WIll I Ever Be At Least an OK Dancer?

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

This is a little anxiety question that likely lurks in the back of the minds of many of us who take or have taken adult beginning ballet classes. Naturally if we have an interest in starting ballet at an er, advanced age, chances are we have seen some kind of professional ballet dancing. We see the bodies of professional ballet dancers and see they are perfectly tuned instruments to bring music to life, and they make everything look so easy.

Hmmph.
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Dance Studio Review: Pro-Stage, Kreuzberg, Berlin

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

U-Bahn: U7 or U8, Hermannplatz

Urbanstrasse 71
10967 Berlin

+49 30/61209261
http://www.pro-stageberlin.de/ballett.html

(note: the review below is of the old studio on Mehringdamm; once I take a class in the NEW finished Urbanstrasse studio I will update! I did take the very first class in the new studio, but the construction was not yet complete so I can’t give a fair observation of the space.)

Pros: nice morning classes to start your day/Matthew/bright unobstructed studio/great price

Cons: studio is a little small (see note above)/not a lot of variety in teaching styles

Teacher: Matthew Thomas- English National Ballet

I can only say good things about Pro-Stage, really. Matthew Thomas is the main ballet teacher and teaches 4 days a week. I wish there were other classes to take, but I think the studio is starting out and still operating on a small scale. The only bad thing is that the studio is kind of small, but Matthew seems to create the combinations with that in mind (contretemps!) so it really isn’t an issue. Plus the prices are reasonable. 7 euro to try any class for the 1st time, then 9 euro after.

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Dance Studio Review: Domus Danza, Buenos Aires, Argentina

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Tacuari 477 at Venezuela
Barrio: San Telmo/Monserrat
Subte: Independencia
4334 6379
http://www.domusdanza.com.ar/horarios.html

Yes! WOOD FLOORS! And great teachers….who teach in flip-fops and jeans :O) They can still do 4 pirouettes in flip-flops, it is incredible.

Another great thing is the price. You can buy an ‘abono mensual’ (monthly pass) choosing 1, 2, 3, or 4 classes a week. I buy the 3 classes a week pass, so I get 12 classes a month for 260 pesos (currently about $65 US)….that works out to less than $5.50 US a class! A one time drop-in class is 40 pesos, or $10 US.

This is my favorite adult ballet school in Buenos Aires. And my second favorite in the world. Alas, it is hard to beat the dilapidated Centre de la Danse du Marais in Paris when doing dance studio reviews.

Sala 1:

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Dance Studio Review: Dock 11, Berlin, Germany

April 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

Dock 11, Prenzlauerberg
U-Bahn: U8 Rosenthaler Platz or Senenfelder Platz
Kastanienallee 79
10435 Berlin
+49 30/4481222
http://www.dock11-berlin.de/index.php/cat/2_0_1/id/p3_Ballett.html

In a nutshell: good to great teachers, but the owners really need to make some improvements in the dance studios.

***I cannot stress enough how annoying the 2 ceiling support poles are, especially if the class gets to 10 people or more. It is super irritating trying to improve and you can never complete the combination because you are going to either run into a pole or another dancer. And worst of all, the barres are a homemade cheap-o affair: much too light curtain rods affixed with velcro to a curtain rod bracket. Yes, velcro. Curtain rods. They slide around constantly and feel really wobbly, it is really frustrating. Especially when you know someone could spend 30 minutes and find a cheap, simple, stable fix. In fact, I do not go to Dock 11 any longer unless I am forced to (summer break for many dance studios…). I really wish they would move the ballet classes into Saal 2 and fix the barres. I can’t take it any more! ***

Pros: Variety of teaching styles/clean, modern studios/ classes mornings & evenings/ morning classes are a steal at 7 Euro/ a small cozy cafe inside/nice big mirrors/warm community feeling/ well-ubicated near U Bahn and tram stops/all teachers speak English

Cons: main studio (Saal 1) has 2 big ceiling support poles that really get in the way/the barres are attached..with VELCRO, it is terribly unstable!/evening classes are pricey at 11 Euro drop-in/ no Saturday class/ to buy a month discount class card you must choose either only beginning or only intermediate

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Ballet Photo & Video Dictionary

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

You have started your classes and are now being inundated with all these….moves…and…French words! What is a person in adult beginner ballet to do to make sense of all of it?

Here is one of the most handy-dandy resources I have ever found online. It is a wonderful photo and video ballet dictionary put together by the wonderful American Ballet Theater. Want to see how a certain movement or pose that you are having trouble with is done correctly, by a professional ballet dancer?

American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Dictionary

A dictionary of videos of ballet moves! And the descriptions help a lot too.

I know if I keep watching that jete’ entrelace’ video over and over I will finally get it!

How to Start in Adult Beginner Ballet

February 20, 2011 § 27 Comments

So you are ready to start adult beginner ballet….and you are over 18!?!?! You’ve come to¬† good place to learn about ballet for the over 18 and under 180 (degree turnout haha) crowd.

Well awesome! Hopefully you are surrounded by supportive and open-minded people who dig the idea of you doing something completely out of your comfort zone. If you aren’t, well, who cares what people think anyway.

So let’s talk about what you will need to get started in that first class!

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Who is Balletcougar?

February 18, 2011 § 15 Comments

About Me

I’m Jacki and I am 36 years old. I started adult beginner ballet when I was 27. All my life, I had been an athlete: basketball, soccer, track and field, biking, hiking and cross-country running. As a child, if I had been asked what I wanted to do instead of sports, I would have emphatically chosen ballet. But I wasn’t asked (haha yes that is a poke at my parents). By the age of 27, I was no longer participating in organized sports; rather, I had become a gym-exerciser. Gym-ratting had become completely boring for me and I was looking to do some physical activity that actually engaged my brain and resulted in something besides an elevated heart rate…. « Read the rest of this entry »