I am super excited to be writing this blog post today! I'm sure at one point we all have taken a ballet class either for fun, or even at a more serious level. Although, for one reason or another, you stopped.
I have heard so many reasons why people have had to stop or did not have access to classes. Whether it was a financial situation, did not work with their parent's schedule, time commitment, lack of transportation, and so on, I have heard many reasons that did not allow students to pursue a career in this beautiful art form. Being a dancer myself, I have been involved in the dance community, for the last 21 years. I started dance at age 4 and was fortunate to have parents who dedicated their lives to my dance schedule and also worked hard to find scholarship opportunities to allow me to stay committed.
One of the greatest programs that I currently have the pleasure to teach are the adult students in our community and I am so grateful to be able to enrich our students with the knowledge and background of the Russian “Vaganova Method”.
"Am I too old!?"
Now, you may be wondering, is it too late for me to start dancing, am I too old? Fortunately, I have some amazing news for you! It most definitely is NOT TOO LATE! You can be a beginner student at any level, and I have seen amazing results of dedicated beginner students of all ages! What, you may ask? But yes ALL AGES!
Beginner adult ballet is one of my favorite classes to teach, but why? Well….
This class allows me to go back to the roots and core of Russian training. Russian training on its own can sound intimidating and scary, but it is by far one of the safest and effective training methods. If taught properly, you will excel with consistent classes and corrections from your teacher! My three main priorities in class are, Technique, Strength & Flexibility, and Motivation!
The Technique, of course, is key in anything you do. Starting with the basics is always consistent in every ballet class you will take. I always remind my students to please ask questions! Our minds are capable of incredible things when we fully understand the movements and executions of the steps! The more questions the better, because I am sure other classmates have the same ones! Learning terminology and its meaning is also a key factor in growing your technique. With the Vaganova method, we follow a strict syllabus where the movements all build and grow from the moment you touch the ballet barre! Everything has a reason, and as you learn more steps you will see how the smallest thing you did, even in the first combination will come back in later training.
Strength & Flexibility
Strength & Flexibility are also a huge component in beginner training and also maintaining technique. All Vaganova classes start student's initial training with floor barre work! Floor barre is a great way to learn how to properly hold the posture, build and develop leg muscles, back muscles, this list can go on and on! When combining this class with beginner barre work you have a different understanding of the movements. Everything you do on the floor essential lines your hip placement and with proper guidance will allow you to focus on using proper muscles and gaining strength! I recommend finding an academy that offers 2 -3x per week of this class!
Motivation & Positivity in the classroom!
Last, and probably the most important part of your training, is the relationship you build with ballet. Motivation in the classroom is what keeps us thriving and wanting more. Ballet is difficult, and you are always constantly learning, trust me! I learn every day and grow as a teacher the moment I have new students walking through the door. The way we ALL learn is different, and it is a teacher's job to gauge the room.
I love a positive and accepting environment. Ballet is fun, and an amazing workout! Every beginner student is accepted and is here to do the same thing. Learn, grow, and have fun! Mistakes are welcomed, and we shouldn't be afraid to mess up! I think messing up is about the learning process. Ballet steps can be done in different ways and sometimes even “personalized” towards yourself! You'll never know unless you try!
So, the next time you're questioning whether it is too late for you to join ballet, or if you won't be “good enough”, please take that thought out of your head and make that call to your local dance studio! We are our greatest critique, and teachers are eager to enrich their students with healthy and positive knowledge!
Written by Marissa Smith