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Ballet Talk for Dancers

I know, Let do a Show!


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Okay, here it is; every year, for whatever reason, all of the teachers in this little community feel they have to put on a production, and that's fine. One of the schools does a really nice job, but it's a very professional, structured school. The other schools do nice little productions for parents. Unfortunately, both of the schools I have attended (not the professional structured school) feel the adults should perform as well. Personally, I find performing in these productions embarassing and do not want to participate. I have been able to not perform for the past four years, but was pressed into service in one of the routines for this year. I have offered my assistance with the printing, the costumes, monitoring the little people backstage and even fill in during rehersals for people who are not there. (Only fill in for the larger routines). However, this doesn't seem to be enough. Since the rehearsals have begun, I have been badgered at every class to be in more than one of the routines, and the teacher, bless her heart, seems to take all of this personally, although I have told her I simply do not like to perform, and has started to get very "short" with everything I do in class. I know there is a lot of stress about the "big show", which is one of the reasons I don't want to be involved, but I am beginning to take offense at her attitude. I sincerely feel this is the best teacher (especially for me personally) in this area and do not want to leave the studio, but short of performing in more of the routines in this show (to be performed in June), I do not know what else to do to alleviate her anger towards me. I thought it was my imagination, but I recently asked another adult student, who I have known for several years, and she agreed with me that the teacher's attitude towards my classwork has certainly changed in the past few months. I started analyzing my classwork to see if perhaps my attitude towards all of the "show" stuff is affecting my classwork, and don't really think so. Any thoughts on all of this "crap"? Thanks for letting me vent!

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I understand your concerns. I'm 48, and I'm expected to perform as well. At first, I really felt silly, then, during the performance (where I also felt a little silly) a large group of adults and parents came up to us and were just gushing at how wonderful it was to see adults perform, and how great we were. They were jealous that they weren't part of our classes. I also use it for great laugh material at my cocktail and dinner parties. I just love the shock value, I could not pay for better. I've appeared in more than one, and this is my feeling:


I love watching the kids perform, I love working on the routines with the kids in our classes - we have a real blast. Last night my elderly friend (5 years younger than me) and I were paid the ultimate compliment by a group of teens - they think that we are really funny and a blast to take class with. They share their travails, share their angst, help us learn stuff, encourage us, in short - we FEEL A LOT YOUNGER. I wouldn't trade it for the world.


We have fun doing each other's makeup, fixing each other's choreography, working on learning a very complex and challenging dance or dances, and get the rare chance to deal with performing. Dance like music is a performing art, and part of the package is being on stage - everything is oriented to stage placement and line.


I have one class where there are several of us senior citizen ballerinas and ballet dudes and there is NO performing, everyone wishes there was. There is so much talent.


I suppose that some would think it undignified, but frankly, my dignification could use a little poke in the ribs once in a while.


Some of us don't like to draw adverse attention to ourselves - like our pointe recital where we were cats and mice (!)

Hey, I made it to stage and had to do it in front of people I know, and they could not have been more supportive!


I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is about 5 minutes on stage, and soon over. No, I don't want my husband to watch me.


Everyone is different, has different needs. If it is possible for you, speak with your teacher and let them know that they seem upset with you lately and ask them if they are and if you can discuss it. They should not pressure you either. This is supposed to be 'enjoyable'. I hope you work it out.

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Guest Anders

I am totally envious of you getting the opportunity to perform as adults. That's not happening anywhere near me. Do you need guys? ;)


Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your teacher's attitude. I suggest you try to talk to her sometime when she has time to listen (i.e. not between two tendus) to let her know how you feel and that it's a personal issue and not a protest against her. You're a person, but she's a person too. Also, maybe she doesn't get the same fulfillment out of teaching if she doesn't feel her students are working towards something, and that's what's bringing on the change in attitude. If she needs the performance to give her best to her students, maybe she's not the best teacher for you after all. I'm still jealous.



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Hello Anders,

I'm in two productions in the coming weeks: Cinderella (Ballet MAster) and Sleeping Beauty(courtesan). I was asked to be in a third adult production but could not swing the schedule. A Big city like Stockholm may have professional dancers, but small companies and schools should welcome any man who can partner and has stage presence.

I don't know if N********r (still too early to say the "N" word) is as popular in sweden as it is in the states, but every man who can point his toes will be asked to participate in a Nut.

Taking classes in different studios also exposes you to different teachers, and more opportunities to perform.


Hope to see you in Richmond,



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I'm shocked a teacher would go to such extremes! Some teachers believe the only reason for ballet is to perform. I have gotten used to performing, but I enjoy taking class much more than rehearsing and performing.

If you know what your limitations are, and you rehearse your tail off, there should be no fear of performing.

There are millions of Joggers who never race, and millions of poets who are never published.


I think you need to meet the teacher in private for a few minutes, I bet she has seen you improve and knows you would be an excellent performer. Thank her at that point and tell her you don't want the stress a perfromance entails.


Leave it at that and keep on dancing!



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Thank you all for your replies, I have been working on trying to speak to my teacher when I can find a time that is "right". She seems to be so caught up in everything now that nothing seems to be getting through. In fact, last Saturday, everyone had to leave early except me, and she came up to me and said she had created a solo for me for the show! Hoping she was being funny, I said "oh, how sad that would be, all you would have is a big dark stage!" She just looked at me as though I was a little green person from Mars. Then she said well, we can do some centre floor work, and we did. After the class was over, all she talked to me about was the posters, the colors of the posters, how they would be laid out, etc. This went on for over 15 minutes. I think she didn't stop talking because she didn't want to hear what I have to say. Anyway, I'll just grin and bear it until June, then we'll have a wonderful six weeks of classes and I'll see how it goes for the fall season. If this happens again next spring, I will have to make a decision then. But I do thank all of you for your replies. It's not that I am afraid of performing, I believe I am just burned out from too much performing as a younger person, plus all the stress of it now is not something I have the energy for.

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