ballet class update #2

I know it’s been a while. I’ve been so busy with university these past weeks, it literally took overhand. Term papers had to be written, books read, quizzes passed, blah blah…

Anyway, I’m back writing and I think I can announce an upgrade! Namely, I joined the advanced adult beginners ballet class! Yay! Fact is, I’ve been thinking about moving a level up for a while now. In the past month or so I’ve been a bit meh after class every time. You know, not unhappy just a bit urhh…Earlier this year quite a few new people joined the class and especially for the last weeks I felt it being a bit restraining. I always like new people joining and am excited for them taking their first classes. But since our original ballet beginners group kind of broke apart (atleast one girl hasn’t been in the studio for over a month now, others are busy with their work and only irregulary find time to take class & two others switched to monday’s class due to their weekly schedule and appointments) I ended up being the only “advanced beginner” in a group with very beginners. Therefore class slowed down. So this monday I went to the advanced beginners class with one of the girls I did the ballet workshop with a month ago (she’s the youngest and has been dancing for a year or so plus shes really good) and I liked it so so much! Quite a few things were new to me but I picked up fast and could keep up well. So now I decided that I’ll join the advanced class for good while still going to the more basic one as well. Wanted to dance as much as possible a week anyway but till then I thought the only class I’m able to take (level-wise) is the one I’ve been taking ever since. I’m very happy about this and feel like it’s a good combination: monday class is harder and I’ll have to push myself to keep up, thursdays is mostly working on technique, strength and applying corrections. So this finally finally makes two ballet classes à 2 hrs each/week! Hopefully I’ll be able to take even more once this semester and all my uni exams are over.

Also, I have so many posts pre-planned in my head already so beware of more to come very soon.

Wishing all fellow ballerinas out there all the best with their dancing and a lovely day   X

struggles

Today I took an extra ballet lesson. It was part of a workshop weekend hosted by my studio. So far so good.

I signed up for two ballet workshops on Saturday (today) and Sunday (tomorrow) two weeks ago. They were marked as Level II: Beginners with basic knowledge/easy intermediate level. I remember very well that when I gave the fee to my ballet teacher and she put my name on the list she commented it with “You’re brave”.

I shoud have wondered why.

When I arrived today Mr B. (a friend of my ballet teacher from another studio who would teach the workshop) introduced himself, I got changed and greeted the two other students (a 20-something year old girl who hasn’t danced for a year and a fourty-ish man from the intermediate adult course). My ballet teacher also joined us.

And then I had the hardest, most intense ballet class of my life.

Of course, I did expect it to be a bit more advanced than my normal beginners’ class. Especially since Mr B. wouldn’t know what we were capable of yet (or not). But really: this was so so intense! We did proper long and complicated barre combos with lots of steps I didn’t know yet. Which wasn’t even bad. I mean yes, I struggled: I messed up quite a lot, I desperately tried to copy what the others were doing. My arms were swaying somewhere over my head, at my side, infront, diagonally, I don’t even know. Mr B. shouted all those french words at us and I could only think: Make it stop, please. And please don’t start crying.

Middle. I did piqué turns all over the place. I attempted crazy pirouette combinations. I did some kind of changement, pas de bourrée something. After all, I guess I was brave.

Same class tomorrow. And I don’t really know what I feel.

It was the hardest class for me and I never struggled so much. But then I’ve only been dancing for half a year now and I’ve never done about 80% of the steps we did today before. Regarding this, I think I did alright. I really tried so hard plus I didn’t come up with an excuse and left midway (which I did consider more than once). The class was advanced and it was too advanced for me. But I did struggle through it.

The others won’t be able to come tomorrow, so it will only be me. Another class like this? A private? A private ballet nightmare? I was about to speak to my ballet teacher and say that I also won’t be coming tomorrow. But then I thought 1) Mr B. was really really nice and incredible patient with me 2) I paid for both classes and more importantly 3) It would mean that I’d give up. And I don’t want to give up. I forbid myself to cry when I got home and instead thought about all the lovely things I struggled to do today. Steps and jumps and combinations I’ve seen on beautiful dancers before. I might be a hot mess in there again tomorrow but I’ll try my hardest to keep up and do things correctly. And after all I did actually learn a lot today: Hello!? I did pirouettes!!!

