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Restarting jazz/dance...trying to gauge what my realistic expectations should be
By travelfan
On Sat Dec 11, 2010 01:41 PM

Hey guys, 23 year old guy here. Danced throughout high school but stopped in college due to peer pressure from fraternity brothers...now 5 years later realized how stupid I was to abandon my passion for social acceptance.

I'm trying to pick it up (as well as ballet) again. This isn't one of those "Am I too old" threads, I'm committed to going after it full force. However I have a couple of questions.

I'm trying to be realistic about how far I can really go. By my senior year in high school, I was a relatively strong turner/jumper (although my technique was admittedly rougher than those trained in more classical studios). Consistent quads, 20ish fouettes, great height and extension on switch leaps, jetes, centers, etc. I will say that grace/fluidity were never my strong points (more of an athletic, powerful dance style) but I could hold my own.

Obviously now my flexibility is shot (although I've started stretching again) and my core is not what it used to be. I am in shape though (in terms of muscles, body fat, etc). Is there any possibility I can get back to where I was over, say, the next five years? Or am I going to have to be realistic and understand that my age and the time passed will negate muscle memory/past experience?

I can probably get to about three classes a week (a far cry from the eight or so I was doing previously). Definitely at least one or two will be ballet, and one jazz. I'm going for the beginner level in the local professional studio (Alonzo King LINES in SF). I guess I'm just trying to set realistic expectations of what will be possible. Not trying to dance professionally or anything, just for fun.

Sorry for the novel!

2 Replies to Restarting jazz/dance...trying to gauge what my realistic expectations should be

re: Restarting jazz/dance...trying to gauge what my realistic expectations should be
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Sat Dec 11, 2010 02:21 PM
I would say wait to make goals until you've been to a few classes: that way, goals come naturally from within the environment you're trying to achieve them. Perhaps you find that after a few classes, you've got fairly good jumps on your hand, and you find yourself driven to try to get the best jumps in the class by the end of the year.

You don't have to take this too carefully: you're 23 for heaven's sake. You are still in the prime time for your body, and your body was able to do many of the foundational movements of dance before and will be able to again.

Work consistently, and let your goals come to you. It's just faster and easier that way.
re: Restarting jazz/dance...trying to gauge what my realistic expectations should be
By travelfan
On Sat Dec 11, 2010 02:29 PM
Thanks for the quick (and great) advice. I am really competitive (with others and myself) and a bit of a perfectionist, so it doesn't surprise me that I may be jumping the gun a bit in terms of goals. This upcoming week I'm going to attempt to take at least one class in the city (ballet or jazz is still up in the air) and go from there.

I'm mainly frustrated/embarrassed about my (lack of) flexibility. I bet the muscle memory and technique is solid enough that I could do a lot of jumps, but my downgraded flexibility is surely going to be frustrating initially.

As far as turns go, I'm probably going to start basic balance exercises in both jazz and ballet pirouette positions to get my balance back on track. I've tried and it looks like I have enough inherent balance to do a clean single and half the time doubles, but am falling out quickly after that. Bummer compared to what I used to be able to bang out, but at least I have some building blocks to work on.

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