Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!

My Master Class Experience

17 Comments

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As my last blog post mentioned, I was given the opportunity to attend a Master Class taught by Allison DeBona. She was brought here by the amazing Jessica Wallis, founder of Ballet In Cleveland. I was so excited to attend this class, even though I was super nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, how many girls would be there, what type of work we would be doing, etc. I was so nervous. Thankfully, my BFF, Legal Ballerina, was also able to attend. I remember walking into the studio and seeing a bunch of really pretty, young, ballerinas. They were all stretching on the floor and at the barre in their cute little warm up outfits. I was immediately intimidated. All I could think was, “I can’t stretch like that. Holy cow, I’m not that flexible. Wow her leg extensions are amazing.” LB and I put our belongings back in the locker room and headed out to find a place to stretch. We headed for the farthest corner of the barre. There ended up being so many girls in this class! It was amazing to see so many girls from all over Northeast Ohio. So we stretched for about 10-15 minutes when it happened. I saw THE ballerina walk into the room. The lovely Allison DeBona had entered the room and was ready to get started. We were fortunate enough to have somebody there playing the piano. I had never experienced this! Allison introduced herself and we quickly got started. She showed us the warm-ups she does at Ballet West on a typical day. It was kind of hard to see her demonstrating things from where she was standing, but I tried my best to follow her. She would quickly demonstrate the combinations and also verbally say them too. I recognized most of the words being used, but struggled with the quick pace each set of combinations went at. We did basic leg work. A lot of tendus, relevés, fondus, etc. All the younger girls flew through them with ease. I struggled a bit with combinations. It was hard not being able to see what she was doing. I tried my best though! Allison would even stop the pianist mid song to correct things the majority of the girls were doing incorrectly. I liked that she did that because the advice she gave was really helpful.

LB and I weren’t the only “older” people there though! There was actually a very nice gentlemen in his 40’s there who had only been dancing for a year. A guy! How awesome is that! I give him mad props for putting on those ballet shoes and learning ballet. There was also a younger boy in the class who danced pretty good for his age too. I was afraid Allison was going to call me out for the mistakes I was making or for not being up to speed with these younger girls. But she didn’t! In fact, she was very helpful in explaining things and giving everyone pointers on how to better effectively execute moves. She was very poised and knowledgable. You could tell this girl definitely knew what she was doing. And her body?! Holy cow. She is so muscular and petite. All strength. Pretty mind blowing.

Anyways, back to class. After working at the barre, we moved to center and did a few adagio combinations. Simple ones like tombé pas de bourrée, pirouette or tombé pas de bourrée, glissade, jeté, jeté, jeté, grande jeté. She even complimented me on my traveling across the whole floor! Score!! We worked on grande battements in center too. I was actually able to do them as good as most of the other girls. So that was good.

At the end of class we took a class picture with Allison. I don’t have it yet. They should be mailed out sometime this week! I was able to get a picture with Allison and LB though on my phone! Super cool. We also got a autographed headshot of her too. Ballet in Cleveland also gave us some swag bags with some cool items too. The owners, and also professional dancers, of Food Barre were there too. We ever got a free sample in our bag!

Even though I struggled quite a bit with the class, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of. It was such an amazing experience. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to go. If you ever have a chance to take a master class in your area, I highly recommend doing it. Don’t be afraid. Even if you are the oldest one there, you will still take things away from the experience. Not once did I ever feel like the younger girls were judging me. I even got to talk with Allison for a minute! I introduced myself and told her that I was the one who had been tweeting her lately! She was such a sweet woman. I hope she is able to come back again some day and do another class. There was also a Q&A session after class where the girls were able to ask Allison questions. Allison’s mom and sister were even there! So cool. I’m so glad I was able to do this. And I cannot wait for season 2 of Breaking Pointe to air on tv. I recommend everyone check it out! You won’t be disappointed.
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17 thoughts on “My Master Class Experience

  1. I thought you did great. You are a lot better than you give yourself credit for. I was very, very proud of you.

  2. Oh this sounds like it was just totally awesome for you! I’ve always wanted to take a Master Class. Now that I’m here in LA, it might be easier to find one. You make it sound like so much fun. I’m sure no one else was judging you because everyone was completely absorbed in doing their best– I honestly do not notice other people in class unless they’re standing directly in front of me. Great stuff! I’m glad you did this and shared your experiences.

    • Thank you!! It really was an amazing experience. I had so much fun!! I’m sure LA gets a lot of good Master Classes. Lucky!! I don’t think these younger girls knew what to think of us older people! Hah! They were probably more confused than anything. Or maybe they were inspired? Who knows 🙂

  3. I am the older guy that took the class,you hit the nail on the head,Allison was amazing and very nice and very down to earth. I learned a great deal from the class,I will definitely do more of these classes,I hope to gain enough experience to be the next Rudolph Nureyev…………… did that get a laugh?

