Know Your Ballet Classes (#TrueStory)

If you’re planning to visit a new studio (say, in another city, like Chicago) and you want to be sure you can identify appropriate classes at a glance, here’s a quick visual guide:


Brought to you by Wednesday class (nominally intermediate, but it’s wink-wink-nudge-nudge intermediate) and Saturday class. Also, if you’re crammed together this tightly on the barre, that might be a problem.

You’re welcome.

In other news, I am about to be inundated with PLX website updatery, so here are all my “before” pictures for our Back Flexibility Challenge at Suspend. Sure, I could put them in a separate post, but this was the lazier more efficient way!

You guys, I am not going to win this one, I promise. It isn’t about how flexible you are, it’s about how much improvement you make, which is exactly as it should be. There are several people who are less flexible than I am by nature, but who have a lot more ground to gain than I do.

Also, my camel and king pigeon look terrible because I had no idea how to do them 😛 On the other hand, that gives me a goal, amirite?


About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2016/02/27, in aerials, balllet and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Love the visual guide 🙂 You can always spot the big shot professionals in class because they’re wearing the most crap!

    • Ha, yes! That’s so true. And in all kinds of colors.

      I sometimes wonder how we all survive the first couple winters without blowing out every tendon in our bodies — on cold days, intermediate and advanced class are like strip poker, while the beginners muddle through with just their tights and leos or t-shirts! Maybe it’s like the great migration of wildebeest; those who don’t make it are eaten by alligators and only the strong (and their tendons) survive?

      Also, I want my own ballet moon boots!

      • Hey, then my modern class is a really advanced class!
        Most of the girls pile up a huge heap of stuff during warmup, you wonder how much girl there is in the middle of all this stuff.

        By the way, nice legs! All this training works.

      • All the more reason I should check out a modern class — research! How do modern dance classes compare to ballet classes in terms of layers of wardrobe?

        Also, many thanks! ^—^

    • Well, ours (Cunningham) is somewhere between the two (trust us to try that). The Boss is always an absolute mass of kit, most of the girls are in leggings and tracksuit tops, I’m usually wearing my workout shorts and an IETF T-shirt. I kind of like the minimalism of not needing any equipment (IIRC Henrik did a blog post about that); I’m a technology person and relying on technique is a change.

      That said I may yet reconsider, having yanked something in the inner thigh on Monday night. My own stupid fault; I hared from work to class for fear of being late, made it by the skin of my teeth, didn’t have any time to warm up before class began and didn’t, to be honest, even get the whole stretch phase. I was lucky not to have the boss shut the door in my face like she did to someone two weeks ago. Having missed the week before travelling, and travelling again next week, I was very keen to make this one because if you miss three in a row, are you a dancer in any sense?

      And the main theme of the class was more of the William Forsyth stuff we’re working on – the boss said we would be doing a lot of big extensions, and we totally did. unfortunately they were mostly in the same direction – RDJ to the right from 2nd into 2nd facing the other way, step off pointing the right, into an arabesque on the left (but modern style though, working leg straight out behind rather than cutting the line), off into a 3/4 turn to the left and straight to an RDJ in the air to the right, push into an A again straight down the barrel of the mirror, switch feet and extend left, gallop left, full turn to the left, step into open 4th to the right and a deep plié on the right, extending the left arm, push up with the right into suspension, full turn to the left.

      you may notice that the right hamstring is getting a lot of attention there. a few repetitions of that and zang! it’s time to spend the evening with a sack of frozen peas. Finished the class, but depressing to spend yesterday clumping about like a lump rather than walking properly (if you know what I mean).

      • Yeah, that was rather what got me started with the leg warmers — I blew out my soleus doing temps levée in a cold studio last February and realized that staying warm was just as important as everyone always says, heh.

        Last Saturday, I progressed through foldover warm-up tights with a knitted blazer-y thing and two pair of socks, the same minus the fold-overs plus long leg warmers, the same minus the blazer-y thing, the same minus the outer socks, and so on until finally I was just wearing ballet shoes, tights, and a sleeveless compression shirt.

        By then, my spot at the barre looked like the start of a really unusual second-hand shop or something 😀

        Your class sounds quite fun, by the way!

  2. Just cause I thought this was kinda cool… dance. All dance. Forever!

  3. Yep. Day-glo orange legwarmers, check. Black glitter wool wrist warmers, check. Sludge green vest, purple leotard and ‘moonlight’ stirrup tights, check. Ancient practice shoes with traces of silver spray paint and filthy-looking soles, check. Tartan thermos in the corner surrounded by cable-knit bright blue oversize jumpers with thumb-holes, check. I finally bowed out of attending classes back in the day when body glitter was still socially acceptable, so everything anyone wore tended to end up with a faint sparkle, no matter how often it got washed. I can also remember my friend Louise wearing bin-bag leggings over a fluorescent yellow leotard with hot-pink socks, red jazz shoes with white soles and laces… My friend Charlie just went with a scarlet bodystocking (like Katarina Witt). But she was cool.

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