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 Post subject: Please I need help
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:07 am
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This is my first year dancing, I'm 15, soon to be 16, and I'm in highschool. I was placed this year in a 5th grade ballet class and my tap class is a mixture of 4th and 5th graders. I feel so uncomfortable and awkward not being in a dance level with people my own age. I put a lot of work and effort into my technique and I think that if I was placed somewhere higher I could be able to do harder and more advanced things, I'm already starting pointe and I want to do more of that. The other problem I'm having is that I know my dance teacher is not going to move me up a level, and I've been thinking about checking out this other dance school in the same town to see if I can place somewhere else. Can someone please give me a little advice? Are there any good video tapes I can study over the summer to improve my technique?

Audrey


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 44
Location: United Kingdom
I'm no expert but maybe because its your first year of dance...they've put you in that group so you are able to settle in and establish where you are at.

It may not be based upon how good you are or your technique...just, like I said, so you settle in. If you can do the work and your technique is good, you should be proud of yourself and be confident, that might be another reason you are in the group you are...to build up your confidence and abilities

Don't rush yourself...your teacher will move you up when she thinks you are ready?

But I'm no expert..that's just my opinion.
Happy Dancing xx

p.s. have you talked to your teacher about how you're feeling?

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


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
First off, what are your goals here? Two things you've mentioned concern me if your goal is to learn ballet:
1. They have tap classes at the school as well. While this does not in and of itself diminish the quality of ballet instruction, it is an indicator.
2. They put you en pointe with less than a year of training. This is a serious, serious problem. Even if it does not lead to injury, it won't lead to you dancing well either.
If you continue on this course, you will likely have no future beyond high school as a ballet dancer.

My advice would be that if you wish to learn ballet (and not get injured) --- then find a school that's serious about teaching ballet. And don't expect to go en pointe until you've studied ballet seriously (3-6) days/week for at least a couple of years.

My other advice is to get used to studying with children, for now. Ballet class is not a social hour. If you wish to dance well in the future, you have to start at the beginning and work your way through the training program. Most of the people in your age group have more experience at this point, that's why they're in a more advanced class. Within 3-5 years, you will probably be placed with your age group, since you will likely learn faster than the children. But it takes time and dedication. In the meantime, you can be of help in the children's classes: although you're not any more advanced than them in technique, you are more mature and can help the teacher that way if you take a positive attitude.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:32 am 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 2:53 pm
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Location: france
I'm quite ok with citibob.
But maybe you can ask your professor (the same or the new one...) to take one class per week with the next grade... it could be good for your motivation...
(sorry for my english..:( )


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:25 am 
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citibob wrote:
First off, what are your goals here? Two things you've mentioned concern me if your goal is to learn ballet:
1. They have tap classes at the school as well. While this does not in and of itself diminish the quality of ballet instruction, it is an indicator.
2. They put you en pointe with less than a year of training. This is a serious, serious problem. Even if it does not lead to injury, it won't lead to you dancing well either.
If you continue on this course, you will likely have no future beyond high school as a ballet dancer.

My advice would be that if you wish to learn ballet (and not get injured) --- then find a school that's serious about teaching ballet. And don't expect to go en pointe until you've studied ballet seriously (3-6) days/week for at least a couple of years.

My other advice is to get used to studying with children, for now. Ballet class is not a social hour. If you wish to dance well in the future, you have to start at the beginning and work your way through the training program. Most of the people in your age group have more experience at this point, that's why they're in a more advanced class. Within 3-5 years, you will probably be placed with your age group, since you will likely learn faster than the children. But it takes time and dedication. In the meantime, you can be of help in the children's classes: although you're not any more advanced than them in technique, you are more mature and can help the teacher that way if you take a positive attitude.


Thanks for your advice, but no thanks. I don't think that the pointe is a serious problem at all. My dance teacher has been teaching for thirty years, I think I'll take her judgement when it comes to pointe, seeing as she's been doing it for thirty years. As far as everything else goes, I believe I do have a somewhat better technique than they do because they've been dancing longer than I have and they don't even know what they are doing. Thanks.
Audrey


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Most of us are used to being in classes with people our own age, but my recent experience has been in degree classes with people less than half my age. I would try not to let it worry you.

The thing that matters is the quality of teaching and the support you receive. A friend of mine started ballet at 21 in a class of low-teens and went on to be a successful teacher and now one of the leading decision makers in UK dance.

Alarm bells rang for me as well that you were being put on point in your first year of dancing. I am aware that US practise in this respect can be markedly different to that of the UK and the related countries. However, I am confident that it is highly unlikely that any UK teacher would allow a student on point in their first year - the strength and technique are simply not there.

Audrey, I strongly urge you to get a second local opinion on the advisability of this. I would also appreciate further comments from our US-based team.


