CriticalDance Forum

Another question
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Author:  Bagpussmiaow [ Mon Jul 02, 2001 12:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Another question

Hi there, thanks for everyones responses to my first question, they were much appreciated!<P>I still had a few things that I wanted to ask you all (the advice here is brilliant and really helpful). Ok my dance classes have finished for a couple of months so is there anything I can do at home to keep up practise and perhaps even get better? I have ordered gretchen warrens book, hopefully that will help a bit as well. Although no substitute fro a teacher . . <P>Also (I know I asked this before) but is there any possibility of becoming good or even reasonable when you start at such a late age as me?<P>Thanks in advance <BR>Geri

Author:  Basheva [ Mon Jul 02, 2001 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

You are right when you say there is no substitute for taking ballet class under the supervision of a teacher. The problem with giving yourself a class - and this is a problem that every dancer runs into - is that bad habits creep in.<P>Even when you are very knowledgeable - those little bad habits creep in....and in...and in...and become ingrained. It's much harder then to overcome them later. That is why even the greatest dancers in the world study with a teacher. <P>Is there no where you can take class during the summer? A college program? A parks and recreation program? If not, you can surely keep up the cardio and stretch part of class. <P>You can give yourself a ballet barre - but I would advise you to keep it very simple - very basic - so that perhaps there will be less of an opportunity for bad habits to creep in. I usually found that it worked for me for about a week - and then - it just wasn't "right". <P>As for it being too late for you to progress to the point of being "good or even reasonable" as you say, it is certainly not at all too late. I am here to tell you, having started in my midtwenties - it is not only possible - it is probable. You need a couple of ingredients - a teacher who believes in you, your own dedication and persistence, and a reasonably cooperative body.<P>When I walked into my first class, I told myself - "I can't control the time I've lost - but I can control the time I have".<P>Don't ever let anyone discourage you. EVER.<P>

Author:  nancy [ Mon Jul 02, 2001 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

I would just add to Basheva's expert advice, when you do barre on your own, in addition to keeping it simple, work slowly. Think about what you are doing and how you are doing it. You may be able to avoid some of those bad habits creeping in if you are working very carefully.<P>Sometimes it's good to take a break, too. When you get back to class after a vacation, you may be a little rusty, but it comes back fast, and the time away allows you to be rested and refreshed and ready to progress. So perhaps some time off, then gentle barre on your own right before you head back to classes, might work for you.

Author:  Bagpussmiaow [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

Basheva - you started in your mid-twenties? wow and you can do pointe also. I really hope that one day I will be able to achieve that myself. . . <P>May I ask how many lessons you had per week, because I'm assuming that you must have had more than a couple of hours a week (all that is available where I live - small place). Also there are very few dance schools who are happy to take me on because they instantly assume that my age means that I am no good! However each of the classes I've been to have said that I have the right physique for ballet. . . .<BR>Ta again

Author:  Basheva [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

All very good questions, Bagpussmaiow....<P>Yes, I was 25 when I walked into my first ballet class. It was my first dance class of any kind. I started with one lesson per week - but that very quickly escalated to three lessons per week. I was very fortunate that the teacher took me seriously and urged me to come more often. At that time I was also working full time as an administrative assistant for a very large psychiatric inpatient and outpatient facility.<P>Within a year and a half the teacher had me go on pointe. And very shortly thereafter I was taking class 5-6-7 times per week. Yes, we had Sunday class. Then when I quit my full time employment, ballet took up all my time.<P>I always found, except for the first teacher, that it was always a struggle to find teachers who were competent and who would take an adult seriously, really seriously. Priority always seemed to be given to the teens. But, in my experience, there were many adults who were more serious than the teens, and worked much harder.<P>So, that is why I say once you find good teachers - and you have a servicable body - the rest is up to you. How much you are willing to put into it, determines how much you get out of it. With some luck, too, of course. <P>

Author:  Anastasia [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

BUT Basheva, you must be/have been *extremely* talented, if you could dance professionally while started at a relatively late age, are/weren't you? <P>By the way, I was thinking of this quite a long time, you told me a while ago by mail that you didn't have to do dance to earn a living, but now you're telling that you quit your job and dance took all your time... Well you get the question, don't you?<P>PS Supportive husband?<P>------------------<BR>The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything...<P>

Author:  Basheva [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

You answered the question, Anastasia...a VERY supportive husband both emotionally and financially. I was/am most fortunate.<P>I wouldn't say I was extremely talented at all. I would say that I worked extremely hard. I have "serviceable" feet, a good turnout (natural butterfly, knees on the floor), sturdy construction - supportive spine (that I had to really work on to get to bend the way I wanted it to).<P> My extensions did go up to my shoulders - sides were easy, front took a LOT of work (some tears LOL), and adequate arabesque. My biggest problem was the tightness in the back of my knees. Getting my hands to touch the floor (palms) while standing with my knees straight was agony. (still is)<P>A natural feel for the music - I had to learn to count - because mostly I just could feel it, but sometimes a dancer needs to be also able to count it. Slightly bowed knees, that I had to learn to disguise. <P>My sturdy spine supported my adage work - I seldom fell out of a balance. In fact, balance was a natural gift. I worked very diligently on my arms, that was VERY important to me. And a compliment on them, was always treasured.<P>The easiest thing for me was complicated very fast allegro combinations - which I owe entirely to my teacher Wayne Davis, who was a maniac on petit allegro combinations of devastating speed and complexity. I sweated bullets over them for years. <P>I feel I have a servicable body, worked very hard, but not extreme talent in any sense of the word. The biggest lesson, I think, was learning what my assets were and capitalizing on them, and learning to deal with (disguise) my liabilities - and not comparing myself to anyone else and spending my time moaning over not having beautiful feet. <P>(I really would like to have beautiful feet, however - LOL) <BR>

Author:  Bagpussmiaow [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

Hi again, I just read another thread about your training and I was quite surprised to hear that you danced professionally for 30 yrs over the age of 25 (and inspired. I hope i can find someone prepared to teach me properly). For some reason I always thought that ballerina's always had to leave ballet companies when they reached the age of 25 or so!!! (i dont know why this is, but i was sure that that was what happened). . <P>

Author:  Basheva [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 3:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

A ballerina at 25 is just reaching her peak ....and most probably not even her artistic peak.

Author:  Joanne [ Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

I am in my prime then LOL - in 4 months time it is all downhill for me!

Author:  Basheva [ Sun Jul 08, 2001 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another question

I am at the bottom of the hill, Joanne, waiting for you....ha ha

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