Oh hey look, a question!
Let’s read it!
Hey Adult Beginner!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and it has inspired me to sign up for a few beginner ballet classes (ballet III, teen beginner’s ballet and adult/older teen beginner’s ballet). I think I’ll be the newest one in the class. What can I expect for the first class? Nothing too terrifying, like fouettes and mid-air leap split karate kicks, right? No Black Swan prima ballerinas with glowing red eyes? I’m pretty nervous, but really excited at the same time!
Thanks for your help!
Ok, Gentle Reader, did you read the part where E sez that reading this blog inspired her to sign up for ballet?
Isn’t That Cool?!!!
(ok ok Adult Beginner, get it together now)
E, OmygawdI’msoproudandexcitedforyou! (dammit, self, I told you to calm down!) ok. Deep Breath.
All right E, what to expect in your first class?
Well, the nice thing about ballet is that it honors it’s traditions, by which I mean it does not evolve quickly, by which I mean, a ballet class will include certain elements, no matter the school or level.
Which means my whatever-number class and your first class will be totally different experiences involving almost all the same elements.
And that’s neat!
Ok, short answer:
You’ll do things at the barre, then you’ll do things in the center of the room, facing the mirror.
First, buy slippers. They don’t cost very much, you’ll feel confident-both in that you look correct and that you won’t slip, and your teacher will see that you mean business. Teacher will see you are there to get your ballet on, dammit!
Second, introduce yourself to the teacher before class. It’s just nice. Not to mention a teacher who knows your name and background can give you more helpful corrections.
Adult beginners are friendly and very rarely have red glowing eyes, so if you have any questions like where to put your bag, just ask your classmates.
Class starts at the barre.
Your first instinct will be to go to the back of the line of people.
Put yourself somewhere in the middle, so that when everyone turns, you aren’t suddenly at the head of the line.
Ok, so what will you do? A bunch of very specific and small leg exercises, which will leave you shockingly sore the next day. Each exercise works one leg, then you turn and work the other.
You’ll be at the barre about half the class. Or so. Then your teacher will invite you to go to a corner, or form rows, or line up along the back, and then you might do jumps, or two or three steps in a row which is called a combination. The idea is that you’ve warmed up at the barre, probably stretched, and practiced some specific steps that your teacher will now incorporate into some combination to test your body and confuse your brain.
The center work can be scary because you’re exposed after the shelter of the barre, but the center is a time to go big and maybe surprise yourself.
Once took a class with a very brusque teacher. Felt overwhelmed and very serious until we got to some big jumps, which were so fun that I busted into a big dopey grin, which was when he said, “well. You are all like blocks of wood, but at least I can see some of you take a least a little pleasure in this.” Ha!
Your teacher might throw in some kind of mid-air leap split karate kick type thing, maybe to please the more experienced students, maybe just to see if the class is up for it. Either way, try it!
Finally there’ll be something to signify the end of class. Hopefully a reverénce, maybe stretching, maybe applause.
Gentle Reader, do you remember your first ballet class? Got anything to add/subtract/contradict/concur?
E, have a great class!