Monday, March 12, 2012

Adult Ballet Dancers

There is nothing easy about ballet, that's how the adage goes. Except that ballet is easy to love! It does not matter whether you're nineteen years old or forty-three, or if you spend your balletic time in the audience, on the stage or solely in the classroom. Or if you're really lucky, in all of the above! Ballet is seriously addictive, and it can hook you from the first count to eight. Just like that. Plié into the floor, and leave your troubles behind the class-room door. Dance not only sculpts your body, it feeds your brain - mind and soul alike.

Yes, ballet is hard, and it presents a constant challenge. But that's the way we like it! I'm going to do something slightly embarrassing and quote myself:
"If ballet were any easier, where would the challenge and the fun be? Sure, at times it's frustrating. Pirouettes come and go, you confuse left with right, steps refuse to travel from brain to feet, you fall and bruise, you try and fail, you get up and try again. And then you have a moment. And it's bliss." (Pointe Til You Drop: Six Classes Until..)
Bliss. Those moments when all your hard work pays off and you finally nail that double pirouette. Or when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, looking almost ballerina-like. When you jeté off the ground and for a split-second feel air-born. Those moments when the music, the sauts and pas and the port de bras all come together and you have become a dancer. Short-cut to happiness.

Adult recreational ballet dancing is not vocational training, but that does not exclude a passionate pursuit of skill and quality! Adult dancers respect the art of ballet and its traditions, and can be seriously committed students. Class is a common ground, for the new beginner and former semi-pro alike. Even though we are a mixed crowd, anything aged between 18 and 80 (presumably). Students, office workers, stay-at-home-mums, doctors, architects, teachers, artists, it really does not matter in the class-room. You put on your leo and tights, and whatever social status is left in the locker.

Ballet is demanding, even at a recreational level. I get frequently asked how much one can expect to advance as an adult student. Well, it really depends on your motivation, commitment and dedication. And your teachers! Without good teachers any ballet student is adrift in a sea of weird sounding French ballet terminology. You have to know your pas de chats from your pas de chevals.. If I were to give out any advice to a beginning student, it's this: find yourself an awesome ballet teacher! Someone who has respect for the art, but thinks no less of you just because you will never turn pro. That teacher will correct, coach, push and praise you - but still adjust demands to your personal abilities. Class will have a disciplined and positive vibe. There are going to be flushed faces, hard-working, sweaty and smiling dancers.

Adult ballet dancers make up a world-wide and wonderful community. Ballet is our common language and our passion. It is also lot of fun. Ballet keeps giving us happy buzzes, something we want to share with our fellow dancers - and it's the reason for this new blog to go live!

- Johanna for G.U.B.

18 comments:

  1. Hear hear! Ballet adds some depth and dimension to our lives. Those "Bliss" moments are something that I can't get anywhere else-- and I dance my heart out 'til I get them. :)

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    1. Blondie - you are our first commentator! Awesome :)

      Yes, we are all chasing after the sweet and often elusive bliss.. But it is there, waiting to be discovered again and again. That's what I so love about ballet! I'm happy you feel it too.

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    2. Hi Blondie! Our first commentator! High five! As you can tell, we are so excited and we are glad that you are joining our discussion about ballet. Having awesome people around like yourself to talk about ballet with seems to extend the ballet bliss, don't you think?!

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    3. I think it's super important to share the bliss and art of ballet. It makes the experience increase tenfold. So excited about this blog! Thanks for making it! :)

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  2. This blog looks very promising. I can't wait to see how it develops

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I feel the same - it will be interesting to see where this takes us! Also, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, we are happy to help out!

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    2. Us too!!! Suggestions for posts are welcomed with open arms!

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  3. Finally, a community I can be part of! There aren't many adult ballet dancers where I live, so I don't have too many people I can relate to other than those who wish they were taking ballet or my teacher.

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    1. Amber, the internationl adult ballet dancer community is huge, supportive, helpful, friendly and fun! :) I am certainly happy to be a part of it, even though I'm lucky enough to have lots of adult dancer friends here in Finland.

      It's always nice to make new friends! :)

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    2. Yay, Amber! I found more adult ballet dancer pals online before I found some in my area. This is a great community and we are glad you are part of it!

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  4. So excited about this blog! After a fifteen-year break from ballet I just started taking classes again a month ago. My body can't perform what my brain remembers once doing with some level of skill, but my heart still loves it just as much! Looking forward to reading more :)

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    1. Carla, that's terrific! And you know what, your body will catch up with your brain soon enough. Just be patient, work hard and enjoy the ride :) I'm glad you have rediscovered your love for ballet!

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    2. We are excited too!!!! Welcome back to ballet, Carla! Muscle memory, it will all come back to you!

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  5. Very well said! I'm looking forward to reading more from you :)
    I'm relatively new to ballet myself, having started just 2 years ago at the age of 22, and there's definitely no turning back.

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  6. Wow, I just came across this blog after typing in "discouraged adult ballet". My first recital is tomorrow, and I feel more excited than nervous. I've danced on stage before but ballet is much more controlled and challenging. Since I'm still learning I don't look or move as confident as some of the other dancers. I'm also older by 10-20 yrs as there are mostly teens in my adult/teen ballet class.

    What really stuck out to me was finding a good teacher. My teacher is lovely but b/c I'm an adult, she doesn't correct me the way she does the other students and doesn't spend as much time teaching me technique. She's the type of teacher that says GOOD JOB to everythIng. Positivity is great, but in ballet I prefer direct honesty! I tried another adult class a few weeks ago and live it 100 times better. The only downfall is that it's super far, and I don't like diving busy highways at night. I've only been doing ballet for a little over a yr but I feel like I should know how to do more.

    When did you guys feel like you started to move like a trained ballet dancer?

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  7. Goodmorning,

    If Moscow Ballet wants to submit something to you so that you can review it and possibly feature it on your blog, would this be how we would contact you for that?

    Looking forward to your response.

    Sam Gilardi ---- Sam@nutcracker.com
    Moscow Ballet

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  8. Really is it true that now adult can learn adult ballet dance at the age of forty-three then it will be great and I will definitely make my parents understand to join dance classes so that they will maintain their as health by doing dancing as dance make healthy.

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  9. THis tips is very valuable for us its really easy way to clean the ballet shoes .keep share share your ideas with us thumbs up .....


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