the class).

 

I've since left that school but now dance with a local Youth Ballet Company. The situation is pretty similar - and again, I just try to act serious and respectful and the kids are pretty friendly. It's slightly different in that most of the kids in the YBC are aiming to get into or are at a vocational school so already have the commitment and drive for ballet so, in general, there is less giggling and more hard work!

 

Hope that reassures you that you're not alone! In terms of what to wear, I second the comment of wearing whatever is comfortable. This took me a little while to get used to though, and when I started I wore the standard black tights/white t-shirt. In fact, my teacher also asked me to wear white socks/shoes if possible to get used to the RAD uniform (unfortunately I had to leave before I could take any exams). Nowadays I tend to wear a black unitard with a plain coloured tee over the top, and usually wear sweatpants/jumper whilst stretching and for the first few exercises at barre. It sounds really stupid, but I found wearing tan-coloured shoes really makes me feel at ease - don't know why!

 

I can second the Ballet Cymru summer school - I did one a couple of years ago and it was great. There was one other adult at my level (I think I did the Intermediate/Advanced one) but I shared a Uni-flat with a few of the pre-professional dancers on the highest level intensive so I didn't feel out of place. Great teaching and a chance to perform at the end of it! This year, I did the summer intensive run by the Youth Ballet Company I'm in.

 

Sorry if that's all a bit too much info to throw at you at once! Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help in any way :)

 

Dave

 

P.S. If you want to read about my first class I've got a post up here about it: http://www.davetriesballet.com/2010/09/15/first-day-of-class/ and I've got a post about my second class too: http://www.davetriesballet.com/2010/09/21/second-lesson/ - I had a load of comments about other peoples' first class on the posts but unfortunately my website comment database got corrupted a couple of months ago :(

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Welcome Ally158 - can definitely recommend the Ballet Cymru summer school my DD attended last year.

 

Not sure what part of Wales you are in but Bristol School of Dance have some adult beginner ballet classes which may suit - there is a link at the bottom of their home page www.bristolschoolofdancing.co.uk  - they are in Clifton so not too far from the Motorway.

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Hello Ally158,

 

To add to everyone's comments, I have never seen girls sneer or giggle at a boy or man doing ballet class. When I first joined a class with teenagers I was about 10 years older than everyone else. Whenever the girls laughed/giggled/talked it was always about what happened in school/what happened at the party/that silly photo so-and-so posted on Facebook, etc. They were only interested in themselves (I mean that in a good way). So if you join a class with 14-15 year-old girls and hear giggling it won't be about you. I think most girls understand that they won't have a chance of experiencing partnering work if no male dancers ever attended class! :)

 

I have also heard of teachers advising (female) dancers that they should watch male dancers turn if they want to improve their pirouettes because men are so good at turning. So you may be asked to demonstrate some turns later on!

 

Good luck with finding classes that suit you.

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Ally158 I would say go for it! I had a friend at Laines who only started ballet when he was 19! He went on to a successful career dancing in pantos, on cruise ships and in the west end, if thats where you want to head then don't let a few potential giggling gilrls stop you!

 

Good luck and let us kbow how you get on,

Dramascientist

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I always loved having men in class - it was wonderful to watch the power they brought to class.  When appropriate I used to stand behind them and try to cover ground as they did.  Of course, I couldn't match it - but it was an incentive.   

 

Dancer Sugar Plum is correct about the turns - watching men execute the turns was a real lesson in how to do it.  

 

Make sure that as you progress, that - especially in the center work - the teacher gives you your own music. Men need to have music to suit their special - different - way of moving.  Usually the music for something like jumps is a bit slower in order to allow them the time they need to plié more deeply for the higher jump they have.  

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Make sure that as you progress, that - especially in the center work - the teacher gives you your own music. Men need to have music to suit their special - different - way of moving.  Usually the music for something like jumps is a bit slower in order to allow them the time they need to plié more deeply for the higher jump they have.  

 

I think that's another reason why female dancers (all ages) like having male dancers in class. When men are doing their allegro, the girls get to have a quick rest. If you're doing syllabus there is slower or completely different music for males so the girls have an option to miss it out. I don't mean to say that we (or teenage girls) are lazy. It's just nice to have a breather in class sometimes, so the girls will like having you in class!

 

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Thanks for the replies guys- all very useful and reassuring advice!

 

Just a little update from me....ballet shoes & dancewear purchased, I've booked myself onto an adult ballet taster session on Tuesday night and I've got my first class at this dance school on Wednesday...still very conscious of some potential ridicule, but your advice has profoundly settled my nerves!

Expect an update from me sometime next week, I just hope my nerves don't get the better of me and I bottle it at the last minute!

 

A

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Thanks for the replies guys- all very useful and reassuring advice!

 

Just a little update from me....ballet shoes & dancewear purchased, I've booked myself onto an adult ballet taster session on Tuesday night and I've got my first class at this dance school on Wednesday...still very conscious of some potential ridicule, but your advice has profoundly settled my nerves!

Expect an update from me sometime next week, I just hope my nerves don't get the better of me and I bottle it at the last minute!

 

A

Good luck Ally158... Let us know how is goes ;)

 

Cxx

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No bottling out!!! We all want to hear now how it went for good or ill.......but I'm sure the former!!

 

I'll be posting on a recent workshop I attended later on the forum where this time there was just one male dancer but he had a whale of a time!!

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  • 5 months later...

Hey everyone, a little update from me!  :)

 

 

So I went to my first class in several years last Tuesday in Manchester and I'm really sad and disheartened at how it went  :(  I was in a class with 7 other adults and I really did stick out like a sore thumb. Despite the class being advertised as being "perfect" for beginners, as soon as we started doing some barre work it was obvious that it was at an advanced level. I persevered and tried going at half speed to try and get the hang of it and by the time we were doing the last set I was kind of getting the hang of it.

 

The class was taught my a middle aged lady who seemed lovely, however throughout the class she made several sniping remarks at the class that were blatantly aimed at me. "Remember everyone, if you can't hold your core strength in your stomach ballet definitely isn't for you and you should stop".

 

Things only got worse when we moved into the centre, I decided to go at the back of the class to copy the rest of the girls- however, it was incredibly difficult and my confidence was beaten down by the teacher giving little guidance and then ignoring me when I tried to say goodbye at the end of the session.

 

 

So where do I go from here? Give up completely or find a different class where things will suit me better? I just feel sad and pathetic after summoning up the courage to finally attend a class  :unsure:

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You deserve better than this. Go and find another teacher and dont give up.

 

I am so outraged by how you were treated. You should have been getting encouragement not put downs.

 

Well done you for having the courage to go, I am just so sorry that it wasnt the good experience it should have been.

 

Hopefully a Northern based ballet.coer can advise on a more sympathetic class!

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