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  #106  
Old Jun 14, '11, 2:38 pm
Prayerfully Prayerfully is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Just a note:

Gossiping about another CAF member on a public thread is against forum rules.

...and probably a tad bit worse than quoting a person who has any type of stance that is not in line with Catholic morality (especially if the quote used has nothing to do with the particular moral issue).
Then how about you just report me to the moderator? I was done with this thread and had left it alone until you just HAD to jump in!

I don't see how posting a link to her prior answers is gossiping, since anyone can simply click on someone's info and see what they've previously posted, but, hey, whatever! I hope I do get banned!
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  #107  
Old Jun 14, '11, 2:55 pm
Debora123 Debora123 is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Then how about you just report me to the moderator? I was done with this thread and had left it alone until you just HAD to jump in!

I don't see how posting a link to her prior answers is gossiping, since anyone can simply click on someone's info and see what they've previously posted, but, hey, whatever! I hope I do get banned!
You can look it up on the forum rules if you'd like. Discussing another CAF member publicly on a forum is out of bounds.
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  #108  
Old Jun 15, '11, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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That's great if you have them where you live. We don't have them as far as I can find anywhere near where I live. If we had dance companies that had more modest outfits, that would be fine.
I'm guessing that if you ask around (ask the existing dance schools in your area), you will find dance instructors who are interested in breaking into this market. They've probably heard about it or read about it in their professional publications, online sites, and through the grapevine.

In our area (about 65 miles west of Chicago), these schools are quite popular, so I suspect that perhaps the same thing would be true where you are.

If you know of several Christian families with girls and boys who are interested in dance, but like your family, feel uncomfortable in a traditional ballet school, ask the dance instructors if they know of someone who would be willing to start a "Christian" dance school. If you ask, I'll bet they'll do it! After all, they want to earn money with their dance, and if they can earn it teaching Christians who are modestly-attired, there's nothing wrong with that! Dance is dance!

You will probably have a lot of luck recruiting more families for a Christian dance school by asking in the Protestant Christian churches and schools, especially the more fundamental schools. Keep in mind that in some Protestant denominations, dance of any kind is never allowed. The Christian dance schools in my area include mainly Protestant kids, but there is a sizeable number of Catholic children in these schools, too. So don't get the idea that this is strictly a "Protestant" thing. Any family who is looking for balance, modesty, healthiness, child-appropriate music, and Christian instructors who dance to glorify God appreciate the atmosphere of a Christian ballet studio.

Often these schools start out meeting in a church basement, BTW. But several in our area now have done so well that they have studios.

My daughter teaches Christian Youth Theater (a national program in the U.S.) afterschool at a Catholic school in California. She has almost a hundred students who are enrolled in this class. The kids learn production numbers and present a Broadway show (an edited version).

Good luck and I hope that you can get something started. Lots of Christian families will bless you!
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  #109  
Old Jun 15, '11, 3:05 pm
dixieagle dixieagle is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I'm guessing that if you ask around (ask the existing dance schools in your area), you will find dance instructors who are interested in breaking into this market. They've probably heard about it or read about it in their professional publications, online sites, and through the grapevine.

In our area (about 65 miles west of Chicago), these schools are quite popular, so I suspect that perhaps the same thing would be true where you are.

If you know of several Christian families with girls and boys who are interested in dance, but like your family, feel uncomfortable in a traditional ballet school, ask the dance instructors if they know of someone who would be willing to start a "Christian" dance school. If you ask, I'll bet they'll do it! After all, they want to earn money with their dance, and if they can earn it teaching Christians who are modestly-attired, there's nothing wrong with that! Dance is dance!

You will probably have a lot of luck recruiting more families for a Christian dance school by asking in the Protestant Christian churches and schools, especially the more fundamental schools. Keep in mind that in some Protestant denominations, dance of any kind is never allowed. The Christian dance schools in my area include mainly Protestant kids, but there is a sizeable number of Catholic children in these schools, too. So don't get the idea that this is strictly a "Protestant" thing. Any family who is looking for balance, modesty, healthiness, child-appropriate music, and Christian instructors who dance to glorify God appreciate the atmosphere of a Christian ballet studio.

Often these schools start out meeting in a church basement, BTW. But several in our
area now have done so well that they have studios.

My daughter teaches Christian Youth Theater (a national program in the U.S.) afterschool at a Catholic school in California. She has almost a hundred students who are enrolled in this class. The kids learn production numbers and present a Broadway show (an edited version).

