If you are looking for a way to get in shape this summer, consider taking adult ballet. Ballet is a great way to increase flexibility, build strength and meet fitness goals. It doesn’t matter if you have no prior ballet experience, you can learn ballet at any age and any fitness level. Grand Rapids Ballet School has an adult ballet program for dancers of all experience levels taught by Grand Rapids Ballet company dancers. This summer, Grand Rapids Ballet School will offer adult ballet classes on June 16 – July 23. Classes will meet twice a week, and Grand Rapids Ballet School offers a punch card or drop-in class option to meet busy schedules. The first trial class is free to all new students.
Grand Rapids Ballet Adult Ballet Classes
Due to the continued growth of the Grand Rapids Ballet School adult ballet program that met during the 2014-15 school year, and the demand for adult ballet classes, Grand Rapids Ballet School decided to offer adult ballet classes in the summer.
The adult ballet program at Grand Rapids Ballet School is unique because students get to learn from Grand Rapids Ballet company dancers that they see performing on stage. Faculty members include Steven Houser and Scott Pascal, with other company dancers also teaching certain classes. In fact, sometimes Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker teaches class. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn ballet from a professional dancer who is currently performing on stage, and to get to know Grand Rapids Ballet company dancers.
Adult ballet classes take place in the state of the art classrooms of Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Meijer-Royce Center for Dance. Live music provided by a pianist creates a truly traditional ballet class setting since not many studios offer live piano accompaniment any longer. The classrooms are set up to maximize the dance experience in a healthy and enjoyable manner. The flooring encourages proper alignment and helps prevent injury when performing class exercises. The barres are sturdy and placed well for ballet exercises.
The classes are generally taught to the level of the students attending each class. Since students can drop in to classes, experience levels of the attending students may vary per class each week. Some classes may include many beginning students, while others may be mixed levels. The teachers adjust the lessons to meet the needs of each student attending class. Both barre work and center work exercises are incorporated into each class.
The classes focus on ballet technique as well as core strengthening and muscle conditioning. Studies have shown that ballet dancers train and perform at the same level as professional athletes. This is because ballet engages the entire body in movement, increases flexibility, exercises the brain and increases strength.
“Ballet is more than just moving and turning,” said Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker. “Ballet provides the poise and presence needed to command both on and off the stage by instilling a sense of accomplishment that improves your outlook on life.”
The Grand Rapids Ballet School Adult Ballet Class Experience
This writer had the chance to try out two adult ballet classes at Grand Rapid Ballet School taught by Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker and Grand Rapids Ballet company dancer Scott Pascal. Both classes were mixed level and had students with varying degrees of ballet experience. The classes were taught in a way that was inclusive of adult students of all levels, and provided both a good ballet technique education as well as an excellent workout. The teachers were also very encouraging to all the students.
Adult ballet students can wear any type of comfortable clothing that allows movement. Grand Rapids Ballet recommends athletic wear because it is designed for movement and is usually made out of breathable or moisture-wicking material. Adult ballet students often wear all types of athletic wear and sometimes even a simple t-shirt with yoga pants. Ballet slippers, flexible athletic shoes, or socks can be worn. However, Grand Rapids Ballet School recommends ballet slippers.
Classes generally begin with a warm-up at the barre. Sometimes the teacher will have the students begin the warm-up with resistance band exercises on the floor before beginning barre work. The ballet exercises at the barre usually start with pliés, and then progress to other traditional ballet combinations, such as tendus, dégagés and rond de jambs, that warm up each part of the body. Specific ballet combinations vary each class depending on each instructor’s lesson plan. The instructors tend to show the student the exercise once, and then show it a second time with the students doing the combination with the teacher. If there are many beginner students in the class, instructors may do the ballet exercises with the class so that there is a point of reference for anyone having trouble remembering combinations.
After barre work, the class moves away from the barre and begins center work exercises. Some center work exercises are performed together as a group with the teacher, while other combinations that need more space like leaps or turns may require students to do the exercise in pairs. Performing the center work in a group together with the teacher is a very good way to make beginner students feel less self-conscious about the exercise so that they can better focus on learning the technique and experiencing the beauty of the dance. It also promotes a feeling of unity within the class across all experience levels.
At Grand Rapids Ballet School, adult students get a quality ballet technique education geared toward their individual fitness level that promotes health and increased flexibility. Adult ballet students can progress in ballet technique at Grand Rapids Ballet School.
Grand Rapids Ballet School Adult Ballet Class Schedule and Prices
Grand Rapids Ballet adult ballet classes start today, running from June 16 – July 23. Classes meet twice a week at Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Meijer-Royce Center for Dance at 341 Ellsworth SW in Grand Rapids. Intermediate ballet classes are held on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:45p.m., and beginning ballet classes are on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. for the summer session.
Drop-in students are welcome throughout the summer adult ballet session. New adult ballet students can attend their first class for free to try it out. Ballet students can pay $15 per class (drop-in), or purchase of a 10-class punch card for $130, or buy a monthly unlimited drop-in option for $85. Grand Rapids Ballet School also offers a student discount rate of $12 per class for college students with a valid student ID. Seniors over 60 also receive a discount rate of $12 per class. To register or to get more information on adult ballet classes, call the Grand Rapids Ballet School office at (616) 454-4771, ext. 17 or send an email to email@example.com.
If you are interested in learning ballet as an adult, give Grand Rapids Ballet School’s adult ballet classes a try. It is a great experience to learn classical ballet in a traditional setting with live piano music and to study dance with a Grand Rapids Ballet company dancer.