    • Omg hey!! You were so awesome. I give you so much respect for getting out there with all those girls! It’s definitely not easy. Where do you take classes at if I may ask? What got you interested in ballet? I’d love to hear more about you!

  4. I take classes at The Studio of Dance in Fairview Park. I got into dance because my stepdaughter took classes and I thought it might be nice to make it a family thing,I have a 4 year old and she was about to begin at the studio also. I first took Tap classes,we worked our way into doing lifts,we did a swing number and I was the only guy(of 3)who was able to really do the lifts for the number. The next year I took the Tap class again and added Jazz with my wife,I really was not very good at Jazz but had a great deal of fun with it. My teacher sat me down one day and talked to me about Ballet,our girls future in Ballet,and how I could make a big difference in our oldest daughters life by taking a Ballet class and eventually doing lifts with her,otherwise she would never have that experience before she moved on to college,how could I not take the class. I took the class,an adult ballet class,filled with so many ladies with about 15-20 years experience each,the teacher told me to learn quick,she would not slow down for me,she also reminded me she knew I could handle the pace and that she would help me on the side a bit. Having the 3 classes(tap,jazz,ballet)going on all week was a bit much,I finished the dance year and decided to drop the other two classes and stick with ballet,it made me feel so good,challenged me like nothing else,and served a purpose beyond any good I could imagine doing,helping so many young ladies and even influence some of the young guys in our studio. I love ballet,my mother dance with The Cleveland Civic Ballet,she was amazing,we grew up with ballet in our house,it was a major part of my youth until she passed on. I even worked with my mother and father at Cleveland Playhouse Square Foundation as an usher during middle school and high school just to see shows for free. One of my most memorable moments from CPSF was meeting Nureyev during The Overcoat run,my dad even got him to sign 2 Overcoat posters,what an amazing individual,a very strong personality and presence to be around. I never thought this is where my life would take me,a window cleaner of 30 years,a musician,a vagabond who has traveled the United States just to see dirt roads to nowhere,a homeless man,and then a father,how I am now a ballet dancer makes me wonder how much more I/we are capable of if we just open ourselves up to new things and reach higher,ballet,who would’ve thought. Thanks for the interest,I hope I didn’t digress too much,I am also a long-winded man,lol.

    • You simply rock. Like hard core rock. I think it is utterly amazing that you are so involved with your children and their passions. They must really adore you!! My husband would NEVER set foot in a dance studio. I’m so glad I got to meet you, and I hope we cross paths again! You are one amazing dude. Keep up the hard work!! 🙂

    • That was such an amazing post. I teared up because it seems like you’ve really lived your life and you seem so happy with ballet :). You are a great father and an inspiration! I did partnering for the first time this past summer and it was hard trusting your partner mostly because trust is a difficult thing but also they just didn’t seem strong enough. Dads are strong and would never drop you :).

      You met Nureyev?!! How cool!!!! 🙂 How often do you dance a week? Do you take men’s classes?

      Visit The Traveling Dancer

    • I accidentally replied to Disneyballerina’s comment when I meant to reply to yours! Please see my comment below! 🙂 Sorry about that!!!

  5. Wow! If only I had the opportunity to attend a master class taught by Allison DeBona! She is amazing! I have little experience in ballet, I started lessons 2 years ago and I do not have enough level to do it. But I am very motivated, it is my passion 😀 I bought my own ballet accessories and now I practise every day!
    Nice to meet you (and your blog!)
    Jane

    • Just keep practicing!! You can do it! The master class was so much fun. I was no way near the level of the younger girls in the class, but it was still fun. It’s always fun to find other people who love ballet!! 🙂

  6. I’m so happy you took Alison’s class!!!!! I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do it!!!!! It seems like Alison was really nice. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience!!!! Nothing like hearing about your fellow “aged” dancers doing amazing things! Do you dance often at Ballet in Cleveland? I wasn’t sure if I read your post correctly but was this the first time you had live music in class? It’s amazing, isn’t it?!!

    Visit The Traveling Dancer

    • Yes it was amazing!! And yes, you read correctly! First time with live music. It was so neat. This was the first master’s class brought to Cleveland by the non-profit organization Ballet in Cleveland. I believe they are hosting another master class in early June, but I won’t be able to go since our studio’s recital is the same weekend. I’m hoping to be as involved as I can be with them!

      • Oh wow! I actually really, really, really like having live music to class. I know it’s a little more expensive for studios but it’s so worth it!! Are you doing a particular ballet for your recital? Hope you do amazingly!!! 🙂 I just looked into Ballet in Cleveland- such a great organization!!!! 🙂 Thank you!!!

      • We just do different songs. We do more of lyrical type dances and a pointe number! Nothing classical though. It’s fun!! 🙂

  7. That is fantastic you were able to take the class! I remember master classes when I was younger and they are quite the workout. I hope I will get the opportunity to take one in the future! I have really enjoyed your blog and I am looking forward to more in the future!

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