The Adult Beginner Review of Beginner/Intermediate Ballet at Millennium Dance Complex

Review By: Adult Beginner
Class Is Called Beginner/Intermediate Ballet
Where Millennium Dance Complex, North Hollywood
Website millenniumdancecomplex.com
How It Is looking at Rhonda Jamb’s key here, I’d say this class, if you do the entire class, is an AB or maybe even TI level. Which pretty much fits with my general experience that whenever the word “intermediate” is snuck into a class description, um, RUN. AWAY.
For example, one of the beg/int classes I took at Millennium, the center work started with brisés across the floor. Um, I think those are pretty advanced? Maybe it’s just me.
This is the only level of ballet offered at Millennium, but there are two different teachers, which creates basically two different classes. If you’re a little bit scurrrred, try Kana first, she demonstrates.
The totally awesome thing about ballet at Millennium is that you can just take the barre. It costs less, and is safer on the ego and possibly the whole rest of you too. It’s a good hard 45 minutes worth of barre with either teacher.
Size Around 30 students
Age Range mostly young. Twenties. Some even younger doing their summer intensives or whatever. Handful of people above 30.
What To Wear In a class of thirty, does it even matter?! Girl, yeah I know it does. Ok: not a whole lot of pink tights in this class. Pretty much just me and the summer camp kids were wearing them. This crowd leans more toward hip-hop than classical ballet, sartorially speaking.
Amenities There is a nice big free parking lot, but it fills up so don’t dawdle. Couple of changing rooms. I didn’t notice if there’s coffee or not but who drinks studio coffee anyway, just go around the corner to Republic of Pie after class.
Any Dudes? Yes. Enough to form their own group for across the floor.
In Conclusion I like Millenium. It’s not the place to go for tons of personal attention, but it’s great for feeling like part of a big dance community.

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Just another awkward conversation in ballet class

Smirnoff brought in a couple books for me to borrow, because he knows what a big book-nerd I am, and along with the books he also lent me this yellowed, folded newspaper article, which he handed to me saying,
“This, my dear, I keep for my students who are mothers, because you see it is written by a dancer, and it discusses the Kegel exercises. Do you know of these Kegel exercises? Very important, these Kegel exercises.”
(Oh my god noooooooo I’m dying let’s just not talk about kegels ok please way too immature to have this conversation dying of embarrassment lalalalalalalalalaalalaalaaaaaaaaaaa)

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Pattern-making Know-it-all versus Silly Stretch Lace Dress.

Saw this silly little dress the other day,
Sheer stretch lace, tank style bodice, handkerchief-hem skirt.
“ooh, fun for ballet class over a leotard and tights!”
Right?
Pulled it off the rack, held the hanger up to my shoulders, turned to the mirror and immediately saw that the front and back of the skirt were incredibly short, like really this thing was a top not a dress at all and if worn to ballet class it would create a totally inappropriate peek-a-boo effect framing the bottom of the leo.
I mean, defo not the look the Adult Beginner is going for but if that’s your jam…
Anyway, here’s this extremely simplified not-to-scale pattern-ish schematic thing that I made, because I’m a pattern dork, of how the dress was made:

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And some options for how it Coulda Been Made Better:

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So there, strange sheer lace dress/top thingie!
In your handkerchief hemmed face!
Furthermore, this would totes work as a skirt a lá SAB style as per this tutorial that I made for Ballet Scoop right here, if anybody was into that sort of thing, just saying.

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must be named for some other Giselle…

Had this fabric forever and ever,
Pulled it off the shelf the other day to make a changing table pad cover for a friend and noticed what they call this silly pink fish-scale print:

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I’m not getting much of a Happy Peasant or Everlasting Love Spirit vibe here. Must be named for some other Giselle.

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the Rhonda Jamb Review of Beginning Ballet at Studio A

Review By: Rhonda Jamb
Class Is Called: Beginning Ballet
Where: Studio A, Silverlake (see website for street address)
Website: studioadance.com
How It Is: This is a great beginner ballet class. Studio A is AWESOME: easy parking, two large studios, non-intimidating vibe. The instructor gauges the class level depending on who shows up, but even if you’re a True Beginner* you’ll be okay and comfortable. Sarah seems to love teaching and is supportive of newbies. She pays close attention to everyone and nitpicks diplomatically. This is a great class for the TB as well as the IB. Bonus: she uses the Downton Abbey theme song during barre work.
Attire-wise: You probably don’t need to show up in a ripstop jumpsuit (even though you know you want to). Chiffon wrap skirts and the occasional thigh-high legwarmer have been spotted, but most of the students keep it simple— leo’s and tights are the most common. Socks, leggings, tanks, etc. will not be frowned upon.

