Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

What should I do??

Guest alliecat93

Recommended Posts

Guest alliecat93

This is going to be a long post, so bear with me.


I am very serious about ballet and I want to take as many classes as I can and learn as much as I can. The first school that I started out at was more focused on dance in general and they didn’t really specialize in ballet. I took two different levels for a total of 5 classes a week. Then I switched schools and started taking 9 classes a week. I also took private lessons for about a little less than a year with a wonderful teacher there. Well, our old artistic director left and the atmosphere at the school has really changed. The girls wear black tights with huge holes in them, bandanas in their hair, shorts,…. I could go on and on. When they mess up in class they start laughing like they think it’s funny. They are also VERY disrespectful to one of the teachers there. There is a minimum of 4 required classes to be in the company and a lot of people, even the advanced girls, only take those 4 classes even though they are able to take 13 or so classes. There are two really good teachers at the school, but then there is one who just doesn’t know what she is talking about. I realize that there are different styles of ballet, but she is just wrong a lot of the time. She corrected this girl on an assemble and she had the girl do it so her feet didn’t assemble in the air! Yesterday I was talking to a girl before class and I asked her if she wanted to come warm up with me before class. She just looked at me like I was crazy and said, “warm up?” like she had never heard of it before. She seemed baffled that I warmed up before every one of my classes. Dancers from this school have gone on to Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joeffrey Ballet, Ballet West, Milwaukee Ballet, Miami Ballet, Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet, and other companies too. Some of the people who went away to these companies keep in touch and come back to take a class when they’re in town. Looking at the school now, it doesn’t seem like they will turn out all the wonderful dancers they used to have.


There are three main schools in my area. We’ll call them A, B, and C. I am at A right now. B would be another option, but they only have 6 classes offered in the second to highest level. That’s what level I would be in if I went there, but that doesn’t seem like enough classes. That only includes 2 pointe classes. The highest level only has one more class a week. There is a professional company connected to this school, but they don’t seem very professional to me. I’ve heard good things about school C. They are VERY strict there which would be a big change from where I’m at now, but I think I would like it. I’m not sure exactly how many classes the offer a week, but I don’t think it’s a lot. I have been at auditions with students from that school and they seem pretty good, but they seem very mean and competitive. They’ve pushed their way in front of other people at auditions so the other people couldn’t be seen.


So as you can see, I’m not in a very good situation. I think I’m going to take a class at studio C and see how that goes, but I’m not sure. I really want to go to CPYB year round. I know people have very different opinion about the amount of classes there, but that’s really want I want and what I feel would be best for me. If I went I would live with a host family.


My mom and I are going down to visit the school later this year. We could either go down in June and see their June Series and watch a rehearsal/class or we could go in May and I could take a class. Which do you think would be better?


I have heard that a lot of new people who come to the school are placed in level 2B initially, but you can get moved up. Level 2B doesn’t have any pointe, so I’m worried if I was in that level that my pointe would really suffer. I’ve heard of people moving up 3 or 4 levels in 6 months to a year. Do you think that would be a really bad situation to not have pointe? How long can you go without a pointe class before your technique will really start to suffer? If I was in level 3 (the next level up) I could be taking 34+ hours of ballet a week. I could also take 3 pilates classes and possibly partnering.


I am so confused about what to do. I get so upset whenever I think about my current school and the so so training I’m getting there. What do you think I should do? I know you can’t decide for me, but could you help me please?

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Allie, the first thing you need to do is stop worrying about the number of hours and classes and start thinking much more about the quality of the hours and classes! It is not necessary to have a gazillion classes, if the daily class is really good.


The second thing you have to do is STOP depending on nothing but hearsay. You have heard about the other places, and heard this and that about classes at CPYB, but you have not been there or the other schools and experienced it for yourself. Therefore, you really do not know. Listening to opinions from other teenagers is not the way to go.


First, go to the other schools and take a class. At least one. Then, go to CPYB and take a class, not watch, TAKE. Talk to them about where you would be placed and why. If they determine you need to start at a lower level, then my guess would be that your previous training may not have put you technically at the level you think you are. Most likely they would do this only if there are some serious technical things that should be corrected before allowing you to move to more advanced work.


It sounds to me like the atmosphere at your current school is not a good one, and I would be very surprised if that produced dancers of the caliber of the major companies you listed. It must have been very different in the past. You have no obligation to stay there, and you may find that one of the other schools in your area is better. And then, maybe not. But the only way to know is to see them and experience classes there.

Link to comment
Guest alliecat93

Thank you for your help.


I do plan on taking a class at each of the other schools I mentioned. Also in May I will begoing down to CPYB. I have talked with the people at CPYB and the were very helpful. They said that there is a placemnt class the first day that classes start for the school year and you won't know what level you are in until then. Even the people who have been going to the school for a long time won't know what level they will be in until that night. The aldy at the school kept talking about level 2B and she made it sound like that is where most new students start and it is kind of a "stepping stone" to the other levels.