Good luck and I hope that you can get something started. Lots of Christian families will bless you!
One of the very best Christian ballet companies/schools is Ballet Magnificat of Jackson, Mississippi. Founded by the extremely talented Kathy Thibodeaux (her husband, Keith, played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy) they tour extensively, hold summer intensive programs, and maintain a very high standard. There is a heavy evangelical component to the summer program, and Catholic students should be forewarned, but the quality is certainly there.
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  #110  
Old Jun 15, '11, 7:26 pm
psr13 psr13 is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I'm guessing that if you ask around (ask the existing dance schools in your area), you will find dance instructors who are interested in breaking into this market. They've probably heard about it or read about it in their professional publications, online sites, and through the grapevine.

In our area (about 65 miles west of Chicago), these schools are quite popular, so I suspect that perhaps the same thing would be true where you are.

If you know of several Christian families with girls and boys who are interested in dance, but like your family, feel uncomfortable in a traditional ballet school, ask the dance instructors if they know of someone who would be willing to start a "Christian" dance school. If you ask, I'll bet they'll do it! After all, they want to earn money with their dance, and if they can earn it teaching Christians who are modestly-attired, there's nothing wrong with that! Dance is dance!

You will probably have a lot of luck recruiting more families for a Christian dance school by asking in the Protestant Christian churches and schools, especially the more fundamental schools. Keep in mind that in some Protestant denominations, dance of any kind is never allowed. The Christian dance schools in my area include mainly Protestant kids, but there is a sizeable number of Catholic children in these schools, too. So don't get the idea that this is strictly a "Protestant" thing. Any family who is looking for balance, modesty, healthiness, child-appropriate music, and Christian instructors who dance to glorify God appreciate the atmosphere of a Christian ballet studio.

Often these schools start out meeting in a church basement, BTW. But several in our area now have done so well that they have studios.

My daughter teaches Christian Youth Theater (a national program in the U.S.) afterschool at a Catholic school in California. She has almost a hundred students who are enrolled in this class. The kids learn production numbers and present a Broadway show (an edited version).

Good luck and I hope that you can get something started. Lots of Christian families will bless you!
Protestants out here tend to be more conservative in these areas than the Catholics do. It would definitely be them attending the school. Where I am currently parents can't afford any extracurricular activities, so it wouldn't work here. I can definitely see it in some other areas out here, though.
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  #111  
Old Jun 15, '11, 7:40 pm
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odile53 odile53 is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

A few ideas here:

Wrap sweater, and jazz pants. For those of you who don't know what jazz pants are, they are a knit pair of pants that are slightly more form-fitting than sweat pants. They usually are a boot cut, and go down to the ankle, a little looser than "yoga pants."

Any ballet teacher worth her tuition can see a dancer's line through this type of outfit, and it's a well-covered alternative to the pink tights/black camisole leotard. As a matter of fact, this is pretty much what most pros wear in company classes, if they aren't doing the grunge ballerina look that was popular when I was performing (cut up sweats, cut up sweaters, and a couple of pairs of leg warmers.)

Plus, the jazz pants will last you longer than any pair of tights will, especially if you machine wash tights.

Also, be aware that if you are considering taking ballet as an adult, the jazz pants with a tank top over a sports bra is pretty much what everyone else is going to be wearing. The adult class I teach doesn't have anyone who shows up in leotard and tights! They wear them underneath the sweaters and pants. And trust me, I can see everyone who isn't pulling up out of their shoes, everyone who has a bent knee, and everyone who isn't keeping their back straight and their shoulders neutral, even though they think they are pretty covered up!

Contact the studio owner and let that person know your ethical concerns. In today's economy, with declining enrollment, I'd be willing to bet that they would be willing to be flexible in order to keep a student.
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  #112  
Old Jun 16, '11, 5:49 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

This is interesting. I thought you had to be dressed in the bare minimum for a teacher to see your 'flaws.'
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  #113  
Old Jun 16, '11, 6:37 am
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Sarabande Sarabande is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Originally Posted by odile53 View Post
A few ideas here:

Wrap sweater, and jazz pants. For those of you who don't know what jazz pants are, they are a knit pair of pants that are slightly more form-fitting than sweat pants. They usually are a boot cut, and go down to the ankle, a little looser than "yoga pants."

