5 of Instagram's most inspirational Adult Ballerinas

5 of Instagram's most inspirational Adult Ballerinas

If you have always wanted to try ballet, or if you are on your ballet journey but feeling discouraged or that there is no point, these women are the perfect pick me up! These 5 Instagram accounts feature some of my all time favourite adult ballet dancers sharing their #passionnotprofession. They prove how far you can come with hard work, dedication and spirit. Each of these dancers has their own unique style and quality, their own strengths and weaknesses and no doubt, each their own journey. They have not only grown into wonderful technical dancers, they make a significant and essential contribution to a new dialogue, one that encourages ballet as an art form without barriers. So sit back, read on and be inspired!

Transform your Turns: Ten tips to help you become a natural turner!

Transform your Turns: Ten tips to help you become a natural turner!

Turns require full-body co-ordination and the perfect amount of impetus and speed. They take years to master and whilst some of us take to turning naturally, many of us do not. Despite this, with consistent effort and focus, turning IS something we can all get better at. This post highlights 10 quick tips that can improve your turns. Which ones could you be better at?!

10 unique and personalised gifts for ballet lovers! - PART 1

10 unique and personalised gifts for ballet lovers! - PART 1

If you are struggling with what to buy a budding ballerina or a die hard ballet lover, we know how you feel!

Buying affordable and sentimental ballet gifts isn’t an easy thing to do! We have scoured the web over the past few weeks to compile this list of unique and personalised gifts, with starting prices as low as £8!

The London Ballet Classes Challenge!

The London Ballet Classes Challenge!

If you are reaching a point where you can memorise all the steps in class, follow routines and more or less keep up, it’s easy to stop challenging yourself to improve. And that is why you should participate in our Class Challenge! In your ballet classes over the next week or two, try to see how many of these you can do! Let us know how you got on in the comments below:

How to get better, faster!

How to get better, faster!

Do you feel like you spend a lot of time dancing but make relatively little progress? Does it feel like irrespective of the effort you aren’t getting any better? As with everything in life, improving in ballet is about working smart, not just working hard. Practice for the sake of practice is ineffective, we must employ a great deal of consciousness in order to progress. Read on for our top tips on how to get better faster!

I have no dance quality - HELP!

I have no dance quality - HELP!

Though we master the moves of ballet over time, it is always more of a journey to feel comfortable doing them, to feel that we are dancing as opposed to simply connecting a series of poses! Feeling like a dancer and being at ease in your movement is very difficult. If you feel a bit wooden or awkward and are wondering how you can make everything look a little bit more interesting, read on!

How to commit to classes and stay motivated

How to commit to classes and stay motivated

Adult ballet requires immense discipline, drive and determination. So many people who embark on their ballet journey later in life have these qualities and this is what helps them to achieve such remarkable transformation. But our intense desire to advance and progress is also what can make ballet frustrating and sometimes downright agonising! How do we balance our ambition with the need to surrender to our bodies and the ups and downs of the journey? And what is it that makes some of us so committed and determined, whilst others, who love ballet just as much, end up giving up?

The pros and cons of graded work for Adult Beginners

Many adult beginners are keen to study graded work (typically RAD’s Graded Syllabus, up to grade 8), or vocational exams (from InterFoundation through to Advanced 2). Having completed grades as an adult and vocational work too (currently studying for Advanced 1), I can understand the desire to adopt an exam-based approach to your study of ballet. Having taken so many exams and having been asked about this particular topic so many times, I have reflected a great deal on what I think I gained from the experience and also what I believe some of the drawbacks were.

If you are still making up your mind on whether to pursue exams or not, this concise list of pros and cons may help you:  

Pros

  • Graded work provides an opportunity to learn ballet from the basics up. The syllabus will teach you steps in a structured order, providing a solid understanding of different moves and how to execute them. This foundation helps to better prepare you for harder moves and sequences down the line

  • Focusing on the same routines each week gives you a chance to improve technique. This is because once you have remembered the steps, you have more capacity to focus on how you execute them. Repetition also provides an opportunity to improve your understanding of terminology (which will help you to pick up faster in open classes down the line)

  • Because graded classes are working towards exams, the lesson is structured quite differently to drop-in or open classes. There is more opportunity to ask questions and refine technique, the teacher is likely to spend longer explaining things as the key focus is learning

  • Graded classes contain dances and variations, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn a complete dance, helping you to develop your own individual style, the majority of open classes focus more on a series of short exercises

  • Certain grades require students to dance with a live pianist. This is an excellent challenge which develops musicality. Each pianist plays the music differently, you will therefore learn to listen to the music and adjust to tempo, making you a more versatile dancer  

Cons

  • If you are starting on grades and you are an adult beginner, a teacher will likely start you somewhere between Grade 4 and 6. You may end up taking these classes with children/ people a lot younger than you, which can feel uncomfortable. There may possibly be graded classes out there for adults only – but I haven’t come across any myself thus far

  • The actual content of RAD graded work is somewhat limited (though Grades 1 to 5 recently changed and incorporate a much wider variety of steps). This means that graded work does not necessarily prepare you well for open classes or drop-in classes, which may still include many steps you haven’t been exposed to

  • Graded work is repetitive and therefore helps you to memorise routines but does not necessarily develop the skills required for picking up new work quickly, and that is what is needed in open classes and in Intermediate and advanced level classes

  • With graded work, there is an emphasis in executing work in the right way, the syllabus is for the most part technique focused, and this can therefore develop your knowledge of ballet terminology but neglect the importance of dance quality (this is less true for the new graded syllabus and for vocational work)

  • It can be hard to stay motivated if you are doing the same routines over and over, you may lose interest and inspiration

I personally advocate for a combined approach in the early stages of your dance journey, taking graded or structured classes and supplementing these with a drop-in class. You therefore benefit from a dedicated learning environment, repetition and a key focus on ballet fundamentals and simultaneously have the opportunity to learn new steps and push yourself in open classes.

Where can I take grade lessons?  

Ask at a local studio which offers RAD exams – they may have classes for adults or be willing to enter you independently for grades.

Where can I study Vocational work:  

RAD Headquarters in South Kensington offer Vocational Classes for Adult Beginners (InterFoundation and Intermediate) – link here

Central School of Ballet offers Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 drop in classes every Sunday – link