I’ve been dancing for over 10 years now, and it is still one of the great passions in my life. Street/urban dance is where my heart is, and that’s probably because I mostly listen to hip-hop/R&B. That’s the kind of music that makes me wanna get on my feet and dance.
When I started to take dance more seriously, I realised the need to branch out and try other styles. I took some jazz technique classes for a while, and it was both fun and awkward to feel like an absolute beginner again. The more you learn, the more you realise how much you don’t know. It’s very humbling. For whatever reason though, I didn’t stick with it for long enough.
I also went through a phase when I tried out salsa dancing which, again, was a completely different dance world and required a different set of skills. After about 6 months of taking classes, I realised that what I lacked was the time and commitment to do social dancing where I’d be able to apply those moves I learnt. Yeah, sadly I also let it slip away. And maybe sometime soon, I’ll go back to it.
But back to the need for a solid technical foundation: I’ve just started taking the beginners’ adult ballet class at the Singapore Dance Theatre.
It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for eons, but it was always so difficult to try to nab a spot in their beginners’ class. Finally!
It was a bit intimidating actually, cos you’re never quite sure whether beginner-level class is truly as advertised. But our teacher was great; she made the effort to explain each movement and combination and also gave corrections. And it was interesting and fun to try to teach this old body new tricks. I engaged some muscles that I hadn’t in a while, hahahah.
So what can you expect in your first adult ballet class?
What to wear
No need to spend money on a ballet outfit (unless you want to and it makes you happy!). Leggings and a tank-top/t-shirt will do. Basically something comfortable that will not restrict your movement. Ballet slippers would be a welcome investment if you’re planning to stick with the classes in the long-term. If not, you can just wear socks.
What happens in class
Generally, you can expect 4 segments during class: warm-up, barre work, centre work and cool down.
Barre work involves the practice of ballet movements while using the barre. The teacher will tell you the names of the movements, demonstrate them and instruct you on how to do them. And then, you’ll practise them a few times. Barre work gives you the chance to work on the movements and get the technique right, and it prepares you for the centre work.
Once barre work is completed, it’s time to apply the techniques learnt without the support of the barre. Believe me, doing the moves without a barre is much more challenging! Often, the teacher will direct you to do a sequence of movements or a very short piece of choreography to get you used to moving without the barre while still applying the proper techniques.
And that’s it! What I always tell myself is that class is the time and space to learn, make mistakes, look silly. It’s too easy to feel self-conscious or awkward or intimidated, but really everyone who comes to class is there to learn and a dance class should be a safe environment to explore and push your own boundaries. And, if nothing else, it’s a damn good workout.
I’m looking forward to the next 7 weeks of classes!