Monday, October 10, 2011

Dance for non-dancers(aka Me and Dance aka Dance for Older Beginners)

I have a confession to make, that's much like the confession Jocee made on her blog.

I wish I was a dancer, but I'm not I just "get along".

For those of you who do not know about dance, let me enlighten you:

Most dancers(at least those at my studio, a highly competitive studio in California) start at the ages of 2-8. They take dance at least ten hours a week. (Dance is extremely time consuming. I have friends that take at least 20 hours a week). Dance is like their life. Most of them are in several performing groups along with "small groups", duos, trios, and solos. Dance is also costly. There's classes(most classes are around $48 an hour, with private classes being upwards of $100 an hour), shoes, costumes(The performing group costumes can be up to $300 per costume), and travel. It's like their own little world inside the dance studio.

Most of them take all kinds of dance, with ballet and tap being the basics, and jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, acro, and pointe as well.

I started dance when I was 13. This is a secret which I used to be really ashamed of. I mean, who starts dance when they're 13? I'd never heard of it, although on the internet I have realized they do exist. I took a summer workshop and I fell in love.

I used to always go to the observation windows and watch the classes where people younger than I was did all sorts of stuff I thought impossible(My favorites-foutte and alasecondes, leg holds and leg hold turns. At the time I didn't know what they were called).

And I wished I could be them, more than anything else.

And in my classes, I was struggling to do really simple things like splits and chaine turns. I took beginner classes where I was almost always the oldest in the class by a space of several years.(One mom even asked if I was helping teach the class.)

And I always angsted, watching videos on youtube and watching all the better dancers and feeling hopeless. And in my classes I was struggling to do the most basic of things.

I had a couple friends at the studio who were really good. They were shocked to find out I danced, but I always avoided them because I didn't want them to see how bad I was. I ended up taking a technique class with them, and I think now they know but they don't say anything about it to me. XD And I would sort of mumble to people when they asked how long I'd been dancing or how good I was. I used to say "I don't know how long I've been dancing" when in fact I did know, I counted up the months every time I even thought about dance, and I could probably give them an accurate measurement down to the very hour.

I was almost always feeling down after every class. The teachers weren't helping, I wasn't getting any better, and there was this six year old in my acro class who laughed hysterically at me after I failed at stuff.

I think I started getting better when I switched classes. It's amazing what new classes and new teachers will do to you. My newish ballet teacher actually corrected stuff I did instead of just giving up on me. I improved my pirouttes muchly and did doubles several times!(They were mostly by accident). My acro teacher, who is also one of the main Performing Group teachers, took time to talk with me and encourage me, and pushed me like she pushed all of her students. And I practiced and stretched every day. At first it was absolutely awful because I couldn't do half a pique turn without losing my balance and I kept getting dizzy. I videotaped myself to see what I needed to work on and I looked so bad it was terrible. I improved and got my right and left splits(well, if I stretched them out for a couple minutes). And I even got a legit video of me doing a halfway decent piroutte(I was wearing the slipperiest socks I could find).

Fast forward to now. I can do double pirouettes every couple weeks (I must warm them up with half pirouettes first), and my teacher even complimented my chaine turns. My LEFT ones. :). The little giggling six year old is in my ballet class and we are friends. (she pushes me over when I do my pirouettes and I chase her). It is fun to be in the same classes as younger kids because they are so adorable and giggly.

And when the ballet teacher asked how long we'd been dancing, I was honest and said how long, and this other beginner(not quite as old as me) said "I don't know how long I've been dancing" and I was like yeah right.
Right now I take three classes a week, which isn't enough to catch up to the rest of them. I could catch up if I went nonstop, but I don't have that kind of time. I used to greatly exaggerate my danceablity on here, but not anymore. I can do those acro tricks I posted about, though(on a mat).

I know eventually I'll get there. Hopefully I'll get to be on pointe at some period in my life.  I know I won't stop dancing, because I like it a lot. I still would love to be the other girls at my studio, but I know it won't happen. :(

If you're an older beginner, it can be horribly discouraging. Here is my advice for you: 1.) Find some other older beginner pals and 2.) Stretch everyday.

This post was extremely rambly and random. Sorry.


  1. I feel the same way about surfing. I mean, I'm 15 and just started surfing. I've always dreamed of being a pro surfer but, the truth hurts. *sigh* I live 2 hours from the beach.

    It really sucks to see little girls surfing like crazy...and they're good at it!!

