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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:41 am 
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Location: Singapore
Hi Audreyballerina,
I started ballet at around 13 and was placed in a Grade 5 class as well. Even now I'm in a class with girls three years younger, so I can understand how you feel. I think it's really important to figure out what your goals are, because that determines your attitude. I know many of us start out with lofty dreams to become dancers. It was like that for me, and I gradually realised a dancing career may not be all that suitable for me. Like me, you may want to be a dancer and catch up for all that lost time.
In my opinion, I think the best way to do that is to get a good foundation. I know it's frustrating to be at a lower stage than everyone else but it's very important to condition your muscles the right way, right from the very start. When you get to higher levels you start to do more difficult stuff and that's when the good dancers are distinguished from the rest. I'm Grade 7 now and better than some of the girls in my class who started earlier than me because they didn't pay attention to the right technique when it was taught to them. In my opinion, starting later gave me one advantage at least: that of maturity to understand the importance of what was being taught to me.
Grade 5 is a really good grade to start at; it's like a transition grade between the higher levels and the lower ones. But if you're eager to progress and really think you could benefit from higher level classes, maybe you could talk to your teacher about it and try out a Grade 6 class to see how you cope. But remember your aim isn't to get to the highest level fastest; it's to improve quickly with maximum efficiency without compromising your technique. (At least, that's what I'd think everyone would want)
Hope I helped! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:07 am
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citibob wrote:
Audrey,

Lucy has told you what she has to say. She is a world-famous ballerina, she danced for many years en pointe, and I believe she has taught pointe work to students (who then went on to professional careers). You have also heard from Dan Speer, another top professional in the field; I believe he regularly teachs pointe work as well. You have also heard from jis, ombre and myself, which includes at least one more professional dancer among the three of us. And we have ALL said the same thing. So why do you keep arguing?

You asked, what is the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is actually a lot worse than you would like to believe. If you wish to understand more, you can read the same answer again and again on various web sites, written by other dance professionals. For example, try this URL: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=when+can+i+start+en+pointe&btnG=Google+Search. In the meantime, it is a waste of Lucy's time to keep pressing her on the issue, she has said what she has to say.


I've been dancing en pointe for a year already, I plan on doing it next year, and from there on out. So I'll let you all know in a few years if I have any serious inguries. I'm out, peace.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: Petaluma, California
Pearl...That was such a nice, good response. I'll say thank you, even if the original poster forgot to... :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 194
Location: france
I agree with all of you, I'm also a teacher, and I had a professionnal carier too: audreyballerina, think about they all say, open your mind!
good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: SF CA
Thanks everyone for your well thought out posts. I think that as teachers and dancers we all know the work and the time it takes to learn this craft correctly. There are no short cuts.

I am reminded of the story about the tortoise and the hare.


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 Post subject: Kristi Boone
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 6:36 am 
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I thought I might add one more thing. There's a dancer named Kristi Boone and she started ballet when she was 13 years old. And after only seven years of training she started dancing world wide lead roles and she is part of the ABT, and I think that's pretty good for someone who's only danced seven years. So maybe those of you who think that somethings aren't possible, and think some people take "short cuts" you should think about this. And you people telling me that I can't do something is just going to make me prove you wrong and throw it back in your face.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 7:12 am 
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Location: france
I don't think that we said that you will never dance! I think we all said: take care and pay attention! May be you are well gifted, but take care and don't hurry. Good luck


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:13 pm
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Location: England
Audreyballerina...I think you are taking the advice you've been given the wrong way. Look at it as a positive and that people at Criticaldance are looking out for you and helping you to learn and stay safe while dancing. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:05 am 
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Again I would like to know exactly what is unsafe about starting pointe early. What, am I going to break a toe or something? I've asked specifically before what could happen and no one could tell me what would happen. All I got was a link to google wich didn't tell me anything.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:27 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
audreyballerina, dear...Broken feet, broken ankles, tendonitis, bunions, and worst case scenario, broken leg from a fall. You need at least two years of ballet before beginning pointe work. When you begin pointe, you need to be taking at least three one and one half hour classes per week. If this is not what you are experiencing in your school, then you are at risk for injury. Plain and simple. If you are aspiring to dance professionally, advanced students take daily classes...many of them more than one class a day. I do understand that this may not be what your goal is...May I say something to you? I have to say that your attitude, as exhibited in this discussion, will hinder you in the world of dance. I realize that you are only fifteen, but you need to think about this. As a former professional dancer and now a teacher, I am more drawn to working with and helping students who are really open to learning, and who are willing to listen and to work hard. You won't enjoy your classes and progress as quickly as you would like if you don't give yourself fully to your teachers and your work. This doesn't mean that you have no opinions about dancing. But, you are the student....I'm sorry if I sound like your mother, but I believe that you are asking (in your way) for help....I wish you the best in your study of dance. Good luck...