Any ballet teacher worth her tuition can see a dancer's line through this type of outfit, and it's a well-covered alternative to the pink tights/black camisole leotard. As a matter of fact, this is pretty much what most pros wear in company classes, if they aren't doing the grunge ballerina look that was popular when I was performing (cut up sweats, cut up sweaters, and a couple of pairs of leg warmers.)

Plus, the jazz pants will last you longer than any pair of tights will, especially if you machine wash tights.

Also, be aware that if you are considering taking ballet as an adult, the jazz pants with a tank top over a sports bra is pretty much what everyone else is going to be wearing. The adult class I teach doesn't have anyone who shows up in leotard and tights! They wear them underneath the sweaters and pants. And trust me, I can see everyone who isn't pulling up out of their shoes, everyone who has a bent knee, and everyone who isn't keeping their back straight and their shoulders neutral, even though they think they are pretty covered up!

Contact the studio owner and let that person know your ethical concerns. In today's economy, with declining enrollment, I'd be willing to bet that they would be willing to be flexible in order to keep a student.
This is true. When you said this I remembered how the dancers dressed at the company that I used to volunteer for. It was pretty much similar to what you described.
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  #114  
Old Jun 16, '11, 8:23 pm
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faithfully faithfully is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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This is interesting. I thought you had to be dressed in the bare minimum for a teacher to see your 'flaws.'
People don't realize how obvious their bad posture really is. Not only can you see this, but you can usually tell by the way a person is moving where they are doing it wrong from.

For example, you don't even need to see a persons outlined leg when they are in a plie and their knees are no where near the same direction as their toes. You can often see a certain strain in the ankle, knees usually more knocked than the forced toes (twisting a knee... you don't even need to see that)... which means going beyond a natural turnout. The bum is often tucked, and then curve in the spine (Hunched), or somtimes the gymnastic swayed back... (I'm thinking the average beginner...) This could be seen in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt...

You can HEAR that a person isn't rolling through their foot, and plies when jumping wrong... Sounds like a herd of elephants. Odile is WAY more experienced than I... so I can guarantee she has an EXCELLENT point with regard to being able to spot problems under clothing not skin tight.

The thing I've noticed is that people THINK they know about ballet, and they don't. They think it's easy. Usually because they were lucky enough to see an amazing dancer who knows how to make it LOOK effortless. Dancers are not thin because they are nutritionally starved to death. They are thin because they work harder than nearly any other athlete on the planet!

thought you all might enjoy the link below... it's ballet crossed with acrobats... and WOW... I can't imagine the balance, but more than anything, I can't imagine having a toe shoe ground into my delt for such a promenade.... WOWEE!!!

And finally, I look at this, and I don't even NOTICE the costume... I don't look at the dancer thinking... Wow, could they show more skin? It's just not that kind of world...

http://youtu.be/4sMc-p19FIk

Now, look at her body. Do you think you could tell how she carries herself even if she were in a pair of baggy sweats and sweatshirt? I guarantee you would not confuse this dancer/acrobat with some kid with his baggy jeans around his bum, baggy shirt walking 5 inches shorter than he is naturally...
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  #115  
Old Jun 17, '11, 5:57 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

Thanks for the link.

I stopped taking lessons as a kid but NEVER assumed ballet was 'easy.' And I've seen Nureyev, Baryshikov, and Natalia Makarova live, floating through the air.

Another dancer whose name I forgot had some floor work in a certain piece, and the floor was soaked when he got up.

So basically... there's no way I can hide.

PS: Those costumes were gorgeous... the dancers so proud (in a healthy way, lol) and bold and so fully extended I'm going OUCH just watching them.
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  #116  
Old Jun 17, '11, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

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Thanks for the link.

I stopped taking lessons as a kid but NEVER assumed ballet was 'easy.' And I've seen Nureyev, Baryshikov, and Natalia Makarova live, floating through the air.
......

PS: Those costumes were gorgeous... the dancers so proud (in a healthy way, lol) and bold and so fully extended I'm going OUCH just watching them.
Oh, I didn't mean YOU think it's easy. I just hear that way more often than I ever thought I would. I'm no where near a pro dancer... but when I take an adult class, that is usually below my mind skill, but not my body capability at the time... I get a lot of weird questions... insinuating that maybe I took class for a year and I'm as good as I am... (which right now would be so bad, I don't think I'd get those comments anymore... LOL!)

I know what you mean... OUCH... I wonder how long it would take me to do the splits again... knowing there's NO WAY, I could control my legs like wings with that kind of flexability, or strength... That strength is AMAZING... and look how tiny she is!!!! WOW!!!!!!