 

ballet class update #1

Yesterday’s class took place in another studio, namely studio 2. The thing with studio 2 is that it doesn’t have mirrors behind the barre but only on the opposite wall.

I remember being very uneasy months ago when we first took class in there since I’ve been a notorious mirror-starer. Don’t get me wrong, of course the mirrors are there for a reason and allow you to check and correct yourself which is great. But I find that especially beginners often get completely fixed on it which isn’t so great. So by now I adjusted to it and have to admit that I kind of prefer only having full-length mirrors on the opposite wall. I think it helps me to concentrate on feeling whether my toes are pointed all the way, whether I’m keeping my shoulders down, whether I’m slightly sickling my foot and so on.

My ballet teacher usually leads every new barre excercise we do facing the left-hand side. Yesterday she picked me out to take the last spot on the barre so that I can guide when doing our combos to the other side. I think this is the only “advantage” I have regarding my thirteen years of carnevalesque and show dance experience: I’m one of a few in my class with a good sense of music and rhythm and I hardly ever forget a combination.

Also, this weekend I’m taking two extra classes, yay!

BTW: I’m writing this post during the solar eclipse and the light is so dim and weirdly shadowed that I feel a bit ghosty haha. Anybody else watching the solar eclipse today?

first dancehaul

The other day I went to buy my first real ballet leotard in a proper dancewear boutique.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I mean when was the last time I wore a leotard? That must have been trillion of years ago. Also, my experience with specialised shops (especially for dance clothes) has been either extremely good or extremely poop. I remember visiting dance stores with my mum when I was younger and the assistants asking me a dozen of questions e.g. what jazz shoe material I prefer, if I want my tights to be in the colour light-toast, toast, or medium-toast, etc. (No joke btw, the tights we used to wear for carnevalesque dancing were those Danskin ones all named after different colours of toast. Ikr.) Anyway, if you enter a dance store and get bombarded with questions you don’t even understand or have no idea how to answer it can be a little intimidating.

I guess most people would be glad about shop assistants giving advice and showing one different options regarding leotards, tights, shoes etc. But I was glad to find that the only salesperson was busy fitting latin dance shoes to two other women (even though she snugged past me more than once asking if I do need any help and excusing for being busy with the shoes). Relieved to be able to check out everything on my own I worked my way from rack to rack and ended up trying on about four different leotards in the changing room. I have to add that the store was quite small selling rather selected brands but I decided it would be good to go there to buy my very first ballet basics before ordering tons of stuff online without really knowing what sizes I’d need.

I ended up with a pretty basic all-black leotard from Papillon, no shorts nor skirts (I tried on Freed ones and….no) and two pairs of Sansha microfibre footed tights in ballet pink and white. Some of the leos I tried on were super fancy and I would have loved to buy everything but 1) everything was rather expensive, 2) like way more expensive than if you’d get the same item online (+ shipping costs) and 3) I decided it would be smarter to just get this plain one that fits really flattering and then go on an online shopping spree as soon as I’m home.

So here it is, my very first dancehaul:

first leotard

tights

 

 

what to wear to your first ever ballet class

When I signed up for ballet I was beyond excited and browsed the web for all kind of What to expect/How to not look like a total fool/Ballet 101 advices. Then I stumpled upon the very important question What do you wear to your first ballet class? As an adult?!

I think I was lost in the ballet zone browsing through dancewear online stores for hours, literally. But looking at all these leotards, little skirts and shorts, legwarmers, ballet slippers, tights, jackets and tutus (and sometimes wondering how the hell you are meant to wear them) didn’t really help me to find an answer to my question at all. (I admit I also found myself drooling over pointe shoes, send help!) I really had to force myself focusing on the reality: I defo wouldn’t need a fancy tutu nor pointe shoes for a while. As in a loooooooooong while.