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat Jun 11, 2005 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:42 am 
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Location: SF CA
Sorry to have to disagree with your teacher here, but no student is ready for pointe work in their first year no matter how old you are. If I have read your post correctly you did just start this year? Having taught for 30 years she should know better.

You need at least 3 technique classes of 1 1/2 hrs per week for at least 2 years before you know what you are doing enough to handle pointe work.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:43 am 
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Actually Lucy, I'm doing pretty well with my balance and my technique in pointe. I think the other girls in my class are having a hard time with it, like I said i'm doing somewhat better than they are. So I guess I'm living proof that yes, you can start pointe your first year of dancing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:37 pm 
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Location: SF CA
Yes, you can start pointe in your 1st year. You can also drive a car without a licence, but is it safe or smart? I think not, but that is just my, well no... lots of professional teachers opinions.

Just curious but are you in the US or the UK?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:50 am
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Location: London
by the way, how old are 4th and 5th grade children? (this is the age group the original poster said that she is dancing with). They don't sound very old to me, so not only has the teacher put a student with less than one years technique on pointe, but she is possibly also putting relatively young kids on pointe too. I think she's quite dangerous.

Audrey, sometimes it happens that a person can be perfectly nice, well-meaning and pleasant, and even have taught for 30 years, but still be wrong in their method. It may seem cruel, and you may be pleased with your progress, but it can't hurt to get a second opinion from another school or teacher (especially if you are confident of your own ability, what have you to fear from being watched by another teacher?). I think you should go ahead with your original plan to try out another school, and listen to their advice.

Incidentally, I started at about 14 years of age and was dancing with 8 year olds (I wanted to start in the first grade of the syllabus to make sure I had solid technique). Within 3 years I was dancing with girls of my age. If you have the talent that you believe you have, and you apply your mind and work hard, I am sure that it won't be long before you are dancing with your peers. Of course, part of working and thinking hard about dance is accepting that you might have to work with the little ones at first, because in order to be good at the advanced steps you must be VERY good at the basics! A good teacher will move you along when you are ready.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:38 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
There is no question, that regardless of talent, ballet training and the hoped-for and expected results take time and take time to see. It is a cumulative process. When you're new to it, there is a lot of quick progress, as you're learning a new vocabulary as well as disciplining your body and mind as you go.

One suggested goal is to see how much better -- and how much more you can challenge yourself -- on a daily basis with not only the big stuff but with the myriad little things. Like a tilt of the head and hand, making a phrase more expressive and musical, and seeing how quickly you can learn and reproduce steps and patterns, plus working on your line and placement. Also, stamina takes times too.

I see no harm in trying classes at other studios, if anything, to learn, contrast and compare.

Stick with it, and you'll find you'll be making enormous strides over a period of time. It's fun and well worth it.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:08 pm 
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Location: New England
From a young age, I studied dance with someone who had been teaching for 30 years. Unfortunately, she did not know how to teach ballet, even after 30 years. All my time with her did NOT prepare me for a future as a dancer. No one would put me in any shows because I did not have the skills. It was like going through high school and graduating from 12th grade but only reading at a 3d grade level.

Eventually, as an adult, I had to re-train from the beginning with someone who did know how to teach ballet. I was lucky to have had that opportunity. Now I have had a professional dance career.

That is why I ask you about your goals for dancing. Because it is quite likely that this school will not train you in a way that will make it possible for you to dance later in life.

"When can I go en pointe" is one of the most common questions asked when embarking on ballet training. But in this case, the much more important question you need to focus on is whether you are getting the training you need for your future goals. A second opinion on THAT issue would be valuable for you.

One last thing you can do: look at the people who graduate from your school, look at what they do in dance beyond the age of 18, and ask yourself realistically if that is a future you want for yourself. If there are no professional dancers who used to study at your school, then that is a very bad sign. If there are some, you might seek them out and interview them: they will be able to tell you in hindsight to what extent they feel the training they received at your school was worthwhile for their goals.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:47 pm 
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Lucy, driving a car without a license shouldn't be compared to someone starting pointe their first year.....What's the worst that can happen? I don't have any blisters yet, we only do it at the barre (and won't be going away from the barre for a LONG time), so please tell me why exactly it's not safe to do.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:21 pm 
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Location: New England
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.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:37 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Hi audreyballerina...another former professional dancer for many years and now a teacher chiming in here. You've been given great feedback by an extremely experienced and professional crew! Take it to heart because it is heartfelt and very good. I would definitely check out the "google" search citibob provided for you. You don't have the experience or hindsight perhaps to really understand what you THINK you understand...that is what teachers are for...You sound very enthusiastic about ballet which is wonderful! It sounds as though you might have natural talent and ability...this is why your teacher wants you to get a more solid foundation before she moves you to the next level. If you rush too much, you may end up with chronic injuries and problems and this is to be avoided at all costs..."Talent is Work"....Galina Ulanova


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