*go here to see the key

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Introducing Rhonda Jamb, Special Correspondent, and a special new project: Review All The Classes!!!

Gentle Reader! I’m super excited to announce a big special new project!
Which is:
Review All The Classes!!!!!!!!!!
All the adult beginner ballet classes in Los Angeles, that is.
Each review will provide important details such as what the class is called, where it is, and what the people are wearing. Also, what level is it really, from a real live adult beginner perspective. Also other totally subjective non-objective things.
Obviously I can’t do this alone, as I am only one totally enthusiastic adult beginner and LA is a big place,
Therefor I am super excited to introduce special field correspondent Rhonda Jamb, who will be starting us off with the first review, and setting up the key by which the class levels will be judged.
Woo!
And now I’d like to pass the mike to Ms. Jamb.
Talk to us, Rhonda!

Hi! Rhonda Jamb here. You may call me Rhonda Jamb, Special Correspondent. As a special correspondent I’ll be reviewing adult beginner classes in LA. I feel as though there’s a grand ecarte-sized hole of information missing when it comes to the adult beginner ballet class, something I’ve had to learn through trial and error. The good news is that you don’t have to. Aren’t you excited? You should be.
I want to preface by saying that I owe a large portion of how far I’ve come as a dancer due to the fact that I’ve taken a lot of classes under the guise that they were beginner but were in fact not. Most of the classes should’ve been listed as “intermediate” or at least “advanced beginner.” Because I had no choice but to try and err, the physical results have been pretty great. Consistently challenging myself has made me a better dancer.
That said, I’m not Buddha. Part of my personal challenge has been in the inability to leave my inner critic at home. While my who-cares-what-other-people-think? muscle is quite flexible; I’m also a living and breathing human being with an ego. Sometimes not being able to complete a pirouette makes me feel bad. Not being able to complete one after eight tries makes me feel worse. My lack of confidence does a little pas de deux with my Frustrated Perfectionist, and before you know it I’m writing fake Yelp reviews in the shower. I’ll blame the teacher, the studio, my legwarmers—anything to quiet the voice that tells me I suck and I should quit so I don’t embarrass myself any further.
The catch is that the only way to make that voice shut up is to keep dancing. If I can’t turn on my eighth try, maybe I will on the ninth. This doesn’t mean I need to go out and buy a pair of Pointe shoes, it just means I need to accept that nothing is easy before it’s hard.
I say all this because I need it to be known, first and foremost, that I LOVE Ballet. These reviews aren’t meant to bash teachers or studios in any way. I support and will continue to support my ballet community, one that I am so grateful to be a part of, and has given me more than I ever could have imagined. These reviews are *my* opinions only. My hope is that they’ll encourage more adults to try something they’ve always wanted to do but never thought they could.

*KEY
TB: True Beginner. Little or no previous ballet knowledge. Maybe you know the five positions but that’s about it.
IB: Intermediate Beginner. Previous ballet training but not for a looooong ass time. You took class in your youth at a rinky-dink school where you learned how to do a tour jete before you grew hips and decided you’d rather be smoking weed with your friends.
AB: Advanced Beginner. Rusty after not getting into Pointe shoes after too many years. You’ve been away, but when you weren’t, you were the best dancer in class and you damn well knew it. Or, you were a TB two or three years ago and rose thru the ranks.
TI: No, I don’t mean the famous rapper who went to jail, I mean True Intermediate. You’re a wonderful ballerina who never quit her day job. Maybe in the next life you’ll know better.
TA: True Advanced. Dude, I don’t even know you. Oh, you take classes at The Edge? Cool. Oh, you were in a J.Lo video? Awesome. Oh, you used to be a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet? Wow… can you sign my ballet slipper? TA’s are the seniors to our freshman. Don’t look at them, don’t talk to them, and do whatever they say—I know it’s unfair but them’s the rules. If you go rogue and find your entire house toilet papered, I’m gonna have to pretend I don’t know you. Sorry.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!!! JK, it’s totally June.

We do these back bends sometimes,
Where we face the barre and hold it with both hands, elbows bent at our sides, and then go back back back until our arms are pulled straight and we can maybe catch a glimpse in the mirror behind us, then come up slowly slowly slowly back to standing as if we are being pulled forward from the sternum.
And while I was coming back up, trying to make my sternum go first, I started thinking about how if this were yoga, the teacher wouldn’t be all Lead With Your Sternum, teacher would be more like, “follow your heart center…” or “…let your heart lead you…” or “…allow your heart to blossom forward and float you up” or some yoga thing.
And I kinda snickered about that in my head for a minute.
But then I was like, why not?
I mean, if the barre is our partner, why don’t I imagine the barre really is my partner? And rise like I’m being pulled by that magnetic pull deep in my chest? Instead of by my frowny frown face?

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