After I recovered from my ballet fever I decided to check my studio’s webpage again and tada there it said that for the first lessons you’re totally cool wearing a pair of leggings with a good fitting top/shirt and socks without anti-slip soles. Of course this will always depend on your studio and their dress code but I guess most will allow one to come wearing leggings and a sports top for their first ever ballet class, which might be more like a trial lesson anyway.

So this is what I personally ended up with wearing:

– basic black leggings from Forever21 (I love love LOVE their leggings! They fit so flattering and snug and the material is super soft but tough at the same time basically never creating an awkward undies-shine-through-line if you know what I’m talking about)

– a spaghetti top with a lacy cutout from Primark

– a plain black sports bra from H&M underneath

– hair up in a ponytail

and – socks!

And, halleluja, when I arrived at the studio and saw my future fellow ballet class mates I was totally relieved seeing them wearing more or less the same combination I had chosen for myself.

I have to add though that my ballet studio doesn’t have a dress code for adult students as my ballet teacher told us after the first class. Meaning that you could always just wear the basic leggings-top combination if you wanted to. Now, about six months after this beginners course started, everyone, including the only male adult beginner advanced to wearing either leotard/leggings/ballet slippers, leotard (or ballet shirt regarding the male student)/tights/shorts or skirt/ballet slippers or (the very brave ones) leotard/tights/ballet slippers.

Fact is, wear what you are comfortable with and if your studio has a really strict dress code (as in scary high-cut leotards) then I’m sure you’ll be able to rock that just as great. If not…there’s always the option to pretend you’re not warm enough yet and keep your warm-up clothes on all class long erm….

 

thoughts on ballet blogs

As many others I also searched up every single existing adult ballet beginner blog/website/youtube channel/instagram account/tumblr there is. There’s just something about finding fellow almost-ballerinas and catching up on their experiences, frustrations and achievements.

I played with the thought of starting my own blog ever since I started my ballet classes. I feel like there’s quite a lot of things, topics, dilemmas, successes (maybe not so many of those) that come up when you start ballet as an adult and that haunt your mind and soul if you can’t share them with anyone. Of course, my family and my boyfriend do support me fully with my dancing but it’s not the same sharing my experiences with someone who doesn’t really know anything about ballet or just doesn’t really understand because one can’t relate to it, which is fair enough and can’t really be expected of someone who isn’t into ballet at all, right?

I love reading and catching up on all these wonderful fellow adult ballet beginners and there’s nothing more reassuring and soothing to me than knowing that others go through the same ballet-related struggles, dreams and accomplishments.

So I decided to join the club.

new girl in ballet slippers

This is me, the new girl in ballet slippers.

I’m 19 years old, living in Germany and started ballet in September 2014 as an absolute beginner.

I really can’t say when I first wished to take ballet classes, to me it feels like I always wanted to dance. When I was 5 years old I started carnivalesque dancing in our local carneval club and so I did 13 years until I decided that it wasn’t for me anymore due to seeeveral seeeveral reasons (even though most of them actually didn’t have anything to do with dancing itself). For years I had dreamed of dancing ballet and especially in the last years I exploited the internet searching for ballet schools offering classes for adult(ish) beginners. In 2013 I stumbled over a studio in my neighbouring town that was literally the only one offering ballet classes for adults without any previous knowledge or ballet experience. In September 2014, after graduating from school in March and about to start university, I was finally brave enough to sign up for the new adult beginner ballet class that was just about to start in the studio I picked out a year ago.

I took my first ever ballet class on the 11th of September 2014 and if I had any tiny doubts about it they were completely vanished after those memorable 90 minutes of beginner barre work.

Ever since I’m one of those super ballet enthusiastic late starters and I’m thrilled to share my own ballet up-and-downs on this little blog.