Ballet!

And now for something completely different…I took my first ballet class this morning!

No, I’m not switching dance styles. I decided to take up ballet once a week as a cross training exercise. I’m hoping the slow, deliberate movements and learning of ballet will help with my turn out, arch, carriage, and balance, among other things. After my trial class this morning I do think it could be useful, so I bought a 10 class punch card at the studio I attended. I was happy to find them as they have a huge adult program!

Some initial impressions:

  • I still like Irish better. It’s a bit more exciting and the music is one hundred times better. I don’t hate classical music at all, I just really prefer traditional Irish music to the soft piano of ballet.
  • There were some movements quite similar to Irish, and some completely different. The whole concept of moving my arms, moving my head, and putting my heels on the floor and bending the knees was odd. Fifth position, points, and a close first position were the most similar to my Irish steps.
  • Working at the barre was great for concentrating on the line of my legs. I’m hopeful that it will help my turn out and how I tend to list to the side when all my weight is on one leg.
  • Although there is no dress code for adults and there was no one in a leotard and tights, I was very aware that I looked different than the rest of the class. I wore my typical Irish gear, but I was the only one not in leggings, not in a tank top, and wearing socks with my shoes. Now I know for next week!
  • The studio was SO WARM. A tank top next week is a must.
  • I liked how the instructor would walk around during exercises and physically correct our placement. I’m sure it would bother some people, but I don’t always understand how to move myself into position so I appreciated that it was done for me. It helped me feel the proper positions and work to achieve them on my own.
  • Ballet language =/= English, it’s French and I will need to do some learning! Today I learned:
    • Positions: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. Irish uses an over-crossed fifth.
    • First position arms
    • Barre: A bar you exercise at to start class
    • Center: Put the bar away and dance on the floor without it
    • Plié: basically a turned out squat
    • Tendu: same as a point in Irish
    • Dégagé (I think?): lift the point (tendu) off the ground
    • Sous-sus: Jump into fifth position up on toes. This was the most similar thing to Irish that I did today.
    • Rond de jambe: I don’t remember learning this term but we definitely drilled this movement

While I absolutely prefer Irish, I do think the ballet work will help my form and my flexibility. I could feel that my feet and my legs had gotten a good workout during the class and had moved directions they aren’t used to going!

Another thing that excited me about trying a new dance style was I got to buy new gear! I love gear and was slightly disappointed that I didn’t need to buy new dance-specific attire too (although I hate tights so I don’t know why I’m disappointed). The only thing I needed to get were ballet shoes, but that was still fun. I got a beginner full sole leather slipper. Unboxing below!

I don’t know if this counts as a proper unboxing since I tried them on before I bought them.

They feel a bit odd since they aren’t a split sole and they fit a lot looser than ghillies. I hate the color pink, but I still really dig my shoes. The elastic was pre-sown on the inside and was rubbing my foot while I was starting the breaking in process, so I covered the ends that were rubbing in athletic tape. Worked perfectly! I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring and if I’ll see any improvements in both my performance in ballet class and my performance in Irish class.

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4 thoughts on “Ballet!

  1. I am so happy to have discovered your blog! I am a ballet dancer who dabbled in Irish dance (mostly when I lived in Ireland), so I experienced the opposite of you! I feel *very* odd keeping my arms pinned down and my head straight forward, but I also very much appreciate that I can completely focus on my carriage, legs, and feet. I have always worn Bloch, and I wore the full-sole leather pumps for quite some time (although I switched over to canvas, split-sole once I moved into my professional exams). How are you finding the difference in music? So excited to keep reading!!! Cheers 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment! In all honesty, I found the music very uninspiring and unmotivating compared with Irish. Gaelic music is one of my top genres in general, so I love hearing some fiddle or pipes when I dance. I do enjoy classical and piano as well, but it was such a slow tempo and quiet compared with what I’m used to for class. I’ll see in the coming weeks if I get used to it or start enjoying it at all. 🙂

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  2. Hi! I just found your blog through the ballet hashtag. I’m looking forward to reading more and I’m really impressed how far you’ve come! I started dancing jazz only recently, at 26, and it’s always cool to see an example of how much you can achieve if you really want to! I do ballet as a cross training exercise as well and it’s really useful for that. I noticed the benefits in jazz class way before I could confidently say I got any better in ballet. I can’t view it as dance yet, not at my level – it is more like a very specific fitness exercise.
    As for the music, I think different teachers use different music. Ours uses modern instrumental music that is still appropriate for ballet but also quite easy on the ears. 🙂

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    • Glad you enjoyed it! It’s always great to hear from other adult dancers proving dance is for everyone and not just the kids! I’m happy to hear you find ballet useful as a cross training exercise…helps me be more confident in my decision! It’s especially encouraging that you’re feeling the benefits before seeing ballet improvement. I know I’ve only had one class but I can tell it will be a challenge for me to grasp.

      Liked by 1 person

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