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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Post-class thanks

Andre Yew

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Hi everyone,


Something I've been wondering about is how adult ballet students should thank their teacher after class. I've observed schools where the school (ie. non-adult student) girls curtsy to the teacher. What are the men supposed to do? It seems a handshake is how my male teachers have accepted my thanks in the past. Is it different for female teachers? And is it the same for boys in a school (ie. non-adult boy students)?


I usually just say "Thank you", but I'm very curious about the traditions and rituals of the classroom, and just like other stage-oriented details of the class, this seems to be an important, however small, detail to remember.


Thanks for your help.



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Usually today, a thank-you is less formal than it used to be. But if you go "by the book", when addressing your teacher after class, then a woman will do a simple curtsy as you've noted, and a man will do a simple bow, inclining only the head. If the teacher offers a handshake, take it. If the teacher is female, it is proper to bow over the offered hand as you take it. (This is a cipher for kissing her hand.)

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Intresting Point Andre, I read your post and ment to take note tonight but Unfourtinatly I forgot to pay attention to how my classmates handle this. ( though i'm inclined to say mabye they dont?) I did however happen to see my teacher ( male, well you know who!) talking to one of his younger

( child) male students and after they were done they shook hands! ( he may have also said thank you mr X but I forget) personally I always just say thank you.

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Thanks, BBG. I think your teacher would be a good person to watch since being trained at the Royal Ballet school, he probably has a good handle on the whole etiquette thing. You're very lucky to be able to take his class regularly, too!



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As a young girl, I was told to curtesy to the teacher after each class. We did this with great reverence ( :wacko: ) and it was truly a sign that she was pleased with your work of the day if she took your hand or patted you on the shoulder. :rolleyes:

Someone who had obviously misbehaved was asked to leave the class without having to bow/curtesy as it was a clear 'cut' from the teacher.


Later on in my training (late teenage), after rehearsal classes or pro/company class, we would have a reverence exercise, and the teacher would stand in front of us and bow to us. We would bow/curtesy to him (actually facing him, no matter where we stood in the room) and lowered our head. Usually we would also clap at the end. He would give a general 'thank you all' and that was it.


I also have the experience of a teacher who was very 'teen friendly' and gave us too kisses on each cheek (it was in France! :P ) but I don't think this was the norm. I remember thinking it was really not the 'traditional' way and actually feeling quite embarrassed about being so informal with my teacher...

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When I was younger, we were just taught to clap at the end of class, as a thank you to the teacher, accompanist, etc. At the studio I'm at now, I don't think most of the adults "formally" thank the teacher after class. If they do, it's usually just a "thank you" or "thanks".


For the non-adults, the teens in the pre-pro levels thank the teacher one-by-one after class- just a simple "thank you". One teacher also instructed the students to thank the accompanist (who high-fives the students).


Once in a while, we'll get a new student from another studio who will do the curtsy thing, but for teachers who aren't used to that, they seem sort of uncomfortable. A couple of teachers, including the director, have told the class that she (the teachers) did not need individual thank you's. So no mass trek up to the teacher to thank her after class. But if a student passed by her later, he/she might thank her then.

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Yes, it is very important to acknowledge the pianist, if you are lucky enough to have one! As a student and as a professional, applause for the teacher and accompanist was the standard. As a teacher now, after the reverence, my students and I curtsy to each other and they give applause as a thank you. Sometimes, individual students will come and say "thank you", or they will shout it to me as they are flying out the studio door! I think that, for adult students, a simple thank you seems enough. When I take an adult class, I can't help my old ways and I always give the teacher a bow!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mel and Andrew


the Warren book even show some photographs of how an man should do a reverie. Great reference!

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I always perform my reveries on a white brocade chaise longue with my head thrown back, the back of my right hand to my forehead and the left draping down artfully along the bench. I have the book right here, and alas, not a single piece of furniture do I see! :P


I think you meant révérence.


(PS. I used to do it in the lotus position, but then I'd schmutz up the goddam white brocade.)

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Yes you are correct as usually! :wink: I had a good laugh with that. It's too bad you are 400 miles away. I think you are a stitch! :thumbsup:

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My teacher doesn't like bowing, hand shakes or applause. She hands me her car keys and makes me wash it. Sometimes, if she's feeling nice, she lets me get her drycleaning instead.


Yuck, yuck, yuck... :nopity:

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I always say thanks to a teacher before leaving. I've seen childrens' classes where the students each approach the teacher and curtsey. I have yet to see such a class with a male in it. I guess I would approach the teacher and give a head bow, and tell them "mercy bowcoops"


I saw the etoiles de paris opera ballet video, and the students curtsey/bow to everyone in the hall, even cameramen. Does the corps/etoiles do the same? Bowing is so much more sanitary than handshaking.





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