I realize that quality is much more important than quanity, but the quality at my current school isn't that great. Well, actually, there are two really good teachers, but I only have 2 classes with them each week. The other 7 classes are with a teacher whom I fell I am getting poor training. Also, when I have two classes (or more) I feel like I get a lot more out of each class and I dance a lot better than when I only have one class. I'm not sure why this is, but I think I really need at least two classes a night.

Link to comment
Guest alliecat93

Do you think it's odd and unprofessional that at studio B and C they call they teachers Ms. Sarah, or Miss Kim (those aren't the real names- just examples)? I was on the websites for these schools and I was suprised to see that's what the call the teachers on their website. Also, at one of the schools, no of the teachers have danced professionally. At the other school, the teachers have danced professionally, but the company members also teach class and when I went to see them perform I could not believe that they looked so unprofessional. I'm sorry if I'm being paranoid and I will stop bothering you after this. I still plan to take classes at the schools, I just wanted to know if I was off base thinking this was odd.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Well, it might be, and it might not be. It is just done in some places. I don't happen to care for that at all, and do feel that it is somewhat unprofessional, however there are schools I know of where the teacher is addressed by Miss first name, and they are quite professional. So, you just have to see for yourself. As to the quality of the professioanl company that you saw, I cannot comment on that, having no idea what company it might be.

Link to comment
Guest alliecat93

I have a new question and I thought it would be best if I just added it on here so you would remember my background.


Ther one teacher who teaches really good classes (the new AD) has had really bad back problems and has been out for a while. When he is out, the teacher who teaches many thing incorrectly subs for the other classes. I know of many thing that are definatly worng- some things are just different styles, but I know of at least 6 major thing that are just wrong. Would it be better to just take the minimum 4 required classes so I would only be having 1 or 2 classes with her, or would it be better to continue taking her classes? I really feel that by taking so many classes form her that I am losing a lot of my technique. I feel like I haven't improved hardly any since our old AD left and it makes me very frustrated.


I checked out school C (see first post) and I don't think that would be a very good option. I plan to check out school B, but I just keep remembering an audition I had for a SI with one of the students form there. The teacher giving the audition spent like 2 minutes going over a chasse with her and she still didn't get it. She could do like 6 pirouettes, but the fact that she didn't know how to do a chasse kind of frightened me (she kept "chasseing" with her heel way off the floor.) I don't know though, I still think I might take a class just to see.




I am pretty sure that even if I don't go away to CPYB, I won't be in the city I'm in now, so finding a school in the area isn't really an issue. I guess my main question is, which would be better:


1. taking only 4 classes a week with 2 or 3 of those with really good teachers




2. take 9 classes a week with 6 of those classes from a teacher who teaches many things incorrectly


If I go with option 2, I would try to supplement the classes with classes at school B (if it seems like a good school)

Link to comment
  • Administrators

What kind of a time period are we talking about here, allie? Is this just until summer? I really don't know what is best for you, since I don't know how advanced you are and how well you are able to work correctly even if in a class where the technique might not be what you have understood to be correct. Quality is still better than quantity, IMO, and if the difference is too big, then stay with less but better classes. Very hard to call that from this distance. Hopefully you are going to tell me this is very temporary, and that you go away for summer, and then will be somewhere else in the fall?

Link to comment
Guest alliecat93

Yes, this is temporary. I am going away to two different summer intensives and then I will be somewhere else in the fall.


I know what things this teacher is teaching incorrectly and I also know the correct way to do them. Before I would just do it the right way, but I always get "corrected" for doing that now. I think I am one of this teacher's favorites and she is always looking at me so it is hard to not do it the way she wants it without her noticing.


I think I will cut back on a lot of the classes I have with her and see about the classes at the other school.


Thank you for your advice! :)

Link to comment
Guest Dancergal92

I know exactly what you mean about a school with no serious dress code and not so great teachers. I want to leave, but I dont think I could find a halfway decent school in my area. I also dont think I could leave all of the great friends I have made. And I dont think I could ever go away and stay with a host family, I can barley stay a night or two away from home without getting extremely home sick.

Link to comment
Guest Rosefire

I too have been in this situation, but in my case i had somewhere better to go. There was a lot of politics involved (mainly the fact that the two sets of teachers really don't like each other) and leving was hard because all my dancing friends were there. But I left with some other people, so it wasn't too bad.


To fullyunderstand why i left, you would have to know the full situation. This school had also turned out wonderful dancers in the past as well, having been founded by a man who danced with Royal and Margot Fonteyn! Now the school is not so good, but many people prefer it to where I go, because my teacher is very strict and professional. I have never regretted moving, really if you are planning on being a dancer, you need the best training you can get.


I realise this is a bit irrelevant and maybe not very interesting, but I just wanted to share my experience with you.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...