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Ballet Schools- Steps on Broadway Open Classes

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Guest BalletAuthor

Awwww, K8smom, you KNOW!

 

The dancers who want to go every time a combination is danced do so, the ones who never want to go do so and unless it is INSANE, a teacher will rarely say anything about this.

 

Sometimes students who haven't been to a lot of "open" classes are a bit non-plused...their regualr teachers set up x # of lines with y # of dancers going z # of times per side....ain't so in the exciting world of big city open classes!!!!! :flowers::wink::):D

 

But the classes surely are stimulating and a heck of a lot of fun, not only for the dancers, but also for observers!

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lampwick

In the ballet schools I trained in as a child, we stood in lines in the center. After doing the combination once, the front line moves to the back (walk downstage and off to the sides) and the lines would move up. Rarely does a teacher at Steps say "OK, change lines". Sometimes they may, but not often.

 

If small groups are moving forward, we always fed from the sides of the room. At Steps, people will stand in a big clump in the back.

 

Although these conventions are "understood" by most students, and are sort of followed in classes like Steps, it's not so strict. Adagio is not ususally done in lines...everyone just finds a spot. If you're doing a combination which starts in the back of the room and comes forward in small groups, you have to make sure not to wait too long before going. Don't be rude and step out in front of someone, but you can't be too shy either about taking your place and beginning.

 

I'm a little pushier than I used to be. I remember several times never even getting a turn because I waited too long.

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K8smom

Huh. Interesting, thanks. In every ballet class I've ever taken, or observed, the teacher either put students into lines and directed "traffic", or the students took care of this themselves, but it was always orderly and everyone got a turn. I've never encountered the sort of "mob scene" that this sort of brings to my mind. I'm glad my DD is the one going to NYC to take classes this summer and not me! :flowers: I'm sure I'd be stuck in the back clump myself!

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Marga
This is New York City. Nobody fits in.

Lampwick, I'd put it the opposite way:

 

This is New York City. EVERYONE fits in! :D

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Marga
I've never encountered the sort of "mob scene" that this sort of brings to my mind. I'm glad my DD is the one going to NYC to take classes this summer and not me! :D I'm sure I'd be stuck in the back clump myself!

It's not as bad as it sounds! Dancers, by training, know how to be orderly and most who go to Steps tend to follow the rules bred in them since early ballet training. Steps is not a school, so it is assumed that those who take class there are already schooled in proper studio behaviour, and the vast majority are.

 

My conservative daughter only had to lose out on a turn once (thinking there would be another group -- there are rarely only two due to the sheer volume of dancers in each class). She thereafter made sure she got to go. Since some in the class will opt out of an exercise because of an injury or because they've got rehearsal coming up and don't want to overtire themselves, the teachers are used to seeing dancers by the wall giving a pass on any particular step. They are not going ask whether everyone got a turn.

 

All are treated as adults, as I said before, and are left to make their own decisions about how they pace and tax their bodies. Some younger students don't try some difficult movements because they haven't learned them yet, or maybe because they are afraid to try something, at least at this venue, that they're not sure of. When you see an ABT principal fly across the floor in the group before yours, you may wish to shrink into the sidelines rather than show yourself struggling in front of them (and you always think everyone is looking at you, which is not the case, unless you ARE that ABT principal).

 

The more often a dancer attends Steps, the more s/he learns the lay of the land and the more confidently s/he takes each class. It's a real dancer's mecca and not to be missed!

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K8smom

Ah, Marga, that sounds a little more civilized! I'm sure DD will be fine with it, and it does sound like a really great experience!

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Proud Mom

While not related to going to Steps (sorry), it is good to hear the Michael Vernon is a great teacher, as I believe my dd will have him at Chautauqua.

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BW

Yes, Proud Mom, he really is. I do hope you and/or your daughter will contribute to this coming 2004's SI forum in re Chautauqua, as well as in re Michael Vernon. :devil:

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Proud Mom

My daughter and I will definitely take the time to contribute to the 2004 SI forum re Chautauqua, but I don't think I know what you mean by re Michael Vernon. Are you going to have a forum about teachers?

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dmcclure

This has been a fabulous read! My DD is turning 12 when we go to NYC and is dying to go to STEPS! We will definatly take a beginner level class and see how that goes before thinking she is intermediate. She wants to take a class in the evening after we arrive to stretch out from the long plane ride. I appreciate all the info for Moms!

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BW

Proud Mom, all I meant in regard to Michael Vernon was that he will be one of the teachers at your daughter's program....and so if she really enjoys his classes, or anyone else's, she might want to mention it. :blink:

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citibob

I think that how you do at Steps depends a lot on your personality. I certainly think of it as a mob scene, and will try to take classes elsewhere when I can. There are definitely a lot of good teachers there.

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dazedandconfused

Well, we've been back from our birthday trip for quite a number of weeks. I wanted to thank everyone for the awesome advice on what to do for a true insider's experience of New York, dance-wise. I most especially want to thank lampwick for recommending Emilietta Ettlin's class. I had to have been the luckiest woman in New York, because I ended up arranging a private class for my daughter after having quite accidentally met Miss Ettlin in the hallway. As you said, lampwick, it was an experience beyond credibility. She has such a gift and passion for teaching. The ability to isolate muscles that she has to teach which muscle groups to use to achieve balance or the right position -- well, my daughter has quite a clear picture in her mind now about just what she needs to do to improve. It was truly the most beneficial lesson she has ever had. As we left New York, I was sad because I knew we may never see or hear from her again -- dancers do have to go where the work is. But I was wrong! Last night, my daughter got a phone call from Miss Ettlin :yes: We are in the process of adding some private classes here locally and my dd is quite sad at the possibility of leaving friends, etc. That phone call was like a gift from above -- how uncanny that it would come at just the right time. Miss Ettlin talked to her about her progress and encouraged her to make changes if she needed to. She wants to know how her first summer intensive goes (July -- Ballet Austin) and she wants us to keep in touch. I can say with absolute certainty that this lesson with Miss Ettlin at Steps on Broadway may have been a lifechanging event. Thanks so much Lampwick -- and to everyone who recommended her classes.

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Guest lgross144

I agree with the earlier posts - Ms. Ettlins floor barre was excellent - we went on a weekend and my daughter took both her class and Fabrice Herrault's. He was wonderful with the teenagers in the class - even though it was quite crowded.

 

He also is gorgeous !!

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dmcclure

DD and I are headed to NYC in 2 weeks. We will be in NYC for the weekend before she starts her SI at AAB. She has her heart set on taking a class at STEPS. Luckily, through this board, I know how to find them online and look at the schedule for when she can take a class (Sat. morning.) Any advice on which class to take? the choices are:

Gerson for basic ballet

Atwood for Adv. Beg Ballet

Turner-ballet

 

We really are total hicks from the boonies and any help would be appreciated. DD is 12 and being her mother, I think she's pretty good, but definately would not want her in a class that was any higher than advanced beginner.

 

Off topic, but DD wants to spend her shopping money on Tshirts she can take home and wear to Jr. High. Any ideas for cool Ts is also appreciated.

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