Your last comment... I think warrants further discussion with regard to the topic of this thread. These ladies CARE about their bodies. Now I don't know what there moral structure is... But imagine being raised with strong morals with regard to your body, and then knowing your body so well. They are not proud as you say 'cause they are sexy or their body is out there for everyone to see, They are proud of their whole being (LIKE YOU SAID... in a good way). Their God given strength, & skills.

Yes, you will run into some dancers that probably need a mental tweaking. But you often run into dancers who treat their bodies with great respect. Sleeping because they need it. Excellent nutrition, no drugs and such (well, that is if they are going to go far... you can't abuse yourself too long and make it in such a hard career.)

I really feel that such an amazing art teaches all about our God Given gifts and how to use them responsibly... and with the beauty God shows us all the time. And then you take into account that many studios are opening up to allow for less body exposure... I think as long as you have a director that teaches self respect (not coaching girls how to starve themselves freakishly thin... it happens), and doesn't allow for petty attitudes... You've got a VERY powerful lesson for girls in particular. IMO- anyway!
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  #117  
Old Jun 17, '11, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

@ Faithfully--are you an adult ballet student? If so, and particularly if you didn't do this as a kid, I send you a big reverence!

I enjoyed the link you posted tremendously. I'll tell you this, after twenty two years with NYCB: Most of the dancers treated their bodies with respect, or they didn't last long in performance at that level. You got all levels of personal morality, and yes, we had a few girls that were pretty trampy. They didn't last long performing at that level.

I had given a brief sketch of my day while performing earlier, but it was pretty disciplined. Most of us, regardless of our personal religious beliefs, led pretty spartan lives, and that included at least relative celibacy: We simply didn't have the energy to carry on like a bunch of party girls! Up around five AM to wake up, eat something, stretch, warm up, stretch some more, to the studio by 8 for company class, later in the day maybe acting classes (the bane of my existence,) physical therapy, class again to work on technique in a particular role, rehearsal, a nap, a small dinner (I became addicted to sushi!) back to the theater if there was a performance that night, and collapse by midnight. Not much time to be fooling around! We worked like horses.

You encountered the occasional dancer who did the amphetamine-enforced starvation, and they usually ended up hospitalized, sometimes they ended up in the psych unit as well. A couple of famous principals went that route, particularly in the Balanchine days (thankfully, I came in after he was gone, he was a genius but also a bit insane.) When NYCB performers became unionized and workmen's compensation became a benefit, the thinking about what constituted an ideal dancer's body began to evolve as well. Sure, you encounter the ED types, but they don't last all that long, either. You need strength and energy to keep up this kind of schedule and this level of training, and the dance world is recognizing the fact. There aren't any short-cuts to achieving and maintaining the strength and stamina to be able to deliver a performance at this kind of level. That's just the plain facts.

It's a happy thought now that the ballet world at the level of ABT or NYCB is being proactive in case-finding eating disorders among their dancers, and getting them the help they deserve. The contemporary ballet dancer is closer to ripped than emaciated, and you can clearly see the musculature as opposed to Mr. B's insistence on "seeing the bones" that was so prevalent in the seventies and early eighties.
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  #118  
Old Jun 17, '11, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

Odile... I started late... I begged for YEARS before I was finally allowed to take classes at 11. I did well for such a late start. I lasted until I was 16. I twisted my knee forcing turnout, like an idiot, for a guest instructor. I took 2 years off, danced my last nutcracker at 18, and that was pretty much it. I was able to teach little kids... in a small studio, paid my way through college.... and I've taken classes as an adult because it's a love affair I just can't let go of. But it's been nearly 5 years since I stepped foot in a class... and it nearly killed me as I just was too physically out of shape after having my twins. I suspect because I try to do it right, and it's that much harder. ???? I don't know. Perhaps, again, I will pick it up. I SHOULD do a simple bar at home just to get a little something back... right now I'm just too heavy.

Balanchine... did you ever meet him? I read a lot about him and his dancers. Too bad there was such craziness! I used to watch Baryishnikov vidoes and him turning. It was through watching him and how he finished that I could finally get past a double....and land/finish with any grace at all. I have managed to see him live with his White Oak Dance project. DANG!!!! He was 50 at the time and utterly amazing! Very entertaining! I did watch the NYCB ONCE... A romeo and Juliet I believe... The woman that dance in the moive (name escapes me) was the lead... She was lovely!

