Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Sometimes, the Adult Beginner has to work.
And has to miss Adult Open Level Ballet class.
And tries another class later.
Like Adult Beginning Level Ballet, with Rye.
First time I tried Rye’s class, I left feeling that all my worst fears were conformed: There is no such thing as a For Realz beginning ballet class for adults.
The class was beyond me, all the other students way way more experienced. One girl did the class en pointe! I mean, what the fuck part of ‘beginner level’ includes pointe shoes?!
But Rye has that silliness and ability to generate crazy-ass metaphors that I like in a ballet teacher, so I kept her class filed away in my mind-files as a potential fill-in.
Went back recently and suddenly it was awesome!
Don’t know if it was that enough time has passed and maybe I’ve improved to meet the class level, or if it was just that the Pointe Shoe Wearing Anomaly wasn’t there to annoy me. But the second time was definitely the charm.
You know the Adult Beginner loves her some Adult Open Level Ballet Class with Smirnoff, but dang, it’s so nice to be given a really simple, really broken down exercise that I can really master.
For example, this spotting exercise: Stood facing the mirror, turned our bodies while holding the spot to the count of four, until our bodies were pretty much back to front, then whipped our heads around, found the spot, and continued moving our bodies until the count of eight, when our bodies were facing front again. We did this eight times, four each direction. Total baby-stuff, right? Would’ve been Absolute Bloody Mutiny if Smirnoff tried to play that in Adult Open Level.
But it was very helpful! And I know, I could do spot practice on my own time a lá Billy Elliot, but, um, I never have.
Also did a pre-chainé-né exercise that involved locking our heels together in first position and kind of hoisting ourselves along the diagonal. Suddenly I was really pushing with the lead shoulder, using my core, taking small steps, spotting, using my arms, doing all the things Smirnoff tries to tell me to do during chainés, but I’m always too busy falling over to incorporate his instructions into my flailings.
So, Gentle Reader, my faith in the ballet education system is restored: there is such a thing as a For Realz beginning level adult ballet class.
And what I didn’t know the first time I tried Rye’s class: there’s also Basic Level, which is pre-beginner.
And then there’s Absolute Beginner. Which is pre-pre-beginner.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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7 Responses to Keep it Simple, Stupid!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Keep it Simple, Stupid! | Adult Beginner -- Topsy.com

  2. candice says:

    In defense of the girl in pointe shoes in beginner class…

    Sometimes when you are learning pointe you need to build up strength by just going to a regular class in the shoes; and doing beginner, as opposed to anything harder/faster, works fairly well. My teacher had me on that for a while until I was strong enough to try the adult pointe class. (Jury is still out on whether I can hack it. Trying!)

    Doing a normal barre is also helpful for breaking them in, before trying to dance on your toes for an hour in new shoes.

    also, congratulations on that pirouette. all downhill from there!

    • Ok, Fine, Maybe the Adult Beginner was having a little bit of a Sour Grapes moment. Just a little.
      (pointe shoes So Pretty grumble grumble grumble grumble)
      Are you beginning pointe as an adult or returning to pointe? Either way, yay!

      • candice says:

        No worries. Everyone has the “oh my god I am so fat and slow and awful compared to everyone else here” class sometimes. I moved into intermediate a while back and the skinny, it is intimidating.

        I am beginnerish on pointe – I started 2 years ago when I was 27. It took a year of 15 minutes after class pointe exercises just to get to the open floor. And the open floor is terrifying at first. (Pirouettes en pointe – really really scary.)

        If you’ve been at it a year, taking class a lot, you could probably manage. Where I take classes some of the adults get recruited onto pointe to be in the snow corps for nutcracker and stuff like that. Being twig thin is also not a requirement. Thankfully.

  3. Mia says:

    hahaha! no, i love it! “the pointe shoe wearing anamoly!” the only time i’ve ever seen pointe shoes in an adult beginner class was at the Orlando Ballet Theatre, and they were company members who seemed to be dropping in on class for lack of anything better to do, those snooty pointe shoe wearing anamolies. Here is my objection to pointe in open adult classes: it intimdates true beginner. Perhaps not you..but if they are strong enough to be en pointe, they belong in a different, more advanced class. Disclaimer *my two cents.” When I took an open adult class the other day (thanks to you!) I wore soft slippers on purpose so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they were out of “my” league. I didn’t have to. I was tipping my hat to the dedication of the “beginners.” I wanted everyone to feel as though they were on the same playing field so any inhibitions could be shed and each dancer could work to their full potential without being distracted by the lone chick that does pointe, and thus must be “better” than everyone else. Pshawww. That damn sure ain’t me. (Again, Mia’s two cents! Mine alone! Take adult beginning classes en pointe if you feel like it!)

  4. Literally the first person I saw in my first ballet basics class was a woman wearing pointe shoes. I can’t tell you the feeling of “oh my God, panic, panic!!” that came over me. Then I looked around, realized everyone else was wearing slippers, and that there was only one studio, so I HAD to be in the right class. Lo and behold, I was, and it was as broken down and basic as the one you describe above, in a wonderful way. For some stupid reason I’ve never thought about practicing spotting that way at home, but I will now! I also heard someone suggest spinning around in an office chair and spotting, but my coworkers would definitely think I was crazy.

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