Forum: Ballet / Pas De Deux

MY first time
By dancer_boi08
On Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:05 AM

I just started pdd about 3 weeks ago and I have pdd class everyday saturday. I have always wated to try it and now that I am doing its not what I thought it was. I still enjoy it but its like starting all over from dancing again. I do pdd with the advanced students at my studio and I feel that they do not want to be my partner because I am new to pdd.That just bothers me alot but oh well it will change one day.

Some of the things I find hard about ppd is keeping the girl on her leg while she is turning, ist hard enough when she is not turning but im getting there with that. Why is turning so much harder? Why is there a specific way that I have to life her, if we are both comfortable with the way I am lifting her then shouldnt it be ok?

Can both guys and girls give me any pointers possible please


6 Replies to MY first time

re: MY first time
By BalletdogPremium member
On Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:36 PM
There is so much I could say here, I don't know where to start. I too am a guy, who was basically shut out by both the teacher and by the females of the first pas de deux class I attended. I felt it was shameful, that the teacher didn't take the responsibility to either tell me to not be in the class, or to have me in the class and then see to it that I had partners. Non-responsible teachers should not be teaching, plain and simple. I've since become very good at pas de deux, and it was only through a different teacher who took the time and effort to teach me, including giving me a number of private lessons, that I became competent.

Some steps in pas de deux are fairly easy for beginner boys after only minimal practice: supported poses, waist-supported promenades, fish dive (after being shown how), and presenting your partner. Other pas steps are harder: hand-supported promenades, proper execution of lifts (to keep the girl safe and from landing back on the floor too hard), runs across the floor (such as tombe, pas de bourree, glissade, pas de chat lift)...and the hardest of all pas steps for me to learn was indeed supported pirouettes. Don't feel bad that you can't just do them right off the bat. They took me over a year of regular effort to really get. You're simultaneously keeping your partner upright as you're keeping her you're neither just keeping her upright, nor just keeping her turning, but simultaneously combining these two fundamentally dissimilar motions. Only lots of practice, along with instruction on how to perform the motions, will eventually lead to the ability to do supported pirouettes.

My opinion: talk with your teacher and ask him/her if they will assign you partners. Maybe the teacher could first find a female student who will be willing to work with you, you being a beginner. I eventually found such girls myself - they are out there, in small numbers, in many pas classes. You need a partner who understands your situation of being a beginner, and who is willing to help you get started. If it doesn't work out with the class you're in, try a different pas class at a different school. Based on where you are, according to your bio information, there are likely a number of schools within fifteen or twenty miles of your studio that also have pas classes (and keep in mind that some, but not all, pas classes will take beginners). Talk to the pas teacher before taking the class, and ask for his/her help in getting started: assign you a partner, and take some time to work with you during the class...Maybe a few private lessons, if you can do that, would also help.

Good luck. Being the guy in pas de deux can be a lot of fun, once you begin to get the hang of it.

re: MY first time
By loveallegro
On Fri Mar 26, 2010 03:36 AM
I completely agree with the post above but wonder whether the girl used to being supported in a turn and confident about it? It's quite difficult to trust your partner when you're turning, however much you want to (and say that you do ;)). If you can imagine being the girl, you have to relinquish so much control over the force of the turn and the support, which are things you've always had complete control over. Even if you've found that trust with one partner you can't just transfer it instantly to another, often it just takes time.

I remember at the beginning of learning turns my partner and I switched roles for a turn or two in a break to appreciate how difficult it was from the other's point of view. We both got a lot of respect for the difficulty of the other's position (I definitely don't like being that close to someone turning, let alone if they were in pointe shoes!). Find yourself a partner eager to learn with you and build on the relationship as much as the technique. Enjoy!
re: MY first time
By tonihowe
On Mon Apr 26, 2010 07:46 AM
From a girl!
Don't put all the fault on you, in PDD it can be just as much the girls fault.
As you are new to the class, it can be just a simple trust issue. If your partner is cautious the moves will be harder.
I will admit I was a nightmare as a partner, I was so afraid of being dropped (after a few bad drops) and it took me ages to trust a partner so that made it difficult for them lifting and turning me as I would be stiff enough or hold myself aswell.
I'll be honest and say if a new guy came into the class I would shy away to, not because I think badly of them, just because I find it hard to trust.
It may be a good idea to ask your teacher to assign you one person to work with at first, using the same partner every week while you master the basics, then begin using other partners.

In terms of gaining trust and respect of your fellow class mates. Focus and work hard, take on board any comments, talk to your partner, ask her if she feels supported enough etc.
I trusted my male partners alot quicker if they were more confident and willing to take on board criticism, correecting any faults as soon as it was mention etc.
re: MY first time
By Nutcracker_Boy
On Mon Apr 26, 2010 08:19 AM
Your teacher should make sure the class partners rotate around so every girl gets to dance with every boy. Otherwise the class becomes a "watch me" rehearsal for the best pairs and a nightmare for everyone else. Everybody in class was a novice at one time, so don't let a girl with a bunhead attitude get you down. Most of the stuff boys do in pas class is simply supporting the ballerina, so you don't need to be an expert dancer yourself.

I don't know too many ballet studios with so many extra guys that they can afford to alienate one. You should tell the teacher that you won't be back if the class continues to disrespect you. By the same token, try to do your best with every partner you are assigned, even if she has attitude, holds her back like a wet noodle (which makes holding her up impossible), is overweight, or smells funny.
re: MY first time
By DanceOfTheHeartmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Apr 26, 2010 02:54 PM
as much as it could be the girl's fault, once she's on one leg she is entirely your responsibility. but you shouldn't let that get you nervous. Everyone is nervous their first time in pas class, girls and guys. You're learning and the more you do it the more you will get better.

Turning is a whole other science and it varies from girl to girl because everyBODY has a different distribution of balance, but if you don't feel comfortable doing a multiply pirouette combo, then ask your partner if you can only do a single turn. Who knows, you may have put her so on balance that she just floats around and does a double :)

also a tip, try and really find the girl's hips, some girls (like myself) have a longer torso so you may have to lower your grip a little. Trust me, it's a totally different feeling being spun by your ribs than your hips :P

re: MY first time
By loveballet101
On Mon Apr 26, 2010 05:23 PM
As an advanced female student, I know some guys like you. My advice is to seek out one of the girls, explain your situation and agree to work a little outside of class with her. I feel comfortable with new partners as long as they work hard, DON'T attempt lifts they're not ready for, and don't have enough concern for my safety...Perhaps even trying a class or two on demi pointe (obviously with no turns) would be a good idea...less of a risk for the girl, and she might feel a little more comfortable and able to communicate while dancing with you more verbally


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