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:48 am 
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Location: New England
Audrey... Kristi Boone achieved what she did in 7 years by studying the right way, making substantial progress month by month, working incredibly hard every day, and by not taking shortcuts. She probably did not train en pointe in her first year.

As I mentioned before, I studied dance for many years as a child and it didn't do me any good because the school didn't really teach ballet very well. You're still 15, if you get into a solid ballet program, then you have great chances of being able to attain a professional level of ballet performance while you are still young enough to do it. But if you spend 5 years trying to take shortcuts and studying at a school that does not teach ballet very well, then you will find yourself at the age of 20 with many fewer options than you have today.

That is why I've said what I've said. I really don't care what you throw in my face. I began professional training at the age of 27 and made it into a professional company two years later. One of our dancers started at 15 and was later hired by NYCB and ABT, among others. It happens, with dedication and proper training. But you have to do it right if you wish to get anywhere. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:06 am 
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Posts: 44
Location: United Kingdom
Audreyballerina...
This isn't so much advice, just my opinion from looking at all the posts.
I think the fact that so many different people, professionals included, have given you the same advice should give you an indication that your practice at the moment, may not be the best way to go. You obviously have huge amounts of determination and the fact that you've started ballet at 15 shows your love for dance. :D

To have the people you look up to, i.e. your dance teacher, critisized is difficult and being en pointe is every ballerinas dream so I'm sure to be told that you shouldn't be doing it yet is a bit of a blow...but work hard and practice to the point where you are ready to dance en pointe will mean you'll be dancing for a lot longer than if you were to rush your training!!
I started ballet a year ago (@ 15) and my dance teacher will not let me go en pointe until she thinks I am fully ready which is a little frustrating but I know it's for the best. :)

Keep on dancing and embrace your learning!
Dancer246

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*If you want to dance seriously, do. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,desire it*


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 Post subject: Another response
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: New England, US
Reading through all of these responses I am just getting frustrated. When putting up a post you are asking for other people's help and information. There is no reason to be defensive and dismissive when everyone wishes to be of assistance.

However, I would like to say that none of us know you as a dancer. I started pointe after about 2-3months of ballet. I started at 11 and my teacher decided it was appropriate for me to begin because my muscles had been performing correctly with out them. Our first year en pointe was simple releve's and tendus, just enough to strenghten and gain comfort in the shoes.

No one here is trying to say you are recieving poor training, however in your first post you mentioned that you may leave the school for another more understanding one. The reason why you shouldn't begin your training en pointe too soon even if you are passed the 'appropriate' age is because your body is not yet comfortable with the basic ballet technique. If your tendu's are not developed when you are on pointe (typically the same energy of your tendu) your body will suffer. In pointe shoes you are putting soo much pressure on such small delicate bones. You NEED the muscles and strength in the legs, feet, ankles, stomach, turnout, etc. to properly perform. Now, NO ONE in their first year has EVERYTHING perfect, however to begin pointe you should show signs of muscle memory, understanding, and mental comprehension of the necessary requirements of pointe.

Assuming your teacher is a capable one she/he has recognized this and your partaking in pointe is of no worry... If not than maybe you want to go to the other school and see what their opinions are.

As to the being placed in such a younger group, it's tough. I can barely stand people my own age let alone younger, however you don't want to be a burden to the advanced class, you want to be an asset. By taking the steps your teacher has set out for you, when you do join the advanced classes you will be prepared and probably better behaved. (watching obnoxious little kids really makes you think about your classroom etiquette)

Almost throughout your entire career, if you wish to dance or even in any other career you choose, you are going to find there are younger people standing in front of you at the barre and then older people as well. Learn from everyone as much as you can.

I would also think about either finding a summer program (even though it's a little late now) or taking open classes. If you come back to your teacher better than when you left for the summer, a 'promotion' is even more likely to be found in the fall.

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mnbn


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:13 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
The worst that can happen? - malformed feet, serious joint trouble in later life, stress fractures. Really no student no matter how talented should be en pointe in their first year of study. There is so much to take in at the beginning of learning anything new and whilst I have no doubt that you are doing really well there is no way, unless you are the greatest ballerina that ever lived, that you will have grasped everything.

I would say get a second opinion, continue to take classes to get a good grasp of the basics. That will never do you any harm, pointe work before you are physically ready will.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:46 am 
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Well, I don't care if you people think I'm taking "short cuts" because I'm not. I'm doing very good at what I do so I guess I really don't need advice, because it's not advice, I'm being told what not to do, that I'm taking short cuts and that my teacher's wrong. So don't bother giving me "advice" about this topic.


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