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Getting back into Ballet - My worries/fears


SnowflakeQueen
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Hello,

 

    Please excuse my random thoughts and ramblings...this is more of a place for me to put my worries into words, feel free to interject with any advice and reasoning you may have! I am thrilled to have found this forum for Ballet dancers and enthusiasts.  I have been reading a bit here and there, and have been enjoying this site very much.

 

      I am a 19 yr old from Michigan, USA, and I'm feeling the urge to get back into Ballet again.  I danced from the time I was 3 until 14, stopping after my first year en pointe, because of family situations.  

 

  However now that I'm wanting to get back into it, I feel more anxious than ever.  I've never been the girl that was perfectly thin, and one of the major reasons I want to resume ballet now, is for health.  I'm scared I would get laughed at, as silly as that sounds.  I know most dancers have body issues, but I have major body insecurities, and I would only feel comfortable picking ballet back if I was able to wear some kind of warm up clothing over my leotard - a shirt, something on the bottom.  Just so I feel more comfortable.  

 

   I think the best place for me to start again would be an adult beginner class, however I'm having difficulty finding any near me, besides the studio I danced at before.  As much as I love it there, it's pretty far away and they tend to "write off" the adults, and I doubt I would ever get a chance to be en pointe again.  I'm also worried about getting bored, once my body is adjusted to dance again and I can remember the terms, and without levels to move up, where will the fun and challenge be?

 

   All of these worries apparently aren't enough to stop me, and I'm thrilled to be getting back into it.  Just for fun, last night I YouTube'd a barre exercise and did it along with the people in the video. Here's a quick shot of my 5th Releve, which I don't think is too shabby after 5 years off!

 

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Hi, SnowflakeQueen.

 

There are several adult amateur dancers who post on this forum as well as a number of teachers and I'm sure that some of them will respond to you once they see your post (most people in the UK are now in bed!). They should be able to advise you what level of class you should take and what kind of clothing would be acceptable to the teacher (I can't imagine that a ballet cardigan and skirt would be a problem). You should be aware, though, that, unlike the US, most ballet schools in the UK follow an accredited syllabus which makes it easy to understand what level a student is working at and so you will need to explain what kind of things you were able to do when you gave up ballet in order for them to advise you.

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I am in the US (hence, I am still awake!), and  (by choice) not a syllabus teacher.  I would suggest that you do take an adult beginner class just until your body adjusts.  Though it is only 5 yrs since you danced, you are an entirely different person both physically and mentally from the young girl you were when you last danced.  So, look at yourself as a new person and don't compare yourself to the person you used to be.

 

As for getting bored.....if you do ....then quit ....nothing lost.  However, I would say that ballet has never been about moving up in grades - one is never finished with the basics, there is always something to be learned even of the most basic elements.  So, I wouldn't worry about being bored before you even start.

 

As for wearing something to make yourself comfortable, most adult classes are quite lenient in this regard.  

 

As for dance schools "writing off" adults - this is unfortunately true, but that should not deter you.  You haven't written yourself off - and that's what counts.  You are still young enough that if you show dedication and promise, you might very well find yourself in demand.  

 

And - a good teacher NEVER writes any student off - unless they write themselves off.

 

As for the "worries" not stopping  you - if they don't stop you - they aren't "worries"!

 

And, yes, you do have very nice demi-pointe.  Wouldn't it be fun to use it again?

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Hi,

 

My eldest dd attends adult classes in the UK (beginner ballet - around grade 1 to Intermediate) and has since she was 15. The class she attends has 2 ballet classes so she does both and it has a mixed range of ability, shapes and ages. Dd is the youngest but she gets a lot of support from everyone in the class. They all work hard and there is little giggling or talking which dd prefers. They all perform in the annual dance show which also feature the college students (there is a separate full time college attached to the school) and all love putting on costumes etc and the performing aspect.

Dd has just gone en pointe and has been dancing from the age of 4-6 (ballet); 6-11 (tap and modern); 15 to now (ballet, tap, modern and contemporary).

Enjoy your classes :) 

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Hello SnowflakeQueen,

 

I think it's great you want to get back into ballet. I didn't get to start ballet until I was in my early 20s but I can understand your anxieties. I had the same worries about what to wear, would I have to wear a leotard, would I look out-of-place, etc. I was so nervous before my first class, so much so that I can still remember everything in that first class very clearly. Very soon I found out that there was no need to be anxious and in an adult ballet class teachers don't mind if you choose to wear warm-ups or cover ups, if you decide to go for leotards and tights. As you get more comfortable in class you may decide to stop wearing the cover-ups, which is a good thing. Some of these warm-up items hide so much that it can be hard for your teacher to correct your line, or for you to check your line when using the mirror to correct yourself.

 

I would also say not to give up on ever dancing en pointe again. I have gained my RAD Intermediate (older syllabus) and do pointe every week so I like to think I am proof that it's not impossible for adults to work up to a proficiency to work en pointe.

 

Since you have danced at the studio near where you live in the past, I would suggest they may not 'write you off' because you danced with them in the past (even if they happen to be a school who would 'write off' adults). I have encountered teachers who 'write off' adult dancers, but I am happy to say they are not that common at all. If you do find other classes that you could attend, you could ask to watch a class before attending. Most teachers understand that it's scary doing a new class for the first time.

 

I think you have a very nice demi-pointe as well. Good luck with re-starting ballet and finding classes that suit you.

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
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Wow, Dancer Sugar Plum, that's very impressive!  Old RAD "intermediate" is "advanced" in the current syllabus.

 

Snowflake Queen, I think that's great that you are coming back to ballet.  Sometimes it is easier to just start, then decide where to go from there.  If your old school is near by, taking adult beginner's class seems the best option - you can start looking other schools then.

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Thank you Mimi66, but the Intermediate syllabus I did was the one that was phased out quite recently before the current/new one took over. I believe it's roughly on the same level as current one. I know there was an even older Intermediate syllabus, which was stopped around the year 2000. I'm afraid I wouldn't have known what a tendu was back then!

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