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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Taking Other Classes


Guest dragonfly7

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Guest dragonfly7

Hi all. I was wondering if it's alright to try other teachers -- my teacher only has classes twice a week, I'd like to take one more if time allows it. But will a difference in teaching style/pace/etc. help me improve or will it only confuse me? I've been taking classes for 8 months now.

 

And I don't know if this is strange, but I have a loyalty to my present teacher because she's been so encouraging and has really helped me improve. She's great! I feel GUILTY taking classes elsewhere, but at the same time I want to dedicate more time to classes so I can focus more on learning more.

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Did you check with your teacher to see if she would be willing (or able) to teach more classes if there was enough interest? Sometimes one or two other students feel as you do and if you all get together, it is possible for an additional class to be added. Especially if there is interest for something such as a technique class, which enhances your other already existing classes. It is always worth a try, plus it will let your teacher know you're willing to put in more time and effort in what you're doing.

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I have two views on this and it depends entirely on how long you've been dancing. I really feel a beginner needs to work under one instructor for a time until they get a solid foundation to their technique. Each style has their own take on things like port de bras, and some steps are executed with slight differences. If you're new this can be quite confusing. For newer people I recommend they stick with one teacher whom they are comfortable for at least a few months to a year.

 

If you're more experienced, different teachers can really round out your education. I find each teacher I have been to usually finds the same problems with my technique. They each use a different way of describing the problem and often have different solutions for correcting it. I've found that one of them usually has a mehtod that works right for me and my body which ultimately helps my progress.

 

That said, I pretty much consider one teacher as my main instructor and usually follow her advice moreso than others.

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I, personally, do not consider taking classes from other teachers disloyal, as long as the first teacher does not have to suffer any "negative" consequences. :) (Technical progress is a positive consequence, because teachers are happy when their students get better. Neglecting first teacher's classes, getting terminology one has already learned confused or letting differing technique to bleed over from other classes are examples of negative consequences because they cause extra work for the first teacher.)

 

That said, for the purposes of "serious" recreational dancing, I too believe strongly in having a long-term, regular class relationship with 1-2 primary teachers to build a solid "holeless" dance technique. Other classes can be useful as schedule supplements and/or spice to show different viewpoints. However, I personally think it best for the solid "meat classes" to overnumber supplementary and spice classes. If my classes are inconsistent, I'll learn to do this thing that way and that step this way, and in the end may not ever master some third consept properly. I also feel a consistency of technique, style and movement is the only way a recreational dancer of my average talents can ever hope to weld the various steps and movements in any dance into a single stylistic whole with flow, "breath" and artistry. :)

 

Perhaps you could ask your teacher if she could recommend suitable supplementary classes for you, if you want to do more classes than she currently offers. The chances are, she will prefer teachers who are strict about good technique and/or classes with same style of instruction. :)

 

Päivi

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I agree with what is being said; I just want to add that it's definitely all right to try other teachers, as the original question was worded. I can't think any sane teacher minding if you go to some other class to see what it it's like - then if you like it, maybe ask your main teacher if she thinks it's a good idea to go there regularly, or what.

 

Also, as recreational dancers in many places it's outright impossible to get more than 1 or 2 classes with the same teacher a week. In such cases, I feel that after the initial introduction to ballet, it's better to take more classes with more teachers than to only that one class.

 

When trying out new teachers, I usually feel more comfortable in a strange teacher's class if it's just below my own level. Often, the regulars know some combinations and preferences, and it's easier to pick things up if it's not too advanced. In addition, I know the lower level stuff better, so I have a better chance to recognice if it's taught right or wrong, and if I like the stylistic differences. ;)

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I like having different teachers as every teacher stresses different things (one works on turns without fail every class, another never skips jumps, another does balances after every exercise, etc.) and every teacher has a different way of explaining things.

 

It can be difficult to keep track of different approaches, though. Fortunately for the more obvious things most of my teachers will say "some do it this way or that way, but in my class I want to see it this way", so we have reminders.

 

I have noticed that the teachers in my school have little or no clue about what goes on in classes other than their own, esp. in the adult classes. It's not a bad thing--it's just interesting.

 

There are 5 different teachers whose classes are the right level for me, and every single one offers something unique. There are some students who only want to take classes with certain teachers, and I just don't understand that.

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