I feel... If I had "made it"... they type of ballet company I would have fit into would have been Lines! In the South Bay of SF! They look like the style and type that I'd fit into... a little edgy!

I get so amazed with ballet. The passion and the story telling is just off the charts for me. And then all the movement. I can watch feet for hours, never mind the rest! LOL! I was able to watch the Florida ballet do romeo and juliet. I was in tears by the end . The choreography was amazing! Not sure if it was traditional or not... but BREATH TAKING! I could go on forever... I miss it! A different life for me in a parallel world...
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  #119  
Old Jun 17, '11, 6:48 pm
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

I know the OP is probably gone, but did anyone mention that kids in ballet class are too busy being intimidated by, I mean, paying attention to, their instructor to pay attention to anyone else's body?

*goes to watch Swan Lake again*
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  #120  
Old Jun 18, '11, 5:05 am
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Default Re: Is ballet off-limits for Catholics b/c of dress?

@ Faithfully and Sailor---and anyone else who cares--

I did meet Balanchine a few times when I was in conservatory, but he was getting pretty demented at the time, not at all capable of running a ballet company or doing choreography. He died shortly after I had gotten into conservatory, of Crutchfield-Jacobs disease (the human equivalent of mad cow disease.)

Mom had heard the dance stories as well at NYCB, and was horrified when I got a job with the company. The company pretty much turned into a lunatic asylum in the seventies, and thankfully, after Mr. B's passing, reason eventually prevailed, and people started to look at dance as a more scientific, if you will, discipline. In the seventies the corps was referred to as the snake pit, it was that insanely competitive. As far as I know, the stories about glass shards in pointe platforms are apocryphal, but if you knew anyone from those days, it could have happened.

As the Balanchine gang got hurt or left for greener pastures, it began to be run like a real artistic endeavor. If you saw NYCB anytime between 1983 and 2005, you probably saw me in the corps. Not that you'd remember, I'm sure, but I was one of the darker-skinned, taller girls. I finally achieved coryphee, but did a few small solos as well. I blew out my hip in '05, but it was getting around time to hang it up anyways. A few weeks on high dose prednisone convinced me that my performing days were over. I was lucky to get out by a different route than via the operating table, a fate that a high number of performers experience.

I danced with Misha a few times early in my career, as I'm a natural turner. It was for a few school demos, and Misha had to do his part for the cause. Not wanting to detract from his star quality, they took a kid from the corps who could keep up with his turns, and that kid was me. I actually thought he was a bit of an arrogant jackass when he was told he would have to perform with a corps dancer, but after he saw me, he was at least superficially respectful. I understand that like most of us, he's mellowed with age.

I'm completing my internship as a physical therapist and have a job waiting for me as a dance therapist at a psychiatric hospital, if I want it. I did a little undergraduate work at Fordham toward the end of my career, and then picked it back up at another Jesuit college. I'll graduate this coming winter, and be a licensed physical therapist. The dance therapist job offer is hardly ballet, but I teach the advanced kids and adults at a studio near here. A couple of the girls went on to Syracuse Ballet, and one of them got accepted to SAB (the feeder school for ABT.) So I still have some skin in the game, so to speak. And yeah, bad hip or not, I can still knock out thirty-two fouettes, if I'm warmed up.

I'd advise you to try doing a barre, all the way through slow degages, daily, at least at first. If you're trying to lose some weight, nothing helps like building some muscles! Muscle does burn fat! And don't forget to stretch, stretch, stretch! And it's fun to watch the brand new, never-ever adult students learn to stand like ballerinas. That in itself gives the illusion of a ten pound weight loss right there! The adult students are great, and I did a small lyrical piece for them to be able to perform at the school's spring recital, something that was pretty elder-friendly. The way they rehearsed, you would have thought they were the Kirov. They had a great time!

If you're brave enough, do some pointe as well, even if it's at the kitchen counter/barre. Go ahead and use some Gaynor Mindens, you won't kill your feet that way, and you don't have an evil teacher telling you they're cheater shoes. They're not.

I still do barre and stretch every day, and occasionally do some center in the studio after class, along with some Pilates, some yoga postures, and swimming. Even though I'm in my fifties, I'd rather enter old age trim, flexible, and strong. Now I'm just dancing for the health of it! Of course, it has it's drawbacks--anytime there's a household job requiring climbing, balance, crawling, or stretching, guess who gets to do it---LOL!
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