How many classes should I take?
– Sue, adult ballerina
When answering this question, I think it’s important to note my personal belief that we should move our bodies every single day. Our movement should also be ritualistic, consistent and varied.
What do I mean by ritualistic? If you attend the same Wednesday morning ballet class every week, this is a personal ritual you’ve created. What a lovely midweek check in with your mind and body that most likely improves the rest of your week! Ever missed your regular class to wonder later in the week why you’re feeling off?
Now I think everyone knows what I mean by consistent movement. Consistency is key when it comes to learning or improving anything. As Misty Copeland says, “I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday.” And we all know that we can’t be closer without a regular practice.
So what do I mean by varied? Well this is where I tell you that whilst you should be moving every day, you shouldn’t be doing ballet every single day. If you want to create balance in the body you need to vary your movement and supplement your ballet training with other activities.
Did you know that ‘supplement’ simply means to enhance whatever it is you’re trying to achieve? Less dancing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get worse. In fact you’ll probably get better. Of course this only works if you really do supplement with other movement and conditioning whilst attending a weekly class. You can’t expect to get better at ballet if you attend once a month…
Personally, I am convinced my long walks, regular pilates and acupuncture improves my body, mind and practice. This is also why I adopt a periodisation timetable at my studio for our young students to increase retention of information and prevent overtraining. Even our most committed young dancers don’t dance every day. I actually make it impossible for them to do so.
So what about a typical adult ballerina? Well there is no typical adult ballerina. And that’s why I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer to how many classes you should take because we also have to take financial, family and work commitments into consideration.
However I can tell you that creating ritual and consistency in your practice with the addition of other movements (that don’t need to be complicated) is key. Create some structure in your timetable and give or take what you need to feel your absolute best about your practice.
Grit & Grace,