    Oh well, dreams do come true....someday.

  2. Loved this post!
    I went through something kind of like this last year. I started dance when I was 7, but quit when I was almost 12 because we couldn't fit being down at the studio 4 days a week into our schedule or budget.
    But when I started again, I had some serious catching up to do. I would cry after almost every dance class cause I couldn't do the things I used to be able to do.
    I'm caught up now, and I'll be on pointe before the end of 2011, but still. It can be very exasperating and upsetting.

    Older beginners: Don't give up!!! It gets better. :)

    Oh and also, don't think that you only have till highschool ends to dance. My aunt danced through college . xD

  3. i use to dance when i was little. i so wish to get back into it but i don't have enough money. but i do watch dance shows and can catch wht's going on and repeat it myself. i can tango, waltz, free style, cha-cha, and a little bit of belly dancing. i'm not that good, though. i would like to get into latin dancing at some point once i have the money 4 it. :)

  4. I decided to take a dance class for fun senior year of high school. Luckily, my dance was not competitive, and it was mostly for adults who wanted fun exercise. :)
    But mega-congrats on getting over your insecurities. I really firmly believe that it's never too late, no matter how many people laugh me out of the room. There's always time to be better, there's always time to be your best. And that's what matters, right? :)

  5. I loved this post Amaranthine! I am a late starter (sort of, I started at 4, but quite until I was 10) of dance as well, but after just one year (when I was 11) my teacher said I was truly gifted and sent me to a company team training class that you could get into by invitation only! :D I'm sure you'll be just as great, and better than me! I took one year of ballet when I was 4, and then didn't dance anymore until I was 10/11 (boy i wish i'd gone steady with dance though). when I was 11/12 I took a summer course to get me started in ballet again, and then when I was 12 I started my company training and ballet classes. Unfotrnately, I had to quit for various reasons. But, oh joy! (I think you read my post about it) I am starting back dance again, with jazz, tap, ballet and musical theatre; and hopfully I will be in my new dance school's company competition team and performing company (My dance school isn't as expensive as yours). I'm routing for you, and just remember you're not the only late starter. :D

  6. Sweetheart... I was the ten year old in the primary class with the 5-6 year olds :] But now I'm the third oldest in my class (but STILL the shortest) and take four classes a week, two of those on pointe for part of it. ;)

    I'm glad you aren't discouraged. Seriously, I've been doing dance for 5 years now and I even though people know I do ballet, I would be first person to say that I'm not all that good ;) But you know what, I've learned in dance, each person is their own person and there's no use in trying to be the other girls.

    But also, once a dancer, always a dancer. ;)

    Thank you for sharing your dance life with us! :D

  7. Alright, you are AWESOME for starting at 13 in Dance. ;) I have been dancing since I was 2, and I am NOWHERE near good enough to do the things in this post. XD I know them, I can memorize them, but I am not flexible AT ALL, I have 'sloppy arms', and I don't put enough 'umphhh' into my dance.

    But I am not a /serious/ dancer. I do it for fun. ;) And I help teach classes! :) I love doing it, and I feel like I'm putting all my memorization knowledge to use. ;)

    BTW, Tap is my best type of dance. My feet make better sounds and look much more awesome than the rest of me. XDD I fail at Ballet. I can do Jazz pretty well too. ;) I teach Ballet, Tap and Jazz (the ballet consists of plies, tondues (sp??), and 'Adagio' where the little girls fly around the room like butterflies. XDDD)

    So you keep dancing. Have fun, and keep working hard. I'll go see you someday when you star in some world famous ballet. ;)

    Love you,
    JC <3

  8. Deary, don't give'll be the best dancer ever if you just put your heart into it and do your best!:) Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you<3

  9. Thanks for the encouragement! I have acro today but I'm skipping cause I have school work.

    Ooh, I used to cry sometimes too. But it was after my turns caused me to fall into walls and accidentally knock over furniture and stuff.

  10. This is a good time for me to read this, even though it's late... hey, I've been busy!

    I've wanted to be that girl who dances my ENTIRE life. I'm a Sophomore, and I have never done any dance except a clogging class with a bunch of old ladies, including my grandmother. o_0 I get so depressed because I'm too old to start now, and we don't have enough time or money for it! What do I do? I know I would be really talented if I had instruction and would practice! *sigh* It's just so hard.


Amaranthine <3's you. Thanks for the comment!